Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Logistical Failure

According to Debka - not always the most reliable source - the Palestinians have shot their wad and all they have to show for it is a messy clean up job.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has run into blank walls in his ploy for using a unity pact between his Fatah and the extremist Hamas as the fulcrum for a diplomatic offensive against Israel to climax in UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September.

Since his unity pact with Hamas was signed on May 4 Jordan's King Abdullah has refused to receive him or any of his messengers. Sunday, May 22, when Abbas asked for an urgent interview, the king told his office to stop transferring any more of these requests.
Debka says the King has a couple of problems with Abbas and his Fatah gang. They forgot to notify him of their plan to join with Hamas. Which is a ludicrous statement. Abbas has been trying for "national unity" for the last few years. It has been an on again, off again, deal. Evidently for the time being it is on again. The King would also like to dump his Palestinian refugees. Either on Israel - not going to happen - or on the Palestinians. And in their "right of return" craze they made no attempt to include their pawns brothers in Jordan. My guess is that is the King's real beef.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its Hamas offshoot are the most powerful force opposing the throne in the Hashemite Kingdom. Enhancing Hamas' hand in the Palestinian stakes has major ramifications for Jordan's domestic political equilibrium.

Abdullah's boycott of the Palestinian leader covers the cutoff of Jordanian intelligence ties with Palestinian counterparts.

Abbas had been counting on meeting the king in Amman Sunday to receive a briefing on his talks with US President Barack Obama at the White House on May 18, the day before Obama unveiled his Middle East policy. Abdullah not only denied him that interview but asked US officials not to share the content of his conversation with Obama with any Palestinian. Abbas thus lost a vital source of information on US administration plans.
Ah yes. The Muslim Brotherhood. Nice bunch of fellers. If you like unreformed Nazis.
In the 1920's there was a young Egyptian named al Bana. And al Bana formed this nationalist group called the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Bana was a devout admirer of Adolph Hitler and wrote to him frequently. So persistent was he in his admiration of the new Nazi Party that in the 1930's, al-Bana and the Muslim Brotherhood became a secret arm of Nazi intelligence.

The Arab Nazis had much in common with the new Nazi doctrines. They hated Jews; they hated democracy; and they hated the Western culture. It became the official policy of the Third Reich to secretly develop the Muslim Brotherhood as the fifth Parliament, an army inside Egypt.

When war broke out, the Muslim Brotherhood promised in writing that they would rise up and help General Rommell and make sure that no English or American soldier was left alive in Cairo or Alexandria.

The Muslim Brotherhood began to expand in scope and influence during World War II. They even had a Palestinian section headed by the grand Mufti of Jerusalem, one of the great bigots of all time.
I have written an article or two about the Mufti including Palestinian Role in the Holocaust. Charming fellow. If you like Nazi sympathizers.

Back to Debka.
After being outmaneuvered in the Arab arena, the Palestinian leader's plans to internationalize the Palestinian-Israel dispute and confront Israel with a Palestinian state with 1967 borders ran into another impediment – in Moscow.

In a bid to outmaneuver Washington's role as sponsor of the peace process, Abbas turned to Russia in deference to its veto power at the UN Security Council. He offered to transfer negotiations on the next phase of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation to Moscow.

Abbas duly arrived in the Russian capital Friday, May 20, for the first session along with delegations from Hamas, the Democratic and Popular "Fronts" and the Palestinian al-Shaab communist party.

But to his dismay, the Russians stalled the opening session, debkafile's Moscow sources reveal, demanding that all the Palestinian factions represented must first accept the three standing stipulations of the Middle East Quartet (US, Russia, EU and the UN), namely recognize Israel, abjure violence and accept previous international commitments. Hamas stood by its adamant refusal to accept any of those conditions.
Russia, a nominally western country has more to gain from ties with Israel, with all its Russian immigrants, than from any alliance with the failed state of Palestine. Israel has technology. Some of the best in the world. The Palestinians have what? Problems. Lots of problems. And their problems are tied up with Egypt's problems. Basket cases all. Which causes us to ask - besides the Nazi stupidity - what has caused the failure in the Muslim countries of the Middle East? Spengler has the answer.
Development economists have known for years that a disaster was in the works. A 2009 World Bank report on Arab food security warned, "Arab countries are very vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity markets because they are heavily dependent on imported food. Arab countries are the largest importers of cereal in the world. Most import at least 50 percent of the food calories they consume." The trouble is that the Arab regimes made things worse rather than better.

Egypt's rulers of the past 60 years intentionally transformed what once was the breadbasket of the Mediterranean into a starvation trap. They did so through tragedy, not oversight. Keeping a large part of one's people illiterate on subsistence farms is the surest method of social control.

Crop yields in Egypt are a fifth of the best American levels, and by design, for no Egyptian government wished to add more displaced peasants to the 17 million people now crowded into Cairo. Syrian President Basher al-Assad made a few tentative steps in this direction, and got a 100,000 landless farmers living in tent cities around Damascus (Food and Syria's failure Asia Times Online March 29, 2011).

Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Mubarak did not invent the system. Post-revolutionary Russia imprisoned its peasants on collective farms; as the Mexican historian Enrique Krauze showed (in his 1992 book TextosHereticos), post-revolutionary Mexico emulated the Stalinist model of social control and imposed its own system of collective farms during the 1930s.

Mexico eventually dumped a fifth of its population on its northern neighbor, mainly rural people from the impoverished south. The remaining Mexican poor provided an inexhaustible source of foot-soldiers for the drug cartels with which the Mexican government is fighting a low-intensity civil war.

Egypt, the most populous Arab country, postponed these problems for three generations. It is governable only by military rule, de facto or de jure, because the military is the only institution that can take peasants straight from the farm and assimilate them into a disciplined social structure.
The huge jump in American food productivity in the early 20th Century led America into a great Depression. Just as the huge jump in industrial productivity caused by the microprocessor revolution has led to our current economic problems. The application of the microprocessor to education will in many ways prolong the misery. Why pay $40 dollars or more an hour for an education when you can go online and get one for free. Other than the time invested. All those $100,000 a year tenured professors are going the way of the buggy whip makers. This was predicted in Buckminster Fuller's 1971 book Education Automation.

Continuing with Spengler:
In place of the orderly corruption over which Mubarak presided, there is a scramble on the part of half-organized political groups to get control of the country's shrinking supply of basic goods. Civic violence likely will claim more lives than hunger.

Refugees from Libya and Tunisia have swamped the refugee camps on the closest Italian island, and hundreds have drowned in small boats attempting to cross the Mediterranean. By the end of this year, tourists on the Greek islands may see thousands of small boats carrying hungry Egyptians seeking help. Europe's sympathy for the Arab side may vanish under an inundation of refugees.

Events are most likely to overtake diplomacy. The sort of economic and demographic imbalances implied by the projections shown above reflect back into the present. Chaos in Egypt, Syria and other Arab countries probably will pre-empt the present focus on Israel and the Palestinians. It would not be surprising if the Palestinians were to mount another Intifada, or Egypt and Syria were to initiate one last war against Israel. It might be their last opportunity.

But I rate the probably of another war at well under 50%. The internal problems of Egypt and Syria are more likely to make war too difficult to wage.
We are living in interesting times. To learn more about the demographic collapse of the Muslim nations and the demographic rise of Israel read the whole Spengler article. Very much worth your while to get a glimpse of the future. Let me give you the short version. Why are Israeli women producing about 3.0 children each on average? Because they have hope for the future. Why are the Muslim nations undergoing demographic collapse? Hopelessness. And food shortages are only part of the problem.

What is the take away? Socialism doesn't work. Not international socialism. Not national socialism. Since Israel dropped socialism as the main organizing principle of its economy it has been on a tear.

The Israelis would be glad to help the Arabs if the Arabs would let them. Every nation that has expelled the Jews (France are you listening?) has eventually gone on to ruin. Those countries that embrace the Jews (and who more than Israel?) have prospered. The Bible is full of stories about human nature, government, and power relations among people and nations. Very good stories which illustrate basic facts about humans. I'm not much for Bible prophecy though. Except this one has been coming true for at least the last 2,000 years. This promise was made to Abraham:
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
If there is anything to that prophecy (and it seems to have been working for quite some time) the Europeans and the Moslems had better watch out.

Cross Posted at Classical Values