New Playing Field in the Middle East

New York Times, Friday, August 16, 2013

HIS OPTIONS FEW, OBAMA REBUKES EGYPT’S LEADERS: NO MILITARY EXERCISES, by Mark Landler and Peter Baker

Chilmark, Mass.–“President Obama announced Thursday that the United States had canceled longstanding joint military exercises with the Egyptian army set for next month, using one of his few obvious forms of leverage to rebuke Egypt’s military-backed government for its brutal crackdown on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

Though the decision is an embarrassment to Egypt’s generals, and will deprive Egypt of much needed revenue, it lays bare both the Obama administration’s limited options to curb the military’s campaign against Islamists in Egypt and the United States’ role as an increasingly frustrated bystander.  Repeated pleas from administration officials to the generals to change course have gone unheeded, and the United States’ first punitive measure, a Pentagon delay in the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to the Egyptian Air force, also had no effect…

While administration officials acknowledge that Egypt could replace the lost American military aid, they said it would pay a long-term price in lost foreign investment and a ruined tourism industry–a point that Mr. Obama made in his statement on Thursday…

“Heather Hurlburt, a former Clinton White House official who is now executive director to the National Security Network, said the administration should cut off ‘targeted’ cooperation with Egypt’s military without halting aid. ‘No matter where you’re coming from ideologically,’ she said, ‘the playing field we face in the Middle East is not the playing field we faced a month ago.”

Comment:  Playing fields in the Middle East seem to be changing much faster than the fields from which the metaphor is derived.

Advertisements

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: