Feathers or Lead: Our Egyptian Ally

Jie Shun, photo by Andy Ru, MarineTraffic.com

Jie Shun, photo by Andy Ru, MarineTraffic.com

Once again, a purported United States ally, Egypt, has been caught acting intentionally against U.S. interests.

An entire cargo ship crammed full of North Korean-manufactured war materials was intercepted en route from Haeju, North Korea, on July 23, 2016. Hidden under a layer of iron ore were 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades, sold in violation of arms treaties and recent sanctions against North Korea. $US 23 million worth of arms. The illegal shipment was aboard North Korean rust bucket the Jie Shun,sailing under a Cambodian false flag, with its transponder – the device that identifies the ship – turned off.

And what country was purchasing tons of war material from North Korean in violation of United Nations sanctions? What country was violating American-sponsored attempts to reign in North Korea?

Our ally, Egypt.

This would be the same country that President Trump lavishly praised earlier this year.

I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. The United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing.

This would be the country that receives $1.5 billion in military aid from the U.S.

This isn’t the first time that Egypt has been implicated in violations of economic sanctions imposed on North Korea. Despite the Trumpster’s praise, the Senate, back in August, voted to withhold $195 million out of about $1.5 billion inU.S. military aid to Egypt. It’s possible that Egypt used U.S. aid to buy the $23 million in arms from North Korea.

Either Egypt is being run by idiots or they think U.S. intelligence is too lame to catch the Egyptians at their tricks.

Which possibility gives you the most comfort? It’s a “feathers or lead” sort of question.

What’s “feathers or lead”? In Rhodes, the peasants believe that a child conceived on March 25 must be born on Christmas Eve and will inevitably turn out to be a Kaous. A Kaous is an impish little devil, complete with horns, hoofs and pointed ears, descended from Pan. He circulates after dark, croaking, “Feathers or lead?” Either answer will be wrong, after which the Kaous mounts his victim like a horse for a breakneck ride across country, lashing him all the while with a stick. There is no “right” answer.

WC will grant some points to U.S. diplomats, who maneuvered the Egyptians into intercepting the ship. Essentially, the U.S. provided the Egyptians with hard intelligence on the nature of the Jie Shun‘s cargo, and forced them to intercept the vessel. But still, it’s entirely possible that United States funds were used to violate U.N. sanctions demanded by the U.S.. Maybe that’s just realpolitik, but it’s pretty damned ugly.

It’s not the first time an ally has been caught acting against U.S. interests. It won’t be the last. But there should be consequences, serious consequences, for this kind of duplicity.




One thought on “Feathers or Lead: Our Egyptian Ally

  1. Expect more of this by allies. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a natural corollary of America First. Like us, our allies will act in their own interest without regard to consequences to us. It follows from our own actions. While South Korea is under intense threat from North Korea, the Trump administration recently took strongly adverse trade actions against South Korea. Similarly, we are taking strongly adverse trade actions against Britain and Canada, and that’s the last thing Britain needs as it tries to negotiate its Brexit challenges. Mexico and Mexicans have been in Trump’s gun sights from the time he announced his candidacy. He has insulted German Chancellor Merkel.
    So why shouldn’t allies go their own way? Trump is determined to demolish our traditional alliances. That’s part and parcel of his America First policy.

    Paul Eaglin

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