Never trust American “security” experts on democracy

This Washington Post article is precisely why so much of American corporate media is failing. Here’s the story; find men, only men, to speak about “security” and terrorism. Ignore the democratic aspirations of the Arab people and focus on what America/Israel may lose. The implication is clear; we’d much rather Cairo torture and murder people so we can feel safe in our white sheets:

For decades, Egypt’s government has been a critical partner for U.S. intelligence agencies, sharing information on extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and working hand in glove on counterterrorism operations. Now the future of that cooperation is in question.

With the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, a staunch American ally, the contours of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship may well be redrawn. Analysts say a more democratic Egyptian government will have to be responsive to a public that may oppose such special and close ties with Washington.

Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to gain influence if free and fair elections are held, analysts say. The Islamist group has renounced violence but is openly hostile to Israel and may call for more independence from U.S. policies.

“How will cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism develop in the view of these new constraints? I would argue the space will contract,” said Aaron David Miller, a former State Department Middle East expert who is now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Some U.S. officials and analysts say they are not overly worried, noting the continued strong role of the Egyptian military and the fact that the United States gives Egypt more than $1.3 billion a year in military aid. Robert Grenier, the former head of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, said, “The Egyptians have as much interest in protecting themselves from violent extremism as everyone else.”

But with a new government, “the comfort level with the United States may not be so high. They will be more distrusting,” in part because of past U.S. efforts to prop up autocratic regimes, Grenier said.

Egypt’s intelligence cooperation is extensive. Its security services have numerous sources in places where the U.S. government does not, such as Gaza and Sudan, according to analysts.

And the Egyptians have built up a trove of information on al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups in the Middle East. The Egyptian General Intelligence Service “has the reputation of being one of the best-informed intelligence agencies on Islamist fundamentalism and its international dimensions,” according to Jane’s intelligence information service.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, noted that during the Cold War, the United States had a window into the Soviet Union through Iran, then a strong U.S. ally.

“We have the same kind of window into Iran and other countries via the Egyptians,” he said. “Whatever happens next, this will never be the same.”

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