March 8, 2011

Is there an Egyptian Bonaparte?

Here's something that almost certainly won't happen, but which could make the situation in the Middle East quite interesting if it did.
The rebels in Libya currently control most of the oil fields. But they aren't very good at war, at least not yet. On the other hand, the Libyan Army isn't very strong either, because Kaddafi didn't want to get overthrown by it.

The strongest military in North Africa is that of Egypt, which borders Libya's Eastern rebels. A dynamic young Egyptian general, announcing he was coming to the aid of the Arab Revolution in Libya, could push Kaddafi's army back to Tripoli without much trouble. If he did, would he give up the oil fields? Would he push on to the Atlantic as the liberator of North Africa?

Of course, the concept of a dynamic young Egyptian general is probably something that Hosni Mubarak was at pains to make sure doesn't actually exist. The real Bonaparte emerged from after years of Darwinian struggle set off by the French Revolution.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you really think that the French, (mindful of their own 6 million + Arabs, and quitely hoping against hope that the Algerian dictatorship keeps out the legitimate FIS islamist government), would let him?

dearieme said...

That was just as good a point, Steve, as it was when I made it in your comments a while ago.

AMac said...

Somewhat off-topic, here's an under-reported story datelined March 7 (I can't vouch for the website, but links look legit).

Arrest of British spy team in Libya reveals covert involvement.

"All eight members of the British military and intelligence team arrested in Libya on Friday have now been released and are en route to Malta... Those detained were part of group of around 20 Britons who landed by helicopter before sunrise on Friday, several miles [outside Benghazi]."

[continues]

Munch said...

Exactly what I was thinking. Aftr WWII the US basically imposed a policy that no one was going to take territory by military action. When Iraq invaided Kuwait, the US basically threw them out and gave Kuwait back to its former rullers. The UK did similar to Argentina.

Now that it is becoming obvious to the rest of the world that the US is too weak to do anything about it, invasion for plunder will arise again. People are going to look back to the postwar period as a golden age of relative world peace.

Anonymous said...

A general can't do that by himself. To reach the Atlantic he would have to surf a wave of popular enthusiasm. Guys would have to be willing to die for his cause. The only cause in the modern Middle East for which even moderate numbers of men would be willing to die is, of course, Islam. But aren't Egyptian military types relatively secular instead?

Anonymous said...

Of course, if an upstart Egyptian general really wanted to cover himself in glory and make his name reverberate around the world he'd forget 'liberating' north Africa and just try that old project again: invading Israel.This time nuclear armed Pakistan and Iran will be on board.
Interesting times.

Anonymous said...

This is all very ironic since Gaddafi saw himself as a kind of Napoleon of Africa.

Btw, was Napoleon more a hawk or a vulture?

US in Europe in WWII was more a vulture than a hawk. It waited for Germany and USSR to fight it out and then swooped in when Germany had been considerably weakened and on its last legs.

Truth said...

"A dynamic young Egyptian general, announcing he was coming to the aid of the Arab Revolution in Libya, could push Kaddafi's army back to Tripoli without much trouble. If he did, would he give up the oil fields?"

Again Steve, it's not about "dynamic young Egyptian generals" it's about "dynamic, old CIA operatives."

We would simply declare war on any middle eastern nation that tried to pull a corner the area's oil. The CIA didn't start all of these "people's uprisings" for the oil to go to someone else.

Geoff Matthews said...

I don't know if the US would care, but I think that Israel would.
Ethnically speaking, what are the differences between Egyptians and Libyans?

Anonymous said...

Nasser was the Egyptian Bonaparte.

tsotha said...

strategypage says the Egyptians have supplied hundreds of commandos in civilian clothing to train the rebels. They're definitely involved - maybe they think they can get the oil on the cheap?

The Libyan army has one very modern and well trained division headed up by one of Kaddafi's sons and consisting of people from Kaddafi's tribe. That's why the rebels are having so much trouble clinching this after all the early success.

tsotha said...

The CIA didn't start all of these "people's uprisings" for the oil to go to someone else.

Laughable. The CIA is as hidebound a bureaucracy as you're going to find. Decades of zealous Congressional oversight has left it an organization staffed by people who wouldn't dream of taking a risk like that.

Difference Maker said...

We would simply declare war on any middle eastern nation that tried to pull a corner the area's oil. The CIA didn't start all of these "people's uprisings" for the oil to go to someone else.

It seems the most natural thing in the world, doesn't it? But it isn't.

Where is the oil?

Mercer said...

" Would he push on to the Atlantic as the liberator of North Africa? "

Not if he was smart. Libya would be very valuable to Egypt because of its oil. The other countries are not worth the trouble.

TGGP said...

I had also heard there were unofficial Egyptian troops in Libya assisting the rebels. All in all, I think something vaguely like that might be the best turn of events. Gadaffi just seems to be delaying the inevitable, the Egyptian military is the strongest force for order after Mubarak's ousting and this would boost their prestige, and it would "crowd out" any idiotic plans for western intervention.

Anonymous said...

"Exactly what I was thinking. Aftr WWII the US basically imposed a policy that no one was going to take territory by military action. When Iraq invaided Kuwait, the US basically threw them out and gave Kuwait back to its former rullers. The UK did similar to Argentina."

That's because we WERE the owners...

"Laughable. The CIA is as hidebound a bureaucracy as you're going to find. Decades of zealous Congressional oversight has left it an organization staffed by people who wouldn't dream of taking a risk like that."

Don't you chaps have something called the 'National Clandestine Service' that took over all the covert stuff from the CIA anyway?

Anonymous said...

First key fact, the oil is in the east.

Second, no need to push past Libya. Policing 7M Libyans while dispensing oil revenues could be doable, policing 7M Libyans plus 10M Tunisians and 30-35M Algerians is a bit much.

Third, I think that Egypt's top brass could actually work this out with the eastern Libyan tribes, guaranteeing them a nice cut of the revenues while still saving them from Qaddafi's al-Qadafa loyalists.

Fourth, why jump on Qaddafi rather than Isreal? Well, Qaddafi should be easier to beat. No one is going to jump in to help Qaddafi, while you can't guarantee that the US won't back up Israel. Not to mention Isreal's nukes.

Annexation may be off the table, but a situation where the Egyptian army runs things in Libya the way Syria ran Lebanon could be very feasible.

--Anonymous Coward

Truth said...

The globalists, assisted by their western covert agency adjuncts (incl. MI-6), have had a 30-50 year plan to corner the Middle Eastern oil in advance of China's rise, starting with Gulf War I under Big George.

Their plans are always much longer term than their day-to-day operation of the US would imply.

Anonymous said...

Does Israel have a Second Foundation to watch out for Arab Mules/Bonapartes?

Does the mandate extend to Turkish and Pakistani Mules?

Goatweed

dearieme said...

The CIA, you say?
http://blogs.marketwatch.com/fundmastery/2011/03/08/is-the-cia-pension-plan-broke/?mod=WSJBlog

David said...

Col. G just now sent the head of his country's logistics and supply authority to Egypt, bearing a secret message.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/4b6b86u

Is he trying to forestall Egypt from taking Steve's suggestion?

Perhaps the real question is not, what if Egypt joins the rebels. The real question may be: what if an Egyptian Bonaparte joins Col. G?

Whiskey must be glued to the screen.

tsotha said...

Don't you chaps have something called the 'National Clandestine Service' that took over all the covert stuff from the CIA anyway?

Nope. The National Clandestine Service is just a branch of the CIA.