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Mideast Expert Pipes: End Support for Egyptian Military

Wednesday, 03 Apr 2013 01:23 PM

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Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished fellow Daniel Pipes is joining calls for the United States to cut off aid to the Egyptian military, saying additional military hardware is not the nation’s most pressing current need.

In an interview with Newsmax TV, Pipes believes it’s important for the United States to keep a safe distance from both the Islamists in Egypt, as well as the Egyptian military.

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“My policy is to never work with the Islamists, work very carefully atÍ a distance with the military and try to help the liberals — the moderates, the seculars who may be distant from power, but who are the only escape from a predicament that a country like Egypt is in,” he said. “Granted, they didn’t coalesce and take power, but they’re the ones we should be helping.”

Pipes believes the United States has a great chance to make inroads in Egypt by supporting moderates who see Americans as symbols for what they may be able to achieve.

“(Moderates) exist and they are motivated. It’s just that between the Islamists and the military, they get locked. It’s difficult and we have to deal with the Islamists and the military, for sure, but we should focus on helping them by sending them money, not military (aid),” he said.

Turning to the Syrian conflict, Pipes said that conflict is unique and he believes the best outcome would be for neither the Assad regime nor the rebels to win.

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“The two sides are both unsavory and extreme. I don’t want Assad to come out of this victorious and I don’t want the rebels to take over the country and have a new Islamist government in the Middle East supported by the Turks, as opposed to the existing regime supported by the Iranians,” he said. “The best outcome is that nobody wins and you achieve that by having the fighting continue.”

One of the main concerns in Syria is that Islamists will take control, which is why Pipes believes we should actually take a position that basically helps the Assad regime lose.

“We’ve done this before in the Iraq-Iran War in the 1980s, and in some sense we did the same in the 1940s supporting Stalin against Hitler . . . We didn’t want Hitler to take over Russia, but you got a much more powerful Stalin as a result,” Pipes said. “That was the price we paid, but in retrospect it was the right decision in the 1940s and the 1980s and we should apply the same logic today. This is all about strategic logic, not humanitarian logic.”

Pipes said one of the few positives about the conflict between Syrian rebels and the Assad regime is that it is keeping Assad at a distance from the United States.

“The (regime) is at war with the rebels, which is keeping them out of our harm’s way, as it were. In the 1980s, Henry Kissinger wished that both sides could lose in the Iran-Iraq War. That’s what I wish for here. I want both sides to lose,” he said.

During his recent trip to Israel, President Barack Obama called on Arabs to accept Israel as the Jewish state, which Pipes called a major move.

“This is a major step toward Israel because the Palestinians have universally said they refuse to do this. So by making this a demand of the U.S. government, Obama has shifted the entire basis of diplomacy,” he said.

Pipes said Obama’s move was surprising and makes it difficult to predict what his future moves might be in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

“Like almost everyone, I anticipated Obama to be really tough with the Israelis. What his game is, I’m not sure. It was a real surprise.”

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