Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mediterranean Update Tuesday: Who Controls the Suez?!?


I've written before about how the media fails to cross reference the Bible when covering events in the Mediterranean.  Today, I want to touch on a geopolitical aspect that drives me insane about the coverage.  Considering the ongoing chaos in Egypt, no one ever talks about the Suez canal.

What exactly is the Suez canal?!?

The Suez canal is a 120 mile man-made structure from the mouth of the Red Sea at Suez (duh!) to the Mediterranean port of Said.  This canal allows ships to take a short cut instead of traveling around the entire continent of Africa, which takes an extra two weeks.  In 2010, the canal earned $4.8 billion.  It is a crucial piece of Global Shipping Infrastructure.  Whoever controls it has tremendous leverage over the Global Economy.

In 1956, the Soviet-backed Egyptian government of Gamal Abdul Nasser nationalized confiscated the Suez from its British owners.  This led to a war.  After President Eisenhower betrayed Great Britain, control of the Suez reverted to Egypt.

Given that control of the Suez has already provoked a war, it's worth considering who controls it now.  As Dr. Tawfik Hamid explains:
allowing an Islamic regime to have control over the Suez Canal will give a global Islamic movement such as the [Muslim Brotherhood] more ability to manipulate world trade and politics, as well as have undue influence on U.S. actions, such as Navy ships transiting between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
Given that Muslim Brotherhood clerics have already called for the Canal to be shut, and given that the Muslim Brotherhood controls Egypt, this obviously isn't an idle threat.

At a minimum, control of the Suez gives Egypt's new Islamist government an opportunity to demand Jizya.  This is bad enough, considering that Islamic demands for Jizya was the cause of America's first foreign war.  Making matters worse, Iranian ships have passed through the Suez in the past year, for the first time since 1979.  Given Iran's recent history in the straits of Hormuz, any collaboration between the Jihadists in Cairo and Tehran regarding sensitive economic infrastructure is extremely worrisome.  Unfortunately, the media never covers this aspect of the crisis.

The media has misunderstood what's happening in Egypt since the crisis began last year.  First, they fell for the bull-crap notion that last year's Tahrir Square uprising was an outpouring of democracy.  Next, they missed the boat on the Muslim Brotherhood.  Given this dreadful track record, it's not surprising they've missed the Suez canal angle.  Considering the geopolitical importance of the canal, whose control has lead to wars in the past, this is tragic.

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