If you want a clue on dealing with Arab states, don't look to the State Department or the NSC--especially under Susan "It's YouTube's fault" Rice. Look to the Israelis. For them it is literally a matter of life or death who runs the corrupt Arab regimes in the neighborhood. The Israelis detest the Assad regime and have fought a continuous war with it since 1970. They also detested Arafat, and any number of other Arab dictators. They, however, were and are very cautious about promoting regime change. Despite numerous opportunities, for example, they never killed Arafat; they dropped people all around him, but never him. Who would replace him? Nobody knew, so better stick with the disgusting but inept known devil than risk getting someone or something much worse. The Israeli military and intel services, likewise, repeatedly have demonstrated an ability to strike deep into Syria and successfully take out major targets. They, however, have not targeted Assad, father or son. The assumption being that the Assad clan knows where to draw the line and not cross it for fear of engendering a regime-killing Israeli response. The Arab dictators know of Israel's restraint, and fear more their Arab "brothers" than they do Israeli "plots." Do not forget, for example, that Israeli intel info saved Sadat's life, and led him to make peace with Israel--Sadat, of course, was later killed in 1981 by Islamic fundamentalist Egyptian soldiers likely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Israelis have remained remarkably quiet re the unrest in Syria. They have acted when the desperate Asad regime, for example, brought in destabilizing weapon systems from Iran. These Israel destroyed almost as soon as Iran delivered them, showing that the Israelis could take out Asad and his regime. As noted above, however, they have not. They, instead, watch uneasy as the Four Stooges of the Apocalypse (Obama, Kerry, Hagel, and McCain) urge the Western world into backing head-cutting savages, trying to portray them as the equivalent of our Minutemen or some other brave resistance movement. One would have thought that the disaster of regime change in Iran in 1979, and the many examples since, would have cured Westerners of a belief in Muslim democracy and in "leading from behind." Guess not.
The lunacy of Obama's Mideast policy is also evident in Egypt. I have written before (here and here, for example) about White House and State Department support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. I wrote in my July 22, 2012 post that,
The Obama-Clinton foreign policy vis-a-vis Egypt and the removal of Mubarak has proven an unmitigated disaster. It is only comparable to Carter's mishandling of the Shah in Iran, and in the long run, might have equally dire consequences. My erstwhile colleagues at State, who so gleefully embraced the "Arab Spring," rooted for the protestors in Tahir Square, and promoted the distancing of the United States from our one true ally in the region, Israel, are now scrambling to "fix things." The best way to "fix" a problem is to deny that it exists; to define the issue in a way that is not at all a problem, but an opportunity! The removal of Hosni Mubarak has led to what anyone with two-cents worth of brains knew would happen: the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the best organized and hardest working group in Egypt has filled the vacuum. It is perfectly willing to use the instruments of liberal democracy to take power and turn Egypt into another mad Muslim theocracy. For now, the MB must limit itself to the instruments and quasi-language of "liberal democracy" because it fears the Egyptian military, which is not fooled by the MB. The military know that today's MB is just a craftier and even more dangerous version of the old MB.
The folks at State, meanwhile, are busy defining away the problem. The MB's rise to prominence is not a problem! They have shown themselves willing to participate in the electoral process, haven't they? The head of the MB speaks English and has studied in the US! We can razzle-dazzle him with a visit by our celebrity SecState! The only problem in Egypt is that the conservative military officers are bound and determined to limit the scope of democratic change. We can promote democracy AND get in good with the MB! And you, Madame Secretary, who can resist your charm, your political skills? Those stuffy ol' military officers will just melt with your impeccable pro-democracy logic (and threats), and the MB will realize that we are their friends! It's a win-win!It seems that this account written almost a year ago remains valid. As stated then, the Egyptian military knows what Morsi and the MB are about. I am surprised that they have waited this long to begin to make their move against the regime. I am sure that right now, this very minute, people at NEA in State are drafting talking points and strategy papers for the Secretary and the White House to pressure the Egyptian military into not moving against Morsi. Now that a regime change in Egypt would favor our interests and those of Israel, we will oppose it. I guarantee it. Quite possibly, however, Egypt's military sees the Obama administration as so weak, inept, confused, or just malevolent that it will ignore anything that comes out of Washington.
In a ghastly modern-day simulacrum of the disastrous French revolution, in Egypt we might see the removal of the military emperor/pharaoh, followed by violence, then a mad murderous fundamentalist regime, and, now, with luck, end with a return to the rule of a military emperor/pharaoh.
It was all worth it . . .