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There are few things people love more in the Middle East than a good (if not ridiculous) conspiracy theory. Over the years I’ve collected some pretty good ones, but just recently I happened upon what’s become a new favorite.
During a lecture at one of Jordan’s leading universities, a professor shared a theory he’d heard about why the U.S. wanted to help Darfur. Apparently, the Americans want to gradually build up a substantial military force there in the interest of “peacekeeping.” After about two years, their numbers will grow strong enough that they can blitz Egypt from the south and take over the Umm al-Dunya, Mother of the Earth.
I like this conspiracy theory because you have to forget for a minute that while the U.S. military could probably defeat the Egyptian Army if that’s what it came to, U.S. forces are a little bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. After all, the military has had to stop loss countless soldiers in order to maintain adequate troop levels without initiating a draft.
But assuming the U.S. had the troop strength, why would it want to take over Egypt? There aren’t enough natural resources to really make it worth all the effort. Say what you will about Egypt’s President Mubarak, but the guy is pretty friendly with the U.S. and is certainly nothing close to a Saddam-like nemesis. Egypt even has a pretty friendly visa process for American tourists, so it’s not like it would even make it easier for Americans to see the pyramids. In fact, judging by how things went down in Iraq, a violent insurgency with international ties would most certainly ensue, making it all but impossible for non-military American citizens to visit Giza.
Why? Why would the U.S. want to occupy Egypt? It’s been a while since I played Risk, but is that a good country to launch attacks from? Do you get bonus points for occupying it?