Why Egypt’s Revolution Could Change The World

I was in the gym when I received a text saying ‘The khanzeer has gone’ (khanzeer is an Arabic word meaning pig)- I knew exactly what it meant. Hosni Mubarak had gone. Having followed what was transpiring in Egypt over the past two and a half weeks-somewhat devoutly-I couldn’t help but rejoice, I hadn’t felt so happy for a long time. It was the end of a dictator who had caused misery upon his people for 30 years. But also the start of something amazing.

Among the Arab League’s 22 countries, only three can call themselves democracies, all three, however, are flawed. Iraq, with a democracy enforced by America, is troubled with suicide bombings, extremism as well as sectarianism and is in an utter mess. The Palestinian territories, lacks sovereignty and is under military occupation. And, Lebanon, a country marred with sectarian conflict. The other Arab countries, vary between the most extreme dictatorships-Algeria, Libya & Syria (a country where the government is unlikely to be toppled), to the more kind and caring autocracies like Qatar, and then there’s the more oligarchic ones which are in between- like Morocco- which is run by a monarchy.

What makes the revolution in Egypt so important, is the wider, rippling effect it can cause throughout the Arab world- which is plagued with despotism. It was the Egyptian revolution in 1952 which saw the military become an extremely powerful force which backed the authoritarian Gamal Abdel Nasser, and was, of course, the same military Hosni Mubarak emerged from. This, in turn, inspired similar army backed regimes to ensue, from Algeria, to Iraq to Yemen. Egypt, being arguably one of the most powerful Arab countries, could be a catalyst in the toppling of the other regimes. Algeria’s people have too begun to protest despite the brutality of the police force, and there have been protests in Yemen, Jordan, Libya and Sudan. Reverberations of the toppling of Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Egypt’s Mubarak have already begun to be felt as- Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh has promised not to seek re-election, and Jordan’s king Abdullah has sacked his government.

The most intriguing prospect of the whole situation, is that the effects of the potential collapse of despotism into democracy in the Arab world could-or will-affect the rest of the world. If Egypt becomes a democratic country, run by a coalition of party’s including the Muslim Brotherhood, this could change the dynamic of the Middle East. Israel, who have enjoyed the support of Egypt for over 30 years- even from former Egyptian President Anwar Saddat- who signed the peace treaty with them in 1979, would become vulnerable to being attacked by the Arab countries which surround them. This, of course, would be America’s worst nightmare. And this is why America also have it in their interest to help facilitate-not democratic elections-but elections which will, ultimately, end up with a leader similar to Hosni Mubarak. Indeed, with Syria and Iran being ever hostile to Israel, the last thing America would want is Israel’s strongest ally (Egypt) also becoming an enemy-and maybe, even, becoming an ally to Palestine’s resistance party Hamas instead.

However, although the army in Egypt have promised free and democratic elections in the near future, the army generals who now run the country, are part of the same clan which supported Mubarak throughout his dictatorship. If the army were to assume power permanently, there would be no change in Egypt, and maybe, who knows-Mubarak would be still be able to run things from behind the scenes. The future of Egypt, although seemingly bright, is not yet perfect-and wont be until free elections are held.

In the 1970s, the authoritarian regimes in southern Europe collapsed, this was followed later by Latin America where juntas fell rapidly, and it now seems the Arab countries are to follow in a similar manner. You might think I may be getting a bit ahead of myself- but hope is necessary for human society. It was this hope, though, which caused an end of the Pharaoism of Hosni Mubarak.

Omar Shahid


Hosni Mubarak’s Time Is Up…Or Is It?

Hosni Mubarak and his family are reportedly worth 70 billion dollars. At the same time, however, many of the Egyptian population consisting of over 82 million- are living in poverty- while 70% of under 25′s are unemployed. It is this disparity between the government and the people (who they are suppose to be looking after) that have caused the riots. America have supported Mubarak for the last 30 years, but with the uprisings in Egypt, America have called for a “transition”, knowing that their puppet is now redundant and has to go. But what is this “transition” they want? Is it a free, democratic country with a President who has the interests of the people at heart? Or is it another dictator that has the interests of America and Israel at heart? No doubt the latter.

It would be crazy to dismiss claims that the CIA are currently in Egypt trying to put in another puppet regime, who would, in turn, serve America’s interests. But if a political party like the Muslim Brotherhood were to come into power, who would advocate Shariah Law, and a free and peaceful Middle East- what good would this be to America?

On January 29th, Omar Suleiman (described as “ruthless” by Robert Fisc) was appointed vice President by Hosni Mubarak in an attempt to shake up the cabinet and appease the masses. Suleiman, though, has long been the CIA’s main man in Egypt . He has been “favoured by the US government for his ardent anti islamism, and his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran.” If Mubarak, miraculously, was to abandon his role as President-Suleiman would take over. A man who is widely believed to be a torturer-far from the right person to bring democracy.

Middle East analysts believed that Mubarak would be ousted from power in very shortly, but that was almost two weeks ago-they thought wrong. It now seems that Mubarak will remain in power for the next 6 months until the next Egyptian elections, unless, of course, something drastic happens. The reason why Mubarak refuses to leave is not because he fears the country will descend into “chaos”, as he put it, but because he does not want to be humiliated. 

The Army may say that they are on the side of the people, but if they truly were, they would too demand the resignation of their President. The army is the key factor in this entire issue. And as I said in my previous post about Mubarak, the army will be the deciding factor. Once they turn on Mubarak he will have to go. Until then, it seems that he will be staying put.

Omar Shahid