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March 30, 2005



Brilliance all around.


If Egypt democratizes, and the new government distances itself further from the US, that would not be a bad thing for the US, because the core focus would still have to be on internal reform. With regards to Israel the peace is a very cold peace in any case, and a democratic egypt is not going to declare war on Israel, the cost is too high, so not much would change there either. So to me the US policy seems quite rational. Heck according to recent surveys 95% of Egyptians dislike US policy and the US in general, so things can't get any worse, so why not push for change, any change. I do find it funny when people are like: The populace does not like the US so a democracy would be bad for the US. It is so static, attitudes may change over the next few decades and regardless, Egypt would hopefully be much improved.

Nur al-Cubicle

On today's demo from L'Orient-Le Jour:

Egyptian police intervened massively Wednesday in Cairo and in two other cities to halt demonstrations by the Movement for Political Change, known as Kefaya, calling on President Hosni Mubarak to relinquish political power which he has held for 24 years.

Demonstrations took place in Cairo, in Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city, and in Mansourah, north of the capital. It was difficult to estimate the number of demonstrators who turned out to rally for Kefaya as police continually charged the protests and prevented them from reforming. Kefaya embraces a number of political currents ranging from the extreme left to Islamists and includes Nasserites and liberals, all of whom share the goal of political change in Egypt. Adherents were to demonstrate for a new Constitution and against the renewal of a presidential mandate for Mr. Mubarek, who is running for a fifth term of office in September.

In the capital, Kefaya was to have rallyed in front of the People's Assembly in downtown Cairo. But demonstrators were driven back by the police towards the Press Association building after Cairo's Security Chief, Nabil al-Azabi, ordered them to disperse or be arrested. The demonstrators left without incident, but a few isolated groups remained chanting slogans against Mubarek: Enough! Leave! and Raise, raise your voices! Those who do will never die!

An impressive display of thousands of police were deployed to the center of Cairo in the early morning hours in expection of the demonstrations.

In Alexandria, as soon as Kefaya militants were dispersed, three to four hundred pro-Mubarek demonstators assembled in the streets demanding a fifth term for the President and shouting slogans opposed to "foreign intervention". Kefaya's chief organizer, Georges Isaac, said that the authorities arrested 30 demonstrators in Alexandria and Mansourah. All were released at the end of the day. Police interveniton proves that the government is afraid of the reawakening of the Egyptian people their demand for true, not hobbled, democracy, added Mr. Isaac.

On Sunday, Egyptian police intervened in a similar manner to prevent a demonstration by the Muslim Brotherhood, which sought to defy the authorities by calling a mass street protest.

Street demonstrations are forbidden in Egypt as part of the state of emergency imposed in 1981 following the assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat by Islamists.

Nur al-Cubicle

p.s. The US will never permit political change in Egypt proposed by leftists and Islamists. That is their worst nightmare! They are already panicking in Kyrghizstan because a handful of Islamist leaders and militants backed the Tulip Revolution.

If you look at the revolutions in Eastern Europe and in Lebanon, they all resided on nationalist sentiments with religious and ethnic overtones coupled with a classic liberal agenda.

As Edward Said used to say, that moth-eaten excuse for "democracy" has got to go. I wish Kefaya succees but a price will be exacted in blood I fear.

No Preference

Wise point, hummbumm.


'Aid is central to Washington's relationship with Cairo. The US has provided Egypt with $1.3 billion a year in military aid since 1979, and an average of $815 million a year in economic assistance. All told, Egypt has received over $50 billion in US largesse since 1975.' (Christian Scientist Monitor - http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0412/p07s01-wome.html)

Should the US should stop supporting the Egyptian economy? Judging by the comments I hear in this blog every cent is wasted!

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