Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Will Democracy in Egypt Benefit the
By Alan Hart
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 15, 2011
Alan Hart considers how a truly
representative, democratically-elected government in Egypt could redefine
the political and strategic equation in the Middle East in a manner that
would deliver peace with justice.
and despite much rhetoric to the contrary, American-led Western policy has
been to prefer Arab dictatorship (authoritarianism in various forms) to Arab
democracy. This preference was determined by two main assessments.
One was that corrupt and repressive Arab regimes were the best possible
guarantee that oil would continue to flow at prices acceptable to the West,
and that there would be almost no limits to the amount of weapons that could
be sold to the most wealthy Arab states. (The design, production, testing
and selling of weapons is one of the biggest creators of jobs and wealth in
America, Britain and some other Western nations. Were it not for Saudi
Arabia’s purchases, Britain’s arms manufacturing industry might have gone
bust by now).
The other main policy-driving assessment was that only corrupt and
repressive Arab regimes could be relied upon to provide the necessary
security assistance for identifying, locating, hunting down and liquidating
Islamic terrorists. This consideration became the priority after 9/11.
“... Western governments, the one in Washington DC
especially, knew they would not be required by the Arab
regimes to pay a price for doing the bidding of the Zionist
lobby and its stooges in Congress and the mainstream media.”
Corrupt Arab dictatorships – good for Israel
In addition, there
was great comfort for Western policy makers in their knowledge that a
corrupt and repressive Arab order was not going to fight Israel to liberate
Palestine. (As I have noted in previous posts and documented in detail in my
book Zionism: The
Real Enemy of the Jews, after Israel closed the Palestine file with
its victory on the battlefield in 1948, the Arab regimes secretly shared the
same hope as all the major powers and Zionism – that the file would remain
closed. There was not supposed to have been a regeneration of Palestinian
There was also comfort for Western policy makers in the
belief that their relationship with corrupt and repressive Arab regimes
would mean that the Western powers would not be seriously challenged on
their support for Israel right or wrong. Put another way, Western
governments, the one in Washington DC especially, knew they would not be
required by the Arab regimes to pay a price for doing the bidding of the
Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress and the mainstream media.
No wonder then that while Tunisian-inspired people power was manifesting
itself in Egypt, President Obama often seemed unclear about whether he
wanted Mubarak to stay or go.
“Will Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces really
be prepared to preside over the dismantling of a corrupt and
cruel system and give democracy a green light?”
With Mubarak gone – I imagine the generals finally said to him something
like, “We’ve either got to shoot our people or insist that you go now” – the
first question is this: Will Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
really be prepared to preside over the dismantling of a corrupt and cruel
system and give democracy a green light?
Decision time for Egypt’s Mubarak-era generals
The problem for some of Egypt’s top generals is not only letting go of their
own grip on the levers of political power. They are also locked into the
business and financial corruption Mubarak presided over. I imagine he
believed that allowing them to make loads of money would guarantee they
would not make trouble for him as he assisted Israel to impose its will on
the Palestinians, not least by effectively cancelling the results of the
Palestinian elections which gave Hamas victory in the Gaza Strip.
Future of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel
That said, I am inclined to the view that the Supreme Council will honour
its promise to hand over to a civilian government and that we will see
something approaching real democracy in Egypt. But what then?
Supreme Council has said, not surprisingly, that it will respect all of
Egypt’s international obligations including the 1979 peace treaty with
Israel. (My own view is that this separate peace was a disaster for the
whole world. Why? With Egypt out of the military equation, Israel had
complete freedom to be even more aggressive in seeking to impose its will on
the region, with Lebanon its prime target. At a stroke Sadat’s separate
peace with Israel also destroyed the prospects for a comprehensive peace.)
Key question: Would a democratically elected civilian government have to be
bound by the Supreme Council’s commitment to the peace treaty with Israel?
“Would a democratically elected civilian government have
to be bound by the Supreme Council’s commitment to the peace
treaty with Israel?”
The answer, surely, has to be “No!” If, for example, the will of the
people who elected the new government was for the peace treaty with Israel
to be reviewed, the government would have to set a review process in motion.
That would create a very tricky situation for the government with Israel
and the US but it could be managed by the government saying that it would
submit the treaty to a referendum.
If there was a referendum, much
would depend on how the question was framed. If it was a simple “Yes” or
“No” to Egypt remaining committed to the peace treaty with Israel, probably
an easy majority of Egyptians would vote “No”. But that would not be good
Best politics would be for the government of Egypt to frame
the referendum question to give it the authority to say to Israel something
like: “We wish to remain committed to our peace treaty with you, but we
will be unable to do so without a commitment from you to end your occupation
of all Arab land taken in 1967.”
Unless a majority of Israelis
are beyond reason, that could be a game changer which would benefit the
region and the whole world, not only the Palestinians.