Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Mubarak's Day of Departure is his Day of Delay
By Christopher King
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 8, 2011
Christopher King views the United States’ and Europe’s
equivocal attitudes towards the people’s uprising in Egypt and considers
what the impacts on Europe and the US might be if the uprising succeeds.
The people of Egypt restore one’s faith in humanity’s spirit and its
aspirations. Despite vicious attacks by government thugs the demonstrators
have remained peaceful while defending themselves. They long for democracy;
so they should and their high spirits on the prospect of achieving it are
justified. We see in Tahrir Square an inspirational spirit of cooperation in
a people’s desire for freedom. One is shamed to reflect that Britain is a
primary colluder with the dictator who had kept them poor and repressed and
is still attempting to maintain his grip.
Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak and his government clearly do not want to resign. Despite
unprecedented demonstrations across Egypt, well televised from Cairo and
Alexandria, Mubarak and his government offer token concession but not
Mubarak’s immediate resignation and no promise of immediate elections. These
are what the demonstrators want; they have made that clear.
is attempting to disperse the demonstrators with verbal concessions that
have no guarantees of being kept even if they were to be acceptable. The
people do not trust him. They know him best and do not accept his proposals
for transitions arrangements. They know that his objective is to stay in
power and do what he does best: arrest opponents, disappear activists,
intimidate and tighten the grip of the security forces and secret police.
Do America and Europe want democracy in Egypt?
“President Obama and White House spokesmen have been
finding it difficult to speak of Egypt. They speak
hesitantly, evasively in vague, rambling, impenetrable
The roles of the United States and the European Union are highly suspect.
President Obama and White House spokesmen have been finding it difficult to
speak of Egypt. They speak hesitantly, evasively in vague, rambling,
impenetrable language. Obama vaguely “prays that the rights and aspirations
of the people of Egypt will be realized.” Hillary Clinton and Obama speak
about peaceful “transition”. It has been commented that “transition is one
of the most abused words in recent memory.”
Catherine Ashton, the
European Union’s High Representative for External Affairs, also uses vague
language about transition, peaceful and calm streets, freedom, moving
forward, building democracy, how democracy was valued etc, etc. At least she
used the word democracy but took care to say that democracy was not achieved
in a day or a year. It is true that other countries should not tell the
Egyptians how they should run their country, nor that their president should
leave. That is between Mubarak and his people.
What is noticeable is
that neither the Americans nor the EU want to simply say that immediate free
and fair democratic elections should be held. There is nothing in that to
tell the Egyptians how they should be running their country. That is the
well known American narrative of its world mission – to spread democracy to
the oppressed and downtrodden. It has no hesitation in pressing this message
elsewhere even if it has to bomb and invade countries such as Vietnam, Iraq
and Afghanistan to bring democracy to them. One would imagine that it would
leap to support the longing for democracy by the people of Egypt.
fact is that neither the United States nor European Union want Egypt to
become a true democracy. Dictators are much easier to deal with. It is
merely a matter of bribery with taxpayer money and supply of weapons. Greed
and self-interest are reliable; democratic ideals and patriotism are much
less susceptible to manipulation.
We know that the White House is in
contact with Mubarak through its envoy, Frank Wisner. Significantly, it was
immediately after Wisner arrived in Egypt that the violent attacks,
organized by the security services and police against the demonstrators,
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has called
for early elections. He deplored the government’s restrictions on the media
The Egyptian revolution’s effects on Europe
“The success of the Egyptian revolution and its effects
throughout the Muslim world will undermine the militaristic
camp [in Europe].”
I will not rehearse the disgraceful behaviour of America and the European
Union through NATO’s activities, nor their propaganda against Iran and
denial of democracy to the Palestinians when it did not suit them. The
establishment of democracy in Egypt will undermine all the American policies
that Europe follows. To be more analytical, European politics has two camps:
the humanitarian which favours peace, trade and democracy; the militaristic
that promotes NATO and the US policies of armed invasions. The success of
the Egyptian revolution and its effects throughout the Muslim world will
undermine the militaristic camp. That would be an extremely positive
outcome. Europe would be forced to re-examine both its Middle Eastern
policies and the failure of ethics and humanitarianism on which they are
based. It will be forced to examine the role of NATO and America’s role in
Europe. The spirit of Tahrir Square will resonate in Europe.
The Egyptian revolution in America
The world is watching Egypt and America with fascination. Everyone knows
that Mubarak is an American puppet. It might be that the White House will
decide to embrace the democratic aspirations of the Egyptians and support
Mubarak personally in exile. That would be a very satisfactory outcome.
Mubarak must go now or soon in any case. The White House will be
concentrating, therefore, on having someone who will be sympathetic to their
policies replace him. One should not imagine that President Obama will leave
the Egyptian people to select their leader without interference no matter
what he says.
“It is possible that a democratic outcome in Egypt will
cause some reappraisal of Islam and the US role in the
Middle East but I am not hopeful.”
American political and public opinion is very different from that of
Europe. Americans are generally Islamophobic and see the alternatives in
Egypt as either a radical Islamic state that they fear or a dictatorship
that they control and can live with. It is possible that a democratic
outcome in Egypt will cause some reappraisal of Islam and the US role in the
Middle East but I am not hopeful.
The American public is accustomed and receptive to propaganda by its
elites that demonizes other countries. Americans are not given to
questioning their government’s foreign policy nor granting to foreigners the
same rights that they enjoy themselves. It is unlikely that fundamental
change will occur within America. If America must change its Middle Eastern
policies or even withdraw from the Middle East, it will refocus on closer
countries, in particular Canada for energy and minerals and South America.
What happens next?
The great question is what will happen if Mubarak does not step down. The
demonstrators have been peaceful until now but there are financial pressures
on individuals and economic pressures on the country. Will it be necessary
for Mubarak to be forcefully deposed?
The people have already voted
by their numbers and their presence on the streets. At a certain point,
before the revolution becomes violent it would be preferable for the army,
that is behaving well, to escort Mubarak to the airport and fly him to a
destination of his choice. The army should note the vote of the people,
which is absolutely clear. In maintaining the peace it might have to choose
between the people and a dictator.
Catherine Ashton has spoken of the
formation of new committees that are presumably multiparty groups. If Mr
Mubarak can be removed speedily there is no reason why elections cannot be
Mubarak and his sympathizers are delaying,
attempting to out-wait the demonstrators and biding their time before
attempting to re-take control. If that should occur, Obama will say that it
is nothing to do with him. Some estimates are that about 300 persons have
been killed and many more wounded. Too much blood has been spilled already.
If there is more bloodshed, Mubarak’s trial will be demanded no matter where
he might go.
I welcome the Egyptian revolution and the prospect of
real democracy not only for the people of Egypt, but also for its effects on