Why not side with the Egyptian people?

Egyptian protestors in Cairo

An Egyptian blogger, Yasser El-Shimy, a former diplomatic attache for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who now teaches at Catholic University of American, said this is how President Obama can salvage the U.S. position in Egypt.

1) Declare America’s unconditional support for the demands of Egyptian protesters, and recognition of a transitional national unity government to be set up by the opposition. Mubarak is a dead man walking, and the sooner America sides with the winning side, the better it serves its own interests, and realizes its actual ideals. The United States must unequivocally side with the Egyptian people in their revolt. If this revolution fails, Mubarak will rule Egypt a la Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and his influence and that of his state will be substantially diminished. It will not be long before another revolution or coup, perhaps less secular and less democratic, overthrows him or his successor from office.

2) Suspend all aid that directly benefits Hosni Mubarak and his cronies, while offering shipments of medical aid through the Red Crescent to all the injured protesters. This step should further weaken the Egyptian dictator, and offer an olive branch to the Egyptians who are currently suspicious of Washington’s duplicity in keeping Mubarak in power.

3) Declare Washington’s interest in forging a special friendship with the Egyptian people, offering to advise on (and potentially fund) education, infrastructure, technology, research and development, health care, etc.  Egypt will be in a very grave economic condition, when Mubarak leaves, and will be grateful for all the help it can receive. The police force has reportedly orchestrated widespread acts of vandalism of public and private properties to spread panic among the population. The Egyptian stock market and many foreign investments are doomed for a few years to come. The government will be hard-pressed to meet the expectations of the population in light of the damage the Mubarak regime inflicted on the country prior to its departure and the flight of foreign capital.

4) Offer a free three month supply of wheat.  Bread to Egyptians is the essential food staple that they cannot do without. Egyptians will be grateful if Washington helps stabilize food supplies at this critical juncture.

5) Warn regional governments against intervening in Egypt’s domestic politics on the side of the Mubarak regime.  Arab dictatorships are invested in Mr. Mubarak’s survival, as they fear a democratic wave that could sweep them from power as well.  Israel is also worried about the future of its peace treaty with its southern neighbor. Of the two, Arab capitals have a stronger cause for concern.

Click on Underreported for Yasser El-Shimy’s web log. Hat tip to Zunguzungu.

[2/6/11]  President Obama has decided that tyranny is a lesser risk than democracy.

The Obama administration has told the Egyptian people to accept a “transition to democracy” controlled by Omar Suleiman, vice president of Egypt and director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate.

That is asking a lot.  Suleiman is part of a government responsible for arrests, abuse, assaults and killing of the pro-democracy demonstrators.

Suleiman cooperated with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in its “extraordinary rendition” program. He arranged the torture of people the CIA designated as terror suspects.  Among them was Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda who after torture gave false information about al-Qaeda’s cooperation with Saddam Hussein – information cited by the Bush administration to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.   So it is understandable that the U.S. military-intelligence establishment would want somebody like him in power.

Click on West Backs Gradual Egyptian Transition for a New York Times report on the decision to back Suleiman.

Click on Omar Suleiman profile for the Wikipedia report on Suleiman.

Click on Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi profile for the Wikipedia report on al-Libi.

Click on Police use Facebook and Twitter to track down protesters for a London Daily Mail report repression of pro-democracy protesters.

Click on Concern mounts for missing Google executive Wael Ghonim for an ABC News report repression.

Click on Why are reporters being attacked? for CNN’s report on attacks on Western journalists.

Click on Hundreds of Egyptians Protest Parliamentary Election Results for a report on Egyptian vote fraud.

Why would pro-democracy Egyptians trust people like this to give them freedom?


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