The United States is ‘losing credibility by the day’ in calling for democracy in Egypt while continuing to support
President Hosni Mubarak, leading dissident Mohamed ElBaradei says.
‘The American government cannot ask the Egyptian people to believe that a dictator who has been in power for 30 years will be the one to implement democracy,’ ElBaradei told US network CBS from Cairo on Sunday.
On MEET THE PRESS today, Sunday January 30, 2011, the only two worth-while guests one should listen to and learn something from, were Martin Indyk, Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Tom Friedman, Columnist, New York Times. Full scripts and video on MSNBC.
The interview really revolved more about Israel than about the Will of the Egyptians. We show no support or concern that a real democracy be installed in the Middle East. We just worry about Egypt opening its borders to Gaza – and that would break the illegal Israeli siege! No concern whatsoever to the starving Palestinians and their well being.. no empathy with Egyptians to be a free democratic state… all we are concerned about is how this revolution in Egypt will affect our – OUR – interests… the hell with everyone else! Shameful.
And we [U.S.A.] are the advocates of democracy? Do we now understand why the people – not dictators – of the Middle East don’t trust us and our politics?
Excerpts – Martin Indyk:
Egypt is at the epicenter. But not just geostrategically central, it’s the largest militarily most powerful by far the most influential country. Where egypt goes will have a tsunami effect. It may start in Yemen but the if it end up in Egypt this is very profound. Because american interests are so tied up with Egypt, what happens there will have a profound effect.
We have to walk a very fine line because some of our interests are tied up with this leadership in egypt.
[Mubarak] He’s 80 years old. He’s sick and an old man. The compact with his people has been broken. Unfortunately because he’s been a good friend of the United States, but he did not open his political space. He did not allow for the people to express themselves and now he’s reaping the consequences and basically nothing that he or we can do about its.This is such a big deal that could have profound consequences for the peace treaty and the whole process of reconciliation between Israel.. The regime is critically important. There’s a head of the military who has been put in place as vice president. They are the ones who have to hold the ring now, tell Mubarak to go and announce that there will be presidential elections within, I think six months. Omar Suleiman, the Vice President now will not stand but the military will oversee a process of democratic evolution.
I often wonder how “politicians” get their positions and speak with such
A more intelligent outlook and foresight comes from Tom Friedman:
Excerpts – Tom Friedman, Columnist, New York Times
We got to this moment, basically, because our concern about having a stable Egypt first and foremost to preserve the Peace Treaty with Israel and later after 9/11 to be a partner in the war on terrorism. Basically let us give Mubarak a pass on democratization. For the first 15 years of his rule Egypt stagnated. I visited 12 years ago I remember writing Mubarak had more mummies in his cabinet than King Tut. Then he slowly under our pressure and pressure over globalization, started to open up.. and in the last few years actually appointed a lot of reformers to his cabinet who produced a real opening, 6% growth, I believe, last year. Egypt is in such a hole economically, David, that it needs to grow at China-India [7.5%] rates if it’s going to even remotely have chance to keep up with this population.
I think what the United States should be focusing on are three things. One, emphasizing that we hope whatever transition there, is peaceful. Two, that we hope that it will be built around consensual politics, not another dictatorship and Three, whatever regime, whatever government emerges, whether the Muslim brotherhood or not, it’s a government that’s dedicated to ushering Egypt into the 21st century.
Egypt and really most of the Arab world has been on vacation from history for the last 50 years thanks largely to oil.
Egypt didn’t have oil.. it had the peace treaty with Israel. What peace with Israel was to Egypt, oil is to Saudi Arabia: it got Egypt all of this aid [$1.5 billion a year].
Mubarak has had three decades, basically, to make the big decision of making Egypt, promoting Egypt in a transition to democratization. He did not use this opportunity all these years and now he’s got to make a big decision. Egypt’s got to make a decision not from a position of strength but at least from the government’s point of view from a real position of weakness.
You never make good decisions, you never make far sighted decisions from a position of weakness. So it’s hard to see something positive ever coming out of the Mubarak-Egyptian relationship again.
I would add that Israel today, though, I think israel should really reflect what’s going on in Egypt. It does not want to be the Mubarak of the peace process. Israel has never been stronger militarily or economically. This is exactly the time it should be looking to forge and close a peace deal with the Palestinians, not because it will change the Arab world but because it will be a huge opportunity and stabilizer for that relationship.
I think for all of us analysts inside, outside, the most dangerous thing you can do in a situation like this is confuse your hopes with your analysis. I know what my hopes are. My hopes are we’ll see a transition in Egypt that will allow the emergence of a Muslim moderate progressive center there, precisely what Mubarak never built. But my analysis and my fear, especially looking at the news, the looting today and whatnot is that when you open the lid on a society like this, where the government has done nothing basically to build civil society for the last 20 years, what comes out is anger, rage. And makes the building of a kind of a modern progressive center that much more difficult. Now the implications are enormous. One of the big questions is the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, a huge powerful movement.. will they go for one of three strategies? One is to emulate Iran.. the other is Hamas. Or the option we hope they choose is the Turkey model, be a partner in a consensual rebuilding. Egypt and basically try to build their strength on a democratic foundation.
If we are really for democracy and justice, then we (the USA) should offer genuine help to the Egyptians in this process. We should respect the wishes of the people and the direction their country will take. We should get our heads out of the sand and stop the attacks on anyone and everyone criticizing Israel. When we offer Israel $4 billion in aid a year and less than half of that to a country of 80 million (10 times the size of Israel), what message are we sending Egyptians and the Arabs? Long gone are the days Israel claimed it was a victim. As Friedman said above, Israel has never been stronger militarily and economically. It’s time to treat everyone equally if we expect peace to work.
And those who are quick to blame Hamas and Hizbollah and that any aid falling in their hands will be used against Israel, look at the facts before you insert you Zionist shoe in your mouth. Palestinians have been deprived from any and all humanitarian aid by Israel. Israel continues to annex and ethnic cleanse Palestinians and openly discriminate against Palestinians whether they are Israeli-Arabs or Palestinians seeking rebuilding permits. And the US just looks the other way. The death toll of Palestinians outnumber that of Israelis by at least 10 to 1.The chart below is from an Israeli Human Rights group: B’Tselem.
Breakdown of Deaths
Israelis Palestinians Children Killed
(More on the impact on children.)
Remember These Children
Remember These Children
Civilians* Killed 731
3,535 – 4,226
People killed in the course of a targeted killing 1 408 or more
People who were the object of a targeted killing 1 238
People killed on own land 586 (54.1%)
People killed on others’ land 498 (45.9%)
- Our first and foremost concern should not be to worry about a dictator we continue to call ALLY! Our allies should be democracies not dictatorships we install and reward with billions!
- If we are against the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq and will use power to reverse such occupation, the same should be applied to Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
- If we advocate the freedom of southern Sudanese, we should equally advocate Palestinian freedom and the right for them to have their own state – not threaten to Veto any such UN resolution.
- If we intend to apply U.N. resolution by force – against Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc., then the same is to be applied against Israel’s violation of over 60 UN resolutions.
- If we support dictatorships – whether in Saudi Arabia, Jordan or the Gulf states, then we should continue to expect a turbulent Middle East. Maybe that’s really our interest… keep it in chaos while we exploit the resources.
- If we are serious about a peaceful prosperous Middle East and eliminate terrorism, we should extend both hands to all, support democracies, topple dictatorships without meddling in internal politics and end-up with a European-Union type of a region.
- Mubarak’s concessions not enough: Clinton (cbc.ca)
- Israel ‘anxiously monitoring’ Egyptian riots, says Netanyahu (jta.org)
- Special Report: The Revolt in Egypt and U.S. Policy (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)