…and what a Friday it was

I had ended by my previous post saying “[l]et’s hope Friday prayers (on 28th January) finally end with something more meaningful than a nauseatingly boring sermon.” I had obviously written this prior to the announced demonstrations in Egypt.

The Egyptians took to the streets in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and a host of other places I was unfamiliar with. Under a complete communication vacuum, they confronted the riot police, won Round I and are now facing the Army in Round II.

The events over the past three days (Jan 25th to 28th) have unfolded at such a quick pace that those with  a stake in Egypt’s stability (read Mubarak’s Dictatorship) have not been able to wrap their mind around what has happened.

The mind is writing cheques the heart can’t cash

The mind sees that years of effort at maintaining a gallery of Puppets is coming undone on the streets. The heart says it is all a bad dream, all one needs is a hard pinch and everything will be fine. Experts, who want to remain anonymous, say that a perfect symptom of this mind-cheque bounce is the inability to process questions on the subject, with a tendency to give the exact opposite answer to a very specific question.

At [03:50]
Al Jazeera: What are the differences between Tunisia and Egypt?
PJ Crowley: In Tunisia you had an interesting combination of indigenous forces…But what is common across the board is that…

Another important fact is that the protests have been inclusive (“The crescent and the cross against murder and torture”), so much that even the Muslim Brotherhood has been reluctant to claim them as their own, while some others fantasize that they were religious in nature. The MB is probably keeping the religious rhetoric low in order to gain more acceptability. It has to be admitted that protest saw an exponential rise on Friday, the 28th after the MB announced its intention to join the protests.

Egypt, was the first Arab country and is one of only two Arab countries – the other being Jordan (1994) –  to have signed a US-mediated peace treaty with Israel.

The peace treaty was sealed essentially with a promise that Egypt would receive $2.3 billion a year in aid, divided between economic and military, and Israel would receive $3 billion.

Read the rest here.

The implications that the establishment of a democracy in Egypt has for the State of Israel are nothing short of earth shattering. It is with the help of the Egyptian Dictator that Government of Israel has strangled Gaza for the past three years.

As far as the USA goes, any democratic setup in the Arab world will only throw up parties whose policies towards the US and Israel would be defined on a scale of distance from both.

Pro-US parties by the standards of the Middle East would be prohibitively anti-US by American standards.

It is very difficult to imagine a genuine democracy in the Arab world today that could openly adopt a US-friendly regional policy. If a superpower could get the same amount of subservience from a democratically  elected Prime Minister that it gets from client-dictators, it would.

Think Mossadegh and Allende.

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