We're now several days into the protests in Egypt and things are not looking good for President Hosni Mubarak's semi-dictatorship. The ruling party's headquarters in Cairo has been looted and set on fire, police stations have been looted of arms, some policemen have defected to the protesters, and the soldiers seem remarkably unenthusiastic about restoring order--they're letting protesters climb around on their vehicles. Mubarak has demanded his Cabinet resign, I imagine throwing them to the wolves to protect his own skin.
On Neal Boortz this morning, Boortz and a caller who was a Navy vet discussed how they think the fall of Mubarak could lead to the takeover of the country by Islamist theocrats and this new regime would control the Suez Canal, "the most important waterway in the world."
However, it seems to me the Muslim Brotherhood has mellowed since the days when they assassinated Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president who signed the peace treaty with Israel as part of the Camp David Accords. If I recall correctly, they even have representatives in Egypt's parliament and have denounced al Qaeda and been denounced in return.
This CNN link indicates that the Brotherhood is weakened and hasn't been involved in the protests. This MSNBC link quotes the protestors' Facebook page describing their demands. Basically they want to be rid of Mubarak and his son, whom he wants to succeed him North Korea-style, have free elections, and end the state of emergency that has been used to justify repression of dissent and judicial torture. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had a more detailed article about the protestors' demands, but I cannot find it right now.
The link also describes the protests as including both Christians and Muslims and rich and poor. One Muslim man tried to shout an Islamist slogan and was hushed up by the protesters, indicating that most of them aren't interested in a theocracy.
This link indicates the protests are about freedom and democracy, something we as Americans should get behind. U.S. President Barack Obama has told Mubarak not to order the protests crushed and I think the $1.5 billion per year the U.S. has been paying Egypt since the Camp David Accords were signed is at risk. Good for him. If the U.S. is seen as backing a corrupt, oppressive regime in this time of crisis and said regime falls, it will give "street cred" to the most anti-American elements of Mubarak's opposition. And that, controlling the Suez Canal, is not something we can afford.
Hopefully Mubarak, like the ruler of Tunisia and his mafia-like family, can take the hint and scram. One of the links mentions several limousines went to the airport and several private jets took off afterward, so perhaps the rats are abandoning the sinking ship.
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