Friday, February 4, 2011

Mubarak, Democracy, and Western Hypocrisy



"This virus is spreading throughout the Middle East. The president [dictator] of Yemen, as you know, just made the announcement that he wasn’t running again. This, I would argue, is probably the most dangerous period of history in—of our entire involvement in the Middle East, at least in modern times." --Sen. John McCain

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egypt protest support people not mubarakunited states aid to dictator mubarak egyptmubarak backed by usastop supporting mubarak it's over americatear gas made in usa
Tear gas: Made in USA

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"Mohammed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, was Egyptian, and named the fact that the US backed his country’s tyrant as one of the main reasons for the massacre.

When we fund and facilitate the violent suppression and torture of people, they hate us, and want to fight back. As David Gardner, veteran Middle East correspondent for [...] the Financial Times [said]: “If we continue to connive in the survival of tyranny, we abet the onward march of the jihadis for whom Western policy is their most consistently reliable ally.” Michael Scheuer, who was in charge of tracking Osama Bin Laden for the CIA, agrees, writing: “The US remains Bin Laden’s only indispensible ally.”

Backing tyrants – or hellish wars of plunder, as in Iraq – creates far more jihadis than it suffocates. This is especially the case in Egypt, where Mubarak deliberately ensured the opposition would be Islamist to keep the US aid dollars flowing. While he utterly crushed the liberals and democrats, he kept space open for the Muslim Brotherhood because, as Imad Gad, a leading political analyst in Cairo puts it, “Mubarak wanted the [Brotherhood] to appear as the only alternative.”

[None of the factors] that drove our governments to back Mubarak’s dictatorship in Egypt and elsewhere for so long have changed. So we should strongly suspect that – during the transition that now has to come – they will talk sweet words about democracy in public, and try to secure a more PR-friendly Mubarak in private." --Johann Hari, We all helped suppress the Egyptians. So how do we change?

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"WikiLeaks cables show Omar Suleiman, Egypt's new vice-president, has long tried to portray the opposition Muslim Brotherhood as the 'bogeyman.'" --The Guardian

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"The only surprising thing about the WikiLeaks revelations is that they contain no surprises. Didn’t we learn exactly what we expected to learn? The real disturbance was at the level of appearances: we can no longer pretend we don’t know what everyone knows we know. This is the paradox of public space: even if everyone knows an unpleasant fact, saying it in public changes everything." --Žižek, Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks

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"Frank Wisner, President Barack Obama's envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a Washington law firm, Patton Boggs, which works for the dictator's own Egyptian government." --Robert Fisk, Frank Wisner's Two Hats

"The United States government's scenario for an end to the political chaos in Egypt appears to be this: President Hosni Mubarak travels to Germany for a "prolonged health check" that would offer the 82-year-old a dignified departure. Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that secret talks to that effect were being held between the US government and Egyptian military officials. [...] [P]lans for a possible hospital stay in Germany are far more concrete than had been assumed so far." --Spiegel Online

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"Here, then, is the moment of truth: one cannot claim, as in the case of Algeria a decade ago, that allowing truly free elections equals delivering power to Muslim fundamentalists. Another liberal worry is that there is no organised political power to take over if Mubarak goes. Of course there is not; Mubarak took care of that by reducing all opposition to marginal ornaments, so that the result is like the title of the famous Agatha Christie novel, And Then There Were None. The argument for Mubarak – it's either him or chaos – is an argument against him.

The hypocrisy of western liberals is breathtaking: they publicly supported democracy, and now, when the people revolt against the tyrants on behalf of secular freedom and justice, not on behalf of religion, they are all deeply concerned. Why concern, why not joy that freedom is given a chance?" --Žižek, Why fear the Arab revolutionary spirit?

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U.S. President photos from Everybody Loves Loved Hosni


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"The United States, so far, is essentially following the usual playbook. I mean, there have been many times when some favored dictator has lost control or is in danger of losing control. There’s a kind of a standard routine—Marcos, Duvalier, Ceausescu, strongly supported by the United States and Britain, Suharto: keep supporting them as long as possible; then, when it becomes unsustainable—typically, say, if the army shifts sides—switch 180 degrees, claim to have been on the side of the people all along, erase the past, and then make whatever moves are possible to restore the old system under new names. That succeeds or fails depending on the circumstances.

And I presume that’s what’s happening now. They’re waiting to see whether Mubarak can hang on, as it appears he’s intending to do, and as long as he can, say, "Well, we have to support law and order, regular constitutional change," and so on. If he cannot hang on, if the army, say, turns against him, then we’ll see the usual routine played out." --Noam Chomsky (2/02/11)