Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Mubarak: why will Obama not tell him publicly to go?

In Tahrir Square, Cairo,it looked so good yesterday.

Now Hosni Mubarak has released ugliness into the picture. Unable to send uniformed police against the people, he has bussed in paid supporters, some of them criminals that his agents released from the prisons, and arranged for police to go in in mufti. It seems also that he has infiltrators.

All these charmers are being presented in Western TV as the news that "Mubarak Has Supporters".

Of course he has supporters. He has the NPD and the police, and his prison guards and his torturers, and thousands of other hangers on, all with vested interest in holding onto the regime. There is no wonder that they turned out, especially if they were paid.

Tweets are reporting confessions of captured thugs, even tweeting their ID numbers.

Their argument of his supporters is that they need Mubarak to stay until September to oversee an orderly transition.

The reality is that if Mubarak stays, he will manipulate, he will provoke, he will arrest thousands of demonstrators, and he will do all he can to continue his legacy of authoritarianism. The Revolution will have been in vain. The revolutionaries know this, and they will stay until he goes.

Mubarak must go. His presence is the provocation for unrest.

The Egyptian Army holds the key to his dismissal. They could arrest him, but this would probably involve an unpleasant gun battle with the Presidential Guard, and would stir uneasy fears of a return to military rule. But if they were openly contemptuous of his orders, defied them, and in every way short of force made it clear that they wished for him to go, he would have no option but to go.

So why does the US not order persuade the Egyptian Army to do that for them, calling in their billion dollar a year favours?

Because the US is undecided. In one of his capacious ears, he has the spirit of the American Revolution whispering its truths. In the other equally capacious ear, he has the Paranoiacs, screaming uncontrollably. To the Paranoiacs, Mubarak, like Saddam, is a bulwark against The Enemy - militant Islamic fundamentalism. They fear the Muslim Brotherhood might form the largest party in a freely elected Egyptian Parliament.

Israel wants Mubarak to stay. More or less. Step inside the looking glass world of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if you will. On January 28, one of his Ministers, a Mr Ano Nymous, said "We believe that Egypt is going to overcome the current wave of demonstrations". For which read, Mubarak is going to win, and stay on. Or at least, his policies will. cites He further says: "the Gaza Strip as a signal warning of the risk that comes with asking the people what they want". For which read, democracy is OK so long as there are no Muslim fundamentalists in the population.

Today, However, Netanyahu says "Democracy is dear to us, it is real, and it is obvious that a democratic Egypt will not endanger peace, just the opposite".

Why all this havering? Because of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood threat is greatly overstated. We can believe this not because the democracy is a great big washing machine that kills all known germs, but because the best way to stoke the fires of Islamism is to block the will of the Egyptian people. If successful, the people will feel empowered, assertive, and alive. They will turn their energies to solving Egypt's economic problems. If defeated, their anger will turn inwards. Some will seek the consolation of religion, and some of those will decide to take it to the extreme.

So it is in the interests of all, not just Egyptians, but of all the millions who live in fear of speaking their minds, whose lives are blighted with injustice, political persecution, imprisonment torture and death, that Mubarak to go immediately. The sooner he goes, the sooner this clear expression of the will of the people succeeds, the sooner it is made plain to all the world that the will of the people is the ultimate source of political power.

With agonising, treacly slowness, Obama and Cameron are moving towards the point that they say in public their man Mubarak has lost his legitimacy.

The slower they are to wake up to political reality and rally to support the forces of democracy, the better it will be for everyone.

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