Tuesday, October 30, 2007

U.S. - Egypt relations: keeping democracy at arm's length

Honsi Mubarek is 80, reportedly in poor health, and ready for his son, Gamal, to succeed him. To do that, he must quash all opposition for the ascension of the 43-year-old investment banker, Hrach Gregorian of the Institute of World Affairs pointed out in a commentary of the Daily Star.

That means warning the press to keep complaints to itself and keeping the military – the usual training grounds for power in Egypt – at arm’s length.

No matter how oppressive the Mubarek regime will act, don’t expect the powers that be in Washington to lend a hand to democratic movements in Egypt. The current administration has tried aiding democracy before and it failed in bringing rise to moderate elements in the political culture of Middle Eastern countries. For example, during Egyptian parliamentary elections in 2005, candidates affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood won most races where they appeared on the ballot. In January 2006, Hamas scored a victory in Palestinian elections. These appear to have tempered the U.S. zeal for democratization.

“Regardless of who among the frontrunners in the current US presidential campaign ends up in the White House, it is highly likely that Washington will refrain from any further calls for regime change in the region, albeit quietly pressing for political and economic reform in Egypt,” he wrote.

No comments: