Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Mubarak is Resigning

Well, that at least has been the rumour sweeping through the protests in Egypt's second city Alexandria this afternoon.
The End of Mubarak?

Live on the BBC earlier, a reporter from Alexandria in the crowd was reporting on rejoicing in the crowd at the news that the aim of the insurgency had been achieved.

It is the way of such protests that rumours can spread quickly. Confusion can mount and that is clearly happening as the biggest protests have swept the country today.

The Domino Effect?
It began with Ben Ali in Tunisia and there have been protests also in the Yemen. Today, the King of Jordan has dismissed his government in response to protests there.

It all adds up to a potent concoction of discontent which the western leaders in the USA must treat with great care.

If Mubarak is forced to flee and it is of course possible, then who will fill the vacuum? If there are elections, will the popular but non-party political Mohamed ElBaradei be able to lead a secular, broadly-based opposition to sweep to power? What about the Muslim Brotherhood? They are apparently the most organised of the opposition groups.

According to Jeremy Bowen, the BBC's Middle East Editor: "Unlike the jihadis, it (Muslim Brotherhood) does not believe it is at war with the West. It is conservative and non-violent". However, Mubarak's Nationalist Secularist NDP Egyptian government question this.

If the army (which is conscripted and which therefore feels a greater allegiance to the Egyptian population than many fully professional armies have towards their peoples around the world) turn against Mubarak and there are elections in which a government is formed by a new form of dictatorship that opposes true democracy in a extremist islamiscist mould, what will the west do then? Hamas remember won the elections in Gaza but do the west deal with them as a democratic party? No, because they are seen as being a terrorist organisation.

The west can't always have its cake and eat it. Words expressed at this very delicate time by western leaders therefore are quite rightly being said with care.
The Muslim Brotherhood

Former US Presidential candidate and current Chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, John Kerry has today stated that Hosni Mubarak should announce his intention to not run in the November elections at the end of the year and that his son likewise will not run.

It's a wise tone is that Mr Kerry, but it probably isn't enough. The crowds in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez want nothing less than the removal of Mubarak as President.

But it does demonstrate that in the world of diplomatic relations, words being expressed from the west are toughening up.

Mubarak may well still resign. But even if that happens, no-one can guarantee what comes next.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I had yet to hear the rumours.

    I don't think the Muslim Brotherhood in itself is a "dangerous" force. Indeed in Gaza, Hamas grew as a breakaway group from the Brotherhood at the end of the 80s. Despite not liking Israel, Egyptians don't really suffer from being neighbours with Israel (in comparison with Palestinians)

    Maybe it depends on whether the people would really favour an Islamist-controlled state, which may improve social welfare, but will perhaps curtail freedoms to a greater extent than the current Egyptian state. Or whether they want to take a further step towards liberal democracy.