|Middle East: US not 'interested' in friends|
It is true that Egyptians gathered en masse to express their displeasure with the three decades of authoritarian rule they had endured under President Hosni Mubarak.
But when debating whether we have witnessed the miracle of spontaneous democracy springing up, it needs to be remembered that Mubarak was a favourite of the
Two years before he was assassinated, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat had taken great strides towards Middle East peace by officially recognizing the state of
In the wake of his murder, ex-air force general Mubarak assumed the Egyptian presidency and invoked the emergency measures act.
Mubarak’s subsequent heavy-handedness in employing his security forces to suppress his own people was conveniently overlooked by both Washington and Tel Aviv as he continued to maintain good diplomatic relations with
Fast-forward to the events of the past month and the spectacle of angry mobs attacking each other with rocks and sticks, some riding camels and horses, which looked like a European soccer riot with a medieval twist. All the while, the US-trained Egyptian army troops sat idly by, waiting for the dust to settle.
In the end, American President Barack Obama decided to pull the rug out from under his old ally Mubarak. Without American backing, Mubarak had little choice but to step aside in favour of his vice-president, General Omar Suleiman. This news set off a joyous reaction among the mobs of protestors who had demanded Mubarak’s ouster and the international media described this as a “victory” for the Egyptian people.
Of course, one of the promises made by Suleiman’s interim government is that reforms will be imposed immediately and national elections will be held within the next six months.
But pundits have predicted that following any election in Egypt, the political power of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood will be increased, and that could prove a strong impediment to future Egypt-Israel relations.
Much like when Hamas won the elections within the Palestinian Authority, democracy is only appreciated if it produces a US-sanctioned result.
The reverberations following the crisis in
The Jordanian monarchy is another key US ally in the Middle East, and they also maintain strong diplomatic relations with
The Bahraini Shiites also rose up in revolt in support of the spiritual leadership of
Ayatollah Khomeini immediately following the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Such a near disaster for US regional interests was only narrowly averted through a strong security clampdown by
As with the fundamentalist Shiite Muslims in southern
Bahraini citizenship, these current protestors in
Again, while the US has to publicly applaud such displays of “democracy in action,” you can bet your last barrel of crude oil that there is no way in hell the State Department wants to see Bahrain hold any elections that would effect a regime change in favour of the Shiite majority.
And at the moment, the