America’s ruling elites – and those of the Western world more generally – are comfortable dealing with ruthless tyrants and dictators all over the world, partly because they’ve just had more practice with it than dealing with ‘democratic’ governments in so-called ‘Third World’ nations. This is especially true when it comes to the Arab world, where the West has only ever dealt with dictatorships, and often by arming them and supporting them to repress their own populations, and in return, they support US and Western geopolitical, strategic and economic interests in the region. America’s relationship with Egypt – and most notably with Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt from 1981 to 2011 – has been especially revealing of this imperial-proxy relationship between so-called ‘democracies’ and dictatorships.
Between 1952 and 2011, Egypt was ruled by three military dictators: Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak. Nasser placated labour unrest and imposed many social programs that benefited the population. Sadat subsequently began to break down the ‘social contract’ with Egyptian society, and when Mubarak came to power in 1981, the following three decades witnessed the imposition of a neoliberal order, complete with crony-capitalists, corrupted bureaucracies and a repressive police force. Continue reading →
When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran after 14 years in exile on Feb. 1, 1979, he set out to destroy the secular opposition forces, including the Communist Party of Iran, which had been instrumental in bringing down the shah. Khomeini’s declaration of an Islamic government, supported by referendum, saw him rewrite the constitution, close opposition newspapers and ban opposition groups including the National Democratic Front and the Muslim People’s Republican Party. Continue reading →
The 1952 Bourgeois Democratic Revolution was launched by the Free Officers Movement of the armed forces against the corrupt and repressive monarchy of King Farouk, under whom Egypt had become the most important lever of control and domination of the Middle East by Western imperialism in general and US imperialism in particular, as well as Zionism. The success of that revolution ended the century and a half of Mohammad Ali Dynasty rule and resulted in the establishment of a republic in 1953.
American anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan says Hosni Mubarak’s decision to step down was in collaboration with the U.S. government.
In an exclusive interview with Press TV’s U.S. Desk, Sheehan said Washington insisted on Mubarak being replaced by Egypt’s military, because the military too followed the will of the U.S. Empire.
The American activist added that for 30 years the U.S. had been propping up the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, giving it military and monetary support. This she said inflamed the Egyptian people, turning them against Washington.
Samir Amin is a Franco-Egyptian economist, a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum and chairman of the World Forum for Alternatives. Samir Amin analyzes the political and economic crisis in Egypt.
This interview was conducted for the World Social Forum in Dakar by Rosa Moussaoui, special journalist/correspondent for ‘L’Humanité‘.
Question – Are the events that shook Tunisia and Egypt merely “popular uprisings” or are they a sign of the entry of these countries into the revolutionary process? Continue reading →
Gilbert Achcar: Military rule in Egypt began with Nasser’s overthrow of King Farouk and increasing independence from the US.
Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon, and is currently Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London. His books include The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder, published in 13 languages, Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, co-authored with Noam Chomsky, and most recently the critically acclaimed The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.
Rarely do our rulers look more absurd than when faced with a popular upheaval. As fear and apathy are broken, ordinary people – housewives, students, sanitation workers, the unemployed – remake themselves. Having been objects of history, they become its agents. Marching in their millions, reclaiming public space, attending meetings and debating their society’s future, they discover in themselves capacities for organization and action they had never imagined. They arrest secret police, defend their communities and their rallies, organize the distribution of food, water and medical supplies. Exhilarated by new solidarities and empowered by the understanding that they are making history, they shed old habits of deference and passivity.
Mubarak steps down, surely the result of direct US pressure. But what difference will it make, the country has been run by a military clique for three decades, all that’s changed is that now they do it openly. The real issue, is what next? Will the masses now press for Suleiman, all of them to step down now? It’s possible, it depends on what the army and the security-state forces do next, after the euphoria has died down.
Is it a pre-revolutionary situation? The fact that this all came to a head with the entry of organized labour into the fray, is not a coincidence, for buried in this act is also the fact that alternate, independent trade unions have sprung into being and it’s these that helped mobilized workers across Egypt.
(Rome) When as a young man I moved to Italy it was an act of love for this Mediterranean land where lemon trees bloom. The original attraction for me however was not only the Bel Paese, as Italians like to call this truly beautiful peninsula jutting out southwards into the Mediterranean Sea and nearly reaching Tunisia. I also wanted the whole Mar Nostrum, the sea around which our Western civilization developed; I set for myself the secret goal of knowing all the lands surrounding the great sea. The attraction I felt was perhaps the same allure for the succession of peoples and civilizations, which have sought to both control and unite this beautiful and unique world. Though my original love for Italy has faded and waned in the vulgarity of contemporary Italy, not so the magical lure of the Mediterranean World as such.
It’s very telling that the United States will not give any indication that actually makes any kind of statement on the Egyptian revolution and where America stands on the subject. It’s apparent that the U.S. doesn’t want to show it’s hand until all of the variables have been taken into account and the people of Egypt have finally accepted an alternative to the rule of Mubarak’s regime…at least not in public anyway. We have no real idea of what is happening in the background. It’s quite possible that elements in the U.S. government have clear goals as to what they want to wash out of the current stalemate in Cairo.