Friday, February 04, 2011

Egypt: Crocodile tears

Last night, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak made a startling admission:

Mubarak told America's ABC News tonight: "I am fed up. After 62 years in public service I have had enough. I want to go." But he added he could not step down immediately for fear that the country would sink into chaos.
And to prove his point, he'd sent his thugs to Tahrir Square, where they had fought running battles with pro-democracy protestors, killing 10 and leaving over a thousand injured. But that's not "chaos"; it's business as usual under the dictatorship - and everyone knows it.

Mubarak is also appealing to his US masters by stoking fear of the Muslim Brotherhood and raising the spectre of Islamism. But Juan Cole points out that Egrypt in 2011 is not Iran in 1979; these protestors are secular, as is Egyptian society. Unmentioned is the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood, while banned, have pushed parliamentary democracy, not religious dictatorship. And that's not something anyone other than a dictator should fear.

Meanwhile, the protests are continuing to have an influence elsewhere. Yemen's dictator has announced he will stand down at the end of his term, and Algeria has announced that it will lift its permanent state of emergency. The dictators are afraid. And that is a Good Thing.