Syria's Bashar al-Assad's National Massacre
January 28, 2011
When Egypt’s pro-reform movement took to the streets and turned violent Jan. 24, it was a long time coming, considering the 30 reign of U.S. ally, 82-year-old Hosni Mubarak. Whether Mubarak can set down the current unrest is anyone’s guess. Led by the former head of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed ElBaradei, the reform movement aims to accelerate Democratic reforms, walking a fine line in a county that spawned the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ayman al-Zawahiri, partner-in-crime to Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of Sept. 11. While the U.S. serves as the world’s enduring Democratic symbol, it needs to recalculate its current support for today’s destabilizing influences in Egypt. Recent history in Iraq demonstrates what happens when toppling authoritarian regimes like Saddam Hussein’s: Civil war, anarchy, chaos and radicalization.
White House officials tried to lecture Chinese President Hu Jintao last week about many things, including human rights reforms and pro-Democracy dissidents. When the world watched in horror June 4, 1989 Chinese tanks roll over pro-Democracy protestors in Tiananamen Square, White House officials buttoned their lips. Now Egypt faces a day of reckoning with Mubarak’s 30-year authoritarian reign. Mubarak remembers all too well how his predecessor Nobel Peace Laureate Anwar Sadat was gunned down by the Muslim Brotherhood for making peace with Israel, signing with Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin former President Jimmy Carter’s Camp David Accords Sept. 17, 1978. Three months later, Sadat and Begin received Nobel Peace Prizes Dec. 10, 1978. Before the State Department helps unleash Egypt’s evil genie, it should think twice of selling out the Mubarak government.
Iraq’s lesson of violence and chaos should sent a loud message to the State Department to show restraint when it comes to supporting what looks like pro-Democracy protests. While there’s many moving parts in Egypt’s politics, the same terrorist elements that assassinated Sadat loom. Attributing today’s unrest to simply zealous pro-Democracy university students ignores the radical fringe that lurks beneath Egypt’s quicksand. “We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters, and we call on the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain security forces,” said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, completing ignoring the dangers that Egypt faces in letting street violence spiral out of hand. No U.S. president or law enforcement agency would tolerate such anarchy in the U.S.
When you look at the U.S. response to antiwar street protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, law enforcement, helped by the National Guard cracked heads, pummeling protestors with truncheons, spraying tear gas and conducting mass arrests. U.S. authorities are quick to condemn Iran, rightfully so, when it cracked down last year after a pro-reform movement, triggered by Presdient Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s June 13, 2009 fixed election, led by former Prime Minister Mir-Hosseiin Mousasvi. Nothing stopped Iran’s mullah’s, led by Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khaenei, from the most oppressive assault on human rights since Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Mubark knows that if events get out of hand, Egypt’s orderly society, no matter what its problems, will deteriorate into violent revolution, something far worse than Cairo’s current regime.
Egpytian protesters, whether sanctioned or not, have pelted Egyptian authorities with Molotov cocktails, igniting fires in government offices in Cairo, Suez, Alexandria and Sheik Zuweid in the Sinai. Drawing inspiration from Tunisia’s street protest and pro-reform movement, ElBaradei hopes to pressure Mubarak into stepping down. So far, Egypt’s military has remained loyal to Mubark, defying U.S. calls to heed protesters’ demands. U.S. officials don’t know all the forces driving the protests, including radical Islamists, seizing the chance to install a Muslim theocracy. ElBaradei has publicly asked for a regime change and plans to return to Egypt from his home in Vienna. “The regime has not been listening,” said ElBaradei. “If people, in particular young people, if they want me to lead the transition, I will not let them down,” serving notice that he’s ready to lead a peaceful revolution.
Mubarak’s government has great skepticism over what’s driving recent pro-Democracy protests, including ElBaradei’s declaration to lead the new government. Recent reports in Cairo have ElBaradei under house arrest. “My priority right now . . .is to see a new regime and to see a new Egypt through peaceful transition,” said Elbaradei setting himself up as Egypt’s new Ché Guevara. Recent pro-reform movements in Tunisia, Algeria and Jordan give pro-Democracy protesters more drive to push for reforms. U.S. officials have to think twice before jumping on the pro-reform bandwagon before figuring out what’s likely to replace the Mubark regime. Recent history is Iraq, Afghanistan and now Egypt indicate that ElBaradei should call off the dogs and try to work for an eventual peaceful transition with the Mubarak government. ElBaradei, and other idealists, are only one bullet away from watching their dreams go up in smoke. U.S. officials should not glibly support revolution.
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