Oh La La Finally Different voice from the US on Egypt's Elections
Today when I read this article posted on the Washington Post by Jackson Diehl, I have to admit I was a bit surprised but with amusement. I saw a change in the American press angle of seeing election developments in Egypt that’s hard to let go without mentioning it here. Diehl is admitting that President Mubarak has a “scheme for thwarting the Bush Administration’s pro-democracy agenda”. That’s really big. Finally, someone is seeing the reality of the Egyptian regime that tried to fool the US for long years.
Diehl believes that Mubarak “set out this fall to crush his secular and liberal opposition, which has been growing in strength all this year, while allowing the banned Muslim Brotherhood to nominate a limited number of candidates and campaign relatively freely.” Everyone probably in the world now believes that the MB won fair democratic elections and that because the regime is arresting them this means that the regime is not cooperating with them or not helping them which is a big hoax. This has been the eternal game between the regime and the Muslim brotherhood, a very well done game. This same game explains the cracks in the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, cause the regime strikes those deals with the MB leaderships and then the regime cracks down on the young generations of the MB.
Diehl goes on to say that goal of the regime “was to eliminate all moderate opposition and present the United States with a choice between his continuing rule -- and the eventual succession of his son Gamal -- and an Islamic fundamentalist movement,” something which I wrote in my blog on November 25. However Diehl is saying it more clearly that it is not the current Mubarak’s regime continuation is the goal because President Mubarak is too old now to continue ruling but it is his son. That explains the old guard and new guard's fight over power and how the old guard led by Mr. Safwat El-Sherif, the government National Democratic Party Secretary General led to the failure of the candidates of the new guard led by the son of the President in the parliamentarian elections. The country is witnessing another divisions among the ruling National Democratic Party.
The article explains the rigging process in Ayman Nour’s constituency and the Parliamentarian elections deal between the government and MB in the first two rounds.
I only disagree with the writer when he said “But the Brotherhood's proportional victory nevertheless triggered panic in the state security apparatus. In the most recent three days of voting, security forces indulged in an orgy of fraud and thuggery in an attempt to prevent more losses -- in full view of Egyptian and international observers, Western journalists, and Arab satellite channels. More than 1,300 Brotherhood activists were arrested and at least three persons killed, in one case when security forces opened fire on people trying to vote.” I believe he contradicts himself here, if believes it was a done deal how come he could not conclude that even the last part of the deal was to collect the 1300 young members of the brotherhood. What is 1300 from 75 million Egyptians.
Diehl mentions "The parliamentary elections have been tainted with flagrant fraud and unprecedented violence," said a statement issued by 44 prominent intellectuals and writers and posted on the Internet site of Egypt's leading newspaper, Al Ahram. "The fraud may lead to a collapse in the legitimacy of the state and the current regime, in light of the fact that political reform was a major element in the justification for a fifth term for the president." I am adding that the low turn out of the parliamentary elections according to the constitution questions the legitimacy of the current regime in the first place. That also explains why elections must be rigged because in fact Egyptians do not go to vote. It is part of the civil disobedience they have been practicing since 1952. Quorum must be established.
Diehl beautifully concludes his article as follows: “Mubarak's 24-year-old autocracy probably won't collapse anytime soon -- but it has lost the support of most of the moderate Egyptians who hoped it would carry out a gradual political liberalization. That should force some hard decisions by the Bush administration, which also has banked on a regime-led reform; its characterization of the elections last week as "an important step on Egypt's path toward democratic reform" was ludicrous, and indefensible.”
“What to do? First, President Bush should refuse to be spooked by Mubarak's would-be boogeyman. Though the Muslim Brotherhood is indeed fundamentalist, it renounced violence decades ago and has joined with secular opposition groups in calling for a genuine parliamentary democracy in Egypt. "[W]e are serious about pushing forward the process of reform, actualising democratic transformation and building a development renaissance on all fronts," said an essay published in Al Ahram last week by a senior Brotherhood figure, Essam Erian. That's an agenda the administration should be able to endorse -- and promote as an example for other Islamic movements in the Middle East.” Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence because they are the regime’s tamed pet, but if they are given the liberty they are capable of killing. They have killed two Egyptian prime ministers. The good news is that they are like National Democratic Party as I always say, two faces for the same coin; both are not liked among Egyptians. The NDP and MB are not capable to convince Egyptians with their agendas. They guarantee their continuation in power through done deals and by dividing electoral constituencies among them.
He writes “Second, the administration should make clear, starting now, that it won't tolerate a future undemocratic transfer of power from Mubarak to his son, or anyone else. The 77-year-old president is just beginning a new six-year term; the United States should explicitly link the continuation of the billions of dollars in official aid that prop up his regime to steps toward the democratic election of his successor. If Egyptian political life is freed, there will be plenty of good candidates by 2011; like Ayman Nour, they just won't be members of Mubarak's parliament.” There will be hundreds of Ayman Nour, because Egyptians have many potential leaders., because Egyptians had never felt the need for a sincere leadership as now. A true leadership that believes in Egyptians not done deals. The US must link the billions of aid to free democratic elections that can lead to true democracy and freedom not a faked one cooked by the current regime. Is the US listening to the Egyptian people complaints about election rigging and their quest for democracy and freedom or did it buy the Muslim Brotherhood-regime deal?