Egypt Leaving an Epoch Behind

Dmitry Sedov (Russia)

The Anglo-Saxon globalization ran into a major roadblock: at the moment the Egyptian regime which the West has propped up for decades is on the verge of collapse. Even if Mubarak’s nominee Omar Suleiman manages to cling on, the global centers of power will have to face a different reality in Egypt.

Mubarak used to be an acceptable figure to the West as the leader who dismantled the elements of socialism built under his slain predecessor Gamal Abdel Nasser and helped to minimize the Soviet influence in the Middle East. Mubarak also used to prevent both Israel and the Palestinians from taking radical steps when Washington asked him to, thus in a way contributing to the Middle East’s peace process. Truly speaking, the contribution was double-edged: the Palestinians being denied their legitimate right to statehood, the region’s conflict potential continued to grow.

As a parallel process, tensions were brewing in Mubarak’s Egypt, a socially and culturally heterogeneous country which was offered a moderate version of the market economy and a pro-US orientation in foreign politics. The regime’s reliance on foreign tourism to sustain the economy and the spread of lifestyles incompatible with the Muslim tradition echoed with mass discontent and the rising popularity of radical Islamist groups. Gradually and perhaps without outward signs, Egypt was becoming a powder keg, and the forces eager to take advantage of the situation predictably entered the stage.

Outbreaks of mass discontent only seem spontaneous. Scrutiny reveals that in all cases that they are carefully organized and take a long time to prepare. The current unrest in Egypt is hardly what the Anglo-Saxon countries need, and for the CIA and the SIS, it would have been a crazy idea to send the Arab street run amok just to install a leader easier to control than Mubarak. Notably, Egypt’s instability poses a direct threat to Israel and to the whole bulk of the “war on terror” plans. Consequently, other forces loom behind the developments in Egypt, and the country’s relatively rootless pro-Western opposition accounts for only a minor fraction of the patchy informal coalition which set the mass anti-Mubarak campaign in motion.

No doubt, Internet was instrumental in organizing the protests in Egypt. The organizational efforts which preceded the escalation were for the most part localized in the new media. As a number of times before, the US-British concept of “controlled revolutions” proved adequate: compact but tightly knit population groups organized in networks are capable of mobilizing mass support and shattering the seemingly stable regimes.

There is consensus among experts at the moment that the fire in Egypt was lit by the Muslim Brotherhood and later students, intellectuals, and the unemployed joined in. For the radicals, igniting the protests was obviously a simple task: the traditionally Muslim masses had for years been allergic to the propaganda of Western lifestyle. Two tides of protests – the discontent at Mubarak’s socioeconomic policies which doomed much of the country’s population to poverty and the outrage at Cairo’s pro-US policy in the Middle East – merged in synergy in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood cleverly capitalized on both. Tehran, locked in a long-term hostility with Mubarak’s regime, certainly took some part in undermining the latter. Overall, the transition which is currently on Egypt’s horizon is detrimental to Washington’s plans and may eventually translate into an overhaul of the strategic balance across the Middle East.

In today’s world, the US oftentimes pays the price for underestimating the intensity of popular opposition to the Western-style modernization in the Muslim world. The occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq not only fueled anti-US resistance but, on a deeper level, reinforced the traditional Muslim values in the corresponding societies. Now the West has obvious difficulty putting a lid on the process. Betting on Al Baradei, former IAEA director during whose term the US successfully created the specter of the Iranian nuclear threat, will not work: even if Baradei’s tactical alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood materializes, it is bound to be fragile and short-living. Baradei is a weak player and the coming intrigue will rather be centered around the conflict between Omar Suleiman and the radicals. Regardless of the outcome, a new and likely tumultuous epoch is dawning in Egypt.

The examples of Egypt and Tunisia highlighted a significant trait. Under certain combinations of circumstances, the IT era renders powerless the traditional instruments of governance and political control as societies savor new forms of self-organization. It takes an ideology carrying an impressive unifying appeal to utilize the energy of the process. In principle, the West has an ideology of the kind – it comprises democracy and the mission of global democratization. The above is clearly a case of ideocracy imposing its own form of cohesion on societies. Societies lacking original ideocracies tend to be susceptible to external influences including those of radical character, and are thus exposed to heightened risks of mass unrest, especially at pivotal points of their evolution.

The developments in Egypt reflect the fact that the epoch of traditional governance is reaching its limits. The instigators of the globalization project will have to subject their brainchild to a major revision, and only future will show what the revamped project will look like.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

One Comment

  1. The Leader of Islamic Revolution (1979), Imam Khomeini is quoted as saying that road to Jerusalem passes through Cairo, Baghadad and Riyadh. What he meant was that Muslims cannot recover their third most sacred city of Al-Quds without getting rid of the pro-USraeli regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq, which are maintained there by the West as Israel’s ‘first line of defense’ against the Islamic forces. To the great fear of Israel and its puppet regimes in the West – Iraq, though, occupied to block that road to Jerusalem – has been reopened by the Nuri al-Maliki government in Baghdad. Egyptians protesters are currently removing the roadblocks too. If an anti-Israel regime get established in Cairo – similar anti-government mass protests will spread to Saudi Arabia and Syria. The governments in both Lebanon and Gaza Strip are already pro-Iranian.

    Among the many slogans carrie by the Iranian protesters against US-Israel puppet regime of King Reza Shah, one was:

    Our enemy is imperialism, capitalism and feudalism!

    Islam belongs to the oppressed, not the oppressors!

    Oppressed of the world unite!

    Islam is not the opiate of the people!

    Islam is for equality and social justice!

    Islam represents the slum dwellers, not the palace dwellers!

    Islam will eliminate class differences!

    Islam comes from the masses, not the rich!

    Islam will eliminate landlessness!

    We are for Islam, not for capitalism and feudalism!

    Islam will free the hungry from the clutches of the rich!

    The poor fought for the Prophet, the rich fought against him!

    The poor die for the revolution, the rich plot against it!

    Independence, freedom, Islamic Republic!

    By following those Islamic revolutionary principles, despite three-decade of western sanctions, Islamic Republic has become not only a regional power but a light to the free world. Fearing its growing influence around the world especially in South America – both the so-called ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ groups are blaming Washington’s support for the corrupt kings and dictators in the Muslim world. None of these ‘self-denials’ want to accept the fact that America’s foreign policy in the Muslim world has always been controlled by the Jewish Lobby under different names. The Republican, Democrat and the Tea Party – are all dominated by the pro-Israel anti-Muslim facists.

    American leaders never felt ashamed to admit that “invasion of Iraq was good for Israel” or “We support Hosni Mubarak because he created stablity in the region which is good for Israel”. Even those who happen to criticize Israel, such as former US president Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, Patrick J. Buchanan, Congressman Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul, Maurice Hinchey, Congressman Keith Ellison, Glenn Beck, Rick Sanchez, etc. are in fact all support the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/road-to-al-quds-passes-through-cairo-baghdad-and-riyadh/

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