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What's Next for Egypt? (And Others)

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February 02, 2011 – Comments (12)

A question and answer session with yours truly:

Is Mubarak going to stay in power until September?

Sorry to start off this way, but I honestly don't know, and if anyone else has a guess feel free to share it in the comment section. My gut says yes, but it will be bloody(ier) if he stays that long.

Is Civil War a possibility?

Absolutely. You have to understand that the state gets some people rich off of other people. The "others" are protesting.  The rich are nervous. So they are going to fight back. Imagine if this type of unrest occured in America. You would have those feeding off the state fighting those who aren't. What thugs would the state hire to quell protestors? Well, if they couldn't get the military to do it, there are quite a number of people on state welfare that would be happy to crack skulls in order to keep the checks rolling in.  Maybe it can't happen in America (dream on), but that's a fairly standard tactic I've seen employed in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and now Egypt. Threaten to take away a man's welfare check and he'll ride the streets on horseback whipping protestors.

Why doesn't the US support the protestors, without equivocation?

See here. It's not just the US. Every developed nation wants stability in the Middle East, even at the expense of freedom. Of course, the West set up these dictators, drew most of the lines on the maps, decided who should live with whom, etc. So this is a long time in the making. The West wants cheap energy. The US also wants a place to export dollars (read: export inflation).  If the puppet states fall, all those phony bills come back home coupled with higher energy prices. Suddenly, the global empire won't be so cheap. It would be an economic catastrophe.

What does Mubarak mean to Israel?

Better question: why should you care? Israel has never held any values that represent the American people. It's a militant, socialist ethnocracy in a far away land.  For whatever reason (there are reasons but they're only important to the power elite), Israel's security must be subsidized by Western nations (taxpayers) for all of eternity, despite the fact that subsidizing Israel's security is the number one reason for ME instability and runs directly counter to the stated Western goal of stability. I never said these people are smart. Anyway, Mubarak's dictatorship helped walk that fine line of stupidity.

Are there any parallels that can be drawn from current events?

Somewhat. When the USSR's puppet regimes started to fall, they went like dominoes. Some have made the same comparison to the West's puppet regimes in the ME. I think it's a farily accurate comparison. The only difference here is that while the USSR was willing, but not able (financially), to intervene in their satellite states, the opposite appears to be true with the USA. They could send in the troops, but it doesn't look like that will happen (thank God.)  That means these puppets could be put on the shelf rather quickly.

What is the future of freedom in the Middle East?

I don't see it. I wouldn't mind seeing some self-determination in the ME.  Let the people screw things up for themselves (politics always "works" that way), rather than having a dictator screwing it up for them on behalf of world leaders.  It's cheaper and more humane that way. 

What about the Muslim Brotherhood?

What about them? They're a political organization. The MB has no beef with you or your family. Like every ME political organization, their beef is with political powers in the West and Israel. If you're a LIkudnick, yeah, you should be concerned. If you're a truck driver in Ohio, I can't see why you should be worried about the MB or anyone else in Egypt. You should, however, be worried that no matter who gets into power eventually the USA will show up with your money and hand it over to them in an effort to promote more stability.

Ok, that's all for now. I've gotta run. If you have comments or disagreements, hit me up, but I won't be responding until tomorrow. Lots on the plate.

David in Qatar

12 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 02, 2011 at 3:52 PM, leohaas (31.67) wrote:

"Imagine if this type of unrest occured in America. You would have those feeding off the state fighting those who aren't. What thugs would the state hire to quell protestors? Well, if they couldn't get the military to do it, there are quite a number of people on state welfare that would be happy to crack skulls in order to keep the checks rolling in.  Maybe it can't happen in America (dream on)..."

Really, David? Do you really believe that? Man, I always thought your were somewhere out there. Now I know for sure. If you keep on coming up with stuff like that, the good arguments you make (you make plenty of them, including in the rest of this post) get ignored by the vast majority! Please, tell me you were kidding...

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#2) On February 02, 2011 at 4:26 PM, ChrisGraley (29.77) wrote:

My gut says Mubarik can't hold on unless there is a civil war.

The odds of Civil war grow by the day.

The US has forgotten it's own revolution, so it doesn't surprise me.

As far as Isreal goes, it means nothing we'll still flood them with money for protection either way.

Tunisa, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Lybia.... There's a lot of dominoes in the ME.

My guess is just a switch of dictators.

The MB will probably take control, but I would prefer control by the April 6th movement, from a freedom standpoint. The youth movement seems to at least be tolerant if nothing else.

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#3) On February 02, 2011 at 8:21 PM, GeneralDemon (< 20) wrote:

Hi David,

I only have to say that while I generally agree with your take on these issues, my own feelings tilt to the more cynical regarding the stability issue. The US and Isreal benefit (in a grotesque way) to the continuous instability of the non-nuke ME states. That is why they are so freaked out over Iran.

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#4) On February 03, 2011 at 5:48 AM, ath002 (< 20) wrote:

Dear Leohaas,

I don't know if you meant it in that manner, but your reply could be seen as being racist. I think what you are saying is that Arabs (and supposedly other races) can riot when their well-being or their welfare is at stake, but Americans would never do so?!? What makes you believe Americans are any different from the rest of us humans.

I have lived through a decolonization, and lots of turmoil in Africa. Believe me, the whites do not behave any better or worse then everybody else. When the rubber hits the road, its every man for himself. Now if you think Americans are much better then anybody else, then you might be right... I certainly hope for the sake of the world that things never get that interesting for Americans, I am not anti-American, quite the contrary, but your comment just seemed to say we are better then that. I hope we never get to find out.

Best to you and thanks for your always interesting thoughts David.

L

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#5) On February 03, 2011 at 9:15 AM, whereaminow (20.98) wrote:

leohaas,

That's my fault. That kind of quote (though accurate in the sense that I meant it), needs alot more context before it can be digested.

I truly meant that Americans are not exceptional, and that if circumstances were similar (that they were trying to survive on $2/day), you could see similtar events.

Also, when I use the term welfare, I don't mean it simply in the standard definition of a poor person on food stamps.  I mean anyione who relies on the state for income.  Others might call people rent seekers, but I think that term more appropriately refers to a type of welfare and is not a separate issue.

To me, the most dangerous of this "welfare" group is the civil servant. Without the state, they'd have to actually be productive and useful to society. They'd make 1/4 of the salary and perks they currently recieve, if they were employed at all.  They are fiercely territorial and generally unwilling to cooperate in voluntary exchange.

Another group on America that would concern me is the sector of non-profit groups that are dedicated to statist causes. I don't mean people fighting cancer awareness. I'm talking about the political activist groups that get special benefits and tax breaks and all that other rent seeking nonsense.

Anyway, that's how it works in other countries. with those who feed off the state defending their turf. I don't see why America would be different, should a similar situation arise.

David in Qatar

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#6) On February 03, 2011 at 9:36 AM, whereaminow (20.98) wrote:

Chris, GD, and L,

Thanks for the comments and for reading!  I don't have alot of time right now to do anything insightful, so I especially appreciate it when you guys drop me a comment on run-of-the-mill ramblings.

David in Qatar

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#7) On February 03, 2011 at 10:58 AM, FreeMarkets (93.15) wrote:

I get a kick when our gov't says things like:

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, "Egypt is an ally and friend of the United States. President Mubarak is a significant contributor to current efforts to achieve Middle East peace. At the same time, we encourage the government to take advantage of the opportunity to undertake political, economic and social reform. We do not see these as being in contradiction."

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20029726-503544.html

 

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#8) On February 03, 2011 at 12:20 PM, leohaas (31.67) wrote:

#4: my comment had nothing to do with racism. Where did you get that? You do know that the great US of A is about the only country in the world where many races live together in harmony, right?

David: thanks for clarifying. Your qualifier "I truly meant that Americans are not exceptional, and that if circumstances were similar (that they were trying to survive on $2/day), you could see similtar events"  hit the right tone. I agree.

However:

1) Since the current-day USA is about the richest nation in the history of the entire world, we are far far away from similar circumstances.

2) We have these massive farming subsidies going on, causing our farms to produce way more than we can eat. Hunger for the masses (another important driver for anti-government riots) will not happen here.

3) The vast majority of us are still gainfully employed, making a decent living. What incentive does this vast majority have to participate in any kind of riots?

4) Most of the government haters here in the US also claim to be "law-abiding citizens" (and not anarchist such as yourself).  Or is that just rhetoric, and do they mean to say that they abide by the law as long as they like the law?

Bottom line: yes, quite a few are unhappy about the direction this country is taking. But we are nowhere near a revolt like what we saw in Tunisia and Egypt.

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#9) On February 03, 2011 at 3:34 PM, Schmacko (55.25) wrote:

Is Mubarak going to stay in power until September?

Probably not.  The writing is pretty much on the wal at this point.  He'd have to implement a huge security crackdown with greatly increased violence to pull this off.  I don't think he has the political capital to pull this off.  The pro-Mubarak supporters that went out cracking heads has seemed to further worsen his position so far and not helped it.

Is Civil War a possibility?

Unless you consider what's going on now civil war, probably not.

Why doesn't the US support the protestors, without equivocation?

The US wants a stable transfer of power.  Obama seems to be in favor of the protestors seemingly democratic ideals.  Overt support from the US for either side is basically out of the question.  Supporting Mubbarak would be supporting dictators, supporting the protestors would be seen as the US trying to topple regimes in other countries.  

What does Mubarak mean to Israel?

Mubarak signed the peace treaty with Israel and it's regime that keeps the Egyptians restricting the flow of traffic into the Gaza strip. 

What is the future of freedom in the Middle East?

Probably depends on how how Tunisia, Lebanon, and Egypt play out and what your definition of freedom is.  Best case scenario for Tunisia and Egypt is probably something like what you got in Turkey with a democracy ran by mostly moderate Islamists.  Worst case is someone siezes power and sets themselves up as dictator.  Lebanon is more F'd.  Of the monarchist gulf oil states the must vulnerable one to mass political upheval would be Saudi, but I figure all of them will continue on as before.

What about the Muslim Brotherhood?

The big Muslim Brotherhood is not a political party like david says it is a pan-islamic movement with political party offshoots in many countries.  Their overarching goals tend to be life according to Shuria law and a revival of the Islamic Caliphate.  The Egyptian muslim brotherhood (lately) actually seems to be more moderate than most people would expect.  As an outlawed opposition party they've been highly vocal in allowing increased democracy in Egypt, but whether or not they'll continue to push the same ideals as a major political party working from the inside is yet to be seen.  Egypt is like 10% (7mil) coptic christian and they are fairly persecuted and harrassed now, my gut call is could become worse with a conservative islamic party in power. 

The brotherhood also doesn't believe in Israel's right to exist so at the very least I would expect to see Egypt's closing of the gaza border cease immediately which will give the Palestinians there greater access to food and medicine but also Hamas greater access to weapons which will ultimately lead to increased conflict with Israel.  I don't know if this will lead the US to void our deal where we pay Egypt to be nice to Israel or not.

I don't think you'll see much disruption in traffic flow through the Suez canal.   

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#10) On February 03, 2011 at 8:09 PM, kdakota630 (29.66) wrote:

U.S. Negotiating Mubarak's Severance Package

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#11) On February 03, 2011 at 9:11 PM, russiangambit (29.37) wrote:

I agree with anlysis in #9, the best scenario is ending up with something like Turkey , the most probable is some sort of an islamic republic.

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#12) On February 05, 2011 at 9:21 AM, whereaminow (20.98) wrote:

The big Muslim Brotherhood is not a political party like david says it is a pan-islamic movement with political party offshoots in many countries.  Their overarching goals tend to be life according to Shuria law and a revival of the Islamic Caliphate.  The Egyptian muslim brotherhood (lately) actually seems to be more moderate than most people would expect. 

Pan-islamic is a drity word. It's gets thrown out by interventionists as if simply because a religious movement reaches farther than its current borders, that's excuse enough to intervene in their affairs.

It's a good thing we never had a pan-Christian movement in America. Oh... wait.

Daivd in Qatar

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