Is this a ‘Young Turks’ moment all over again? By William Bowles

11 February, 2011

Mubarak steps down, surely the result of direct US pressure. But what difference will it make, the country has been run by a military clique for three decades, all that’s changed is that now they do it openly. The real issue, is what next? Will the masses now press for Sulieman, all of them to step down now? It’s possible, it depends on what the army and the security-state forces do next, after the euphoria has died down.

Is it a pre-revolutionary situation? The fact that this all came to a head with the entry of organized labour into the fray, is not a coincidence, for buried in this act is also the fact that alternate, independent trade unions have sprung into being and it’s these that helped mobilized workers across Egypt.

It’s also pretty obvious that Mubarak’s speech on the 10th February was deliberately planned with the US as they all had to know what the reaction would be from the Egyptian people. Are we to believe that the Egyptian hierarchy were not in continuous contact throughout this entire crisis? Egypt is much too important to be left to the Egyptians.

But Mubarak’s insolence solved the problem of  obvious US interference. I can see the planners sitting around the table as they debated the strategy, ‘let Mubarak act defiant, take the heat and enrage the populace and the following day the Army will announce that they’ve ‘stepped in’ and removed him and he gets whisked out of his presidential palace in a helicopter, while everybody is partying.’

So now the Empire will sweat it out and hope for some kind of ‘orderly transition’ as it keeps repeating ad nauseum, Goebbels-style, the various memes, one for every occasion.

‘Orderly’ of course means pro-Western in business and cooperation in running the Middle East. The last thing they want to see is the insurrection turn into a revolution. Everything is possible.

The Israeli factor

“[So]…full blown democracy [in Egypt] might not be in [Israel’s] best interests? [‘news’ announcer]

“No, indeed not… [BBC Jerusalem correspondent]” — BBC TV News, 11 February, 2011

There you have it. The key to the US’s apparently vacillating position on events in Egypt is centred on the strategic triangle that is the US, Israel and Egypt. As long as the alliance holds, Israel is safe and the Middle East remains under Anglo-American control.

Thus the issue of Mubarak resigning is in a sense irrelevant to the central dilemma confronting the US (and Israel): how to maintain control of Egypt without appearing to do so? As the BBC acknowledges (on behalf of its master’s voice), it’s a real conundrum pointing to yet again how crucial the mass media is as to how events progress and are seen to be progressing.

As a piece in Ha’aretz states, the issue is, will a post-military regime will be anti-Israeli or not?

“Washington frightened Israel even more than it did Mubarak, because Israel is an old hand at self-frightening. Netanyahu warned the administration that Egypt could go the way of Iran. And Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom warned of the danger of the rebels blocking the Suez Canal, and then where will we be? Which proves that Israelis don’t understand that the uprising in Egypt is not necessarily against the peace with Israel. Closing the Suez Canal would above all hurt Egypt’s revenues. We are the unrivaled experts in creating doomsday scenarios when the behavior of the United States is not to our liking.” — ‘Israel needs to help the U.S. to stabilize the region‘, Ha’aretz, 11 February, 2011

I am of the opinion that US ‘advice’ to the generals was to ‘hang in there with Mubarak for as long as possible but make it look like you’ve issued an ultimatum to Mubarak and that he has to go.’ And this is exactly what happened. Handing over (unspecified) powers to professional torturer Sulieman (and powers that can be taken back at any time), meant nothing. It was a shell game that the Egyptian people rejected the moment they heard Mubarak’s speech last night, followed by an even more insulting diatribe from Sulieman.

It shows once again that puppets of the US are not renowned for their intellectual acumen nor for having their fingers on the pulse of whatever nation the US has installed them in.

It was a calculated risk as the army is obviously divided but no one knows exactly how. Is this a ‘Young Turks‘ moment I wonder?

The leadership of the army are all Mubarak cronies, in their 60s and 70s but what of the younger officers and just as importantly the conscripts? No wonder the Empire is all over the shop and allegedly really pissed off with its Egyptian consigliori. I say allegedly because it fits the pattern of continuous delaying tactics, all the while trying to calculate the risks versus rewards of any particular approach to the crisis.

But the tactic is an extremely dangerous one as failure to act at the right time could turn the insurrection into a popular revolution. This is why Mubarak had to go, it buys more time. The army is prevaricating, saying it will rescind the Emergency laws if everyone goes home first. This will not sit well with the masses. It’s the same people who have ruled them for thirty years dictating terms yet again!

Now is the time to sit tight and consolidate the insurrection, demand more. What are they going to do, turn their guns on the people? That would truly be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

For the past thirty years the US has squandered $60 billion supplying Egypt’s military dictatorship and in so doing it has created an military-owned business dynasty that now owns major chunks of the Egyptian economy. It’s a military-political economy, thus the central dilemma is that in order to transform Egyptian society the military-political cabal that rules Egypt has to be overthrown and disowned of its ill-gotten gains. This means taking on the Army. How can it be defanged?

Without direct interference from the West, I think we can be assured that Egyptian people will choose the right direction for them, however it pans out. But with so much at stake for the US and its allies it will stop at nothing to make sure the status quo is maintained. It’s all down to the Egyptians now.

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