Most people are aware of the violent riots that have been going on in Egypt. Personally, I’ve been watching the news with equal parts sadness, concern, and trepidation. Such an event is bound to have far-reaching effects. As I am no expert in this matter, I asked someone else to give an opinion on the topic.
Suliman al-Ateeqi has a masters degree in International Affairs from Florida State University and is currently doing post graduate studies at the Teachers College at Colombia University, New York. I found his analysis to be both informative and enlightening. Although I am unsure about my own opinion regarding the following information, I do know that I feel better at having some idea of the possible ramifications of such a crisis. Hopefully, readers will feel the same.
The question I posed was an opinion regarding the situation in Egypt and its possible outcomes. This was the response I recieved:
Revolutions are easily exported and Egyptians have used the impetus from the Tunisia upheaval as an excuse for the reform they have been demanding for decades now.
As far as Inernation Affairs is concerned, the US dilemma is how much to leverage the popular upheaval calling for democratic reform (major US value) and how much to leverage their most important ally in the Arab world, Husni Mubarak.
However, their main concern is how much Islamic influence will fill in the power vacuum. The Muslim Brotherhood only today (January 29) started participating in the protests and they have been the most suppressed group in Egypt. Islamic movements in general are most prepared in terms of institutions which makes a power transition to them not far-fetched.
Egyptian government is the second top recipient of US foreign aid after Israel. $3 billion/year in which $1.3 goes to military assistance. Egypt has a very powerful military which makes them a great threat if an anti-US regime takes over. White House press secretary just stated that “developments could impact our assistance to that country”. And he did not answer whether or not they are standing by Husni Mubarak. They don’t want to make the same mistake they did in Iran, showing too much support to an unpopular president–although that might be too late.
Egypt is Israel’s closest ally in the region. They have given Israel stability by calming things on the border and minimizing the flow of arms going to Gaza through the border. What will a post Mubarak regime look like? Who will fill in the political vacuum could change the dynamic of IA in the region dramatically. A growing islamic influence could damage relationsips between Israel and Egypt. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 knowing they can count on Egypt to quell smuggling of rockets to Gaza. So if that is no longer the case, Israel will have to preempt a growing rocket stockpile in Hamas by another war. Egypt has also been the pivotal country in Middle East peace negotiations. So the next few days or weeks will determine what to expect in in terms of peace negotiations as well. A hostile Egypt toward Israel will end any bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In other words, the PA will go ahead with their plan B, complete withdrawal of the negotiations and going to the UN as they have been preparing themselves this past year by getting more countries to recognize their statehood–which they have been very successful at. So the whole dynamic of IA in the Mid East is up in the air.
Opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei is back in Egypt and under house arrest. He is seen as bureaucratically talented, but lacks the traditional charisma Egyptians look for.
Historically, Egypt does not see these kinds of upheavals as much as other Arab countries, but when they do take place, there is profound change. Most likely, the military will serve as an interim government and support the people as was the case with Tunisia.
Jamal Mubarak fled the country and with Husni being 82, it is clear there will be a regime change.
With instability in Lebanon, Sudan, Iran, the region is going through a transformation period. The region is still trying to find out what it means to be an Arab/Islamic state in the 21st century and are experimenting on finding the right balance between religion and politics.
Here’s hoping for a change that will help bring about a positive change. All the best to the people of Egypt, may God be with you in your hours of turmoil. – Reviewbrain.