Monday, July 26, 2010

"...Mubarak had internalized the lessons of Sadat's assassination. ..."

"...Mr. Mubarak would confound the militants. In his years at the helm, he would stick to the big choices Sadat had made: He would stay in the orbit of the Pax Americana, and he would maintain the "cold peace" with Israel. The authoritarian, secular state, with the army as its mainstay, would keep its grip on political power. But there is no denying that Mr. Mubarak had internalized the lessons of Sadat's assassination..
Where Sadat openly embraced the distant American power, flaunted his American connections, and savored the attention of the American media, Mr. Mubarak has had an arm's length relationship with his American patrons. There was no need, he understood, to tempt the fates and to further inflame the anti-Western and anticolonial inheritance of his countrymen.
America had come into Egypt in the aftermath of the 1973 October War. There were Egyptians who took to this new world and its possibilities, so keen were they to put the dreaded radical past with its privations and restrictions behind them. But a fault line divided the country. The pious and the traditionalists and those who believed that Egypt's place lay in the Arab world were offended by this new order. Mr. Mubarak would take U.S. aid. Second only to the American subsidy to Israel, it was crucial to his regime. There would be joint military exercises with U.S. forces. But the Egyptian ruler was keen to show his independence from American tutelage.
Mr. Mubarak was at one with the vast majority of Egyptians in his acceptance of peace with Israel. He hadn't made that peace. It was not for him the burden it was for Sadat. Egypt was done with pan-Arab wars against Israel.....
Mr. Mubarak was under no compulsion to come up with an "electric shock" diplomacy of his own. He would, under duress, make a single, brief visit to Israel in 1995 for the burial of Yitzhak Rabin. He said little. The memorable funeral oration was made by the Jordanian monarch, King Hussein.
... A suspicious autocrat, he has stepped out of the way as a toxic brew came to poison the life of Egypt—a mix of antimodernism, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism........ He rules by emergency decrees and has suffocated the country's political life, reducing the political landscape to something barren that he has been comfortable with: the authoritarian state on one side, the Muslim Brotherhood on the other. Nothing stirred or grew in the middle.
No democratic, secular opposition was allowed to sprout. For Mr. Mubarak, the appetite grew with the eating. The modest officer of yesteryear had become a pharaoh in his own right. He flew under the radar, ......." He let loose on Egyptians the steady speculation that he had in mind dynastic succession, bequeathing a big country to his son.......
In the police state he rules, radical Islamists are hunted down or imprisoned. The prisons are notorious for their cruelty. In time, Islamists from Egypt, survivors of its prisons, would make their way to the global jihad. They hadn't been able to topple the Mubarak regime, so they struck at lands and powers beyond......
No great upheaval has taken place in the Egypt of Hosni Mubarak. But the country on the banks of the Nile has stagnated. Its good cheer—one of its fabled attributes—has given way, and the crowded country now is an unhappy, bitter place......"

No comments: