Mass Street Protests in Egypt - by Stephen Lendman
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An August 2009 C ouncil on Foreign Relations Steven Cook report headlined, "Political Instability in Egypt," saying:
Facing possible instability, (m)ost analysts believe that the current Egyptian regime will muddle through its myriad challenges and endure indefinitely (with) enough coercive power to ensure" it.
It's also "entering a period of political transition. President Hosni Mubarak is (81) and reportedly" ill. His (46 year old) son Gamal "is evidently being groomed to succeed him." However, the "process could prove difficult."
"Thus, while Egypt on the surface appears stable, the potential for growing political volatility and abrupt discontinuities (ahead) should not be summarily dismissed."
Cook suggested two possible scenarios:
-- contested succession resulting in military intervention; or
-- "an Islamist push for political power."
One indicator to watch for, he suggested, would be "the number of protestors in the streets....in response to a leadership transition," not public anger against high unemployment, extreme poverty, and Mubarack's dictatorship, inspired by mass protests ousting long-time Tunisian despot Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, what some observers thought impossible until it happened and began spreading across the region. More on that below.
US Government Responses
Note: Egypt is the largest, most significant Arab state, vital to US regional interests. After Israel, it receives more aid than any other nation, nearly $2 billion annually. Around two-thirds is for military use, including repressing dissent. The rest is economic for neoliberal reforms, including privatizing state resources.
Washington worries that Egypt's uprising may grow if not stopped. It won't tolerate revolutionary change that potentially could spread globally, including on US streets where millions face depravation levels unseen since the Great Depression.
Yet a January 25 White House press release said:
"As we monitor the situation in Egypt, we urge all parties to refrain from using violence, and expect the Egyptian authorities to respond to any protests peacefully. We support the universal rights of the Egyptian people, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly."