Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Update on Egypt

Events continue to remain in flux in Egypt. It appears that the United States is pushing hard for Mubarak to step aside as President. I personally struggle with our policy because it appears as if the U.S. is meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. (Would we want China meddling in our internal affairs...and appearing to dictate terms to our leaders?)

A second wrinkle today is that pro-Mubarak demonstrations have popped up in Egypt. While some have challenged the motives of these protesters, it appears that some are genuinely concerned about the impact the anti-Mubarak protests are having on the economy. The flight of tourists is now hurting a segment of the population that had been doing relatively well financially under Mubarak's leadership. As the economy declines, will those being affected blame Mubarak...or those seeking to topple him?

A third issue today is Israel's public stance on the future of Egypt. Israel has declared that if democracy prevails in Egypt, it will not pose a threat to Israel. This statement appears to me to be an attempt at reverse psychology. That is, one reason Mubarak is disliked is because of Egypt's peace treaty with Israel (even though it was negotiated by his successor). By appearing to "endorse" and embrace any democratically-elected successor, it appears Israel is trying to provide Mubarak with some breathing room while at the same time diminishing the attractiveness of a successor by implying the change will not bring about a change in the peace treaty between the two countries. This might not be the case, but it's hard to believe Netanyahu actually thinks the next government--if it includes the Muslim Brotherhood--will be good for Israel.

Stratfor issued an interesting video dispatch on Netanyahu's comments. The dispatch is definitely worth watching. I think it's an excellent evaluation of his comments and of the overall situation!

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