Egypt’s ripple effect on the Middle East

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Newly appointed Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq apologized to the “resistance” - those opposing President Hosni Mubarak - for thevicious attacks launched against them and promised that they will not happen again. The Mubarak regime’s continuously malicious maneuvers to manage the opposition and thwart the revolution is getting greater support from Arab dictators such as Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Yemen’s unpopular ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The European Union and the United States expressed concern about the violence and called for a peaceful transition. However, they stopped short of condemning Mr. Mubarak for the repression against his own people and calling for the end to dictatorship. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stated that Mr. Mubarak was not a dictator and should not step down. Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, labeled Mr. Mubarak a”monarch-type figure and not adictator.” Such timid statements discourage the Arab masses from pursuing democratic change. America and Israel should not fear a democratic Egypt but rather fear Mr. Mubarak’s prisons, which created al Qaeda and jihadists like Ayman al-Zawahri.

Arabs have a right to democracy and to enjoy freedom with all its forms. Using the Muslim Brotherhood as a scarecrow to oppose democratic reforms in Egypt is no longer a viable strategy. Support for a democratic Egypt will have tremendous effects on the rest of the repressive Arab regimes, and what started in Tunisia will probably consume even the Saudis. This is a historical moment not only for the Egyptians, but also for the Arab masses who will follow the unraveling of the events in the coming few days.

A democratic Egypt is in the interest of the United States, Israel and the rest of the world. Democratic regimes are sources of stability and binding treaties. Iran’s mullahs will have difficulties remaining in power in an ocean of democratic states.

ZEROUGUI ABDELKADER

Adjunct professor, American University

Washington

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