Egypt is in the midst of a revolution (China Daily reporting “Egypt to finish constitution amendments in 10 days“), and everyone on the planet is genuinely curious how the country will evolve (The Economist ponders, “Where now for Egypt and the region?“).
We should put things into perspective though. A new constitution and a newly elected government few months from now is not going to all of a sudden solve the problems that sent the Egyptians into the streets in the first place. The verdict of this revolution cannot be judged for at least a decade to come.
Continue reading What next for Egypt?
For the last three weeks, we witnessed something extraorgdinary in the Egypt. A unpopular leader is finally brought down by revolts in the street. A gallant people finally brought a hated tyrrant down to his knees.
Yet, if one really think about it, even by the most optimistic of figures, at most (perhaps) one million people at one time or another added together protested against Mubarak over the last three weeks. Egypt is a land of 80 million. That means the vast majority of the people never took to the street over the last three weeks.
I had an interesting chat with a friend from Egypt a couple of nights ago. We were friends from graduate school. He told me that while most people he knew did not think highly of Mubarak – who is deemed by most to be unsympathetic to the people, tolerant of corruption, and incapable of bringing prosperity to Egypt – most also did indeed fear instability and violence. Continue reading The Narrative on the Egyptian “Uprising” / “Revolution”
The latest news out of Egypt is President Mubarak relaying his resignation through Vice President Omar Suleiman and relinquishing power to the Egyptian military. NPR reports with celebratory tone, and I can attest to it listening to it’s radio this morning; all voices it carried were anti Mubarak:
“It’s the greatest day of my life,” opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei told NPR. “I could never have imagined that I would live long enough to see Egypt emancipated. It’s an electrifying feeling.
“We have finally hope to catch up to the rest of the world and bring our country where it deserves to be — a democracy.”
Continue reading Mubarak resigns, Western media now sides against a “dictator” they once supported
With Egypt in turmoil and the U.S. officially “favoring” the protests (via Obama’s indirect support), I’ve been scratching my head on what has happened to this once critical relationship. After the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Egypt changed strategy 180 degrees to embrace the United States. Egypt then struck a peace accord with Israel, a critical step for the U.S. strategy in that region. It is well known that with Egypt’s cooperation, America’s foot-hold in the Middle East was greatly enhanced. For example, the U.S. military have rights to fly over Egypt. U.S. naval ships have priority access through the Suez Canal. In exchange, Egypt was given massive “aid.” By Marian Wang’s count, it has totaled well above $60 billion to date.
So, what went wrong? Why isn’t the U.S. interested in propping up Mubarak anymore?
Editors over at Middle East Quarterly published in December 1995 a ten-point summary, “Does American Aid Help Egypt?” by Aryan Nasif, who wrote in The Left, a Cairese journal, argued the “aid” came with tremendous hardship. Don’t get me wrong, the Egyptian government must take responsibility too, for taking the “aid” and for accepting the terms attached. Amongst Nasif’s points, he said:
The U.S. mutual security law states explicitly that no economic or technical aid may be granted to any country unless it strengthens U.S. security.
Continue reading Egypt’s foreign aid, a poison pill? Another lesson?
(With permission from author.)
“F.A.Q. on U.S. Aid to Egypt: Where Does the Money Go – And Who Decides How It’s Spent?”
by Marian Wang ProPublica, Jan. 31, 2011, 4:53 p.m.
The protests in Egypt have prompted renewed questions about the U.S.’s aid to the country – an issue that the U.S. government has also pledged to reconsider . We’ve taken a step back and tried to answer some basic questions, such as how as much the U.S. has given, who has benefitted, and who gets to decide how its all spent.
How much does the U.S. spend on Egypt?
Egypt gets the most U.S. foreign aid of any country except for Israel. (This doesn’t include  the money spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.) The amount varies each year and there are many different funding streams, but U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt has averaged just over $2 billion every year since 1979, when Egypt struck a peace treaty with Israel  following the Camp David Peace Accords, according to a Congressional Research Service report from 2009.
Continue reading F.A.Q. on U.S. Aid to Egypt: Where Does the Money Go—And Who Decides How It’s Spent?