Friday, February 11, 2011

Saudi Arabia and Israel on the same side along with the US on the Egypt question

It is not surprising that Saudi Arabia, a conservative monarchy is all for stability, even if it means supporting the discredited regime of Hosni Mubarak. It is not surprising that Israel, which boasts of being the only liberal democracy in the region -- which is true in many ways -- should be rooting for the Mubarak regime because it does not want a popular Egyptian government which would support the democratic demands of the Palestinians for a state of their own. It is not surprising that the United States has dithered and it has now come round to the view that there is no resisting change. Washington now wants to be part of the change happening in Cairo in the hope that it can steer change along a path that is safe for Saudi Arabia and Israel. Democracy in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jodan is indeed bad news for Israel because then it will be seen for the rogue state that it really is. Israel's democratic veneer will just be swept away in a democratic neighbourhood.
What is also interesting and surprising is that Washington and Muslim Brotherhood are doing the political tango. The Americans now recognise that the Brotherhood has a role in the new Egypt. The Brotherhood representative has done an article in The New York Times -- which is in many ways an unofficial channel of the US government -- that the Brotherhood wants democracy and it is not playing for an Islamic state as understood by the Brotherhood.
What are the ordinary Egyptians to do? They do not want Hosni Mubarak regime. They do not want American interference. They want Saudi Arabia to keep to itself. They know that Israel is not to be trusted because it is an usurper and and intruder and not really part of the neighbourhood. The fault is not that of the Egyptians that they cannot accept Israel as one of their own in the region. It is Israel which has kept itself aloof because it refuses to meet the minimal ethical demands of conceding the Palestinians' demand for a state, and withdrawing from the territory occupied during the 1967 war. Ordinary Egyptians are also not interested in the blinkered agenda of the brotherhood. It is quite possible that Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US will impose a Brotherhood government in Egypt, something that ordinary Egyptians might not want.
Egypt's internal affairs become complicated because of the stakes outsiders -- Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US -- have in the region.

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