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No Longer Mubarak's Egypt - But Who's in the Shadow?

Reader comment on item: Reflections on Hosni Mubarak's Resignation
in response to reader comment: Plus ca change

Submitted by M. Tovey (United States), Feb 23, 2011 at 16:26

Hosni Mubarak's resignation will go down in history as a chapter closing event; that of a changing face in Egyptian and Middle East politics, which while not the first in regime changes in the twenty-first century, it will become notable for a variety of reasons that have yet to play themselves out. Ever since Egypt became dominated by Muslim sensibilities, its role in the later industrialized history of the eastern hemisphere has been pivotal, in some ways similar to its ancient role of old world politics, yet remaining crucial to the process of controlling the region because of its location. After all, in property management, it is location, location, location. The British knew that in Gordon's day; most everyone familiar with Middle East issues knows that it is as critical now.

In reviewing this exchange on the colloquialisms of the Arabic spoken in Egypt, one thing emerged that I could not resolve with my mid-twentieth century history lessons; that ethnically, Egyptians are not Arabs. Further, I understood Arabs are a distinctive and separate group coming out of the Sabean peninsular regions in the seventh century to spread the peculiarly distinctive religion of Islam. Further still, places like Iran and Iraq (Persian and Chaldean) are not originally Arabic in ethnicity, they too coming under the influences of Arabic sensibilities brought along with the spread of Islam. Am I wrong in remembering this from the pre-progressive era before the occidental rewrite of history in the Middle East?

But how does that reconcile with what we see happening today; and are we truly seeing the beginning change that Fundamentalist Islam is craving as a precursor to regaining dominion in the Middle East? And what of western societal observances of the changes happening in the backyards of western societies once thought to be staunchly Christian; do we see enough of a resistance to Fundamentalist Islam to make an effective stand and statement to Islamists: stop here and go no further?

The former British Empire once held sway in all parts of the Middle East and fought Islam on a level not seen in decades. Once that ability was no longer considered in the best interests of the crown, immense territories were conceded and the British influence was submerged and camouflaged by the resources of empire building of a different sort. In similar fashion, American economic investment engines were humming to the same cadence as a result of the industrial age's voracious appetite of fossils fuels. Strange how the fortunes came and went, and the Arabian peninsula once thought to be the domain of western sensibilities is now controlled by a people formerly owing their chances in the world to the remains of depleted British influences. That there were enough Americans seeking their immense fortunes as well did nothing to allay the process of bringing the world to the Arab world's door.

But in all that, there is Egypt. Yes, there is still Egypt, right in the middle of it all, with an indigent percentage of a poverty-worn population ready to take on the world in their next role as agents of a reform that world has not yet, nor is ready yet to understand. The portent of Egypt's reform comes as part of a series of dynamic interludes in the political fortunes of Turkey, Yemen, Libya, Jordan (soon), maybe Syria (though that remains to be seen as Syria is in good stead with Iran): and who is next?

No, the world has yet to grapple with the true significance of Mubarak's exit. Some will assign ill-health as a cause; others see that his resolved crumbled as the military, his sole source of whatever remaining resolve he had left, sided with the protest. These are but feathers of smoke coming from the potential conflagration that is building in the Middle East.

Some may think that the only thing that will come from Mubarak's resignation is a replacement leader, probably from the military. Others hold to a misguided conception that some kind of Iraqi-style democracy might be formed. But in reality, a third and more potent arrangement needs to be watched for: that of an Iranian fueled power shift in the ranks of the potential replacements of Mubarak's position. Did anyone think the Iranian warship in the Suez was on a sight-seeing tour? Folks; the political will of a power that is not contained was put on display and it has not found any reason yet to think anyone will have the gumption to stop their intentions. For them, those who are willing to play will stay.

Some time back, a list of countries who are partnered with the process of change in the Middle East was mentioned; and that list is being perfected. Libya is next in a line of changes. Soon the only change the world fears might be next will be next. And if Egypt's friendship with the United States was such a good thing politically, why was the American Administration and State Department ready to give Mubarak's government the kiss of death? Did not the campaign of the last presidential election summarize itself to the Egyptian people while Mubarak was still in power? How did that change? The rest of the world has yet to figure that one out; and folks, it was not about religion.

Submitting....

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