Will US support call for reform in Egypt?

Is the U.S. prepared to face the eventual removal of its key allies in a region where its relations are increasingly becoming complex?

  on January 26 2011 9:40 AM

The Egyptian government should be responsive to its people's aspirations, the White House said in measured but unusually strong comments about the raging anti-government protests in Egypt which forced the reported fleeing of the president’s son to Britain.

The Egyptian government has an important opportunity to be responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people, and pursue political, economic and social reforms that can improve their lives and help Egypt prosper, the White House said, according to a report in the Telegraph.

The White House comments were certainly more pointed than the comments made by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton had said the Egyptian government was stable, while noting, somewhat nonchalantly, that many countries in the region have been facing popular protests.

We support the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people and we urge that all parties exercise restraint and refrain from violence, Clinton said, according to Reuters. Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people, she said.

President Obama said in his State of the Union address that the U.S. supported the spirit of the popular uprising in Tunisia. ... the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator, the President had said. He also said the U.S. stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.

What political observers look up to is, to what extend the U.S. will support the pro-reform uprising in one of its key allies in the Middle East.

For the United States, Egypt embodies the central dilemmas Washington faces in trying to promote human rights and democracy in the wake of Bush’s Freedom Agenda, says a Brookings Institution's 2009 report.

The report adds: Egypt’s president, while formally elected through a competitive process, imprisoned his most recent opponent for three years. His regime continues to arrest and torture journalists, bloggers, and others who challenge government authority. Egypt’s human rights failings don’t stop at its own borders: Mubarak has been a prime sponsor of Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, and his diplomats have been among those subverting the UN Human Rights Council, which Obama now seeks to rehabilitate.

All said and done, Egypt remains one of the few trusted allies of the United States in the region. Egypt is America’s closest Arab ally, a key strategic support for U.S. military operations in the Middle East and a central player in Arab-Israeli peace efforts, says the report.

Also to be noted is the fact that if and when Mubarak is gone, the incoming ruling dispensation will have little loyalty and sympathies to the United States. Anti-American sentiment is growing among Egyptians and Mubarak has so far been able to keep his country on America's side.

Egypt today is a crucible for challenges facing many Arab societies: one-fifth of its people lives in poverty, and is bulging youth cohort is largely un- or under-employed. Many Egyptians are frustrated with their country’s stagnation and underdevelopment, and resentful of both American policy and their government’s alliance with America, says the Brookings report.

Ever since the Tunisian uprising successfully removed a long-entrenched but hated and oppressive regime, the focus has been on Middle Eastern and African governments having a similar background as Tunisia's.

We are certain that all Arab regimes, which share the same situation although with different ingredients, are now shaking because the same situation will produce the same results, says a report written by Global Research analysts.

And in Egypt, the signs of impending changes are clearly visible. Doha-based Al Jazeera quoted Egyptian blogger Hossam El Hamalawy as saying: “People are fed up of Mubarak and of his dictatorship and of his torture chambers and of his failed economic policies. If Mubarak is not overthrown tomorrow then it will be the day after. If its not the day after its going to be next week.

The question is whether the U.S. is prepared to face the eventual removal of its key allies in a region where its relations are increasingly becoming complex.

Join the Discussion