The images and display of people power in the Arab world shocked and inspired the world over, in ways regional and political science experts never dreamt possible. The toppling of Dictator Mubarak in Egypt which took place in 18 days, defied the belief of even the most determined protesters. During this momentous time of sweeping political change in the Arab world, the only thing that’s clear is: history is being written and no one can predict the future. This level of political uncertainty can be seen in the realm of infinite possibilities, still what and how it will be implemented is the big question on top of everyone’s mind. Unless civil society forces are armed with sheer relentless will and an apt political strategy, the gaping political vacuum leaves the likelihood to be filled by the most powerful and influential players, namely the US and Israel. Though all countries in the region are unique in many ways, the case of Egypt can be analyzed generally to the extent that others will follow suit, as the ideological battleground for what is taking hold in the region today.
What is overtly clear from the recently released Pew research poll, and seems representative of public opinion of Egyptians is that the vast majority (9 out of 10[i]) are pleased that Mubarak is gone. However, beyond that there is a wide range views of the kind of change people would like to see, how to implement change and the role that the military and political Islam will play. When it comes to change agents’, according to the poll, public opinion is split almost down the middle with support for the secular April 6th movement (leading by one point), versus the Muslim Brotherhood (whose increase in popularity came as a disturbing blow to many). Therefore what the outcome of the elections in September, is everyone’s top concern these days.
Paved with good intentions?
Poll numbers alone are confusing and inconsistent and must be analyzed in context and as connected parts of a whole, in order to predict future trends and realities. The high level of support Egyptian people have for army leaders came to many as a big surprise: the military is now almost universally seen (88%) as having a good influence on the way things are going in Egypt and a whopping 90% rate military chief Mohamed Tantawi favorably.
Yet, contrasted with the clear support for the ousting the US[ii] backed dictator, ( 9 out of 10) the numbers don’t add up. In Tarik Ali’s, article: Who will reshape the Arab world: its people, or the US? Phase one of the Arab spring is over. Phase two – the attempt to crush or contain genuine popular movements – has begun[iii], “Washington has, for the time being, succeeded in rerouting the political process into a carefully orchestrated change, led by Mubarak’s defense minister and chief of staff, the latter being particularly close to the Americans. Most of the regime is still in place. Its key messages are the need for stability and a return to work, putting a stop to the strike wave. Fevered behind-the scenes negotiations between Washington and the Muslim Brotherhood are continuing.” One reason for this contradiction at the polls, may be the glaring omission and what is being completely left out of the headlines: the role the US and Israel are playing behind the scenes. Any reporting on such facts would compel people to begin asking questions like: What interests are behind the US bolstering its support for Egypt’s Brotherhood and military – while withholding substantial economic aid (another fact that remains hidden)? What was John McCain doing in Cairo last week? What is with Egyptian government’s support for the Syrian regime[iv]?? If called into question, these trends would then be openly reported as an attempt of the US to directly interfere in, and retain control over the country’s policies.
US interests in Libya coming to light
Meanwhile, a clearer picture of the US interests in Libya, are slowly beginning to emerge. The following research paper, put out and translated into English by an Italian research firm titled: Financial Heist of the Century: Confiscating Libya’s Sovereign Wealth Funds[v] (SWF) provides clear evidence of the objective of the war against Libya, and it is not just its oil reserves (estimated at 60 billion barrels). The impact of the Nato war will have a devastating impact on the economic future and independence of the entire continent of Africa. Before carrying out a military attack on Libya U.S. and European ruling circles focused on getting their hands on its energy wealth, so they took over the Libyan sovereign wealth funds.
The assault on the Libyan sovereign wealth fund is a direct attack on the Arab African Investment Company which has been crucial in allowing African countries to begin to become independent from the U.S. and Europe by investing “in over 25 countries, 22 of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Even more important were the Libyan investment in the implementation of three financial institutions launched by the African Union”. The development of these bodies would enable African countries to eventually escape control of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, tools of domination. The article goes on to state that “Freezing Libyan funds deals a strong blow to the entire project.”
In this historic moment, a battle that is being waged to the extent that the forces of the ruling powers interests will either collide with that of the people – or meet somewhere in the middle. This battleground of wills, is what is going to determine the future of not only the country, but also the region and quite possibly the world. Obama intends to speak again very soon about his Middle East policies. What is needed three months after the January 25 Revolution and two years after his big Cairo University speech-out to the Arab and Muslim worlds, is a revolutionary approach to America’s Middle East policies. However we know this unlikely as a politician already launching his campaign for re-election in 2012. What he will likely do is the opposite of what is desperately needed.
What we can do is learn from the people of Egypt who following their glory in toppling the regime, have begun on the long journey and ongoing process of holding officials accountable, building up open and transparent economics, support competing democratic political movements, civil society organizations promoting judicial and media independence, free trade unions and women’s rights, etc.
From May 21-24, 2011, timed to coincide with the annual policy meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), American citizens from all over the country will converge in Washington, DC. They will expose the lobby for war and occupation – and build the vision for a new US foreign policy in the Middle East. To register, of for more information see: Move over AIPAC: http://www.moveoveraipac.org/. My wish is that they too could occupy their capital, and stay there, until their demands are met!
Will you join them?!
[ii] The polls finds “favorable ratings of the U.S. remain as low as they have been in recent years, and many Egyptians say they want a less close relationship with America. Israel fares even more poorly. The poll states as many as 54% of Egyptians want the peace treaty with Israel country annulled.
[iii] Who will reshape the Arab world: its people, or the US? Phase one of the Arab spring is over. Phase two – the attempt to crush or contain genuine popular movements – has begun
[v] Financial Heist of the Century: Confiscating Libya’s Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=DIN20110424&articleId=24479