As Egyptian Anger Swells, Will America (And Its Regional Interests) Be Targeted Next: "They Are Attacking Us With American Weapons"
So far all attempts by the flailing Mubarak regime to stem the revolution and return life to normal in Egypt have failed, and at this point the fate of the president appears to be sealed, with its final resolution just a matter of time. The one key trade off to delaying the inevitable, however, is that the US, and specifically its Egypt-centered policies, which had far has been largely absent from the rioters' rhetoric, is starting to appear more and more often as a subject of discussion.... and not in a flattering way. Opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei, who has just joined protesters in Cairo's main Tahrir Square, is expected to have a major speech in which he may or may not focus public anger on duplicitous US policies, which at that point will crystallize the Obama administration's hypocrisy in the eyes of Egypt. This will certainly not make progressing US national interests in the region any easier. And if ElBaradei's earlier remarks are any indication, the US is about to become very hated in Egypt. Per Agence France Presse: "“The American government cannot ask the Egyptian people to believe that a
dictator who has been in power for 30 years will be the one to
implement democracy,” ElBaradei told US network CBS from Cairo. “You
are losing credibility by the day. On one hand you’re talking about
democracy, rule of law and human rights, and on the other hand you’re
lending still your support to a dictator that continues to oppress his
people,” added ElBaradei, the former head of the UN’s International
Atomic Energy Agency. His recommendations to President Barack Obama’s administration were
blunt: “You have to stop the life support to the dictator and root with
the people." On the other hand, with the US favorability rating in Egypt at an all time low of 17% in 2010, there just may not be much room to fall for the way the US is perceived by the broader Egyptian population.
More from AFP:
ElBaradei said Mubarak’s regime was reaching its end.
“He absolutely has to leave. This is not me, this is 85 million Egyptians,” he said.
The opposition leader told CNN that he has “been mandated by the people who organize these demonstrations, to agree on a national unity government.”
“And I hope that I would -- I should be in touch soon with the army and we need to work together.”
In a separate interview with CNN, ElBaradei predicted a rapid end to Mubarak’s regime.
“It will happen that he has to leave the country within the next three days. There is no way out as I see,” ElBaradei told the network.
But when asked if he wanted Obama to publicly ask Mubarak to step down, ElBaradei hesitated.
“It’s better for President Obama not to appear that he is the last one to say to President Mubarak, ‘It’s time for you to go.’”
As for how America is perceived in Egypt, the WaPo has compiled a good summary:
In a dusty alleyway in downtown Cairo, Gamal Mohammed Manshawi held out a dirty plastic bag Saturday afternoon. Inside were smashed gas canisters and the casings of rubber bullets that he said Egyptian police had fired at anti-government demonstrators.
"You see," the 50-year-old lawyer said, displaying the items. On the bottom of each were the words "Made in the USA."
"They are attacking us with American weapons," he yelled as men gathered around him.
In the streets of Cairo, many protesters are now openly denouncing the United States for supporting President Hosni Mubarak, saying the price has been their freedom. They say the Obama administration has offered only tepid criticism of a regime that has received billions of dollars in U.S. aid.
Tell America that we get to choose our president," Manshawi said. "We choose him, not them."
U.S. officials "speak about their own interest, not ours," said Ahmed Abu Dunia, who said he planned to demonstrate every day until Mubarak is gone. "The Egyptians love Egypt."
"We believe America is against us," said Emad Abdel Halim, 31. "Until now, Obama didn't talk to the Egyptian people. He didn't support the Egyptian people."
As the violence moves ever more steadily North and East, the increasingly discredited US foreign policy will be put ever more to the test. With the US increasingly reliant on the good will of the BRIC axis, it just may be that for once it is what Russia and China demand as the final geopolitical outcome of the region that is what transpires, instead of what Hillary Clinton's view of what is best for the middle east. And with that the era of US international "globocop" hegemony may well be over. Thank you Bernank.
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