The message coming out of Obama’s administration says democracy is OK for Tunisia but not Egypt because of Israel.
Do you remember Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University on June 4, 2009, to the Muslim world?
The above interview with State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley by Shihab Rattansi of Al Jazeera shows why Obama talked about Tunisian democracy in the State of the Union but said nothing about democracy in Egypt.
At about 5:40 Rattansi asks Crowley why the U.S. with all its leverage over Egypt doesn’t pressure it to call off the dogs and let the society move toward democracy?
“We respect what Egypt contributes to the region, it is a stabilizing force, it has made its own peace with Israel, and is pursuing normal relations with Israel, we think that’s important, we think that’s a model that the region should adopt broadly speaking. at the same time, we recognize that Egypt, Tunisia other countries do need to reform, they do need to respond to the needs of their people, and we encourage that reform and are contributing across the region to that reform.”
Rattansi: [paraphrased] but if Egypt can’t guarantee stability, what’s the point of all your financial support.
Crowley: “We rely on Egypt as an ally to be a stabilizing force in the region… that has benefits across the region.”
Rattansi: “Democracy would be destabilizing to the region generally, wouldn’t it?”
In terms of denial of political participation, internal repression, use of secret police, torture, and summary punishment and execution, it is difficult to distinguish Hosni Mubarak from Saddam Hussein.
But what a difference in the political narrative.
Neocon war plotters, up to and including the president, said Saddam Hussein was a Hitler-like figure who threatened humanity; so regime change was urgent.
By contrast, the brutal, kleptocratic thug Mubarak is lauded as ‘a stabilizing force.’ We’d hate to see him go, really.
And the sole reason for the difference?
As Crowley makes clear with his repetitions, it’s because Mubarak is solid on Israel.