Telegraph calls for Mubarak to declare he won’t run for re-election
he may not last until then. Then it says that Tunisia, where the government fell two weeks ago, is still in chaos. Then it says that the leaders of all the northern African countries (except Morocco) are aged and long entrenched and must go. Then it concludes: “We can only hope that the momentous events of this month will succeed in releasing that creative energy in the Arab world which has been stifled for far too long.”
And, um, what creative energies may those be?
Here are excerpts from the editorial:
The president’s handling of the crisis has been inept. Silence as mass demonstrations took place in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez was broken by a speech which, while promising reform, gave no indication that he would not stand for re-election in a presidential poll due in September. If this 82-year-old former air chief marshal wants to retain a shred of legitimacy, he should prepare the way for free elections in the autumn in which neither he nor his son, Gamal, would stand. Even with that pledge, he might not survive in office until then. Without it, popular frustration with Egypt’s stagnant polity can only grow….
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 30, 2011 05:21 PM | Send
The problem for Washington and its allies is that the way ahead is uncharted. Two weeks after the Tunisian head of state, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, fled to Saudi Arabia, the political situation in his country remains chaotic, with opposition parties, the trade unions and the army vying for influence.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood forms the largest and best-organised counter to the government. But it joined the present wave of protests rather than initiating them. Then there is the wild card of Mohamed El-Baradei, the former head of the UN nuclear agency, who has returned to Egypt to rally opinion against Mr Mubarak. Were the president to fall, secular and Islamist forces would enter the fray, with no guarantee of the outcome….
Looking west from Cairo along the Mediterranean littoral is to be struck by the entrenched nature of the regimes. Muammar Gaddafi has ruled Libya since 1969. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the president of Algeria, first became a minister in 1963. Mr Ben Ali had been in power for 23 years. Only in Morocco has the relatively youthful Alaouite monarch, Mohammed VI, made some moves towards liberalisation.
Since those in the Maghreb came to power, the world has changed profoundly, notably in the sense of aspiration felt by ordinary people who have access to modern technology. The consequences of Tunisia’s revolution remain uncertain. Egypt’s fate hangs in the balance. We can only hope that the momentous events of this month will succeed in releasing that creative energy in the Arab world which has been stifled for far too long.