U.S.-backed Mubarak Cracks Down on Protesters

By Emad Mekay

This is from Cairo, right in the middle of this turmoil.

Mubarak is clearly backed by the Americans. He took some moves after speaking with Obama and a visit by a former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner (sp.?).

Mubarak, the army, the Americans and the Israelis are clearly on one side. That’s one camp. The people of Egypt (most of them now) are the other.

The Americans want Mubarak to stay on for longer while they look for a suitable successor that would be best for U.S. interests.

Mubarak’s tactic is to make Egyptians choose between “security”, that he supposedly provided over the past thirty years, or insecurity, vandalism, and chaos that he also is also providing now.

Mubarak, with the backing of his secret police force the Amn Dawla, is punishing the society in general for going out against him. Right now, there’s a battle going on by police officers and Mubarak supporters, many of them work for businessmen allied with the regime, and the protesters who are calling for his ouster.

His punishment for the people also includes blocking off roads, essentially making the cost of transportation much higher now. That translates as higher food prices and shortages of literally almost everything.

We had a huge dose of insecurity over the past few days. I had to take my own family out of Cairo after constant gun shots all night long in the city of 6th October which is some 30 kilometers south-east of Cairo.

This will backfire. Some people got scared which means the fear tactic he used over the past 30 years worked again. But many too have turned even further against him. His tactics are clearly so low and some say even “devious”. There will be lots of blood. But the word I hear is that is going to be worth it. Egyptians will be liberated not just from Mubarak but his backers as well.

The U.S. looks set to lose another country in the Middle East for backing Mubarak and trying to buy more time to get another of their men in power.

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4 Comments

  1. Those are fair questions. Obama might support the September option publicly because he couldn’t get Mubarak to agree to leave immediately. Or to help him save face. Or to keep lines of communication open while he (Obama) continues to push for an immediate departure.

    Obama might refuse to immediately freeze aid because he could be accused of pulling the rug out from under an ally, or because he (Obama) feels it’s not yet time to exercise that option.

    As I said: “We just don’t know at this point.” If you would read what I wrote more closely, you would see that I was offering possible explanations for U.S. actions, rather than making assumptions or reaching any definite conclusions.

  2. @Jon…

    Why would Obama, in private, tell Mubarak to “get out now” while publicly supporting the notion of him leaving in September?

    If Mubarak isn’t heeding his paymaster’s advice, why hasn’t Obama announced the freezing of foreign aid to Egypt?

    Mekay may be making assumptions but so are you. And Mekay’s assumptions jive with what we see while your assumptions do not.

  3. “Mubarak’s tactic is to make Egyptians choose between “security”, that he supposedly provided over the past thirty years, or insecurity, vandalism, and chaos that he also is also providing now.”
    – Exactly

    An often-used tactic which is intended to force the population back into the arms of the tyrant/authoritarian regime, who presents itself as the only thing capable of “protecting” them (a variation on the “Strategy of Tension”). It has been confirmed that many of the thugs rioting and terrorizing the protesters are in fact members of Mubarak’s police security apparatus, and there are probably also released convicts, who have been offered cash to participate. Dirty tricks.

    I wouldn’t say that the US (meaning “US elites”) supports Mubarak so much as it will do what it takes to subdue and keep in check the populations of the ME, and to do that there needs to be a strong repressive regime in place. Democracy is to be avoided if possible. They will support a transition to torture/rendition supporter and intelligence/CIA pointman Omar Suleiman, so if it is not Mubarak, it will be someone else who can provide the same functions.

    1. There is oil/gas
    2. Suez canal (8% of maritime traffic ?)
    3. “Peace” treaty with Israel, which insures that Palestinians will be encouraged to keep their mouths shut, and provides a safe environment for US investors

    I hope the Egyptians will be able to see through this ploy and fend off this attempt at confusion.

  4. Mekay presumes to know what Obama and Wisner said to Mubarak. Of course, he doesn’t know what was said. For all we know, the U.S. message could’ve been: get out now. Mubarak could’ve responded by saying (perhaps insincerely) that he would leave at the end of his term, only to then unleash a “stealth Tiananmen” on the streets of Cairo without informing the U.S. It seems highly unlikely that Obama would have been told about the unleashing of Mubarak’s supporters, and even more unlikely that he would have agreed to this course of action.

    We just don’t know at this point. The stress and disappointment Mekay is undoubtedly feeling have warped his judgement. There’s just no way he can know that the U.S. is supportive of Mubarak’s latest steps.

    Mekay would do better to look within: the Egyptian Army has apparently decided to cease protecting the protestors from the thugs in the streets. The failure is within, it seems. Egyptians should ponder this instead of blaming the U.S. and Israel for the latest turn of events.

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