The Egyptians did not Let us Down: Arab Regimes Still Standing Are Put on Notice
[The North Africa Journal] I admit there was a moment of fear that I felt when I thought the demonstrators in Egypt would give up on their fight, after they took over what the Tunisians started. Happily, the honorable people of Egypt won their battle for democracy opening the door for similar action in dictatorial nations. The battle of Egypt was of a historical proportion and the victory, finally, went to common sense. If Mubarak won, hundreds of millions of Arabs, minus the Tunisians, perhaps, would also be swept by a severe defeat that would take decades to fix.
Their ruthless rulers would have looked at the Mubarak strategy of entrenchment and repression and would have mimicked the same ideas and concepts. Instead, and with Mubarak now ousted by his people, following the similar fate of the disgraced Ben Ali of Tunisia, all other Arab rulers must feel naked as if their big brother is no longer with them. The next Arab League meeting will look different and no doubt pathetic. The mighty Hosni Mubarak, the symbol of an intransigent Arab world, gone after only 18 days of protest is no trivial news for Arab capitals. Arab regimes now feel vulnerable and even Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah’s billions of dollars will not be enough to protect them. A King, the protector of the Holy land of Islam, another fake idea to justify his so-called legitimacy, has continuously demeaned the Arab populations. He dared giving shelter and protection to the dictator Ben Ali, and then stated that he would support Mubarak if the United States withdrew its own support. Here is a monarchy that needs its own revolution.
In light of what is happening in the Arab world, the regimes there have no fresh strategies to contain the growing anger of the masses. Most had the usual knee-jerk reactions to ease the economic pains of the working classes. Price reductions were announced almost everywhere and promises of better days were made on television and in state newspapers. In what may be an extreme case, the ruler of Bahrain, another outdated monarchy, decided to hand over to each Bahraini family $2,650. Desperate moments call for desperate actions. Some continue to resort to old fashion scare tactics of flexing their muscles and resorting to repression as is the case of Algeria where a massive number of anti riot troops has been deployed and invaded the capital to prevent peaceful demonstrations. Others have a more obscure approach to interdicting protests like Syria. The government of the ruthless Bashar El Assad decided to no longer ban the Internet after a stunning 3 year-shut down. In the Syrian case, it’s not a goodwill gesture from a sensitive Bashar, as observers believe that by resuming Internet access, the Syrian Mukhabarat (ruthless domestic spies and mafia enforcers) will be able to identify trouble makers and discipline them.
Regardless of all of that, a sudden feeling of liberation is sweeping the Arab world. Once considered a taboo and a criminal offense, criticizing the monarchy in Jordan would have meant immediate punishment by the Jordanian’s own Mukhabarat. Not this week. A group of tribes broke the taboo by publishing a statement denouncing the corruption of Queen Rania, King Abdullah's wife, according to many press accounts. Are we going to see a sudden shift like we witnessed in Tunisia and Egypt sweeping the region? I doubt it. The still-standing regimes from the Maghreb's Atlantic Coast to the Arabian Peninsula have their own characteristics that set them apart. Forcing their governments to comply with the rules of law and democracy may require different paces and strategies from their domestic-based pro-democracy movements. But there is no doubt that we are in the beginning of the end, their end. The Arab League and its corrupt members have been put on notice. And we should thank the people of Tunisia and Egypt for their leadership.
Also listen to this audio file of a BBC interview.