Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Democratic" Uprisings - The Unasked Questions

In watching the events fold in Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt, there have been two questions nagging me that no one seems to be asking:
  1. Why now?
  2. Who are the real forces behind the uprisings?
As I pointed out in my earlier companion posting, Tunisia and Egypt were governed by fairly stable dictatorships.  Yes, both were rife with corruption and in the case of Egypt, it looked like President Mubarak's youngest son, Gamal Mubarak, was going to be named his father's successor.  As with a lot of things in Egypt, President Mubarak would never have made that move was not the Army supportive.

Some say even thinking of naming Gamal as President Mubarak's successor was the catalyst to the "democratic" uprising we have been witnessing.  Some say it was the middle class being financially squeezed that set the uprisings into motion.  What no one is saying and what no one is asking is why now.  What makes now different from three months ago or three months from now?  I wish I new the answer, but I can't wrap my head around it.  I have researched to the best of my ability and I just can't see why now is the best time for the uprisings.

Having one nation with an uprising is not too weird.  Discomforting, yes, but not weird.  In this day and age we are becoming use to it.  Hell, I grew up during the independence movements of Rhodesia and other African nations.  I saw the execution of a journalist on a road in Rhodesia on the nightly news.  Disturbing as hell, but now that I think of it, not too weird.  But now we have three nations going through the throes of "democratic" uprisings: Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

What do these three nations have in common that make them ripe for "democratic" uprisings?  The only explanations that I can come up with are that each nation has been jailing Islamic militants and each nation has been dominated by one person for the last twenty years or more.  In the case of Tunisia, it was President Ben Ali who took power in 1987 after a bloodless coup.  For Egypt it has been President Mubarak since 1981 who took power after the assassination of Anwar Sadat.  And for Yemen it has been President Ali Saleh since 1978.

But who benefits the most from seeing these three men removed from power?  Though publicly the United States, through Secretary of State Clinton, has echoed the chorus of needing democratic reforms, I don't think the Obama Administration sees it in their best interest to have these three nations in the throes of uprisings.  In the case of Egypt specifically, the Suez Canal is too important of a trade route to be closed because of civil unrest, civil war or violent regime change.  We would rather one dictator be replaced with another who will ally themselves with us.

These "democratic" uprisings were too coordinated to be done by a few disaffected middle class students meeting in their local Starbucks.  They are being orchestrated and financed by someone and no one (except for maybe some lonely CIA analyst) in the media is asking who?  We can check a couple names off the suspects list.  The last thing Israel wants is an unknown quantity holding power in Egypt.  Both Israel and Egypt have enjoyed a happy peace with each other for the last thirty years.  Egypt's Red Sea resorts are even a favorite tourist destination for Israelis.

We can also check off the United States (at least conditionally).  As I noted before, too many economic and geopolitical interests in the region rely on a stable known quantity in Egypt for us to be backing the uprising.  That it not to say it couldn't be a CIA operation that the administration didn't know about.  It wouldn't be the first time the CIA helped to topple a government.  Its not Russia or China.  My best guess, and mind you its only a guess, its someone associated with the more radical elements of Islam.  Someone who saw these three nations ripe for uprisings and regime change in favor of a more conservative approach to Islam.  Most likely a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Whatever the answer, I don't think we will find out it was a group of students who came up with this all on their own.  Someone coached them, organized them, financed them and chose this particular time for a reason.  I just hope I am not the only one asking the questions.

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