Saturday, February 5, 2011

USA backs Suleiman

The revolution may be progressing, but slowly. Some people are already living on Tahrir, it seems. 

Two days ago I wrote that many people, including myself, are convinced that Mubarak eventually will leave, but that it will  take time. Yesterday I wrote that transferring power to Omar Suleiman is a bad idea, considering his past, and that apart from that  it is sufficient for anybody to be convinced  to listen to the things he said during his interview with Egyptian state tv on Thursday night.
Yet transferring power to Suleiman is exactly what the Americans have in mind. I quote the Politico blog of Laura Rozen, always well informed about the moves inside the White House, who in turn quotes the Financial Times:  
 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Munich security conference Saturday that Egypt's Vice President Gen. Omar Suleiman should lead an "orderly transition" of power in Egypt, the Financial Times reports:
Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, has indicated that Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian Vice President, should be given the opportunity to manage a peaceful transition of power in Cairo, stressing that Washington wants to see the move to a new political system achieved in as “orderly” a manner as possible.
Amid signs that senior Egyptian leaders are trying to edge president Hosni Mubarak out of power after mass demonstrations against his regime, Mrs Clinton said on Saturday that political transition should be managed by Mr Suleiman, suggesting that he is now the effective head of the Egyptian government.
Mrs Clinton said the transition should happen “as orderly but as expeditiously as possible.” She said it should be “a transparent, inclusive process that sets forth concrete steps that people who are engaged in it, and looking at it, can believe is moving toward an outcome that will commit an orderly establishment of elections scheduled for September. That takes some time.”

Well, this will maybe reassure Israel, that as the New York Times highlights, is almost hysterical about the possibility that they will loose Mubarak and his circle, who are both solid allies (some might say: stooges) of the US and trustful keeper of the status quo with Israel  
However, the choice for a transfer under Suleiman, who after all is Mubarak´s right hand man, might, as I wrote some days ago on my Dutch blog,  turn out to be a choice for a regime-Mubarak-without-Mubarak. I.e. a regime that will try to look more liberal and democratic, - for instance by handing out arrest warrants to Habib al-Adly, the former minister of the Interior, or the steel magnate and ally of  Mubaraks´s son Gamal, or by replacing the leadership of the ruling National Democratic Party, (NDP), including its secetary general,  the hated former minister of the Information, Safwat el-Sherif. -  But in fact a regime that in fact in this way is only beatifying itself a bit, while the same old guard remains at the helm.
And in the mantime the struggle is becoming a test to find out who has the longest breath. One can only hope that the  Egyptian street will hold out  and will - after Mubarak has finally gone - not settle for anything less than  a complete new regime. An interim president  (the opposition proposed to make the president of the High Court temporarily  head of state) and a new government, preferably made up of people without too much of a political past, who could commission a new constitution and prepare elections.
What Egypt needs is a real transfer of power, and not a government that continues the old ways, that might start to round up the opposition as soon as calm has been restored, that will keep the media and the state police firmly in its hands, and that will apply no more than just a  few cosmetic changes. Egypt has to get rid of the corrupt one party rule by the NRP, which is nothing but the tool of the ruling few at the top.

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