Uprising in Egypt isn't just about freedom and democracy
The discontent boiling to the surface in the Arab world is as much driven by complex demographics as politics. So politics alone won't restore stability. The US must come to terms with its reduced role in the region and reassess strategic partnerships.
If ever there was a need for cooler heads to prevail amid the crisis in Egypt, it is now. The end of the elderly President Hosni Mubarak’s iron-fisted regime was never a question of “if,” but rather “when.” Middle East hands have long recognized that virtually all Arab countries have been in a pre-revolutionary or revolutionary state for more than a decade. Tunisia and Egypt merely blew first.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Egyptian protests
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No one knows how the chaos on the streets of Cairo will play out, and it is this uncertainty which is most alarming, especially for the Israelis. But one thing is certain. The game in the Middle East is no longer unilateral. Washington can no longer go it alone.
Three things are now vital to understand, as they must shape US policy going forward.
Second, Americans need to recognize that after 9/11, after Iraq, and after the failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the United States has far less influence in the region than ever before.
A complex chaos
The situation in Egypt is much more complicated than simplistic reports of democratic revolution would have us believe – and it is devolving at an alarming rate. The divisions in Egyptian society now coming to the surface speak to the chaotic nature of this so-called revolution. Egypt has a formidable military elite and a huge civilian bureaucracy, both of which have a vested interest in restoration of order. As mobs of looters destroyed high-end shopping centers, wealthier communities began to feel the threat of chaos at their gates. This is no unified front of popular resistance.