"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Message from Cairo- Mubarak Strategy Endangering Americans; Time for Obama To Cut Him Off

I just got a call from a good friend of mine who is currently living in Cairo.  I'm omitting details for obvious reasons, but he lives in a somewhat upscale neighborhood with a large population of foreigners, especially Americans.

His building is being guarded by essentially a neighborhood watch, men with clubs.  He himself just has a stick with nails in it.  He feels somewhat safe because he thinks he can keep people from coming upstairs, but the people on the ground, Egyptians, who are courageously protecting the building and the more vulnerable foreigners, are exposed to gunfire, which he says has come from across the street.

This chaos is not the afterbirth of revolution; it is the direct result of Mubarak's last-gasp and desperately brutal plan to remain in power.  According to my friend, it is clear on the ground that Mubarak has pulled the police off the ground and has released criminals and thugs on the population, hoping that the violence will cause people to clamor for a police state.

This isn't going to work, I don't think, but its success doesn't matter.   It makes it clear that the US can no longer maintain neutrality.  This plan clearly is taking a hideous toll on the Egyptians, but it is also endangering the lives of US civilians.  We don't give a government 1.4 billion bones a year to put the lives of our citizens at risk.  It is time for the administration to move Mubarak out.

Neither I nor my friend want to make it seem like this is bad only because it is hurting Americans, potentially.  That is not the case.  Mubarak is acting like a savage and feral animal, and continuing to destroy the dreams and the lives of his people.   He has to go for that.  But this new strategy- this cruel and cynical and bloody strategy- has to be the final straw.  This is unendurable action for anyone.  Mubarak is no longer an ally.  That he is an enemy of his own people has been clear for a long time.  He is an enemy of what we stand for, and now an enemy of our people.  

The time for neutrality is over.  The US has to do what it can to help remove Mubarak (ok, not anything).  I think that the strategy of neutrality was a reasonable one for a while, but now, at the endgame, things are too dangerous.   It is far past time for Mubarak to go.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Bold assessment. But reading your next post, you DON'T want the same thing in Yemen (yet?). I know the situations are different, but can you see a situation where you feel the same about Salih?