Happy birthday, Abraham Lincoln. But for that bastard John Wilkes Booth, Honest Abe would be 202 years old today. But that's not important right now...
The Grey Lady treats us to this dicussion of the two man
military junta ruling council that will babysit Egypt for the foreseeable future until a new constitution and elections can be implemented. On the one hand, I'd like to think we've seen a popular revolution unfold in front of us-- well-intentioned, well-organized street mobs brought down a dictatorship. Of course, Mubarak holds the rank of air marshall and Sulayman has the rank of general... and now two other military guys, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (already seen as a strident opponent of political change) and Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan (more... enigmatic), are officially in charge.
The situation is best summed up by IOZ:
Now Egypt is under the nominal and actual control of an America-funded military junta. To those who are eager to pronounce this a victory of spontaneous, self-organizing people-power over the forces of state tyranny, I feel ya. But I caution caution.
I was told of anecdotal pro-American chanting in the streets of Cairo, amidst the jubilation following the departure of Egyptian President-for-Life-until-quite-recently Hosni Mubarak. If so, our nation deserves its praise-- for standing on the side of these historical events. Of course, as I recently noted, that's kind of because we're out of juice and didn't have much choice.
Anyway, the whole damned thing is irony marinating in irony sauce served in an irony wrap. You see, part of what triggered the uprising in Tunisia was confirmation (thanks to American classified communiques that surfaced care of Wikileaks) of just how corrupt and awful that regime was-- an uprising that toppled a not-particularly-stable state. Egypt, which has been a powder-keg itself for years if not decades, and suffering from a dramatic rapid increase in the prices of basic commodities, amidst its ongoing misery and massive unemployment, followed suit. If these events follow their hoped-for course, two large Islamic states (including Egypt, home to half of the world's Arabs) wlll have possibly achieved democracy, not because of American policy (which, in the name of "bringing democracy"-- albeit at gunpoint-- has instead brought ruination and death to Iraq and Afghanistan)... but in spite of it (American policy has been to try to keep a tight lid on the kind of information that led directly to the Arab uprisings, and indeed, punishing Wikileaks seems to be the number one priority of American government and its inter-locking corporate directorate.)
Of course, at face value if nothing else, one must be impressed with what's going on in Egypt; I note that while walking home over the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday, a Saudi tourist could not contain his amazement to me over events-- noting that Mubarak stepped aside after just eighteen days of these protests... which tells me just who's paying attention, and perhaps, who should be duly scared. And as freedom seems to be breaking out everywhere else, it's nice to see that America itself wants to hold the line on this disturbing trend. (Oh... you can run, but you can't hide... but I digress...)
Hey, who knows? Maybe things are finally going in the right direction. Not how I would bet, of course.
Update [2/13/11]: On cue, the Egyptian
military junta Supreme Council of the Armed Forces suspended the constitution, dissolved parliament, and called for elections within six months. One would like to think, or at least hope, that the interests of the military are aligned with the interests of those protesting, to wit, all believe that a stable, prosperous, relatively free and democratic Egypt is in their mutual interest. Because if it isn't, we can reasonably sure that the people with the guns and tanks and fighter planes will be deciding that their interests are those that will be provided for. Just saying.