Category Archives: Hosni Mubarak

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Is Obama’s Strategic Dilemma in Syria a Symptom of the Arrival of a Post-Superpower Era?

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 18, 2013, No Comments

The government of Bishara al-Assad, while predicted to have fallen many months ago, is hanging on, and is causing an agonizing dilemma on the part of the United States and Israel.  Both of them want to see the end of Assad's regime; however, neither of them wants to see Assad replaced by a nexus of Islamists and pro-AQ Jihadists in that country.  The sustained hesitation of the United States regarding Syria made John Kampfner of the Guardian wonder whether this is the first conflict of "the post-superpower era."  My sense is that Kampfner is not far off the mark, especially since the PRC is reported to be demonstrating a heightened interest in playing some role in the PLO-Israeli conflict. (more…)
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The Deadly Anti-Democratic Games of Egypt’s Army

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 8, 2012, 1 Comment

Watching the daily and weekly developments in Egypt, one wonders how optimistic one has to remain about the prospects of genuine democracy in that country.  The Egyptian military had a good start when it ousted Hosni Mubarak.  Even when his goons were allegedly sent to beat up the civilian demonstrators in Tahrir Square, either by Mubarak or by someone close to him, the Army showed its neutrality by not participating in that violent episode.  That fact also gave ample reason to think that the Army understood the real mood of its citizens regarding regime change. (more…)
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Crushing a Social Movement: Maybe in Your Dreams!

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 19, 2011, No Comments

China is not the only country that has been apprehensive about a possible eruption of the Arab Awakening-like social movement that could threaten its regime.  Russia and the Central Asian states – especially the latter – are even more afraid of the birth of such a movement.  They think that they can crush a social movement if or when it arises inside their respective borders, and they are taking a number of ostensibly proactive measures.  The Central Asian states are afraid because of the commonality of a number of variables between them and the Arab countries, where the Arab Awakening continues to look inexorable. (more…)
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Israel in Need of Its Own Version of the “Awakening”

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 18, 2011, No Comments

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, is going to the U.N. Security Council next Friday to seek independent statehood for Palestine.  The United States has done all it could to talk Abbas out of it.  Now, it is going to use its infamous veto to deny statehood for Palestine.  That will be a shame for a country that always wants to be seen as the world's leading champion of liberty and freedom.  The Obama administration's expected veto is all about winning Barack Obama's second term.  The Jewish voters are already upset with President Obama for not blindly siding with the Jewish state as all American presidents have done.  And the Arabs are not exactly happy with him for caving in to Israel's pushback of his original demands about freezing the Jewish settlements in occupied Palestine. (more…)
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The Arab Awakening and the Forces of Reaction

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 11, 2011, No Comments

David Gardner, in a thoughtful column in the Financial Times, writes that under old Arab order "despotism and Islamism fed on each other." Going through the mental tapes covering the confrontation between Islamism and despotism in a "fast overview" mode, that observation is an extremely valid one.  At the same time, when one observes that even in places where the Arab awakening has toppled two dictators–Zein el-Abideen Bin Ali and Hosni Mubarak–the status quo forces are still hovering around looking for ways to bring back the old order perhaps under new wrappers.  If they were to succeed, that will be the greatest tragedy that struck the Arab world in modern times. (more…)
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The Escalating Irrelevance of Obama in the Arab World

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 22, 2011, 1 Comment

President Barack Obama's election to the White House created euphoria in the world of Islam regarding the prospects for change associated with his presidency, when he gave his highly anticipated speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in June 2009. Today, however, his presidency has become the epitome of attempting to lead from behind and trying to take credit where credit is not due. In other words, in the middle of the first term of his presidency (assuming that there is a second term for him), he has become an almost irrelevant entity for the Arab and Muslim world. The classic example of his leading from behind is his administration's belated support for the Arab Awakening. His May 19, 2011 speech on the Middle East is an example of his desperation to take credit about what is most likely to happen in Israel – the possibility of a new momentum for peace stemming from the newly-emerged unity among the Palestinians. (more…)
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Watching the Butchery of Dictatorships from a Distance

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 1, 2011, No Comments

I never had the misfortune of living in a dictatorship.  So, the misery related to human existence in a dictatorship is only a second hand account for me.  However, in the days of the Internet and YouTube, I, along with millions of news watchers, am mesmerized over the personal bravery of anti-dictatorship groups of Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain and before that of Tunisia and Egypt, as if we are part of the picture.  My overriding sentiment is a mixture of considerable awe and admiration.  At the same time, watching the goons and thugs of Bishara Assad and Muammar Qaddafi gunning down their own civilian masses cavalierly also reminds me of the mythical hydra eating parts of its own body to survive.  The underlying message is that the hydra does not know that by doing so it is bringing about its own demise. (more…)
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The Arab Awakening: An Antidote Against the Relevance of Al-Qaida

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 23, 2011, No Comments

 When al-Qaida was ranting against the corrupt and inept Arab and Muslim dictators as "slaves" of America, it had captured the sympathy of quite a few people in the Arab world, who agreed with that organization's criticism of their rulers, but not with its brutal ways.  The Arab awakening is bringing about the kind of change that al-Qaida dreamed about, but with at least one major difference.  The falling dictators are likely to be replaced by democratic and transparent governments, which will also learn to govern well. It is aiming to create pluralistic governments in such countries as Egypt and Bahrain, where more than one religion and Islamic sect prevail.  It also aims to make discrimination against women a thing of the past.  If hopes related to these aspirations are dashed, then al-Qaida will have another opportunity to be back with a vengeance.  At least for now, it is watching history fly right by it.  That is just one of the most significant reasons to celebrate the Ara
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The “Bad” Politics of Ousting Libya’s Bad Man

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 22, 2011, No Comments

President Barack Obama is finding out how tricky America's added involvement in the Arab world can be in the aftermath of George W. Bush's adventurism in Iraq of 2003.  Obama cannot seem to win on any side.  One group of conservative Republicans is upset because he took too long to act, another group's complaint is that Libya is not part of U.S. vital interests.  Liberal Democrats are angry about another adventurism in the Arab world.  Even the Arab League, which initially supported a no-fly zone resolution, had second thoughts when the allied coalition eagerly started to bomb Libyan military targets.  Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who specializes in tormenting Muslims of the North Caucasus, was most uncharitable in his rhetoric of comparing the air campaign over Libya as reminiscent of the Crusades.  The Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, disagreed with his Prime Minister and former boss.  The Libyan bad man, Muammar Qaddafi, cannot be happier over this growing squabb
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Why the Rise and Outcome of a Chinese Awakening are Hard to Predict?

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 13, 2011, No Comments

If the Chinese leaders read Francis Fukuyama's latest essay, "Is China Next?," they should come away with ample mixed feelings.  As much as he relied on a variety of well-chosen variables to develop a highly rational analysis about why China may not be the next country to experience the Chinese version of the Arab awakening (and this part of his argument should please the rulers of China), Fukuyama's most persuasive argument in his essay was the following: "All social revolutions are driven by intense anger over injured dignity, an anger that is sometimes crystallized by a single incident or image that mobilizes previously disorganized individuals and binds them into a community. We can quote statistics on education or job growth, or dig into our knowledge of a society's history and culture, and yet completely miss the way that social consciousness is swiftly evolving through a myriad of text messages, shared videos or simple conversations."  This observation should make them lose a