The Slaying of Pharaohs: Revolt In The Middle East
"l have slain Pharaoh" were the words of the Egyptian military officer who led rebel army commandos that assassinated former Egyptian dictator Anwar Sadat while he was reviewing a military parade in 1981 for selling his country out to the West and abandoning the Palestinian people's struggle for independence. On February 11, 2011 Egypt's latest dictator, Hosni Mubarak, who replaced Sadat in 1982 and ruled for 30 years as a modern Egyptian Pharaoh, was pushed out of power by a people's revolt inspired by the January people's revolt in Tunisia that ended the dictatorship of Zine Ben Ali who ruled Tunisia for over 20 years. Mubarak ruled Egypt unchallenged for 30 years and was considered America’s Man in the Middle East. He was also America's partner in terror, allowing his country to be used in the C.l.A.'s rendition program the United States used to transfer so-called terrorist suspects to be tortured for information useful to the U.S. war on terror. Mubarak‘s regime relentlessly tortured and imprisoned members of the opposition in Egypt, and according to a classified U.S. diplomatic cable revealed by Wikileaks, torture was reported to be so widespread and epidemic that it affected every layer of Egyptian society. Under Mubarak Egypt also received over 2 billion dollars in U.S. aid. 70% of it is allotted to the Egyptian military which the U.S. used to prop up Mubarak's corrupt regime and the military equipment was aimed not at external enemies but rather at its own people.When the Egyptian people first took to the streets on January 25th demanding Mubarak's ouster the initial response of the United States was silence. lt was only when the demonstrations peaked on January 28th when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets following Friday’s prayers and the announcement by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition movement, that it would participate in the youth led demonstrations did the United States realize it was time to abandon Mubarak as masses of Egyptians battled Mubarak's thugs and police over the weekend. The time was up on America’s puppet in Egypt, a puppet that served them exceptionally well but who never extended this devotion to service to his own people.
America's other puppets in the region are now trembling, fearing their oppressed populations will heed the example of the people of Tunisia and Egypt and take to the streets demanding an end to the modern day Pharaohs that reign over oppressed nations in the Middle East. Yemen, another U.S. puppet state, has been ruled for 32 years by Saleh Ali, a corrupt tyrant who in response to the events in Tunisia and Egypt announced he will not run for another term in the next elections scheduled for 2014. Yemenis know the word of a tyrant is meaningless and have continued to protest. In demonstrations on February 13th and 15th, Saleh, taking a page from Mubarak, deployed thugs armed with knives to break up the demonstrations. The response from the United States? Silence. Yemen is another partner in the United States war on terror and cooperates with its imperial ambitions in the region.
In Algeria, another U.S. puppet state, demonstrators have taken to the streets demanding more civil and political freedoms and an end to the state of emergency the country has been ruled under for the past 20 years. Algeria has been ruled by the same authoritarian regime since its independence in 1961. In 1992, when the country had its only free and fair elections, the Islamic Salvation Front captured over 70% of the vote. The military annulled the elections and with Washington's support initiated a brutal crackdown on the opposition that resulted in a 10 year civil war that left over 200,000 Algerians dead. The United States turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the military against members of the ISF. ln the U.S.'s eyes, better a quarter million dead than an Islamic party being democratically elected to power in an important Middle Eastern State. The Algerian government announced it will lift the state of emergency yet has remained silent on setting a date for free and fair elections. The leaders of the demonstrations announced they will continue to protest. The U.S.'s position has been silence.
ln Jordan protesters have pressured king Abdullah, another puppet of the United States, to enact reforms within Jordan's political system. However Abdullah still has not opened his society up to free elections. In Bahrain, another U.S. puppet state and home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets demanding democracy and an extension of civil rights. The response of the U.S. backed puppet king? He ordered his security forces to fire on the demonstrators, killing many. You would think the United States would be championing free elections throughout the Middle East but that is not and has never been the case. The United States instead has propped up a legion of modern day Pharaohs and it is now reaping the rewards of being the enemy to democracy in the region as its puppet states from Algeria to Yemen are struggling to contain oppressed populations who have developed an appetite for Pharaoh. The position of the United States has been a chorus line of statements urging caution and patience to these restless and oppressed populations, populations who are now realizing the hypocrisy of American democracy and the reality that the United States doesn't want to change the status quo of the region.
While the United States has offered caution and patience to demonstrators demanding revolutionary change in its puppet states, it has recently been expressing strong support and encouragement for demonstrators in Iran belonging to the opposition Green Movement. On February 14th and 15th demonstrators returned to the streets in Tehran demanding the removal of the country's president Ahmadinejad. Similar demonstrations failed in 2009. Regime change in Iran is a priority of the United States and since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 the United States has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to fund an opposition in Iran. This is not classified information. Congress passed an act called the Iran Freedom and Support Act. It can be found online; it's no secret.
What also is no secret is why the United States is aggressively supporting an Iranian opposition movement it has helped fund and encourages while cautiously embracing demonstrators in Algeria, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, and Jordan. The latter are puppet states of the United States while the former is an independent Islamic Republic opposed to U.S. dominance of the region. In an incredible moment of 'co-opting' the revolution, the U.S. State Department has announced it has established a Twitter account in Farsi, the language of Iran, to communicate and support the opposition movement in Iran via social media forums that have become crucial to these movements ability to mobilize while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again condemned Iran's crackdown on the recent demonstrations. She also condemned Iran's shutdown of internet sites supportive of the demonstrators. In a pompous tone Secretary of State Clinton stated that the United States believes access to the Internet is a fundamental human right. Yeah right, apparently that right doesn't extend to Wikileaks or any websites that host it but that’s another story for another article.
The fact the United States must learn, and will learn from these people's revolts that are shaking the region is that it cannot manufacture revolution or regime change in a country it is opposed to. The Iranian people were the first to toss out a U.S. dictator, the Shah, in 1979 and paid for their revolution with the blood of thousands. If another change is going to come to Iran, it will come at the hands of the Iranian people, not with the hypocritical support of the United States. They will be influenced by their own conditions, not some nonsense State Department Twitter account lifted out of a propaganda manual. The U.S. could care less about democracy in Iran; they merely want to remove a formidable obstacle to their plans to dominate the region. The status quo serves the interests of the United States.
This is why President Obama announced he is pleased with the progress being made in Egypt following the ouster of Mubarak. Of course he is pleased, the Military Council that now runs the country belongs to a military that is financed and propped up by U.S. dollars. Every dictatorship in the Middle East has adopted the Egyptian model and now that these Pharaohs are under pressure from their populations they are looking to see how the Egyptian military manages a smooth transition from the dictatorship of one man to a partial democratic regime still at the service of the United States and the regime's ruling classes. The Egyptian military is using the time to ensure any transition of power in Egypt preserves its puppet relationship with the United States. It is unlikely this tactic will be successful if the youth led movement continues to keep the pressure on the regime. The removal of Mubarak should not be viewed as a victory; a democratically elected leader would be held in check by a U.S. backed military. The people should not settle for a Mubarak crony or leader acceptable to the U.S. or Israel. Victory for the Egyptian people should entail the complete restructuring of the Egyptian military, political, intelligence and economic systems that would remove Mubarak's legacy along with U.S. and Israeli interference in Egyptian affairs. The Egyptian people should not only toss out the puppet, they should cut the strings of the puppet master.
The United States Pharaohs are no longer comfortable on their thrones and the oppressed peoples of the Middle East are on the move, seeking to reclaim their countries and futures from despotic leaders. The United States now faces the question every colonial empire has at one point faced, will it release its external colonies and suffer the consequences of economic turmoil or will it continue to prop up unpopular dictators under the guise of democracy and reform? If history is an example the peoples of the Middle East will have the final say in this matter and after having slain two Pharaohs within a month, their appetite may be insatiable.
The people of Libya are now in open revolt against the 42 year rule of Libyan strongman Muammar Gadhaffi. Once a champion of Third World revolutions, Gadhaffi degenerated into a modern day Pharaoh, using the resources of Libya to enrich himself and his corrupt family. He may be able to hang on to power but the writing is on the wall. Syrian strongman Bashir Assad may be next, having inherited the throne from his father in 2000. Let's hope that if the Syrian people rise up Bashir didn't inherit his father’s ruthless disregard for the lives of his people as the elder Assad murdered over 20,000 Syrians in the city of Hama in 1982 when the people rose up against his tyranny. At the least Bashir has some restless nights ahead of him wondering if his people too have developed an appetite for Pharaoh. "l have slain Pharaoh" is now the collective cry of the people of the Middle East. All people dedicated to freedom and revolution should join their cry.
Robert Saleem Holbrook #BL-5140
175 Progress Dr.
Waynesburg, PA 15370