All right, so things in Egypt are moving painfully fast, once cracks open in a damn, it is difficult to stop a total collapse. However, if the initial snowballing effect is resisted, and there is no panic among the elites and the Army, the protesters quickly run out of steam.
However, as I stated in my previous note on the subject during the Tunisian riots, though these protests are possible in Egypt as well, it is certainly another matter. The security apparatus under Mubarak is loyal, powerful and expertly built for suppression.
We saw Iran survive a similar seemingly unstoppable mass uprising (supported by the political opposition) just recently after the contested election of Ahmadinejad.
So it is quite possible that Egypt could ride out the storm either intact or with a diminished grip on power or with promised declarations that neither he nor his son will run again for President. It is also possible that the 82 year old Mubarak has had enough, collapses, and that this continues to spread to other totalitarian regimes. Syria is an even harder target than Egypt due to the fact Assad is more popular there then Mubarak, Islamist movement is much less pronounced and the economic situation there is not as bad. Assad has also shown to the Arab Street that he has been able to thus far, avoid war and avoid surrender to Israel and the west, becoming a bit of mini regional superpower along with Iran and the rest of the Axis of Evil. This gives street credibility.
The Kingdoms such as Jordan, Saudi Araibia, etc have the added benefit that they are actually made up more truly ethnic arabs and tribes, which inherently love the tribal King much more than others can love some sort of dictator or life long President. Most of them also have great resources in Oil (though not problem stricken Jordan always stuck between a rock and a hard place). Their situation is also constantly precarious because of the high degree of muslim fundamentalism. An muslim extremist no longer sees tribes, or ethnicity which is what the muslim world was built and divided upon, he only sees muslims and infidels.
In any event. My advice to the dictators is just that they hold tough, and explain this to the generals, and that if they do not let the facebook, twitter media rampage scare them, it dies down. But if this continues and succeeds, there is grave concerns.
Bush predicted that having a democratic Iraq and Afganistan in the heart of the Arab World, despite the problems, will be a spreading phenomenon. This is true, it is once thing for arabs to know people in the UK and US vote for their presidents, and quite another to get constant reporting on their Al Jazeera bout their hard core neighbors doing so with politicians speaking the same language. This is infecting, and destabilizing to the states, which is why they were against a US invasion (not to mention fear of Iranian expansion which Saddam was a bulwark against).
Bush, events are proving, was right again. However, that he was right in that Democracy spreads does not mean it was necessarily the right strategic goal, or better said, perhaps for the US in the long run it was (which was Bush’s job to secure) but it certainly is not beneficial to Israel in the short term, and very worrisome.
The west has recently been blinded by the idea of freedom to such an extent that they believe it is the answer to everything and the obsolescence of everything else previous. This is not so. Western nations used to want freedom for their own people, this was their stated goal. And they were ready to defend that freedom with blood.
Ironically, the west has largely forgotten freedom at home, as it increasingly regulates, legislates, judiciates, taxes, inhibits, prohibits and socializes the life its of its people causing an economic decline, while it obsessively pursues the freedom of others, most specifically its enemies. And again, it is ready to defend that freedom with blood.
This is all based on the following fallacy which has swept the west in the wake of Political Correctness:
“There are no wars between peoples (or at least there should not be), just between peoples and a bad individual or Regime at most”
The US invades Afghanistan, and it is “liberating it” from Osama and the Taliban. It invades Iraq in order to free Iraqis. It constantly declares and re declares (though the muslim world heeds it not) that the US i not in a war against Islam or the Arab world. Arafat was the enemy, not the palestinians; and Iran who wants to nuke and destroy the West? All we want is to free the beautiful Iranian people from the clutches of Ahmajiiinnahhadad. The US fights Dr. Evils, and “frees” people. Wars between countries are no longer allowed in the western political rhetoric because that would be chauvinistic, nationalistic and bigoted.
But wars ARE between peoples. In the not so far past, the West fought Nazi Germany. The situation was a prime candidate for today’s naive rhetoric… the West simply wanted to Free Germany from the clutches of a madman Hitler. You cannot find this rhetoric from the Western leaders then. The West was fighting Germany itself. No doubt Hitler was evil, but there was no allusion that the entire free world with millions of soldiers was fighting one short mustached man. It was fighting Germany and all of its might, (and Japan and other minor allies of course).
It is true that Germany and the West are no longer open enemies, and in fact Germany is in many ways part of the West, but that happened after and because Germany was defeated. Not Hitler.
In our case today, the Muslim himself is an enemy of the west. Not just the terrorist leader, and not just the dictator, but the people themselves. Making them vote for their leader simply allows for a more efficient leader and for the removal of a inefficient one. In fact, it allows for the removal of a leader who wants peace, when the street wants war. Turkey is a prime example, with a modern thinking elite, it has been an Israeli ally and a EU candidate… due to its democracy, it has continually been Islamicized in recent years, becoming an enemy of Israel and increasing friend to Iran.
The freedom cures all movement was shocked when palestinians gave Hamas electoral victories. I was not. Why would it be surprising that a people vote for those they see as valiant resistors to the enemy, as opposed to for those they see as bending to him? (Only Israelis vote that way). The Lebanese shia will vote for Hizballah just as well (in the last few days, they have taken over the govt).
In practical terms, a dictator is isolated, obsessed with keeping power, and runs an inefficient regime by definition. He has old Russian T54 tanks and is of no military danger whatsoever. This was the case with Saddam’s Iraq, is the case with Syria, and is the case with Iran (except for the nuke thing we have to blow up). Now, Iraq is an insurmountable obstacle for Israeli planes to bomb Iran. Now it is a US ally, that will get F16s, Sherman tanks etc.
Making your enemy, free, strong, and rich is not exactly and necessarily the way to defeat him. And the notion that free peoples have no enemies is a fallacy.
Israel until now had no real threat except itself. Since the fall of the Sovier Union until today, it had decades of lost opportunities. There was no cold war, no WWIII looming if it took action, and so no unbearable pressure by two superpowers to not act. There was ailing, corrupt and weak dictatorships with aging Russian weapons surrounding it, and a single friendly superpower in the world. It was the time to set the house in order. To do great things.
The great earlier Israeli leaders had not had such an easy situation. The military superiority gap they presided over was much smaller, and the Cold War realities bound their hands with existentialist threats. Ben Gurion himself apologized on the air to the public that he had to leave the Sinai peninsula, not because he wanted to, but because he received two letters from the two great Super Powers threatening invasion if he did not.
The last couple of decades were different. Israel squandered these decades in defeatist leftism.
Now the opportunities seem to be closing. Demographically, the muslim world is taking over the west. The West, mired in anti-freedom domestic socialism is declining to freedom embracing Asian nations, and the weak leftover regimes from the 70s are falling. If they are supplanted by “democracies” no matter how extremist, no matter their enemy actions, they will be loved and praised by the US because they are now “democracies” They will get the best weapons, aid, and can grow in strength and legitimacy. Both bad for Israel.
The specter of Israel remaining invisible on a world map, increases and increases with seemingly no concern from the Israelis.
There is another more menacing danger, which could yield opportunities. The Arab world in the 60s to 80s barely remembered they were muslim. Marxism rule the day. The pioneers of terror shunned Islam. The dictators left today are from such secular times.
But Islam has grown by leaps and bounds in the newer generations. This islamic enemy is stronger than the marxist one we had previously. People who believe are much stronger than those who do not.
These popular uprisings of today, are in great part fueled by this Islamist wave. In fact, I used Iran above as an example of a country that rode out the popular protests and remains in firm hands of the oligarchy.
There is an important difference to be marked. Iran is already ruled by the Islamists. The protesters really were a bunch of freedom wanters. The strength of the believers defeated them
In the other arab regimes, it is quite the opposite, and it is the street rabble that is very religious and the regime that is very secular (at least privately).
And here lies the opportunity. If the wave of Islamics does not fade fast (as the marxism one faded quickly with this new generation), and these new “democracies” quickly become Hamas or Taliban-like… even Turkey like with an increasing Muslim antagonism to the west. In an extreme episode, even if large parts or all of the muslim world unite in a pan arab pan Muslim super nation… a return to the caliphates of old, then the Western leftist will find no more grammatical way of escaping our age’s conflict. The west may be forced to war with the East if the restraining force of the dictators is gone and the will of the street is followed. If this happens relatively soon, the West will prevail, because if we continue our decline, and the enemy’s demographic expansion, that final conflict will be much more bloody and uncertain.
Unfortunately however, life, politics and war being quite complex, there is always danger and always opportunity. One cannot rely on good fortune alone and the wanted outcomes in others. At the end of the day, one must take the right decisions, and lately in Israel especially, and in the West in general, the wrong decisions are always taken. So it matters not what the enemy does, dictator or democracy, theocracy or Marxist, cold war or no cold war, as long as we continue to take the wrong path we will ensure defeat.
Whatever the enemy does; Let us return to the great Chess board with our great minds, and Win.