Taking sides in the Battle of the Nile



This Friday, people power in Egypt will face its ultimate test. After a week of euphoria, intimidation and careful government wooing, it will be seen whether the opposition supporters still have the grit and emotion to do the kind of rally we saw last Friday.

That’s beyond my ability to predict, but I think it’s worth noting who overseas has come out in favour of the Mubarak regime and who has not – and why. The way different government have divided is not as clear cut as one would expect.

For example, the United States and Israel, two otherwise closely allied democracies, have come out on opposite sides. Jerusalem has even criticized Washington for being prepared to dump Hosni Mubarak. There are other seeming contradictions. The Palestinian Authority, one of the few democratically elected Arab governments however weak and parlous, is also backing the Egyptian dictator. Semi-repressive Iran and democratic Turkey have come out on the same side – in support of the demonstrators.

What is driving this jigsaw breakup?
It isn’t really about democracy vs dictatorship. I would argue it’s really about status quo versus change and which of these states a government sees is in its interest.

So who would prefer Mubarak or at least see his continuation as a lesser evil?

Consider these two examples.
Israel, because they fear the peace agreement with Egypt may be endangered by a government that would include the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood (for the record, the Palestinian branch of the Brothers is Hamas). That’s big for them, so best stay with Mubarak.

Saudi Arabia, for completely different reasons, is in the same boat. Mubarak has been their main Sunni Arab ally in their geopolitical balancing game against Shia Iran. Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have been the key members of the coalition that opposes Iran’s attempts to position itself as the leader of the Muslim world stretching from Morocco to Muscat. Mubarak clearly took this line. It’s not clear a fragmented opposition government would follow his lead.

And who would prefer that Mohamed ElBaradei and his coalition of 30 or so parties rule?
The United States would even though Mubarak has been a loyal and steadfast ally. Why? The answer I would argue is the neoconservative legacy – a belief that democracy is the best solution to the militancy and terrorism leaking out of the Arab Muslim world. The Bush administration wanted to implement this by military means. The Democrats, it seems, don’t disagree with the neocon diagnosis, just the prescription. Invasion no, but supporting an indigenous democratic movement yes.

Turkey and Iran are interesting. Traditionally, the Sunni Arab world would hold these two countries, ethnically different and in Iran’s case religiously apart, in grave suspicion. But the Arab angst has been such that both have made viable bids to be leaders of the Arab Street.

To some degree, both are happy with Mubarak staying in power. His decrepit and corrupt regime has ensured that Egypt cannot assert its historical role as the natural leader of the Arab world, helping leave the door open for them.

So why have they agreed to support the revolt?
I think they believe, as do most governments, that Mubarak is finished. If they want to continue wooing the Arab Street they need to be seen as being on the side of the street-dwellers. Back the winners (something influencing US policy as well). In any case, any new government will take a decade to stabilize so Egypt will not pose a challenge for sometime.

In the long run, however, I believe they are wrong. If democracy does come to Egypt and spreads elsewhere, the Arab world could well awaken from its half-century of torpor. If so, both Turkey and Iran will find their bids for leadership running into the sand. But that will be decades away, if at all. How a country perceives its stakes in Egypt actually tells you quite a bit about that government’s worldview. How much, for example, it can feel it can gamble on the future and how much it prefers to not rock the ship of state in any way.

India doesn’t really have a dog in this fight. But Mubarak never won many points with New Delhi. Under him, Egypt often positioned itself against India in multilateral fora, especially when it came to nuclear and UN reform issues. Its not necessarily true that his successors would be any better, but for New Delhi change is worth a gamble.

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  • zhang

    FATE OF INDIA/South-Asia seems worse today than egypt, Either be radicalized to death by terror(hodoo and mosleem) OR be Rotten to death (walking corpse) by vaticanized and corrupt congress-bjp nexxus who want to keep power between the two.

    THIRD OPTION of “true freedom” (people directly elect and impeach and more ) does not seem to be happening after the following has already happened in south Asia.

    After partition, happened radicalization in pakistan.

    bin-laden in Afgan-pakistan is no coincidence, blowing of Bamiyan buddha statue is no coincidence.

    this is what the zionist/etc wanted, radicalize and cut indians on basis of religion. Or the Pakistanis-Malaysians-Afganis-etc, cut from the same indian-Asian cloth destroy their own kind.

    Complete the arabic plans of radicalization. Lot of muslims have no respect for false “lost tribes” theory of Zionist, they don’t like the buddist-vedic presence in Central Asia to be destroyed by Zionist and Arab backed white collared terrorist hiding in west.

    infact, many from central asia all the way to afgan-pak-iran-malaysia know and respect their true ancestor.

    Not just the above, the eEgyptians have/had their own faith and cCulture.

    [Reply]

    zhang-samba Reply:

    Egypt:CLASH of both side, radicalization force vs the western force

    will the egyptian emerge from both sides.

    Radicalization backed by zionist and arab money, advise.

    The Opposite side is backed by western forces

    Will Egyptian emerge to write their own democracy where there is direct election of their PM/President by people.

    [Reply]

  • sanjay mittal

    U r right change is worth a gamble :)

    Hope the regime which emerges is not a religious one which excludes minorities. Egypt still preserves its pyramids.

    hope no idiot comes in and metphorically blasts them off….

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    Petrol cars have better resale value? I have put my excellent top of the line 4 year old petrol car in the market and I am getting 17% of its original cost whereas a 9 year old diesel car flew the day after the advert – for a fantastic price I may add. Right now used petrol cars have zero market.

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  • Anonymous

    Petrol mileage of 17+ Kmpl? what car are you talking about? There is another thing: whereas the reality is closer to the mileage claims of diesel car manufacturers, among petrol cars the gap between the claim and reality is unacceptably wide.

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  • Amit

    Yes, this is exactly what I wanted to hear. We cannot rely on knee-jerk reactions or constitutional changes. The change has to be more conclusive and should in turn transform majority of the individuals in society to look at women with respect. I hope this incident gives enough motivation to politicians to bring change what is needed and raise awareness amongst the people. My prayers to the victims.

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  • Cary

    Spot on !!
    in addition to implementing severe penalty laws against rape, ramping up police presence etc we need to bring a bigger solution to this problem by educating the society for treating women well and respect. If we work on the root cause we can avoid such instances on the first place. It needs big social reform and everybody has to participate.

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  • subhash

    Eradicate vip culture and train police the art of policing .Quality meters .

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  • Brown American

    Respect and dignity of female gender starts to diminish at conception in India. A majority of Indians want Boys. Girls are more victims of feticide and infanticide. A Gender ratio of under 900 for every 1000 boys in most states, shows the bias and discrimination that is inbuilt in the Indian society. What happened to Yoga Businessman Baba Ramdev, Social Activist Anna Hazare, Spritual Leader of BJP/RSS Swami Nithyanada? what happened to RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena? Did they condemn this R ape?

    [Reply]

  • http://twitter.com/culture_curate Nilofar Ansher

    Protest Marches, Outraged Placards and Online Petitions Addressing Rape Are Not Talking to the Men in Question – the Rapists. What exactly are these protest marches, placard holding and slogans for?
    Why are we taking to the streets and talking about shaming society? Are
    we hoping that this collective outrage will shame the serial rapists of
    this world from committing the crime again? Do we think that our
    protests will instill fear in the future rapist? A regular guy, who goes
    about his work day, has a beer at night – or not – and while returning
    home to his parents, or hostel, or to his slum, or to his buddies, sees a
    girl – a teenage girl, or a middle aged woman, or an elderly lady, or a
    small child – and suddenly he is overcome with the impulse to rape them. Does he even think of his act as a crime?

    http://longformwriter.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/preaching-to-the-converted-protest-marches-outraged-placards-and-online-petitions-addressing-rape-are-not-talking-to-the-men-in-question-the-rapists/

    [Reply]

  • Ramesh Kumar

    I HAVE A QUERY TO CHETAN CHAUHAN,WHY THE MIND SET IN DELHI IS SO DIFFERENT WHEN COMPARED TO CALCUTTA?WHY DELHI HAS 10 TIMES MORE SUCH CRIMES-RAPES ( DELHI -600 PER MONTH TO 62 IN KOLKATTA)?
    THERE IS A SAYING IF CRIME PAYS ,PEOPLE COMMIT CRIME.ON TOP OF IT ,WITH MONEY YOU CAN BUY EVERYTHING.CORRUPTION IS AT THE ROOT.
    I REMEBER WHEN S.K.PATIL WAS REMOVED BY NEHRU UNDER ‘KAMRAJ PLAN’,AFTER REACHING BOMBAY,IN A PUBLIC RALLY,HE MADE A STATEMENT,”PEOPLE TALK OF CORRUPTION ,WHAT CORRUPTION,IF YOU WANT TO SEE CORRUPTION ,COME TO DELHI.”
    HE WAS TAKEN BACK IN CABINET BY NEHRU.
    KOLKATTA DOESNOT WAIT FOR POLICE,PUBLIC CARRY OUT JUSTICE.
    PEOPLE WANT JUSTICE.THIS IS WHAT OUR KIDS ARE SHOUTING AT INDIA GATE.BUT UNFORTUNATELY OUR PATHETIC PRIME MINISTER HAS GONE TO HIS HOME TOWN IN ASSAM ,I GUESS.
    WE GIVE JUSTICE TO TWO ITALIAN MARINES ,WHO SHOT DEAD OUR TWO COUNTRYMEN IN COLD BLOOD TO GO TO ITALY AND CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS AND NEVER COME BACK.
    IS THIS CONSIDERATION EVER EXTENDED TO INDIANS MR.SALMAN KHURSHID?

    [Reply]

  • Online Restaurants

    This type of vulgarity not in dress but it is set in mind.

    [Reply]

  • QBeee

    Its Christmas Eve…what would a Delhi girl ask Santa this Christmas…

    http://shaivikafunda.blogspot.in/2012/12/letter-to-santa-from-delhi-girl.html

    [Reply]

  • P Agrawal

    What can be expected from politicians when almost one-third of themselves have criminal record. One just have to read the statements given by various politicians of broad spectrum to see through their chauvinistic mind-set. Politicians and police who do not help or register cases against molestations and rape should also be tried for the same crime as the accused. All politicians with criminal record should be asked to resign and those with cases against them should be suspended until the cases are heard and settled. Police personnel should be tried for lapses and charged as criminals.

    [Reply]

    Sonali Reply:

    Justice
    I dont understand why the India Goverment waited such a long time to take an action against such crimes. Police are also to be blamed for their ignorances when thousands of reports made against various cases, they are suppose to safe guard the public especialy women but they did not take any actions to all the reported cases and this incident will be a good lesson to all the Police Dept & Politicians in India. If only the actions was taken earlier, this poor girl will not been a victim today……..By hanging the 6 evils is not a great punishment, they should be tortured before the final punishment……India Govenrment & Police Depts,forget about earing assets than concentrating in human life. You should be embarrased of all the violences happening in your own country and yet you people can’t find a solutions to all the crimes…….May the God Save India…

    [Reply]

  • Facebook

    Indians still continuing the animal culture. Delhi gangrape is the best example of that. Tom USA

    [Reply]

  • Hima Bindu

    hatsoff girl for ur courage battle..may ur soul rest in peace..

    but we know until those country brutes (who tortured u and killed) hanged
    till the death u will not have peace. Un jaanvaro ko utna hi torture karna jitna
    unhone is ladki ko diye the..they should know the pain, they should pay for what
    they did to the girl..Not only those ******** but for all whoever rape a lady or
    a girl should be sentenced to death.This is the ONLY solution. Until this law
    introduces in our Indian Judiciary there will be no end for the rapes. And I
    urge u Police of all the parts of our country please accept the complaints of
    girls no matter they are of eve-teasing, raging or rapes please responed and
    show quick action on that.But we all Indians demand u to kill those six ********
    in public torture them by any means but should know the pain in the same way
    what they gave to her, No matter there is a minor in the group,even if he is the
    minor y that sick fellow did this,he is no more a minor he is very matured so he
    have friends like that street dogs, i mean the remaining fellows, they are more
    than the wild animals by just covering themselves with human face. HANG THOSE
    SIX PHSYCO’s IMMIDIATELY.

    [Reply]

  • Hima Bindu

    When all these will stop.. Indian is still dependent..We din’t got Independence..God will our Indian girls will be safe. Is only mother womb is the safest place for us? are we not suppose to go anywhere without fear?

    [Reply]

  • Dr.Yogesh Sharma

    1.
    The cases in which the victim dies or
    get serious injury, in such cases the rapist/rapists should be given Capital
    Punishment. The victim must be given a suitable government job and Rs. 20 lakhs
    as compensation.

    2.
    The cases where the rape is committed
    in a forced, ruthless and violent manner but the victim does not die nor gets
    serious injuries, the rapist/rapists should be given life imprisonment and
    chemically the rapist should be castrated. He must be fined according to his
    financial status but not less than Rs.10 lakhs. The victim must be given
    government job and Rs. 10 lakhs as compensation.

    3.
    In other rape cases where blackmailing,
    threat, allurement, false promises etc., methodology has been used the rapist
    should be awarded at least 10 years imprisonment. The victim should be given
    government job and 5 lakhs as compensation.

    4.
    Charge sheet must be filed within 7
    days. If the concern officer fails to adhere to the time limit, he should be
    dismissed from the job. Zero tolerance must be there.

    5.
    Only women police officers should
    investigate rape cases.

    6.
    Hearing of the rape, molestation, acid
    throwing cases must be held on the day to day basis.

    7.
    District and Session level judge must
    decide the case within 3 months. If the judge fails to decide the case within
    the given period, he must be dismissed from the job.

    8.
    High Courts and Supreme Courts Judges
    also must be given only 3 moths jointly to deliver the judgment. If they fail
    to deliver the judgment within the stipulated time they should also do not be
    given any promotion, increments or any other consequential benefits.

    9.
    If at any level any lawyer/legal expert
    is found guilty of using delaying/prolonging tactics, his license/registration
    should immediately be terminated and a fine of Rs.5 lakhs must be imposed.

    10.
    If police gets concrete/solid evidence
    like CCTV footage, witnessed by responsible citizen such as Class I & II
    Officer, Gazetted Officer, Army/Air Force/Navy Officers, Doctor, Professor, Scientists,
    Professionals of some reputed groups such as Tata, Birla, Ambani, Hinduja,
    Caterpillar, Facebook, Twitter, etc., of eve teasing, molestation or harassment
    the criminal must be publicly flogged and be paraded with face blackened. In
    such cases the criminal must be given 3 years imprisonment and at least 1 lakh
    fine after summary trial.

    11.
    If any person throws acid or harm
    physically on any girl it should also be treated at par with rape and in the
    same manner the criminal must be punished and the victim must be given a
    government job with 10 lakh compensation.

    12.
    If any crime is committed against women
    such as rape, eve teasing, molestation, acid throwing and the concern police
    officer fail to identify and arrest the culprit, the police officer must be
    dismissed from the job.

    13.
    Police and judicial reforms should be
    done as early as possible.

    14. Justice department must have
    an all abiding calendar on the pattern of academic/university calendar.

    15. As teachers/universities finish all the work within the
    date of academic/university calendar, similarly judiciary must stick to judicial
    calendar.

    16. Meritorious students should be appointed as judicial
    magistrates from the reputed law colleges through campus selection for speedy
    trials.

    17. As there is rampant absenteeism, corruption problem
    among judges and court staff, so to check absenteeism of judges and court staff,
    Bio-Metric machines should be installed to check their attendance/presence.

    18. CCTV Cameras should be installed to monitor the
    workings of judges, lawyers, and court staff and to check corruption.

    19. AS most of the judges and lawyers are academically very
    poor so in promotions their performance, merit, academic excellence, research
    work and published work should be checked to promote excellence as it is done
    in the promotion of University and College teachers.

    20. Academically poor judges, corrupt judges should be
    dismissed from the job after summary trial as the practice is in the Army.

    [Reply]

  • nida

    Why doesn’t d nation boycott d Republic Day
    celebrations in totality? Ensure a “NO SHOW”. Thy don’t wnt d citizens
    gathering evn for a peaceful protest, so why shud crowds gather to hear
    thm at their convenience?
    Let us be absent wen it matters most. Let d world get a taste of our disgust. Let us shame thm by playing their game.
    if u agree then pls share and spread the word…

    [Reply]

  • sourabh sharma

    you are so fortunate that u meet a living legend. it is my all time wish.

    [Reply]

  • Debarshi

    Kushwant and I ( not me ) :-)

    [Reply]