Is Egypt the Next "Domino" to Fall

Last week there was a huge demonstration in the streets of Egypt, an atypical scene for the country controlled by the Mubarak Regime since 1981. Big Pharoah was cautious on his take of the situation:

I have to admit that I never witnessed such unprecedented demonstrations in Egypt. Here the figure of the president is revered and no one dares to cross this red line. The president in Egypt is like the pope to Catholics or the Imam to Shias, he’s infallible and he’s eternal. This is the reason why I am very surprised that the issue of Mubarak’s fifth term is actually being discussed inside and outside Egypt.

Even though I do respect the courage of today’s demonstrators, I’ll still vote for Mubarak’s fifth term next October! You all know where I stand on this issue. There are currently no alternatives to Mubarak’s regime and my president must be pressured to liberalize the political discourse in Egypt so that alternatives start to pop up and then we can be prepared to vote, and not the other way round. Today’s demonstrators were composed of leftist radicals, Islamists, and a number of liberal figures. Again, I respect their courage and initiative but they’re definitely not my cup of tea.

When people outside Egypt see such demonstrations, they think that the entire Egyptian population is asking Mubarak to step down. This is not true. While millions of Egyptians are dismayed at the state of the country, they are living in political stagnation because they’re busy striving to put food on the table. They simply don’t want troubles.

Today Mubarak ordered political reform in his country:

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday ordered a revision of the country’s election laws and said multiple candidates could run in the nation’s presidential elections, a scenario Mubarak hasn’t faced since taking power in 1981.

The surprise announcement, a response to critics’ calls for political reform, comes shortly after historic elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories, balloting that brought a taste of democracy to the region. It also comes amid a sharp dispute with the United States over Egypt’s arrest of one of the strongest proponents of multi-candidate elections.

“The election of a president will be through direct, secret balloting, giving the chance for political parties to run for the presidential elections and providing guarantees that allow more than one candidate for the people to choose among them with their own will,” Mubarak said in an address broadcast live on Egyptian television.

Mubarak — who has never faced an opponent since becoming president after the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat — said his initiative came “out of my full conviction of the need to consolidate efforts for more freedom and democracy.”

…Mubarak said he asked parliament and the Shura Council to amend Article 76 of the constitution, which deals with presidential elections. Mohammed Kamal, a leading member of the ruling party’s policy-making committee, said parliament would propose its amendment within two weeks.

So, maybe this is the next domino to fall in the Mideast. It kind of reminds you of the quick collapse of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe. Who’s next? Iran?

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