Egypt: A Matter of Time

By Radio Havana Cuba:

In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak’s government and his main allies, the United States, Israel and the European Union are playing to gain time for a transition tailored to their interests, while the massive opposition to the regime just struggle on trying to hasten the fall of the president to begin a process of change.

It is clear that Mubarak has to leave, as did his Tunisian colleague Ben Ali. What is on the table is how and when, and as this Gordian knot remains unresolved, the crisis will be extended because, although the octogenarian leader insists on clinging to power, people do not give in and at the beginning of the third week of protest the pressure is greater than ever.

This is a delicate geopolitical problem for the United States because Egypt is, after Israel, its main regional ally, and has gone along with this regime for so long, since 1981.

Even Barack Obama held that position during his visit to Cairo in the early months of his administration when he said that… “Mubarak is a good man, someone who has done good things and maintained regional stability. We will continue to support him because he is a friend.”

Although he is no longer considered a good man, the White House hasn’t strongly demanded him to leave office either. What they want is a quick transition, but without the president’s resignation. Washington, therefore, uses the ambiguity to earn minutes as it did in Honduras when the coup against Manuel Zelaya. Ring a bell?

As Professor Noam Chomsky says, the U.S. power in Egypt is overwhelming and will continue there with its usual script: supporting the dictator as long as possible, and where unsustainable, they would turn 180 degrees and say they there was always with people and their demands while erasing their guilt and then maneuvering so that the situation remains the same, but with different faces.

As for his chances of maintaining control, he has the support of the army, an institution that would not risk losing more than one billion dollars a year in help from the States. For many years, when Mubarak was vice president, the Egyptian armed forces depended heavily on the Pentagon’s aid and that is a key factor that shouldn’t be underestimated.

On the other hand, the desperation of the population has been growing due to the severe economic situation in which the majority live. A study by the United Nations Fund for Children says that 50% of local children under 18 live in poverty and are unlikely to have the opportunity to access acceptable levels of education and health.

The UNICEF report, prepared between 2007 and 2009 shows that seven million children are deprived of at least some of their fundamental rights while another five million are in locations that do not meet the basic conditions to be considered a home.

The World Bank, whose statistics are generally conservative, says that almost 10% of adults are unemployed, and local media warned of the serious food situation due to price gouging two years ago.

As an Egyptian citizen recently said, no one makes arevolution to change the car, but people are pulled into the streets because of hunger, because if they get money to buy bread, they have to do seven hours in line and not always successfully.

And so, this is not a case of stirring up religious ghosts nor obcure allusions to a wicked Islam, It´s a question of time. To Mubarak his friends are looking for him, to the people he has already gone. This is why there are not going to abandon the squares.

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