Feb 11, 2011

The People Have Toppled the Regime

After 3 weeks of protest the regime of Hosni Mubarak has crumbled, fallen under the weight of a united people seeking greater freedom and prosperity for their country. This is certainly a development that will have aftershocks throughout the Middle East. No longer are Middle Eastern dictators and strongmen safe, even if they are supported by western powers.

Some pundits call this the Middle East's Berlin Wall moment. It certainly has deep consequences on the potential for democracy in the Middle East and whether the 'global war on terror' perpetrated by the West against Islam and the Arab people was necessary in the first place.

There is real fear that this revolution might be exported around the region to places with long-standing authoritarian governments like the Assad regime in Syria, the Hashemite Monarchy of Jordan and the Saudi family's control of Saudi Arabia. None of these regimes should be assumed to be safe. After all, just a few months ago the Egyptian government was thought to be one of the most stable and entrenched in the entire region, and now people are dancing in the streets of Cairo celebrating its collapse.

There is also legitimate concern that western powers may try to form a vanguard of democratic revolution from the remnants of the movements in Tunisia and Egypt. I have serious doubts as to whether such an arrangement would be possible, but I have no doubts as to the likelihood of such an plan to fail. The only way democratic movements will work in the Middle East is for the people of these countries to lead themselves to their own freedom.

After the re-establishment of the Shah in Iran in 1953 by the United States and a long history of involvement and interference in the political affairs of the region by colonial powers like Britain and France, the people won't accept revolution pushed by the United States. The most responsible and effective policy seems to be the one Barack Obama has already taken - let the people decide for themselves.

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Keep it civil and pg-13, please.