Monday, 31 January 2011

The middle-east's only democracy?

One of the claims Israel makes for itself is that it's the area's only functioning democracy. It's a dubious claim: military leaders habitually become politicians, large numbers of indigenous Palestinians can't vote, unlimited immigration (Jews only) makes sure that Zionist parties are always assured of the numbers, and parties fracture and merge like a kaleidoscope. But still - they have elections and the results are observed.

It turns out now, that the Israeli government and commentariat are far less keen on democracy than on their continued unchallenged and illegal annexation of Palestine. The government has ordered its ministers to keep silent about Egypt for fear of enraging the Egyptian people even further. Into the void steps the newspaper columnist. They don't like democracy, not one bit, because they know that Egyptians - for good or ill - don't like Israel. They'd much rather the Americans Imperium upheld the dictatorship:

One comment by Aviad Pohoryles in the daily Maariv was entitled "A Bullet in the Back from Uncle Sam". It accused Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton of pursuing a naive, smug, and insular diplomacy heedless of the risks.

Who is advising them, he asked, "to fuel the mob raging in the streets of Egypt and to demand the head of the person who five minutes ago was the bold ally of the president ... an almost lone voice of sanity in a Middle East?"
"The politically correct diplomacy of American presidents throughout the generations ... is painfully naive."
I doubt the average inhabitant of an Egyptian torture chamber would describe Mubarak as the voice of sanity. 

Writing in Haaretz, Ari Shavit said Obama had betrayed "a moderate Egyptian president who remained loyal to the United States, promoted stability and encouraged moderation".
To win popular Arab opinion, Obama was risking America's status as a superpower and reliable ally.
"Throughout Asia, Africa and South America, leaders are now looking at what is going on between Washington and Cairo. Everyone grasps the message: "America's word is worthless ... America has lost it." 

Astonishing. Why on earth should the head of an independent state be 'loyal' to another state? Shouldn't, in fact, a government intend to win 'popular opinion'? 

Don't worry, I'm only being deliberately naive. In the real world, the US must continue as the Empire, never question Israel and never allow the desires of mere citizens interfere with realpolitik. Democracy is just something to drop on your enemies, not your puppets. 

Meanwhile, meet the new Vice-President of Egypt. What a nice man:

Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.
That treatment wasn't enough for Suleiman, so:
To loosen Habib's tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib – and he did, with a vicious karate kick.

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