Actually, my brain is completely fried after the various long posts I’ve made this week (and I’m in the middle of writing a Wikileaks one), but I wanted to mark the Day of Departure protest in Egypt today. So I urge you to go over and read @zunguzungu‘s excellent commentary & roundup at Day of Departure? He’s an excellent writer — much better than me as much as it pains me to admit it 😉 — and if he’s not on your blogroll or twitterfeed, he should be. In fact it was an earlier article of his that really set off lightbulbs over my head about Wikileaks, so if his stuff looks familiar it’s because it’s hardly the first time I’ve linked to him.
At this point, I am very wary of the rush to put Omar Suleiman in place of Mubarak. First, he’s Mubarak’s designated successor, so that alone should tell you he would merely keep the regime presently in Egypt intact. Second, he’s the main point man in Egypt for the U.S.’s rendition program whereby Egypt does the dirty work of torturing our suspects so we can keep our hands clean. I wouldn’t want such a man running my country, and Egyptians don’t want that either! The U.S. supports Suleiman as it’s clearly in the state’s interest to keep the various programs and agreements in place with Mubarak’s regime even after his departure. These reasons alone are enough to soundly reject Suleiman. As @zunguzungu points out in his article, the present Egyptian constitution has a clearly designated successor to the President — and I fully agree with him that Egypt should follow its constitution in this respect, and then hold elections at an agreed upon time for the new President.
In the meantime, Mubarak’s police force must be disbanded and/or prosecuted: the entire world has witnessed their appalling and atrocious actions; they are little more than paid thugs to carry out his dirty work, which includes harassing and killing civilians, violence, and vandalism of the city’s infrastructure and national treasures. I’d also take a very close look at the military’s top brass most closely affiliated with Mubarak. The army’s shifting position with regard to helping protesters one day and siding with the police or standing idly by speaks to me of a conflict somewhere in the chain of command with some pro- and some anti- Mubarak people changing the orders. Or in trying to play sides in order to emerge “winners” regardless of who wins control of Egypt.
The U.S. is going to try to orchestrate the details of the regime “change” because it is in its perceived best interests to maintain the ally it has invested in for the last 30 years. As Noam Chomsky points out, what the U.S. fears is independence, not religious fundamentalism. After all, we deal just fine with Saudi Arabia which is even more of a fundamentalist nation than Iran ever was. And if I’m going to be totally honest? We’re pretty fucking fundamentalist ourselves, moreso than most nations! My hope is that the protesters succeed in wrangling what is best for Egypt.