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Mubarak, politics. Egypt. tahrir, revolution

Because of Iraq we have no role in Egyptian revolution.

  I have been bad tempered all day.  It’s because I had the misfortune to listen to Tony Blair on Egypt – sticking very much to the line that Mubarak is our bastard, who has delivered “stability” to the Middle East and we should be wary of any attempts to remove him.  So much, so predictable.  What was infuriating though was not just that this man had launched an illegal war against Iraq in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction that weren’t there. If the beneficiaries of the Egypt revolution turn out to be the Muslim Brotherhood, then we only have ourselves, or Tony, to blame. What is happening in the Middle East is the Muslim equivalent of the revolutions that overthrew communism in Eastern Europe twenty years ago.   The movement is overwhelmingly peaceful, broadly based and determined to introduce democracy to countries that has lived under dictatorship for decades.  What right do we have as outsiders to try now to dictate the course of the revolution? 

   But the truly maddening thing is that the West could have been the passive agents of freedom in North Africa, just as in Europe in the 1990s, and could have played a significant constructive role in helping countries like Egypt move into the democratic age.  But because of Iraq, we have no credibility in the region whatsoever.  Hardly surprising.  If Bush and Blair had just let the Middle East alone, instead of using military force to impose US democracy, we would probably be seeing secular liberal democracy established in countries like Egypt through force of opposition by the people. 

  Thanks to the stupidity of the Iraq war, as brought to your screens by Tony Blair et al, we in the West have opted out of history.    We behaved so badly that we even made the dictators look reasonable by comparison.  And now, of course, we are bigging up Mubarak as if he were a noble statesman and democrat, which he isn’t.  He is a tyrant and torturer. The people in Tahrir don’t trust us, and who can blame them.  

About @iainmacwhirter

I'm a columnist for the Herald. Author of "Road to Referendum" and "Disunited Kingdom". Was a BBC TV and radio presenter for 25 years - "Westminster Live" and "Holyrood Live" mainly. Spent time as columnist for The Observer, Guardian, New Statesman. Former Rector of Edinburgh University. Live in Edinburgh and spend a lot of time in the French Pyrenees. Will that do?


4 thoughts on “Because of Iraq we have no role in Egyptian revolution.

  1. Bang on the money, Iain. I expect, eventually, the Egyptian public will be given a chance to vote for US stooge A, US stooge B, or, alternatively, vote for someone they actually want and join Iran on the American military's 'to do' list.

    Posted by voiceofourown | February 7, 2011, 11:11 am
  2. I'm too young to know, but I have been struck by the openness with which we state that Mubarak was our guy, keeping things favourable for us there by force or otherwise. I think the internet has heralded a new frankness to how geopolitics works, and has worked, for eternity. Neil

    Posted by Anonymous | February 7, 2011, 3:34 pm
  3. "….the West could have been the passive agents of freedom in North Africa, just as in Europe in the 1990s, and could have played a significant constructive role."Iain I think "the West" has done enough damage in the Middle East for more than sixty years. How about they finish the promises made around, oh now, when was it? 1948? Palestinian State ring a bell?

    Posted by Jo G | February 12, 2011, 9:42 pm
  4. Hugh, There is a very good reason why America is rightly regarded as a pariah state throughout the world and not just the Arab part of the Middle East, peoples do not forget outrages against them. Think of the influence the good ole US of A now has in South America, not much and quite right after the awful mascinations of the CIA, American big business, and their government on that part of the continent. The far east? again care to name anywhere, where, the peoples slavishly follow the dictats of the so called land of the free? Africa? Sorry gone now to the Chinese, why? because the Chinese actually pay for the natural wealth the countries have, they don't impose, and that is the key word, puppet regimes that impoverish their peoples for a kick back (the regimes I'll admit are in the main just as nasty, but crucially they are not imposed). Then of course there is the hipocracy that America stands for. Take a wee while to look at where the wealth in America is generated from, all those big corperations, the supposed appogee of free market capitalism, you might notice that without the governmental contracts they are nothing….MMmmmm sounds a bit like socialism to me. And how are they able to do this? Any thoughts on the situation that we have just now where the dollar is used as the default monetary basis? and any further thoughts on how it's going to pan out, now that the world is realising that not only did American greed, hubris and arrogance cause the so called 'global finacial crises' perhaps 'globalisation' or to my mind 'American hegemisation' has just failed in the most spectacular way. And then there is the state of the working conditions the American people labour under, holidays and sick time are indivisible (god forbid you should have a lengthy illness there), can't afford or your employer doesn't provide health care? then your gubbed, but hey you live in the land of (limited) opportunity, and the free (more like a slave society to mind). Finally lets think about Blair, a man who lied to parliament, who dispensed with normal cabinet protocol to start a war against a soverign state (admitidly with a despot at the helm, one whom the good ole US of A had put there, supported and supplied with chemical weapons), a war that in all readings of international law was illegal, and a man who before leaving office made damn sure his expenses were destroyed (oh happy chance)and who so far has escaped justice and who so far has not been arraigned? Patience my friend, Anthony's time will come, and all those who in government conspired with him. Or perhaps like Kissinger will he move to and then never leave the country he served again?

    Posted by Anonymous | February 18, 2011, 7:48 pm

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