Egypt's President for Life Hosni Mubarak has extended the state of emergency in Pyramidland for another two years.
No surprise - emergency rule is one of several tools in the shed to maintain control ala autocracy.
This is nothing magical because it has been de rigeur for like over 25 years now. First imposed on October 6, 1981 following the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat. Lieutenant Khaled Islambouli, a supporter of the radical Mohammedist Brotherhood, shot and killed the president because of his peace treaty with Little Satan in 1979.
The state of emergency in the land of pyramids has been regularly upgraded ever since, and has long become a way of life.
Andrei Murtazin, at Russia's GRU site offers up an interesting defense of autocracy, kleptocracy and why Hosni's son and handpicked successor Gemayl "Jimmy", may have his hands full in the not so far away future.
"Mubarak is now 80. For more than a quarter-century, he has ruled Egypt
"with an iron hand in a velvet glove." It is difficult to say where Egypt would
be now without his leadership. Egypt is a secular state, but Islam is playing an
increasingly dominant role every year. Egypt's main enemy is not Israel, nor the
United States, but radical extremist groupings within the country - the Muslim
Brothers and Al Gamaa al Islamiya, or Islamic Group.
They killed the former president and declared for all to hear that their
goal is to topple the secular regime and turn Egypt into an Islamic state. That
is why the country has been under a state of emergency for so long. Any
unauthorized rallies and marches are banned in the country, as well as all
parties established on religious grounds. (Gamal Abdel Nasser also banned
religious parties in 1954 following a failed attempt on his life by the Muslim
On the other hand, there are no travel restrictions for Egyptians. The
state of emergency also does not greatly affect foreign tourists or diplomats
accredited in the country. Among foreigners only journalists, particularly
television journalists, feel some of the pinch. Defying the police does not mean
being shot on the spot either.
For example, in April Egypt saw a wave of strikes sweep across the country,
the first in 30 years. In Cairo, Alexandria and other cities, about 40,000
textile workers laid town their tools. Strikers protested the further
privatization of state-owned plants and demanded higher pay and better working
conditions. However, no disturbances or marches followed. The authorities
complied and increased wages.
Over the past 25 years, Mubarak has survived several assassination attempts
engineered and organized by the Muslim Brothers. Each time presidential security
excelled, and Mubarak was never hurt. Unable to kill the president, the
religious fanatics changed tactics and started targeting foreign tourists. Their
aim was now the country's tourism industry, one of Egypt's main money-makers.
Ten years ago, in 1997, over 60 foreign tourists from Japan, Germany and
other countries were killed in Luxor in the largest terrorist attack ever in
Egypt's history. The result was that for almost a year no Western tourists
visited the country. Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya claimed responsibility for the attack.
Since then all tourist attractions and facilities in Egypt, as well as tourists
themselves, have been under tight security.
In 2005, Mubarak decided to institute some elements of Western democracy -
after almost 25 years at the state's helm, he held the first alternative
presidential election in the country's history, followed by parliamentary
elections. He won 88.6% of the presidential vote, but with the parliamentary
elections things went wrong: more than 100 so-called "independent deputies,"
actually members of the banned religious groups, made it to parliament. They
hold only one-quarter of the seats, and therefore lack the power to stop the
president's or government's decisions.
Mubarak's enemies are cursing him for having the country follow in the wake
of American policy. But that, I think, is better and safer for the region than
militant Islamism. Egypt's population is nearing 80 million, the country is
short of resources and a food crisis is already looming on the banks of the
life-giving Nile. Today it makes one shudder to think what the world could
expect from the land of pyramids should the Muslim Brothers come to power.
Possible outcomes could be:
1. Political and economic isolation;
2. A resultant drop in living standards and economic chaos;
3. An aggressive foreign policy; and
4. Attempts at ideological expansion: declaring a jihad on its
neighbors and exporting the "Islamic revolution" beyond Egypt's borders.
To avoid this kind of scenario, Mubarak has had to ditch many of the features of
Western democracy. All those charged with terrorism are tried by a military
tribunal, which means either a death sentence or a long prison stay.
The state of emergency in the land of pyramids has become the essential
condition for a stable government in the country and quite an institution in
Egypt's political life. No one sees any sense in lifting it, at least not while
Mubarak is at the top.
Andrei uses the everpop and effective 'Hot Pocket Caliphate theory' to support unelected regimes and their leaders. No surprise - the Axis of Autocrats by design almost have to buddy up, protect and nurture each other.
OTOH, Egyptians know full well what mohamedist rule has granted Persia - keeping it locked up in a bizzaro box with the religious police and the fashion posse - proving preachers can preach ok - but kinda suck at running a government, economy or foreign affairs. Or the Strip since HAMAS came into power.
The lack of multi parties to marginalize the mohammedist appeal is significant.