Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What happens when Hosni Mubarak dies?

Some things we know. There its going to be a big funeral ceremony. Barack Obama will be there. He will probably even speak. He'll talk about what a great man Mubarak was. Netanyahu may give a speech in which he concurs that Mubarak was a critical part of the American colonial structure that Israel depends on for survival.

We are also relatively sure that the US and Israel, Mubarak may think as payment for the Gaza blockade, will support Gamal Mubarak as his successor. That will be enough to put Gamal into office. Americans have themselves convinced that Iran's elections are not fair and that therefore Iran is just as despotic as Egypt. In fact, the comparison with Egypt and Saudi Arabia is an important element of why it is so important to Westerners to believe Iran's elections are not fair. Americans who insist, against all evidence, that a stupendous fraud occurred in Iran in June 2009 do so in part to deflect questions about the regional colonial structure that the United States rules.

What I'm not sure of is how the people of Egypt will react to the death of Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak has not captured the hearts and imaginations of Egyptians the way Nasser did, but he is, and has been for a long time, the embodiment of Egyptian political power. Hosni Mubarak represents Egypt itself as much as any person.

Anwar El-Sadat's funeral was well attended by Western dignitaries, and dramatically attended by Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin who walked to the tomb and away from it rather than ride in a car to avoid violating the Jewish Sabbath. The people of Egypt were barred from attending the funeral.

I expect Mubarak's funeral to have some Egyptian popular participation. People who are concerned with the lack of Egyptian independence under Mubarak's rule will not be loudly sobbing, but every society has many people who are less concerned with politics and more concerned with patriotism and belonging to a group. It will be clear from the proceedings though, that the man who died was not a national hero.

But Mubarak will be dead, no different than if he had lived his life as a janitor. The only benefit from accepting a relationship where he pathetically followed the orders of the US Congress will be that his son will have the opportunity to do the same. One reason Gamal will succeed his father is that hereditary dictatorships work very well for subservient leaderships. For Gamal to break Egypt's relationship with AIPAC would be to disclaim his own father who accepted the relationship. There are strong psychological reasons that make such a break more difficult than it would be for a new leader.

My best guess is that Egypt will have a hereditary string of pro-American dictators that lasts as long as Israel remains a Jewish state. Egypt does not have Jordan's land borders with Iraq and Syria but it, like Jordan, is thoroughly saturated in its political and military establishments with ties to Israel and the United States.

When Mubarak dies, not much will change, but it will be slightly more clear the degree to which Sadat and Mubarak traded the future of their country for their personal and familial aggrandizement.

1 comment:

Za3bolla said...

Hear hear!