Guest Post: America’s Middle Eastern Puppet Regimes Are Falling Like Dominoes

Washington’s Blog

The images from the protests in Cairo, Egypt today are stunning. See this, this and this.

President Mubarak’s family has already fled the country.

As Raw Story notes:

Demonstrators calling for economic and political reforms broke through police barriers and began marching in Cairo’s streets.

Protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court in downtown Cairo and held large signs that read “Tunisia is the solution” amid massive police deployment, an AFP correspondent said.

Chanting “Down with Mubarak” — in reference to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who has been in power for three decades — they broke through several police cordons and began marching towards Tahrir Square, in scenes seldom witnessed in Egypt.

Others shouted “Tunisia is not better than Egypt” as the crowds began to swell.

A security official told AFP that at least 20,000 to 30,000 police had been mobilized in the center of the capital alone, and that the area housing the interior ministry had been sealed off.


The protest, called by the pro-democracy youth group the April 6 Movement, coincided with a national holiday to mark Police Day.

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

The fact that the protests took place across the nation, and were not led by a particular political movement or opposition party, set them apart from demonstrations in the last decade, he says.

“This time it is really a national movement,” he says. “It’s quite remarkable that the slogans raised by the demonstrators were not typical of any political party. They were general slogans about democracy, ending the state of emergency, and lowering prices. This is the beginning of a process.… The government will not respond favorably so I think the continuation of the protests is almost certain.”

While some Americans assume this is a “Arab affair”, the fact is that Egypt’s president Mubarak is a yes-man to the U.S., and the fall of the Tunisian and now Egyptian leaders are really the ouster of U.S. puppet regimes in the Middle East.

As Eric Margolis wrote last week:

Oops! Something has gone terribly wrong with Washington’s plans for regime change in the Mideast. Wasn’t there supposed to be a US and British engineered revolution against Iran’s mullahs, followed by installation of a cooperative pro-western government and a bonanza for western oil companies?

The revolution came, all right, but in the wrong place. The explosion of popular fury in Tunisia that ousted its dictator of 23-years is sending shock waves across the Arab world and has alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Pay no attention to President Barack Obama’s pious bromides welcoming the revolution in Tunisia. The US, France and their Arab satraps are deeply worried that Tunisia’s popular revolution could spark similar uprising against the dictatorships or monarchies in other members of America’s Mideast Raj, notably Egypt.

It has come to light that Tunisia’s ruling elite had dinners and wine flown in from Paris at government expense for lavish parties in their beachside villas. Shades of the Iranian revolution, when women of the ruling elite in Tehran used to send their dirty laundry to Paris for hand washing, or fly to Paris to have their hair done for a soiree.

***The US and France have always hailed Tunisia as a poster-boy for “moderation, stability, and democracy. ”

Translation: 1. moderation: following orders from Washington and making nice to Israel; 2. stability: crushing all opposition, particularly Islamist-oriented parties, muzzling the media, and paving the way for US business; 3. democracy: holding fake elections every few years. The US media soft-soaped Ben Ali and gushed over Tunisia’s “moderate” virtues. They did the same for Egypt’s Anwar Sadat.

America’s other “moderate” Arab clients, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman and some of the Gulf states, followed precisely the same model of ersatz elections, ferocious internal oppression, and absolute obedience to Washington.

Tunisia closely resembled other Arab non-oil states in having very high unemployment, social and intellectual stagnation, lack of free speech or expression, and no hope for the future unless one had links to the rapacious, self-serving, western-backed ruling oligarchy. On top of this, in most Arab states, over 60% of the population is under 25.

***Mainstream Islamist parties in the Mideast have nothing to do with al-Qaida (which barely exists any more) or anti-Western programs. Their primary concern is getting rid of the western-backed oligarchies that keep the Muslim world backwards and in thrall. Their platform is sharing resource wealth, social welfare, education, uprooting thieving oligarchies and fighting endemic corruption.

The big question now is will Tunisia’s dramatic events be a harbinger of other explosions across the volatile Arab world? All eyes are on Egypt, the home of a third of all Arabs. Egypt’s 83-year-old military ruler, Husni Mubarak, is a giant version of Tunisia’s Gen. Ben Ali.

Mubarak was engineered into power by the US after the killing of longtime CIA “asset” Anwar Sadat. Gen. Mubarak has ruled Egypt like a modern-day pharaoh ever since, crushing both violent extremist and legitimate political opposition. Mubarak’s rigged elections, winked at by Washington, are every bit as egregious as Tunisia’s.

So could the flames of Tunisia’s revolution spread to Egypt?

Today, we got the answer.

Hopefully, moderate Arab governments will replace the deposed regimes, and thus bring real stability to the region. Moderate regimes are those that are not fundamentalists of one type or another, not puppets of any superpower (the U.S. or China), and which focus on implementing sustainable economic and human rights policies which benefit the most of their people possible, instead of just the ruling elite.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander…


  1. Dennis

    Mubarak was ‘engineered’ into power after a ‘CIA asset’ Answar Sadat was assassinated? Who writes this garbage?

    1. Jackrabbit

      Tunisia hardly comes off as a US puppet in the wikileaks cable(s). The cable from Tunisia made it clear that America had limited influence and the Ambassador was astonished at the lavish way that the ruling class lived.

      It has been suggested that the cable(s) were at least partially responsible for the unrest — or the success of the unrest — since they raised questions about the support that the regime enjoyed from the US/West/World.

    2. David

      Eric (the writer) is a pro-Islamist writer who is sympathies Hamas, a terrorist organization who has strong ties with the Muslim Brotherhood organization – whose branches are known to be militant by large.
      it’s no wonder Eric is trying to present the muslim fundamentalist as ones who only try to purge corruption in their own countries, since the average joe will identify with such goal. he won’t tell you, however, what the muslim brotherhood is planning to do any non muslim under their cntrol…

      1. DownSouth

        Something tells me that just about anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with your racist ideology would be branded “pro-Islamist.”

        1. Dan Duncan


          How did you manage to cull that David is a racist from his comment?

          Seriously, let’s look at this again:

          David says that Eric is pro-Islamist, sympathetic to Hamas. That’s not a stretch.

          David says that Hamas has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a militant organization. Again, not an unreasonable statement.

          David then uses the above-referenced claims to arrive at a conclusion about Eric’s motives. Perhaps this could be characterized as ad hominem circumstantial, but overall it was quite benign….and hardly it’s racist. One can choose not to be supportive of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood without being a racist. Hell, many Muslims are not terribly supportive of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood…are they racists too?

          Yet, from this, you manage to arrive at the conclusion that David is a racist. Your sole reason is making this accusation is that it is YOU who doesn’t agree with David.

          Your reasoning, once again, is shoddy. You’re frustrated about it (as you should be). So, you project the same lame train of “thought” onto David by invoking the calling card of shoddy reasoning: The Race Card.

          1. call me ahab

            the racist tag is the easiest attempt to win an argument- it’s used all the time . . .as if the person with the accusation is somehow morally superior (with the added benefit that the accused now has to come back to the argument defending himself as being non-racist as opposed to debating the argument) . . .

            weak minds love subterfuge . . .

          2. Tim Goswell

            And yet below, in this same thread, in a comment posted at 7:30 AM, or 1 hour and 45 minutes *before* this one, so presumably you’ve had time to read it, the same David you are defending said this:

            “the state of affairs in the arab world is such, that the only thing one can hope for is a despot who is not hell bent on exporting or supporting terrorism and war.”

            Is that what you believe as well? That the only hope for the Arab people is a despot? “A person who wields power oppressively; a tyrant”?

          3. Patrice

            Let us recall the words of Edward Said, shortly before his death, in a letter responding to a smear-job done on his seminal work “Orientalism” by the lying, self-serving, fat-assed, opportunistic, cynical contrarian, also known as Christopher Hitchens:

            “So let us not accept any longer the ideological demagoguery that leaves language and reality as the sole property of American power, or of so-called Western perspectives. The core of the matter is of course imperialism, that (in the end banal) self-assumed mission to rid the world of evil figures like Saddam in the name of justice and progress. Revisionist justifications of the invasion of Iraq and the American war on terrorism that have become one of the least welcome imports from an earlier failed empire, Britain, and have coarsened discourse and distorted fact and history with alarming fluency, are proclaimed by expatriate British journalists in America who don’t have the honesty to say straight out, yes, we are superior and reserve the right to teach the natives a lesson anywhere in the world where we perceive them to be nasty and backward. And why do we have that right? Because those woolly-haired natives whom we know from having ruled our empire for 500 years and now want America to follow, have failed: they fail to understand our superior civilisation, they are addicted to superstition and fanaticism, they are unregenerate tyrants who deserve punishment and we, by God, are the ones to do the job, in the name of progress and civilisation. If some of these fickle journalistic acrobats (who have served so many masters that they don’t have any moral bearings at all) can also manage to quote Marx and German scholars – despite their avowed anti-Marxism and their rank ignorance of any languages or scholarship not English – in their favour then how much cleverer they seem. It’s just racism at bottom though, no matter how dressed up it is.”

      2. Cynthia

        I’ve noticed that those who accuse Eric Margolis of being a racial Islamic sympathizer are, more often than not, unabashed apologists for the Two-Headed Empire of the US and Israel. I suspect this about you too, David.

        1. Stelios Theoharidis

          Sure Hamas is a terrorist organization and I don’t think that anyone condones their actions or has doubts about that. But, what does anyone really expect based upon the history of these circumstances. Do you really believe after humiliating and starving a people, which is a documented strategy of the IDF and against international conventions, that they are going to show up with flowers to put in the IDF soldiers guns. It is absurd to expect that if you continually treat a people in this manner that they will not respond with violence. Based upon the recent documents, the whole peace process has really been a farce for the Israeli leaders anyway, well why is that?

          So why doesn’t Israel close its borders, well because they need cheap laborers. Why can’t a peaceful settlement be negotiated, because it is not in the interest of a corrupt security state to resolve matters which they derive legitimacy from. I say this for Hezbollah, Israel, Hamas, and Fattah; those corrupt idiots would have to actually govern their own countries and run responsible democracies. Why do that when you can maintain legitimacy through perpetual low level conflict?

          I mean why do that when you can shave money off the top of European and American military and humanitarian aid and get a nice second home in Paris, where your kids can buy Armani. Honestly, the racist part about it is that it is low level conflict and garners much more attention than considerably more terrible circumstances across the world. Urban regions in Brazil have had more child casualties from gang warfare over the past ten years. Hell the former Republic of Congo, 900 to 3,500 times as many deaths over the past ten years, shut up already about Israel.

          1. Belisarius6

            Well as they say “One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”. The only thing certain about Hamas is the majority opinion in the world is that they’re freedom fighters. It’s only the U.S., Israel, the E.U., Canada, and Japan who flag them as a terrorist organization. Furthermore don’t lump everyone in the Middle East as corrupt – certainly Israel and Fatah are – it’s openly acknowledged, but both Hezbollah & Hamas provide strong social services for those who live in the areas they control, and both have been democratically elected in independently verified elections. That’s something virtually no other middle eastern country can claim … including Israel.

          2. Gesell Got It Right

            USA & israel are terrorists states and no one says nothing, yeah well, because they are in power in this global system.

            Answer to jingoism is more jingoism.

  2. Jojo

    When I read this story on Tunisia, it eerily seemed to me that one could substitute USA wherever Tunisia was mentioned and still have the same story. How long before the riots start here?
    January 20, 2011

    Tunisia’s Dangerous Jobs Shortage
    Youth unemployment set the stage for the Tunisian revolution–and that’s a problem common to many countries in North Africa and the Middle East

    The “Jasmine Revolution” that brought down Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali came as a shock. Tunisia’s annual per capita income of $9,500 outstrips those of other North African countries. Its business schools attract students from its neighbors, and Tunisian women are among the least restricted in the region.

    Scratch a little deeper, though, and the country has the same problems as the rest of North Africa and much of the Middle East. Tunisian unemployment is officially 14 percent. According to political scientist Azzedine Layachi of St. John’s University in New York, the jobless figure may be 35 percent for youths. The economies of Tunisia and its neighbors– suffocatingly bureaucratic and dominated by the state–cannot create jobs for many of the 1 million or so university graduates and other young people coming onto the labor market each year.

    As prices for commodities such as wheat rise, the decades-old practice of buying off the discontented with cheap bread and other subsidies is becoming unaffordable. Egypt already devotes 20 percent of its budget to subsidies for food and fuel. “Many of the governments in the region are going to be under pressure over the next few years,” says Tarik Yousef, dean of the Dubai School of Government. The Arab economies must grow 6.5 percent per year to bring down unemployment, according to a recent International Monetary Fund study–about two percentage points higher than the region has achieved over the last decade.

    Executives complain that overcrowded universities are not turning out graduates with useful skills. “Language and technology skills are a must in today’s job market, but the public education systems are not providing these,” says Fadi Ghandour, chief executive officer of Amman-based Aramex, the region’s largest courier company. Large state companies that overpay their employees in unproductive operations hobble the economies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. In Egypt, new hires in the public sector are paid 46 percent more than private-sector counterparts, according to the IMF, while red tape discourages hiring. “In many countries, the private sector has been hamstrung by regulation and unable to take over the role of creating jobs,” says Paul Gamble, head of research at Jadwa, a Saudi investment bank.

    The bottom line: Tunisia’s revolution highlights the region’s economic fragility, especially in the vital area of youth employment.

  3. nilys

    Let’s see who emerges as the leaders of these ‘revolutions’. It may be that old stooges were unwilling to make space for new stooges and required a bit of nudging.

    1. attempter

      Nice try at being a demoralization troll, but we remember your past shilling for the banks, so I think more people will take you as a counterindicator.

      1. nilys

        Demoralization occurs when one expects great turn-arounds and great changes and these changes don’t happen, leaving the same people and arrangements in place. That leads to apathy. I preserve my high spirits by preemptively being realistic.

        If “by shilling for the banks” you mean my complete bafflement as to how foreclosures could be an issue around which to rally against the banks, you got me there. I am still of the opinion that foreclosures is a loser as a rallying cause. Income inequality, specifically relative impoverishment of the educated class, would seem to me to be a better cause, but that just me.

        1. attempter

          Why would it have to be one or the other?

          Nevertheless, the Land Scandal not only obviously has vast political potential – the banks are now assaulting the middle class in their own homes – but it’s also not a fight anyone from that plummeting middle class who doesn’t want to be a slave has any choice but to take up because, um, they’re stealing their homes.

          Not to mention the fact that exposing the fraudulence of the MBS is the way to unmask the fake balance sheets and shatter the Bailout and bring the zombies down once and for all.

          1. nilys

            ‘The banks’ assault “the middle class’ in a myriad of ways. But to beat on the banks alone would not be fair to the banks. What about the industrialists? The model is: make it abroad, sell it in the US, pocket the labor arbitrage. The CEOs get so much pay because they are made into shareholders, and they are made into shareholders so that their interests would be alined with the interests of the company shareholders. A fair question is: whose interests the CEOs’ interests are not alined with? Throw in the debt holders whose interest is to ensure that the debt is never repudiated. And their you have it – the dividing line.

            The balance sheets are just a bunch of numbers that in the final analysis merely reflect the power structure on the ground in the society.

  4. Reeza

    “Moderate regimes are those that are not fundamentalists of one type or another, not puppets of any superpower (the U.S. or China), and which focus on implementing sustainable economic and human rights policies which benefit the most of their people possible, instead of just the ruling elite.”


    Isn’t describing the U.S. as conservative (Christian) nation, as it often does, essentially one aspect of the same “fundamentalism” coin as well?

    In which case, it’d would also be fair to note that Washington has also been unable to practice a ‘sustainable’ economic policy for almost four decades, much less be able to ‘benefit the most of their people possible’: note how 93% of the lowest income earners in the States have had their DISPOSABLE INCOME held constant for the last 20 years, while the fat cats lap it up.

    fact check ladies and gents: the rich get richer everywhere in the world, whether they be wearing suits, kafiyehs or otherwise.

  5. Paul Tioxon

    The overall level of education in these countries is surprising as is the joblessness and what people are willing to do without resorting to radical behavior. The story of the Tunisia uprising is based on the self immolation of a young man, who had set up a street fruit vending stand. He was a college educated professional with no job prospects at all. Selling fruit was his means to get by and he was reportedly hassled by cops. He could not take it anymore and set himself on fire, in public as a protest. The rest is history. We saw the Iranian street politics, where US puppetry is definitely not the case. The young people see how the rest of the world lives, they have smart phone social media access and they are sick and tired of selling fruit when they see countries like China being feted by a Black President. The message is clear, they could have better lives if not for internal domestic oppression. Morocco seems to have much potential having met some young educated Moroccans. The first country to give full diplomatic recognition of the USA, in the face of the British Empire, was Morocco. In 1786, we signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

    Egypt has been fighting for its life against the Muslim Brotherhood, the forerunner of al queda for decades. This is not to give a pass to Mubarek, he could have allowed some moderate, non Islamic zealots to absorb some disaffected opposition. But, he will reap what he sows. Don’t expect any dominoes anymore than in Iran. It may be a while for an older generation to die off before the young, in greater numbers can take power and change to a more democratic nation state political system.

  6. psychohistorian

    The days are numbered for America’s empire. Unfortunately the death will be messy because the truth has been hidden from the public and they are still programmed by the media to support hate as the answer to any problem…..that is hate of everyone but those pulling the strings of today’s society.

  7. Expat

    If Egypt is battling for its life against the Muslim Brotherhood, it is because of its policies and practices over the past seventy-five years. Much as the US has reaped the rewards of its sustained efforts to prop up hedonistic, dictatorial regimes in the region while supporting Israel in its Palestinian holocaust, Egypt has given life to Muslim extremism.

    Does anyone think the Black Panthers would have faded away if we had not gone through with Johnson’s great social programs and integration? If we had continued to oppress blacks in America we would be fighting against our own Muslim Brotherhood, Black Christian Liberation Front, African Jews Freedom Foundation, and the Afro-American Flying Spaghetti Monster Armed Alliance.

    Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the FIS are not the problems, they are merely the symptoms.

  8. attempter

    Here’s a good thread with developments in Egypt:

    How wonderful if these criminal regimes actually do start to be rolled back. But they’ve only made a start in Tunisia, driving out the head crook. The regime is still in place.

    Tunisia’s despotism and forced stagflation is practically the same as ours. (And with the just-passed Food Tyranny bill, they plan to even be confiscating our equivalents of fruit carts.) This is our predicament just as much as theirs, and should be our transformation just as much as theirs, if we accept our obligations of citizenship and self-preservation.

    As for “moderate Arab governments”, meaning the more refined kind of kleptocracy we have in the Western countries, that’s exactly the trap these vigorous people’s movements must not fall into.

  9. David

    The for a peaceful change of power in arab countries is naive, and is a result of a complete lack of understanding of the arab culture and tribalism. the state of affairs in the arab world is such, that the only thing one can hope for is a despot who is not hell bent on exporting or supporting terrorism and war.

    1. hornet

      I don’t usually comment on Yves’ blog (I lurk, I read and I admire… actually I get pissed off a lot at what’s exposed here day in and day out), but my goodness, someone should point out all the anti-Arab trolls coming out of the woodwork for this one.

      It’s almost like the the Megaphone got turned on for this one… (…

      I imagine that if it was in Likud’s interest to prop up China’s politburo at that time, these same people would have been shitting on the Tiananmen protesters too, talking about the inbred Chinese need for a strongman, and the incompatibility of their simple ways with basic human rights…

    2. DownSouth

      A complete lack of understanding of “the arab culture and tribalism” so that “the only thing one can hope for is a despot who is not hell bent on exporting or supporting terrorism and war”?

      How does one deal with such overt and explicit racism?

      As Edward W. Said observed in his preface to Orientalism:

      Today, bookstores in the United States are filled with shabby screeds bearing screaming headlines about Islam and terror, Islam exposed, the Arab threat, and the Muslim menace, all of them written by political polemicists pretending to knowledge imparted to them and others by experts who have supposedly penetrated to the heart of these strange Oriental peoples over there who have been such a terrible thorn in “our” flesh.

      But it’s not racism without a purpose. This racism has a very specific goal in mind: the quest for power that Adam Curtis elucidates in The Power of Nightmares.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Funny how, if Israel is the middle east’s only democracy as claimed, the Likudniks are so dead set against their neighbors going democratic.

      As Robert Kaplan wrote in an NYT Op-Ed yesterday, it’s so much easier to work with dictators and autocrats in Egypt and Jordan. This is how the Lobby pollutes our political discourse and degrades our values.

  10. Cynthia

    Recall that a couple of years back, the corporate-controlled news outlets here in the US spent a lot of airtime covering the so-called “green” revolution in Iran, but they aren’t doing the same for the grassroots revolutions taking place in Tunisia and now Egypt. I think this is because unlike Tunisia and Egypt, Iran has an oppressive regime that isn’t friendly to the US.

    This leads me to believe that the US may indeed have used the Pentagon’s black budget to finance Iran’s populist uprising, making it not such a grassroots revolution after all. It seems to me that every time a populist revolution in the Middle East has a color attached to it — be it blue, purple, or green — and doesn’t result in real and meaningful change, the US is behind it. And notice that whenever an oppressive dictator from the Middle East is forced to flew to the US or a country that is friendly to the US, excluding Israel of course, this is a dead giveaway that his country is in the midst of a populist revolution that is genuinely for real.

    1. Eclair

      It would help us all to better understand your objections, Lilguy, if you could, perhaps, be a tad more specific.

  11. SteveK9

    Only one problem here, is that the last Islamic revolution deposed an oligarchic regime and replaced it with one even more corrupt. Iran may have a democracy that works for it’s people — some day, but for now they have something worse than the Shah.

  12. Pavel Chichikov

    Nothing and no one has been overthrown yet in Egypt. There’s more anticipation here than insight. I think it likely, though, that a rise in basic commodities prices will have more of an effect in the mid-range than ideology, whatever happens.

  13. wordsdontmatter

    wow.. I did not know we gave 1.5 billion a year in “aid” to Egypt. Nice to know as the world currency we can just print this crap and give it away..wish i could!

    That newfound energy will be troubling for Mubarak, a stalwart United States who receives about $1.5 billion in American aid each year.

    I need to find a book about all the aid we are giving. Sad thing is since most of “us” americans are ignorant, by design, of foreign affairs and other countries, The president, any president, has a very free hand in world and intl relations.. we need to get more involved.

    sadly, i had to move to London, 2 years, then Spain, barcelona, 6 years to get a hard knocks IR training. Well, it paid off as I am working on my 3rd language now (spanish, portuguese) and studied IR focusing on southern cone in the states and hope to move to brazil one day b4 everything blows up here..,0

  14. Indigenous Centurion

    dirty laundry to Paris for hand washing, or fly to Paris to have their hair done for a soiree.

    ***The US and France have always hailed Tunisia

    Plutocrats don’t recycle through laundry. They put on new clothes everyday. Naaaah! Several times per day. They don’t go to barbers. Barbers come to them. When you are wealthy, everything comes to you. Can you believe everything that you read? You are my people, Populace. Start thinking, People!


  15. wunsacon

    >> but for now they have something worse than the Shah.

    They’ve been attacked, sometimes occupied, and at all other times harassed since the 1930’s (and probably before that). Thank the Soviet empire, the British empire, and the US empire for that (and who-knows-who-else before that).

    What do you expect happens in a country’s internal politics when it really *is* being attacked by foreigners?

Comments are closed.