Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday:
I’m not sure the time is right for the Arab region to go through the democratic process.
Also on Friday, Saudi King Abdullah said he support Egyptian president Mubarak and called the protesters troublemakers for calling for freedom of expression:
Saudi King Abdullah has expressed his support for embattled President Hosni Mubarak and slammed those “tampering” with Egypt’s security and stability, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.
The Saudi ruler, in Morocco recovering from back surgery performed in the United States, telephoned Mubarak early Saturday, the report said.
During the conversation, Abdullah condemned “intruders” he said were “tampering with Egypt’s security and stability … in the name of freedom of expression.”
As FireDogLake notes, the U.S. State Department has taken a similar position.
As a large group of well-respected American academics wrote in an open letter today to President Obama:
As political scientists, historians, and researchers in related fields who have studied the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, we the undersigned believe you have a chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt. As citizens, we expect our president to uphold those values.
For thirty years, our government has spent billions of dollars to help build and sustain the system the Egyptian people are now trying to dismantle. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family’s influence. It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said Friday ‘political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,’ your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants.
There is another lesson from this crisis, a lesson not for the Egyptian government but for our own. In order for the United States to stand with the Egyptian people it must approach Egypt through a framework of shared values and hopes, not the prism of geostrategy. On Friday you rightly said that “suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.” For that reason we urge your administration to seize this chance, turn away from the policies that brought us here, and embark on a new course toward peace, democracy and prosperity for the people of the Middle East. And we call on you to undertake a comprehensive review of US foreign policy on the major grievances voiced by the democratic opposition in Egypt and all other societies of the region.
As Agence France-Presse reports:
“Egypt remains a major pawn in the Middle East,” said [Didier Billion, an expert at Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS) in Paris]. The West fears “a domino effect if Mubarak falls, with a protest movement that could grow across the world.”
“One of the lessons here is that we need to be on the right side of history in these countries,” said US Senator John McCain, who lost his 2008 White House bid to Obama.
“We need to do a better job of emphasizing and arguing strenuously for human rights,” he said on the CNN news channel.
“You can’t have autocratic regimes last forever. The longer they last, the more explosive the results.”
Indeed, the U.S. is now becoming concerned that continuing to back Mubarak will ensure that it is on the losing side of history.
For that reason, Obama changed his tune today, saying that he supports an “orderly transition” in Egypt. This is not a change in America’s foreign policy so as to embrace democracy in the Middle East. Rather, it is simply a realization that America’s puppet in Egypt has lost his grip on power and is impossible to save.
As a prominent writer told me:
We really should be embarrassed. TE Lawrence promised the Arabs democracy in return for their support in WWI (it was critical to Allied victory) and Great Britain welched on the promise. This is more of the same BS.
Indeed, Wikipedia notes:
Britain had promised, through British intelligence officer T. E. Lawrence (aka: Lawrence of Arabia), independence for a united Arab state covering most of the Arab Middle East in exchange for Arab support of the British during the war.
It goes without saying that the hostility of the State Department and our “allies” in the War on Terror Israel and Saudi Arabia towards democracy in Egypt gives lie to the claim that the War on Terror is about bringing “democracy” to the Middle East.