The Egyptian Elections and Bush’s War
My article, “Bush’s war and the Egyptian elections”, which argues that “Mubarak’s rigged victory shows that right-wing predictions of an “Arab spring” were wishful thinking.” – is out at Salon.com.
‘The groundhog did not see its shadow in Egypt last week.
Hosni Mubarak’s victory in the Egyptian presidential election of Sept. 7 was about as surprising as a Las Vegas casino fleecing its customers at the roulette tables. Egyptians joked that the only requirement for winning the presidency was 24 years of prior experience. What was surprising was that only 23 percent of the eligible voters bothered to come out for the country’s first multiparty elections for the executive since 1952. Despite the conviction of supporters of the Bush administration that Bush’s invasion and bloody occupation of Iraq would somehow suddenly make Middle Easterners yearn to join the American Republican Party, the “Arab spring” of political liberalization discerned by the Wall Street Journal has yet to materialize.
In the seven months running up to the presidential elections on Sept. 7, the burly old general Mubarak suppressed popular demonstrations by the Kifayah (“Enough!”) reform movement, which demanded an end to emergency powers that the government uses to suppress civil liberties. He also ordered the police to bust up protests by the Muslim Brotherhood and imprisoned hundreds of its members and leaders. By May 2005, he had thrown 754 members in prison for participating in peaceful protests. He excluded the party, among the more popular in the country, from running for office. ‘