Obama, What About "Mubarak Out" Do You Not Understand?
Obama's reiteration, pointed out best in Robert Naiman's Just Foreign Policy blog, that Mubarak lead an "orderly transition" is precisely what opposition leader El Baradei has been complaining bitterly about. The Egyptian people do not want Mubarak to lead shit. They want him to leave the country, now.
Our astute Naiman writes:
On Sunday, Secretary of State Clinton appeared to take a step towards Egyptian protesters calling for democracy: she urged Egyptians to take up a "national dialogue" that would lead to "free and fair elections this fall." But the U.S. is still insisting that a transition to democracy should be led by the Mubarak government, while the opposition in Egypt sees the departure of the present government as necessary for a democratic transition.
The big mistake Obama is making is that, in this context, the words "orderly" and "Mubarak" are oxymorons. There can be no real stability or order as long as Mubarak clings to power like a barnacle. The Egyptian people, who have resisted the government's campaign of provoking the crowds to violence by releasing criminals from prisons and paying them to loot and cause mayhem, are Egypt's best guarantor of stability, not Mubarak.
By saying nothing publicly at all regarding Mubarak or a transition, Obama would be doing less damage than he is doing now. Even public silence regarding Mubarak's role or future would remove the dictator's last crutch. It's bad enough there has been no further mention of Mubarak's $1.4 billion in US military assistance being cut off if he doesn't listen to the people and get out.
Whether Obama is exhibiting foreign policy incompetence or carrying out a calculated ploy to buy Mubarak time, for chaos to foment, is unknown. We can only hope it is the former.
Michael Scheuer, former head of the Bin Laden unit at the CIA and outspoken critic of US Middle Eastern policy, wrote of the contradiction between our purported values and our support of Middle Eastern regimes like Mubarak's, in "Imperial Hubris":
We have nothing in common with the regimes; the tie is based overwhelmingly on the West's obsession with cheap oil. Break the link and we are free of associations that earn us only hatred and violence in the Muslim world.
I would not word it this way except Egyptians are dying in the streets every day Mubarak stays on, so I don't really care what anyone thinks about it: Obama, shut up. You are doing more harm than good. The Egyptian people have spoken. What about "out" do you not understand?
Right now Mubarak should appreciate he's only being asked to leave, not stand trial in Hague as a torturer. The people of Tunisia are calling for the arrest of their former dictator. This could be a guy who doesn't know to get out while the gettin's good.
Just Foreign Policy has put together an excellent online tool to get the message to the White House and your congress members easily and quickly, by entering your zip code. Please send both the emails and make the few calls recommended. Stop the bleeding.
"Urge the Obama Administration to drop its insistence that a transition to democracy in Egypt should be led by the Mubarak government by emailing President Obama and your members of Congress."
The White House
Protesters form human chain to protect the Museum from government-sponsored looters seeking to spread image of "chaos."