(photo credit: Courtesy)
Egypt’s democracy protests across the board spell bad news for Israel, which is
more democratic than most countries in the Middle East, but not democratic
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Tens of thousands of protestors have filled the streets in
Egypt’s major cities demanding the resignation of its presidentfor- life Hosni
Mubarak and the backlash has impacted the monarchy in Jordan and the
dictatorship in Syria.
Mubarak is not the worst Arab tyrant in the Middle
East, but he is viewed as a puppet of the United States which currently finds
itself in a curious position. Does the US back democracy in Egypt as it has in
other countries or does it try to help Egypt make a transition from a
dictatorship to a more open dictatorship?
Why are Americans even balking at
calling for an end to the dictatorial rule in Egypt? Because Egypt is the
cornerstone of American and Israeli foreign policy in the Middle
Without Egypt supporting the status quo, Israel especially has much
The average Egyptian does not support the peace accord that
signed by Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar Sadat on Sept.17, 1978. Sadat
tried to argue that peace between Egypt and Israel would usher in peace with the
Palestinians, Jordanians, Syrians and Lebanese. Save for Jordan, that peace is
After Sadat’s assassination, Mubarak, one of his generals
became president. Not known for his diplomatic talents, he became the caretaker
of the unpopular peace with Israel.
Though he is a dictator, Egyptians
have enjoyed more freedoms than most citizens in other Arab
Israel’s main benefit from its peace accord with Egypt was not
only the hope of establishing normal relations, but also clearing away the
threat of wars, lead by Egypt until then.
Once it signed an agreement
with Israel, the threat of a regional war vanished, replaced by proxy wars like
those fought against the vanguards of radical Islam, Hamas and Hizbullah, agents
of Iran, also a nation of tyrants and dictators.
On the surface, Egypt’s
turn to democracy sounds good, although it has put America and Israel in awkward
positions: sure they want democracy, but not if that democracy undermines the
peace accords with Israel.
Peace with Israel under its present terms can
only be enforced by a dictator like Mubarak. Democracy will give the people a
voice and their voice clearly demands that the peace accord be broken.
Egypt falls, that chorus of anti-Israel sentiment will grow across the Arab
world, possibly even sparking new regional wars. Already, protestors in Jordan
have taken to the streets and Syrian dictator Bashir al- Assad is moving fast to
prevent similar protests in his country.
Israel may then find itself
regionally back in time to the 1960s, isolated by the Arab world and constantly
fearing more wars.
THE ARAB world may be under the foot of dictators,
friend and foe to the West and Israel, but the Arab people are smart enough to
see through the years of false promises and bad deals on Israel’s
If democracy revails in Egypt and the people take control, Israel
will face a pivotal moment: to either continue its current course of rejecting
peace or taking negotiations with the Palestinians more seriously as a first
step towards becoming a real member of the Middle East
Democracy is good, but it carries with it a real price that
will disrupt the conveniences of the status quo.
The biggest losers will
be the dictators, Western foreign policy and, likely, Israel.
is an award-winning columnist and Chicago radio talk show host.