Those of us fortunate to be living in democratic countries loathe dictatorships
and autocracies, and harbor little sympathy for Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak, even though compared to most other Arab leaders he would probably be
deemed a progressive.
Thus, in the unlikely event that the upheavals in
Egypt result in an enlightened secular democratic government, that would indeed
be an extraordinary and welcome achievement. But alas, with Egyptians lacking
any exposure to freedom, such an outcome seems highly improbable.
democracy is unquestionably the best of all political systems. But liberal
democracy does not merely relate to elections. The Nazis were enthusiastically
elected by the majority, and the masses initially adored Hitler.
democracy created overnight. It evolved over centuries in conjunction with the
cultivation of a climate of liberalism and humanitarianism, as well as a free
press and the rule of law.
In primitive and barbaric societies, the will
of the majority may lead to a tyranny in which brutality and deprivation of
human rights far exceed what prevailed in the autocratic or dictatorial regime
it preceded. This was exemplified by the Bolshevik tyranny in Russia, which
proved far worse than the awful tsarist autocracy, and the nightmarish regime of
the ayatollahs which replaced the autocratic rule of Iran’s shah.
thus absurd to insist that the will of the majority must prevail, irrespective
of the consequences. Common sense and decency demands that there be
ADMITTEDLY, THERE may only be a fine line between the “will
of the people” and the suppression of human rights. But ignoring a possible
descent into barbarism cannot be justified on the grounds that it represents the
will of the majority.
Only a demented person would endorse majority rule
which would elect leaders committed to child sacrifice, for example. But should
that not apply equally in relation to electing those who demand the decapitation
of gays, adulterers or apostates? Or who support a society which sanctifies
suicide bombings? Or who endorse the amputation of limbs of petty thieves? Or
who promote genocide?
It is thus incomprehensible to observe campaigners for
human rights demanding the ouster of an autocratic Mubarak and endorsing a
“democratic revolution” which could lead to the election of a regime dominated
by Islamic fundamentalists and committed to Shari’a law. Not merely because of
the outrages that radical Islamic zealots would inflict on their own people, but
also because of the aggression they intend to perpetrate against their neighbors
and their proclaimed objective: to achieve world domination.
liberals who applaud the revolt in Egypt should cease moralizing and deal with
the real world.
Western political leaders should not underestimate the
dangers if the Muslim Brotherhood – creator of Hamas – emerges as an influential
force in a new Egyptian regime, even if it operates under the cover of
duplicitous politicians like the pro-Iranian Mohamed ElBaradei or Amr
The 30-year cold peace with Egypt would be abruptly terminated,
and we could be confronting a powerful, potentially aggressive army which has
long been the recipient of American largesse, including the most advanced
The remaining Muslim “moderate” pro-Western states
would be under pressure to unite under the rubric of Islamic fundamentalism. The
one common denominator that would unite Sunnis and Shi’ites would be hatred of
Israel and the West. The economic, political and military repercussions would be
The US bears the major responsibility for these tragic
developments. It failed to pressure Arab rulers to curb their autocratic ways
and initiate democratic reforms. Instead, most Muslim countries, including
Mubarak’s Egypt, continued to divert attention from their internal repression
and corruption by fanning popular anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism to serve as
outlets for venting the rage and frustration of the masses.
of Egyptians depict chillingly barbaric attitudes. Eighty percent endorse
stoning for adulterers, death for apostates and cutting off the limbs of petty
thieves. In addition, a substantial minority admire al-Qaida, and many to this
day remain convinced that the Twin Tower bombings were a CIA-Zionist plot
engineered to discredit the Islamic world. Ninety-five percent express
passionate animus against Jews.
US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has exacerbated
the situation by his shameful behavior. He appeased the Islamic extremists, even
inviting members of the Muslim Brotherhood to attend his 2009 speech in Cairo.
Indeed, until recently, he operated on the flawed supposition that by
selectively pressuring Israel, he would succeed in influencing the
He has now taken a dramatic step in further destroying
American credibility by publicly betraying and humiliating his principal Muslim
ally, Mubarak, during his time of need, and subsequently backpedaling and
praising him only a few days later.
Obama’s actions were chillingly
reminiscent of former US president Jimmy Carter, who helped pave the way for the
ouster of the shah of Iran. Yet the same Obama was reticent to support
the brutally suppressed protests by the Iranian people against Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, and literally prostrated himself in the presence of the Saudi king
reigning over a regime renowned for denying human rights to its people on a
vastly greater scale than Egypt.
Administration spokesmen have now even
endorsed the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood in a new “democratic”
government. Obama has thus sent a clear message to the remaining
pro-Western “moderate” Arab autocrats: “Don’t rely on me when the going gets
Some liberals conclude that Obama should now immediately impose a
settlement to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.
YET IF, despite Egypt’s
powerful secret police and instruments of power, Mubarak’s regime collapses,
survival prospects for the impotent and corrupt Mahmoud Abbas are surely dim.
Hamas would receive a massive boost if the Muslim Brotherhood becomes an
influential force in the new regime. It could even win a “democratic” election
in the West Bank, as it did in Gaza. We certainly cannot ignore the implications
of entering into a peace agreement with the PA if it is soon to be transformed
into a Hamastan.
There are also other harsh lessons. It would surely be
irresponsible for us to even remotely rely on an Obama-led US that simply dumps
its closest allies when the going gets rough – especially as we could soon be
surrounded by rejectionist states, as was the case in 1948.
that Omar Suleiman and the Egyptian military will prevent an Islamic
fundamentalist takeover, we must gird ourselves for the worst. Unless we are
self-reliant, strong and united, the US, the Europeans and other parties will
seek to further appease the new jihadist forces by intensifying pressure on us
to make further unilateral concessions.
If ever there were ominous
parallels between our position and that of Czechoslovakia in 1938, it is in
relation to the pressures we are likely to face should Egypt become transformed
into an Islamic fundamentalist state and link up with Iran, Lebanon, an
increasingly hostile Turkey and possibly even