Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hosni Mubarak Was Not A Friend Or Ally

The beatification by right wing pundits of the Mubarak regime is just about complete.
On Sean Hannity's cable show Ann Coulter declared that a time machine is needed to undo the Arab Spring. Sitting next to her, Hannity nodded approvingly. Yes, the same Hannity who during the Bush administration was cheerleading the Freedom Agenda. I know. I used to listen to his radio show on a regular basis.

One can always count on columnist Caroline Glick to remind us that Mubarak was America's "most stalwart ally in the Arab world". It is hard to find anyone who is more dejected about the end of Mubarak's regime than Ms. Glick other than Hosni himself. Reports indicate that Mubark is close to visiting the 72 virgins. The day that happens, I fully expect Ms. Glick to sit shiva for him.

The reality is that the conditions that led to the assault on our embassy and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power were put in place by Mubarak. Anti-Americanism, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian sentiments that dominate Egypt today did not come about because of the Arab Spring. Said sentiments were nurtured for decades and were tools used by Mubarak to maintain power.

In his book "The Case for Democracy", Natan Sharansky wrote: "Since the signing its peace treaty with Israel, Egypt has become one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the entire Arab world." He argues that Egypt's non democratic regime's need for external enemies "has resulted in the indoctrination yet another generation of Egyptians to hate Israel." Maybe Ms. Glick should pick up a copy of Sharansky's book.

Elliot Abrams, former deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, wrote in January of last year:
"Ruling under an endless emergency law, he has crushed the moderate opposition while the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood has thrived underground and in the mosques. Mubarak in effect created a two-party system - his ruling National Democratic Party and the Brotherhood - and then defended the lack of democracy by saying a free election would bring the Islamists to power."
Again, the foundation for what is happening in Egypt today was laid by Mubarak. He is responsible for the lack of liberal, moderate parties able to compete against the better organized Muslim Brotherhood. He is the reason Morsi is Egypt's new president.

A true ally would not have encouraged anti-Americanism. A true ally would not have allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to become the only viable alternative to his regime. Anyone who tries to blame recent events on the Obama administration - or the Bush administration - is simply ignoring history or engaging in the worse kind of cynical political tactics.

Here is my question to Ms. Glick and the others still pining for a Mubarak comeback. Once Egyptians took to Tahrir Square what would they had done? Send tanks chasing them back to their houses? Invade Egypt and make sure that Mubarak remained in power? It is easy to criticize, blame or lose sleep over the Muslim Brotherhood but where are their solutions?

The idea that Muslims in the Middle East should forever live under oppressive regimes because that's what is convenient for Israel or the United States is not only deeply offensive but unsustainable. The idea that somehow Arabs, Muslim are genetically incapable of handling freedom is, again, offensive and racist.

Wishing for times machines will not promote our interests or ensure Israel's survival. Time machines are fiction. Just like Hosni Mubarak being an ally was fiction.