The turmoil in Egypt, an integral American ally in the Middle East, threatens to throw the whole region into a tailspin. But why?
Why is this happening now?
- Egypt’s recent election fraud is a fresh wound on a people who have had their basic rights to freedom violated for decades. (human rights watch)
- Fringe and terrorist groups in the Middle East are becoming increasingly attractive to disenfranchised people, threatening the stability of governments that suppress the rights of their people. (Reuters)
- The Tunisian revolution acted as a powder keg that set off a chain of dissent throughout the Arabic world. (Times of India)
Why has it been so much more difficult for protesters in Egypt to succeed than for Tunisians?
- President Mubarak has allowed dissenting voices to exist, creating at least the illusion of freedom that Ben Ali did not. (IPS News)
- The Egyptian military is strongly connected to the Egyptian government, giving it greater reason to see the government upheld. (Reuters)
- U.S. support -- economic and military aid -- helps strengthen Mubarak's regime. (The Atlantic)
Why has the White House waffled on its stance toward the protests?
- A concern facing Obama is that if he is too quick to condemn a friend, other Middle Eastern allies might worry about the strength of their ties to the U.S. (L.A. Times)
- The U.S. has made its support of the demands of the protests clear, but struggles with condemning a close ally. (Newsweek)
- The White House has begun acting as if Mubarak will not remain in power, and is cautious about its next step. (Politico)