Blog post

Tariq Ali on Egypt and the teetering despots of the Arab world

Clara Heyworth 4 February 2011

In a series of interviews and commentaries this week, Tariq Ali points to the uprisings that continue in Egypt (today has been named "Day of Departure" in Cairo with hundreds of thousands returning to the streets) as 

a rude awakening for all those who imagined that the despots of the Arab world could be kept in place provided they continued to serve the needs of the West and their harsh methods weren't aired on CNN and BBC World.

As illustration of the West's penchant for despots, this particular report from Ali not only lists Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pleas to officials in Washington to delay Hosni Mubarak's departure from Egypt but also the French government having seriously considered sending its paratroopers to save former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, and Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair having described the Mubarak as a "force for good."

In addition to Egypt and Tunisa, Ali mentions Yemen where the foundations of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 30-year reign are beginning to crumble.

Considering Egypt after Mubarak, Ali warns against the US "preaching the virtues of liberal capitalism" as it usually does (he points to Iceland, Ireland, and Greece to silence any argument on this front) and concludes that

Internally, what is required is to rebuild the abandoned social safety net, providing elementary health, education and housing for the poor.

Externally, Egypt's relationship with the USand Israel will have to be modified, regardless of who succeeds Mubarak. A peace treaty that benefits Israel alone was never accepted by the Egyptian people.

Visit Bloomberg to read the article in full.

Ali also discussed Egypt and the US's track record in the Arab World for CrossTalk, with presenter Peter Lavelle asking: isn't invoking security interests over democracy the greatest haven for tyrants? 

See also "An Arab 1848: Despots Totter and Fall" by Tariq Ali for Counterpunch.

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