News / Middle East

Analyst: Egypt Has Changed for Good But Final Outcome Unclear

Anti-Mubarak protesters are seen next to their tents at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Anti-Mubarak protesters are seen next to their tents at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

U.S. President Barack Obama has said that Egypt will not return to what it was before the pro-democracy protests that started in the country on January 25. VOA’s Susan Yackee turned to The Economist’s Middle East correspondent, Max Rodenbeck, for an assessment of the situation.

Asked about whether he agrees with President Obama’s assertion that there is no turning back on the changes that have been unleashed in Egypt, Rodenbeck said he does to a large degree concur.

Listen to the full interview with Max Rodenbeck:

“I do, although it is not clear what the outcome is going to be. I think Egypt has changed pretty much for good. There are still several scenarios as to how much change there is going to be. It is clear that Hosni Mubarak will not be the president for much longer. He said he would retire in seven months, but it could happen sooner than that,” he said.

Max Rodenbeck
Max Rodenbeck

Rodenbeck added that there is also a lot of other pressure on the regime in addition to the calls directed at Mubarak. He said the other calls are for political reform, but right now the protesters are still testing to see how far they can go with their demands.

The Economist correspondent said that among the demands, is a call to repeal the state of emergency laws that have been in effect since Mubarak took office thirty years ago. The laws give security forces broad powers to conduct arbitrary arrests and allow them to keep people in almost indefinite detention. Rodenbeck believes that the abolishment of these laws would be a sign of real change.

Other demands, said Rodenbeck, deal with rights enjoyed by people in other democracies, such as the free formation of political parties and free elections that would be overseen not only by internal independent arbiters, but also by international observers.

Where the sides differ is in the approach to change, Rodenbeck said. He added that while the existing government seems to be willing to initiate reform only within the existing institutional and constitutional framework, protesters are calling for wholesale change. The current negotiations between the two sides are about determining how far each is willing to go, but Rodenbeck believes that they would be better off scrapping the existing system and starting from scratch. It’s an unlikely scenario, though, he said.

“There is too much fear on the part of those who still wield authority, the army, sort of the inner state of Egypt. They fear losing control and they fear chaos, and they are going to try to have the pace of reform be measured and slow,” Rodenbeck said.

As for any future role in Egypt for the Muslim Brotherhood that has been outlawed and marginalized by Mubarak’s regime, Rodenbeck acknowledges that it has a sizeable constituency, but doubts that any one of their members would garner enough support to become Egypt’s next president.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid