News / Middle East

    Uprising in Egypt Continues, As Does Speculation on Outcome

    Demonstrators hold a sign reading "Long live Egypt", top left, and wave Egyptian flags during a protest in support of the Egyptian people, in central Rome, Italy, Monday, Jan. 31, 2011.
    Demonstrators hold a sign reading "Long live Egypt", top left, and wave Egyptian flags during a protest in support of the Egyptian people, in central Rome, Italy, Monday, Jan. 31, 2011.
    Mohamed ElshinnawiLaurel Bowman

    Protesters in Egypt show no signs of abating their call for President Hosni Mubarak to step down after 30 years in power. Late on Monday, Egypt's Vice President Omar Suleiman said he is authorized to open a dialogue with the opposition.

    The U.S. has shared strong ties with Egypt since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and, many analysts say, Egypt under Mr. Mubarak has promoted US interests in the Middle East, especially by maintaining the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.  

    So far the U.S. has proceeded with caution in commenting on whether President Mubarak should step aside. But Egyptian voices inside the country and out say a revolution is under way, and the United States, no matter what position it takes, can do little to direct it.

    As protests in Egypt reach the one week mark, the uprising shows no signs of stopping.  In fact, it seems to be gaining steam.  This despite army tanks on the ground and helicopters circling overhead.

    Key Players in Egypt's Crisis

    • President Hosni Mubarak: The 82-year-old has ruled Egypt for 30 years as leader of the National Democratic Party. Egypt's longest-serving president came to power after the assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat.
    • Mohamed ElBaradei: The Nobel Peace laureate and former Egyptian diplomat has gained international attention as a vocal critic of Mr. Mubarak and his government. Until recently he headed the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, and he has lived outside Egypt for years. ElBaradei founded the nonpartisan movement National Association for Change, and has offered to lead a transitional administration in Egypt if Mr. Mubarak steps down.
    • Vice President Omar Suleiman: The new Egyptian vice president has served as head of intelligence and is a close ally of President Mubarak. He earned international respect for his role as a mediator in Middle East affairs and for curbing Islamic extremism.
    • Ayman Nour: The political dissident founded the Al Ghad or "tomorrow" party. Nour ran against Mr. Mubarak in the 2005 election and was later jailed on corruption charges. The government released him in 2009 under pressure from the United States and other members of the international community.
    • Muslim Brotherhood: The Islamic fundamentalist organization is outlawed in Egypt, but remains the largest opposition group. Its members previously held 20 percent of the seats in parliament, but lost them after a disputed election in late 2010. The group leads a peaceful political and social movement aimed at forming an Islamic state.

    "This great Egyptian revolution.  We are in a revolution.  And we will destroy Mubarak," said one protester.

    President Hosni Mubarak appointed a vice president for the first time since taking power in 1981. He has also appointed a new interior minister.

    But protesters say they want Mr. Mubarak and his government out."Our demand is for the end of the regime," said Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed ElBaradei, who has become the face of the pro-democracy movement.

    He says change does not mean Islamic fundamentalism is coming to Egypt."This is what the regime used to sell to the West and the U.S.  It’s either us, repression or Al Qaida-type Islamists.  That is, that is not Egypt," he said.

    Meantime, in the US, demonstrations calling for the ouster of President Mubarak are ongoing.

    Egyptian student Maryam Aziz asks President Barack Obama what the US is supporting. "Thirty years of Mubarak, $30 billion of US aid equals three decades of US tyranny," she said.

    And Leading Egyptian dissident Saad Eddin Ibrahim says much the same.  "We are asking the US government to be true to its own traditions and stand by its own principles and support the people," he said.

    The Obama administration has called for an orderly transition to a responsive government, but not directly for Mr. Mubarak to leave.

    Regime change is a risk for the United States, many analysts say. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition movement, has an Islamic agenda.

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs implied that Washington is concerned about the Brotherhood participating in a future government. "To participate in this ongoing democratic process, one has to take part in it but not use it as a way of simply becoming or taking over that process simply to put themselves in power," he said.

    Marina Ottaway, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says the US should not be afraid. "We are not going to see the scenario that the U.S. dreaded so much that Islamists take over," she said.

    But some analysts say it may not matter what the US does or does not say.

    Marwan Muasher, a former foreign minister of Jordan, said "You are not behind the curve for years and then you make a couple of statements and hope that people will listen to what you are saying.  I don’t think that, frankly, Egyptians are listening to what the U.S. is saying today."

    Michele Dunne is editor of the Arab Reform Bulletin. "The United States in a very difficult position.  I don’t think any of us see the demonstrators giving up or this petering out," she said.

    The U.S. may end up with little choice in the outcome of what may be the largest popular uprising in Egypt's history.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora