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The conversation: Mubarak resigns. Now what?

February 11, 2011 | 12:27 pm


Much as Iran would like Egypt to follow in its Islamist, anti-American footsteps, the parallels between Iran's late '70s revolution and Egypt's current events only go so far. For one thing, Iran's revolution was about theocracy, whereas Egypt's unrest has been about establishing democracy. For another, Iran's economic climate is far worse than Egypt's -- which is saying a lot -- giving Egyptians enough of a reason to take another course for its future. Given that, what can we expect next?

"The slogans, communiqués, banners, graffiti, tweets, and Facebook messages have been almost exclusively secular in orientation, pushing nationalistic and liberal democratic themes. And, despite decades of U.S. support for the Mubarak dictatorship, the Egyptian protests have featured virtually no explicit anti-Americanism, a striking contrast with the Iranian revolution. Indeed, the current protests have almost exclusively focused on Mubarak's misrule rather than the U.S. role in enabling it." -- Stephen Zunes, Huffington Post

"[T]he game isn't over, and now a word of caution. I worry that senior generals may want to keep (with some changes) a Mubarak-style government without Mubarak. In essence the regime may have decided that Mubarak had become a liability and thrown him overboard — without any intention of instituting the kind of broad, meaningful democracy that the public wants. Senior generals have enriched themselves and have a stake in a political and economic structure that is profoundly unfair and oppressive. And remember that the military running things directly really isn’t that different from what has been happening: Mubarak’s government was a largely military regime (in civilian clothes) even before this. Mubarak, Vice President Suleiman and so many others — including nearly all the governors — are career military men. So if the military now takes over, how different is it? -- Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times

"It is clear the new Egypt in the post-Mubarak era will be self-determined, more anti-American and closer to its Arab and Muslim neighbors. And this will happen whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood takes the driver's seat in a new government." -- Geneive Abdo, insideIRAN

"Whatever path Egypt follows, it's important to remember that governments do not transform overnight. Mubarak may be on his way out, but regimes are not confined to one man. They are vast networks, formal and informal, of partisans and technocrats, torture specialists and traffic cops, rent-seekers and public servants, all of them difficult or impossible to separate. The work of transforming Egypt to a democracy, whether by top-down reform or blanket purges, will likely be a difficult and frustrating process that could take a generation or more. Revolutions are messy, and this one is far from over." -- Max Fisher, the Atlantic

And If Egypt does adopt an Islamist regime, "The United States has found a way to maintain close relations with the hard-line Islamic fundamentalist regime in Saudi Arabia and with the 'soft' Islamists now in power in Turkey. It won't be easy or comfortable, but we probably can find a similar accommodation with Egypt -- particularly because there isn't any choice." -- Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times

"We must approach this as any other momentous transition with caution and patience and determination not to let gains slip away over time. Many with dubious motives will seek to turn this transition to their advantage. We in the United States must do what we can to support the true interests of the people of Egypt who made it possible and help them to resist those usurpers and would-be corruptors." -- David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy via NPR


Egypt's power players

Poetic dissent falls on deaf ears

U.S. must back democracy in Egypt regardless

Unrest in Egypt: An Egyptian on the 1952 revolution

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: A spokesman for Egypt's military council reads a statement titled "Communique No. 3" in this still image taken from video Friday. Egypt's military council said Friday that it would announce measures for a transitional phase after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down and handed power to the armed forces. Credit: Egyptian State TV

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