Public protests that began in Tunisia have now spread to Egypt. The last several days have seen widespread public protests and riots with citizens attempting to oust President Hosni Mubarak and end his 30-year reign. More than 100 citizens may have been killed with clashes with police and the military. President Mubarak seems to be intent on staying in power and has ignored pleas from the United States to embrace reform. Citizens in Egypt are increasingly being cut off from the outside world as the Egyptian government was successful in cutting internet and cell phone service to the country. Egypt’s various opposition groups seem to have come together in unity to foster regime change. Egypt’s opposition groups have been rather splintered and therefore less effective in their ability to bring about regime change. Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest and best-organized opposition force, has focused on the growing desire for democratic change rather than religious beliefs to help unify the opposition. Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-democracy reformer, returned to Egypt and appears to be a likely replacement for President Mubarak should he resign or is ousted. The desire for regime change has also shaken other countries in the Arab world with rallies in Jordan, Yemen and Algeria.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
- The United States has had a long-standing implicit agreement with President Mubarak to not intervene in his administration in exchange for his keeping radical Islamic influences at bay. Should the United States continue with this policy or seek to distance itself from President Mubarak?
- Will eliminating internet and cell phone access be successful in quelling the riots or is it likely to further embolden Egyptians to find new paths to institute regime change?
- Egypt’s armed forces, with a force of roughly 1.4 million, are the 12th largest in the world. There is some question as to whether President Mubarak has complete control over the military. What would be the likely consequences if the military is able to oust President Mubarak?
- The unrest in the Arab world is rattling investor confidence and negatively impacting stock prices. How are the markets likely to react to the events this weekend?
SOURCE: Levinson, C., Coker, M., & Said, S. (2011, January 31). Opposition unites in Egypt. Wall Street Journal Online. (Retrievable online at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703833204576113830418840462.html)
Related video clip: Egypt Protests: Vice-President Sworn In. (Retrievable online at: http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/video/Egypt-Protesters-Defy-Curfew/Video/201101415918492?lpos=video_Article_Body_Copy_Region_0&lid=VIDEO_15918492_Egypt_Protesters_Defy_Curfew)