Libmonster ID: U.S.-1276
Author(s) of the publication: A. M. VASILIEV


Director of the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: uprising, Arab world, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain

On December 17 last year, Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian unemployed university graduate, tried to earn a living by selling vegetables and fruits from a cart. The police took his goods and insulted him. Attempts to complain to the authorities ended up throwing him out of the municipality. Insulted, desperate, deprived of a piece of bread, the young man committed self-immolation.

In terrible agony, he died a little more than two weeks later. For a Muslim, suicide is an exception in general, and such a terrible death has blown up Tunisian society.


Thousands and then tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against the inhumane regime, oppression, unemployment, corruption, and the dictatorship of President Ben Ali and his clan. Despite harsh measures and the killing of several demonstrators, the police retreated in front of the masses of rioters. President Ben Ali fled (France refused to accept him, and Saudi Arabia granted him asylum), the country plunged into chaos, and his former supporters tried to hold on to the fragile power, but many of them simply fled.

Until recently, Tunisia was considered a paradise for tourists, a stable country that even fought for independence exclusively by political means. Since the first President X. Bourguiba the republic has become a secular country, with a high level of education, a fairly large middle class, and gender equality (polygamy is officially prohibited here, 20% of parliament deputies are women). Sharia law plays an insignificant role, the entire intelligentsia knows French, European culture is close to it, the Internet is widely used, which functions freely in the country, and ties with Europe and the United States are stable. The Tunisian economy was developing well and was focused on cooperation with the European Union. There are up to a million Tunisians in Europe. The country receives several million tourists a year from Europe.

But at the same time, during the 23 years of Ben Ali's authoritarian rule, the government failed to solve the main problem - the high unemployment rate. It affects not only the poorest segments of the population, but also young people with higher education. In recent years, unemployment in Tunisia has increased due to the global financial and economic crisis of 2008-2009, as well as due to restrictions on the immigration of Tunisians in European countries. There was a contradiction between the high expectations of educated youth and the lack of opportunities for their implementation. The lower classes did not want to live in the old way, the upper classes could not. By the organizers

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educated young people who coordinate actions using the Internet, social networks "Facebook" and "Twitter"made speeches.

Political arbitrariness and restrictions on media freedom by the authorities helped spread the ideas of Islamic fundamentalism not only among the poorest strata, but also among the middle class. The authoritarian police regime brutally suppressed the opposition, especially Muslim extremists, and banned the activities of Islamist parties. This, in particular, caused sympathy for Ben Ali on the part of the United States and France and their willingness to deepen cooperation with him, but part of society saw Islamists as victims and enemies of the hated system.

A significant cause of mass discontent was government corruption. If the first president of Tunisia, H. Bourguiba, was said to have left office with $ 30 in his bank account, then the distinctive feature of Ben Ali's rule was a clear and frank flourishing of corruption and nepotism. The family of the president's second wife, the Trabelsi clan, was particularly hated by the population, as it captured the most delicious morsels in the banking sector, real estate, trade, tourism and other industries.

President Ben Ali has lost his sense of reality and stopped taking into account the mood of the population. A spark was enough to send the public's anger into the streets. The suicide of an unfortunate fruit vendor was such a spark.

The opposition does not yet have a universally recognized national leader. The middle class and the poorest sections of society have joined forces to overthrow the Ben Ali regime. Their paths may diverge. Power in Tunisia temporarily passed into the hands of people from the entourage of the runaway president, who declared a break with him and his family, the prime Minister temporarily retained his post, but he was also forced to resign. The period of chaos, powerlessness and rampant crime continues, which worsens the economic crisis. Demonstrations continue, and the population demands an immediate transfer of power to the opposition before new presidential elections. The situation is aggravated by the influx of tens of thousands of refugees from Libya, but this is a special topic .

An important role in the further development of events can be played by the army, unlike the internal affairs bodies, which are not formally tainted by participation in repressions. It is possible that liberal-democratic forces focused on ties with France and the United States will strengthen their positions to some extent, especially if Western countries provide economic and media assistance to the country.

But there is still a possibility that Islamists who position themselves as the main opponents of the regime and have a fairly broad social base can benefit from today's instability to the maximum.

At this stage, it is difficult to predict which scenario events will follow. Social problems are not solved. Food prices and unemployment are rising. Thousands of people are fleeing the chaos-ridden country for Europe, which fears an influx of illegal immigrants.

But the success of the largely peaceful Tunisian revolution has inspired the Egyptians to do the same.


Massive popular unrest continued in Egypt for 18 days. Their numbers were sometimes reduced to a hundred thousand, then grew to millions. The masses rose up in revolt, from Alexandria to Assiut and from Mansoura to the Sinai Peninsula. The center of the uprising, its focus, symbol, banner was At-Tahrir Square (translated as Liberation) in the center of Cairo. There was an incessant rally, discussions raged, poems were read and songs were sung, prayers were offered five times a day, interviews were given, and people posed in front of the world's most important TV channels. Tents were also pitched here, where people who had sworn not to leave until victory was won lived, and water, food, medicine, and blankets were brought here. Among the protesters were Coptic (Christian) priests in dark robes and ulema theologians from the Islamic University of Al-Azhar in swirling turbans. The riot control police scattered. Army tanks and armored personnel carriers were stationed around the square, which did not interfere in the demonstrations, but when the demonstrators clashed with the regime-hired gangs of hooligans, the military tried to separate the fighting.

The popular revolution in Egypt has come to pass.

After 18 days of mass popular unrest, the rebels won. President Hosni Mubarak has resigned.

His de facto successor, Omar Suleiman, the head of the country's intelligence and security services, whom he appointed as vice president, has disappeared from the political arena. The Military Council headed by Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi took power in the country, which dissolved the parliament, abolished the old constitution, announced new elections in no more than six months, appointed a commission to work out a new constitution and, accordingly, a new electoral law. In fact, the former party in power, the National Democratic Party (NDP), collapsed. Several ministers involved in particularly large-scale acts of corruption were arrested.

But the victory of the popular peaceful uprising was not limited to these visible results. Perhaps the psychological result of the uprising is more important than its temporary political results. People are overcome with fear, a constant fear of the power of the repressive machine of the state, of those in power, people are overcome by the exultation of victory and freedom won. The rebels believe that after a long period of authoritarian rule, humiliation and

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powerless, they regained their human dignity.

Fear of the power of popular demonstrations has emerged among those in power, including the generals, fear of the power of popular anger, fear of the prospect of losing their positions if they do not meet some popular demands.

What's left? Why the author uses the word "as if" when evaluating the results of the revolution.

The fact is that the regime of Hosni Mubarak relied on the army and security forces. Under the pressure of the masses, the head of the military regime left, the symbol of the former government collapsed, but the power remained-perhaps temporarily-in the hands of the military. Anti-government demonstrations have stopped and become less widespread. People go to demonstrations to express their jubilation, joy of victory, and newfound freedom. But other demonstrators are demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

What's next? What will determine the political system of Egypt, its economic structure, and the path of development of Egyptian society? What forces are actually operating in the country and what will result from their interaction or collision?

Let's digress for a few moments from the current raging political passions of Egypt. Let's return to At-Tahrir Square, which itself is full of symbolism and bears the imprint of both ancient and recent Egyptian history. It is like a microcosm of Egypt.

On the north side of the square stands the building of the Egyptian National Museum with countless and priceless treasures from the time of the Pharaohs. (Some people tried to loot it during the uprising, but the treasure was protected by the military and the demonstrators themselves.) Directly opposite it, on the south side , is a building that houses an institution with a name that is difficult to translate-Al-Mughammaa - the multi-story center of Egypt's registration and information services, a terrible bureaucratic organization in which every step is accompanied by bribes.

Next to Al-Mughammaa is the building of the League of Arab States, created with the active participation of Egypt, and the headquarters of this organization. The country has claimed and still claims a leading role in the Arab world, but to the disappointment of proud Egyptians, it is losing it because of its economic problems. It didn't even make it into the top twenty most powerful countries in the world economy, and Saudi Arabia, with its oil and foreign exchange reserves, was among them.

Next to the Arab League building, the 5-star Hilton Hotel, the first 5-star hotel in Egypt, built in the 50s on the site of the barracks of the British troops who once occupied the country, is being renovated. Across from the Hilton, on the other side of the square, are neighborhoods built in the late 19th century on Parisian models, now dilapidated, and once the most elite part of Cairo. One of these buildings has had a huge Aeroflot ad on it for three decades, which has now been replaced by ads from Western corporations. A little to the right of it, the building of the American University in Cairo, which is traditionally considered a channel for ideological and cultural penetration of the United States into Egypt, faces Al-Tahrir Square with one wing. But if you go back to the National Museum, then immediately behind it lies the Bulak district. It is the center of old crumbling buildings, poverty, overcrowding, despair, anger, hopelessness. The rebel poet Ahmed Fouad Nigm probably wrote a poem about this very area: "They dress in the latest fashion, and we live ten in one room."

Between the Al-Mughammaa building and the Arab League, a bridge over the Nile begins, first over Gezira Island, and right in front of the bridge on the island stands a statue of Saad Zaghlul, who led the Egyptian uprising against the British in 1919. After that, Egypt received a semi-colonial pseudo-democracy, with the game of political parties and with complete disregard for the interests of the people. The royal government, dependent on the British, lost all legitimacy. The country was dominated by a class of landowners-feudal lords with a poor population.

This situation caused an explosion of discontent, which resulted in a military coup in 1952-a revolution that was carried out by "free officers" (only a few battalions!) led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. Since 1952, a military regime has been established in Egypt. Under Nasser, this is

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there was a left-wing radical regime. Nasser carried out an agrarian reform, depriving most of the land of the feudal class, nationalized a number of enterprises with foreign capital and large Egyptian property, and tried to introduce workers to the board of companies.

At one time, Gamal Abdel Nasser adopted an anti-Western (anti-imperialist) ideology and became a semi-ally of the Soviet Union. The Egyptian president broke the Western monopoly on arms supplies to the Middle East by purchasing Soviet weapons via Czechoslovakia, then nationalized the Suez Canal. In response, the triple Anglo-French-Israeli aggression of 1956 was carried out, stopped both by the condemnation of the United States and by Nikita Khrushchev's nuclear bluff, which hinted at the possibility of a nuclear strike on the aggressors, never intending to use it in practice. The World Bank did not give a loan for the construction of the high-rise Aswan dam, which would have saved Egypt from starvation, it was provided by the Soviet Union, and the dam, along with a powerful power plant, was built, significantly increasing the cultivated area of Egypt. (By the way, Egypt, even after Nasser under Sadat, paid in full for all Soviet supplies, both for the construction of the high-rise Aswan dam and for weapons.)

But Nasser has created a militarily repressive regime that tolerates neither opposition nor dissent. For a time, both the Communists and the Muslim Brotherhood were in concentration camps together (more on them later), they were beaten and tortured. Then some communists were released and co-opted into the government and propaganda agencies.

Nasser lost the war with Israel in 1967, which broke his health and Egypt's position in the Arab world. The new president, Anwar Sadat, established a right-wing military dictatorship, began to return property confiscated from large entrepreneurs, and switched to an alliance with the United States. He started a war with Israel in alliance with Syria, which in the early days was successful thanks to the surprise of the strike and the preliminary training of troops by Soviet officers and the supply of Soviet weapons and equipment. By the end of the war, Egypt was once again on the verge of defeat. The war ended in a draw, which in those circumstances meant the victory of Egypt and Syria and the defeat of Israel. Subsequently, with the mediation of the Americans, he concluded a peace treaty with Israel, effectively renouncing support for the Palestinian cause, but returning the demilitarized form of the Egyptian territory-the Sinai Peninsula. Sadat began to implement the so-called "open door" policy (infitah). This gave rise to a class of parasitic bourgeoisie in Egypt, called the" fat cats " of the infitah, who were closely associated with the state apparatus.

Sadat was killed in 1981 by Muslim extremists in uniform during a military parade. Vice President Hosni Mubarak accidentally survived the attack and became President of Egypt. Before his death, Sadat tried to suppress the entire opposition, throwing communists, Nasserists, Copts, and part of the Muslim Brotherhood into prison. It was from a splinter group from the Muslim Brotherhood that Sadat's future assassins emerged.

After becoming the head of state, Hosni Mubarak released most of the prisoners from prison, among them, by the way, was the Coptic patriarch, and tried to restore relations with the Arab countries that broke with Egypt after he made peace with Israel. Mubarak resolutely pursued the fight against terrorism and at first even tried to limit the appetites of"fat cats". At the same time, he maintained and, one might say, deepened close relations with the United States, cooperation with Israel, and participated in the first US war against Iraq.

So far, the main force in the country after the revolution is the army, or rather the army officers and generals.


The backbone of the military regime has always been the privileged officers and generals. They not only enjoyed various social benefits - high salaries against the background of mass poverty of the population, good housing conditions, clinics, clubs, sports facilities, but since the time of Sadat, they also had the opportunity to engage in business, manage the military industry, which partially began to work for the domestic market of civilian products. After retiring, many officers and generals held important positions in the administration, on the boards of private companies and banks. Most of the governors of Egyptian provinces are former generals.

During the popular uprising, the army, which was popular and respected in the country, including among the masses of the population, took a neutral position, not participating in the suppression of popular unrest. It has walked a fine line between loyalty to the regime and its leader, Mubarak, and sympathy for popular unrest. Now the army leadership understands that changes and reforms in the country are necessary. The army may be relegated from the first roles in politics, but it will remain the guarantor of further development and will try to preserve its privileges.

At the same time, we should not forget that the top leadership of the army, without exception, was selected by Hosni Mubarak from people who were personally loyal to him. In the promotion process, personal loyalty was valued above military professionalism. The army maintained close ties with Washington, receiving $1.3 billion in military aid from the United States every year, and during the Mubarak years was rearmed mainly by Americans; only a fraction of Soviet-made weapons remained at its disposal-

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research institutes. Secondary and senior officers were trained in the United States, as well as in England and France. One of the first decrees of the new military leadership stated that previous international treaties, including the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, would be preserved.

Will generals and officers be able to accept a new role in society?


The second force that will participate in shaping the new political course and structure of the country is the Muslim Brotherhood, the most organized and mass socio-political organization. It was founded in 1928 and has always been based on the masses of the religiously inclined population, for whom the "games of effendi", that is, the liberal ruling classes, were alien to the words "democracy", "liberalism", "free elections", etc. This organization preached a return to "true Islamic values", to following Sharia law. The Brothers have developed a wide network of charitable institutions - hospitals, schools, and orphanages.

They were in opposition to the royal authority. In the late 1940s, the then Prime Minister of the country fell victim to their militants, and in response, the authorities organized the assassination of the leader of the brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna.

After a brief flirtation with the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser, its representatives organized a failed assassination attempt on the popular president. The organization was banned, and its activists ended up in concentration camps along with communists, pro-American liberals and other oppositionists. Many Muslim Brotherhood members were tortured, and some were executed.

Sayyid Qutb, a Muslim Brotherhood theorist, developed the idea of jihad in a concentration camp against the rulers of Muslim countries and the "infidel" West. In his opinion, the rulers of Muslim countries were actually agents of the West, and not Muslims, so it was possible to rebel against them. Qutb was hanged in the Nasser prison in 1966. And his ideas inspired extreme extremists like Ayman al-Zawahiri, who became Osama bin Laden's top aide in Al-Qaeda, and the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who gave his blessing to the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993..

The organization was effectively rehabilitated after President Anwar Sadat came to power in 1971, but both Sadat and Mubarak, who succeeded him, kept the Muslim Brotherhood in a semi-legal position. The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood itself has expressed its opposition to the actions of extremists. But the groups that broke away from them have gathered people who are ready for terrorist attacks. It was representatives of one of them who organized the assassination of President Sadat. It was they who participated in the murders of both government officials and foreign tourists, foreign citizens in Egypt. The attacks on tourists that undermined this sector of the economy, which employs several million Egyptians, deprived the extremists of part of their social base. Extreme Islamists were fueled by" Afghans " who participated in the war against the pro-Soviet leftist regime in Afghanistan and the Soviet armed forces.

Brutal repression, including arrests under the state of emergency law, torture in prisons, and executions of extremists, has dramatically weakened Muslim terrorist organizations and driven them underground.

The leadership of the "brothers" began to focus on legal activities.

As independent deputies or representatives of some opposition parties, the Muslim Brotherhood began to participate in the parliamentary elections. In the penultimate 2005 elections, even in the face of restrictions, repression and fraud, they won 88 seats - almost 20% of the parliamentary seats. But during the last elections in November and December of last year, due to mass fraud, arrests and pressure from the authorities, they lost their representation in parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood leadership did not participate in the initial days of unrest, but it allowed its youth organization to take to the streets along with the entire nation. Moreover, it was the young Muslim Brotherhood who, as it turned out, acted with the most discipline. During the attack of regime supporters, mostly hired hooligans and bandits, on anti - government demonstrators, it was the "brothers" who helped divide the rebels into three parts: some stood on barricades, throwing stones at the attackers, others brought these stones, and still others broke them out of the pavement. They also sent their members from different provinces to Al-Tahrir Square, arranging a two-day rotation for them.

On the eve of the uprising, the Islamization of life in Egypt was becoming more widespread and profound. When the author of these lines studied at Cairo University in the 60s, out of nine female students, perhaps one wore a traditional Muslim dress and headscarf-hijab. Now - exactly the opposite: in the same university, in the same faculty, one out of ten will be wearing jeans with a bare head, and almost certainly not a Muslim, but a coptic Christian. Sharia law has already become the main source of Egyptian legislation since 1982. The Muslim Brotherhood was able to break through to the leadership of trade unions, lawyers and doctors, and then with the help of an "administrative resource" they were forced out of this leadership.

In Al-Tahrir Square, the Muslim Brotherhood kept talking about its allegiance to Egypt's non-denominational nature. Now they say :" We believe in democracy and its rules. We believe in the principle that people are the foundation of IP-

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and that the people choose their leaders in fair elections by secret ballot."

The Muslim Brotherhood has already participated in the first negotiations with government officials. A lawyer representing this organization was also included in the committee of lawyers for the creation of a new constitution. Although the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and any other religious organizations are prohibited within the army, there have always been and still are many of their supporters among the ranks and officers.


The third force that is involved in determining the future of Egypt is the young generation of 20-30-year-olds who are well-educated and who were opposed to the regime and supported democratic freedoms - free elections, free media, human rights, and human dignity. These people were not from the poorest families. They communicate with each other over the Internet, and they were the organizational spark that ignited the flames of the uprising. With the help of the social media systems Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, they were able to raise tens, then hundreds of thousands, and millions of people to revolt, organize, and rally. They were not and are not a political party. Their political views are diverse, sometimes contradictory. They didn't form as a single organization.

The young people established contacts with each other, with Tunisian computer scientists, and developed successful tactics for the popular uprising, including the technical details of how to escape from tear gas. They had new means and a new tool for organizing the masses that was unprecedented in history, and they used it with great talent.

These young people are joined by rather weak opposition parties, whether it is the liberal-democratic "Kifaya "(which means "Enough is enough"), the "Al-Gad" party ("Tomorrow"), the "April 6 Youth Movement" party, a group united around Mohammed al-Baradei, the Nobel laureate, the former head of the IAEA( International Atomic Energy Agency), who showed political ambitions.

Al-Baradei, 68, a technocrat who looks like a university professor, considers himself one of the leaders of the revolution and a candidate for the post of president of the country. Sitting in the garden of his expensive, elegant home, not far from the pyramids, he talks about the future in the hope that he will rise to the top. He admits that after the overthrow of Mubarak, the road ahead will remain very difficult.

"People are free, but they don't know what to do with freedom. There are many doubts. The legal opposition is not organized. It is fragmented and has no social base." Therefore, al-Baradei prefers to give advice to young people and cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood. He is dissatisfied with the military. He proposed creating a three-person presidential council with only one military member, and, of course, he would be one of the three. So far, the president has been replaced by a military junta. The generals have not contacted al-Baradei and apparently do not want to give him any role in the transitional government.

Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League and former Egyptian Foreign Minister, is also running for president. He is undoubtedly a talented person, but will he have a sufficient electorate?


Wael Gonem, a 30 - year-old computer scientist and head of the Middle East marketing company Google, became the face and "brand" of the young organizers of the uprising. A graduate of the American University in Cairo, he was a successful manager. Together with his American wife and two children, he lived mostly in Dubai, in a mansion, in a respectable area of the city. He started by running al-Baradei pages on Facebook in the evenings. He had experience in commercializing any proposal, including democracy, in ways that were acceptable to Facebook users. It was a tool, in his opinion, in the fight against the Egyptian police state.-

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as a gift. As soon as a user appears on Facebook, the government can no longer block them without completely blocking Facebook.

Gonem led two different lives. During the day, he worked for his firm, and in the evenings and nights he created anti-government materials on Facebook. Last June, a young Alexandrian businessman named Khalid Saeed, who posted videos of police officers using drugs, was captured in broad daylight by police officers in an Internet cafe. They dragged him outside and beat him to death. A photo of his corpse, covered with abrasions and bruises, hit the Internet. So Ghonem started a new Facebook page called " Each of us is Khalid Said." This page became a brand of struggle against police brutality in Egypt, where photos, videos, and news were continuously received. Thanks to the skilful selection of materials and the talent of Gonem, this page quickly turned into one of the most visited opposition sites in Egypt.

A young computer scientist challenged the regime and the entire police apparatus. Gonem remained anonymous, and no one, with the exception of two or three friends, knew that it was he who was doing this. In order to maintain the page, Ghonem adopted the pseudonym Al-Shaheed, which means "self-sacrificing". (In Russian, this word has already taken on a sharply negative connotation due to the fact that suicide bombers and female terrorists used it for their dastardly terrorist acts against innocent people. But in Arabic, it retains its original noble meaning.) When protests in Tunis led to the fall of the Tunisian dictator on January 14, Gonem announced that Egypt could stage its own revolution. On his web page, which was visited by more than 350 thousand "fans", he offered to participate in the protests on January 25, asking them to "click ""yes", "no"or " maybe". Three days later, 50 thousand "yes"messages arrived. But Gonem wasn't sure if those in cyberspace who had expressed a willingness to go out to demonstrate would actually go out on the street. He didn't know what the outcome would be. Several of his fellow Internet users tried to coordinate slogans and forms of organization in the virtual network with those who had previously participated in real demonstrations. The goal was for people to overcome the psychological barrier.

Gonem insisted that neither he nor his comrades were leaders. He wanted the people themselves to feel that they could be the power. The uprising had no leaders and, apparently, no foreign organizers. When an American non-governmental organization contacted him to offer financial assistance, he responded curtly:"Go to hell." He specifically maintained anonymity for reasons of secrecy and ethical beliefs. "In our country, everyone starts something with good intentions, and then over time everyone becomes corrupt," he said.

On December 25, Ghonem personally joined the first demonstration, but even his comrades did not know that it was he who ran the Al-Shaheed page. Apparently, he was already being followed, and the next day he was arrested by plainclothes police. Gonem has already prepared a replacement under the name of Administrator N 2, whose identity is still unknown. His friend continued to run the Al-Shaheed Facebook page. He informed Gonem's family and Google that Gonem himself had disappeared. Administrator No. 2 changed the login password to the page, because he was afraid that Gonema would be tortured and he would give out this password. When an Egyptian immigrant living in the United States, a Facebook partner of Gonem, received a message from the Administrator of No. 2, she was afraid, suspecting that he was a police agent. However, he convinced her otherwise. Administrator No. 2 has already given a sealed envelope with further actions to a third friend with instructions to open it if he is absent for more than a day. The connection was maintained. When word spread that Al - Shaheed was Ghonem, his wife became even more terrified, fearing for his life.

The rebels in Al-Tahrir Square declared him their symbolic leader and began appearing on a Facebook page called " Each of us is a Ghonem."

But revealing his name saved Gonemu's life. They did not dare to deal with him anymore and released him at the peak of the uprising. He suddenly found out that he had become a brand of popular uprising, which he so wanted to avoid. In a February 7 interview with Newsweek magazine, he said:: "It wasn't part of my plan, I hate this role.

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But things are already out of my control. I'm not a hero. I'm just an ordinary person. I did the simplest thing. I was just writing in cyberspace. And many died for this cause."

When Ghonem, released from prison, came to Al-Tahrir Square, he was hailed by tens of thousands as their hero, as their leader, and he was not a leader. He shouted, " Freedom is a blessing that deserves to be fought for." On the same day, when he spoke on Egyptian television, he was shown several photos of the corpses of those who died during the demonstrations, he burst into tears and shouted: "This is not our fault, not our mistake! It's the government's fault! " and refused to be interviewed. The next day, speaking to tens of thousands of people, Gonem said:: "I'm not a hero. Heroes are those who died... But we will not give up our demands. The regime must go." His popularity skyrocketed. Hundreds of thousands of people on Facebook called for him to speak for the revolution. But he knew the calls " Down with it!", " Freedom!", " Dignity!", and he did not have a program.


In his last speech, Mubarak stated:: "This is a father's speech to his sons and daughters." As before, there were a lot of lies in his speech, although perhaps he genuinely believed what he was saying. His address elicited derisive laughter from the crowd and howls from a million throats: "Go away!!!". One woman shouted into the microphone: "We've had enough of these soap operas." A few hours later, he resigned.

When Mubarak's last address to the nation was recorded, he fainted twice.

Behind all this was a personal tragedy, which explains the president's stubborn lack of understanding of his "sons and daughters", the stubbornness that brought Egypt to the brink of destruction and-it is possible! "the civil war. The president believed that he was the only one who could save the country from sliding into the abyss.

Although it was widely rumored that he and his family had allegedly plundered billions of dollars, a number of diplomats in Egypt considered this a great exaggeration. "Compared to the kleptocrats in other countries, I don't think President Mubarak stands out in any way," said one of the ambassadors in Cairo, who preferred to remain anonymous. "Of course, there was corruption in Egypt, but as far as I know, the president and Madame Mubarak lived quite modestly." But when evaluating the business of his sons, such gentle assessments were never expressed.

Mubarak did not expect such an end to his career and his life. As the commander of the Egyptian air force, who received military training in the USSR, he was a hero of the 1973 war against Israel. When Sadat invited him to his palace in 1975, he expected to be offered an important diplomatic post. But Sadat elevated a general with no political ambitions to the post of vice president. On October 6, 1981, Sadat and Mubarak were sitting next to each other in a parade, but radical Islamists in military uniforms killed Sadat, and Mubarak accidentally survived.

So he became the head of the country. She was different then. The ubiquitous police dominated, and repression forced people to obey. Communication with foreign countries was carried out through rare phone calls. Over the next 30 years, industry and tourism developed, many hundreds of thousands received university education, millions began to use the Internet, and televisions appeared in every home. But Mubarak, surrounded by sycophants, did not understand how much the country had changed. His partner in the family tragedy was his wife, Susan Mubarak, the daughter of an Egyptian doctor and a Welsh nurse. At the age of 17, she married Hosni when he was a young pilot. She was involved in social charity work and was more open to the outside world than the circle of people who surrounded him, but she wanted to raise her sons to replace their father.

The eldest son, Alya, was a businessman, a football fan and did not play politics.

The youngest son, Gamal, became his father's undeclared heir. It was Gamal and his friends who started talking about the dynasties of the Kennedy, Bush, and Clinton politicians in the United States, not to mention the dynasties of the pharaohs.

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In the spring of 2009, 80-year-old Mubarak suffered a tragedy. At this time, he had already established normal relations with Obama, as well as with other American presidents. Obama was convinced that Mubarak is the only person in Egypt who can maintain stability in the country, crush extremists and keep his army within the framework of peace with Israel. Bush also tried to talk about democratizing the Arab world, but Mubarak looked solid, unbreakable as a sphinx. His stony face only smiled when he was talking and playing with his 12-year-old grandson, Muhammad, son of Al. On that tragic day, a charming boy, after spending a weekend with his grandfather, fell into a coma and died of a rare disease that caused a brain hemorrhage. The grief-stricken grandfather was psychologically broken. He even canceled his visit to the United States, did not attend the funeral of his grandson, and did not attend Obama's speech in Cairo when he called for better relations between the United States and the Arab-Muslim world.

Egyptians, a highly emotional people, expressed sympathy for the president. If he had held an election a week after his grandson's death, he would have won an overwhelming majority without any fraud. If he had decided to resign then, people would have sincerely asked him to stay. It was an emotional moment, not a political one. But, having lost touch with reality, Mubarak decided that only he could continue to lead Egypt, and even Gamal, his son, was not suitable for this.

True, Gamal spent about ten years preparing to become a political figure. In London, he worked for the Bank of America, and then created his own company Medinvest. It became a successful business project, and he made hundreds of millions of dollars, apparently using his position as the president's son.

But he had no political leadership skills, no charisma. "He went to the American University in Cairo and was a smart young man," his friends said. "He's read a lot, learned a lot. Gamal became a good banker, an investment specialist. He was a technocrat, but not a politician. He did not feel the mood of the people, the mood of the people, he could not become a leader or ruler."

Meanwhile, money-hungry "fat cats"gathered around Gamal, who became the informal leader of the National Democratic Party. Some of them really understood that the economy needed to be modernized. Liberalisation, privatisation and telecommunications were already changing the business landscape. The sale of land that was considered government property, the construction of hotels, tourist centers and rich neighborhoods on the Red and Mediterranean coast or in Cairo - all this generated huge revenues. Foreign investments have flowed to Egypt. The economy was growing. A new class of super-rich people has emerged. Their way of life provoked the indignation and hatred of tens of millions who lived on the verge of starvation, as well as young and educated people who could not find work and had no future. At the same time, dissatisfaction was expressed by both the military and security agencies, which were the real base of the Mubarak regime. They didn't want his son at the head of the state.

A narrow group of sycophantic advisers around Mubarak limited his vision of the world and the realities of Egypt.

No one dared to go against this inner circle of sycophants and advisors.

Susan Mubarak did this sometimes. She even tried to defend her mentor from the American University in Cairo, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who opposed the regime, received several years in prison and was forced to go abroad. But the president's wife was told that it was none of her business. I met Ibrahim at international conferences and in New York at Columbia University, and he seemed to me a tracing paper of Soviet dissidents of the 60s and 70s.

Susan wasn't popular. It was claimed that she received gifts from businessmen and became super-rich. She also alienated a significant part of the population by waging an active campaign against female circumcision, which deprived Egyptian women of their burrows.-

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a minimal sexual life. But this practice was widespread among the illiterate population, and the fight against this tradition caused a negative reaction.

In the spring of 2010, Gamal's star was already setting. His father did not believe in his political future, and the generals did not want to see Gamal as a leader. Mubarak has just had his gallbladder removed in Germany. He was physically weakened, but he still considered himself irreplaceable. His closest adviser (by the way, in his own way, an intelligent and talented intelligence chief, then the head of all the Egyptian special services) Omar Suleiman kept a low profile all the time. It was he, as well as the head of the National Democratic Party, Ahmed Izz, who removed all political opponents. There was no substitute for him in Mubarak's entourage. The old guard general was not happy with Gamal Mubarak or the greedy businessmen around him.

When Egypt's parliamentary elections were rigged last November by party boss Ahmed Izz, a friend of Gamal's and a "steel oligarch" who owns two-thirds of Egypt's privatized steel industry, the situation escalated to the limit. Omar Suleiman was in charge of more than just intelligence. He was behind the implementation of the most draconian emergency laws. It was he who tried to break the power of the Muslim Brotherhood, which won a fifth of the vote in the 2005 elections, despite all the government's resistance. Together with Ahmed Izz, Suleiman ensured the scandalous victory of the ruling NDP in the elections, when the secular opposition was given only a handful of seats, and the Muslim Brotherhood was simply not allowed to enter parliament. The" victory " of the National Democratic Party was such that the whole society turned its back on the Parliament.

According to Wikileaks, the American ambassador in Washington described Suleiman as "a pragmatist with a very sharp and analytical mind." The cables identify it as the "most successful element" in U.S.-Egyptian cooperation on the Middle East peace process. Telegrams from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv reported that Suleiman was highly regarded by Israelis. Israel would be very happy if Omar Suleiman became Mubarak's heir. Suleiman became vice president in the final days of Mubarak's rule, in the latest act of tragedy. But opposition groups and protesters saw him only as an extension of the Mubarak regime and didn't believe a word he said. Revolutions have their own logic and psychology.

Mubarak relied on the army. But in order to save himself, the generals persuaded him to resign. A very old man, morally and physically crushed, gave in to their demands. Mubarak's entourage is said not to have shown him televised scenes of millions cheering on the streets of Cairo when his resignation was announced. The generals understood that the army would not shoot at the people. It would have ended in bloodshed and a sad end for them. Moreover, the old general's guard tried to turn the people's anger on the most arrogant of the "fat cats", former ministers who profited most from profiteering and plundering their own people. Some of them were arrested. Mubarak is banned from leaving the country.

After a period of jubilation, perhaps a new "soap opera" will begin-who knows...


They try to describe the revolutions in the Arab world as "revolutions of the Internet generation" or "Facebook generation". But not so long ago, the Muslim popular revolution swept away the Shah's regime, the military regime of Suharto in Indonesia, and the corrupt Marcos regime in the Philippines. The results of all revolutions were different, but some common components, underlying causes can be found.

First of all, the gap between the "top" and "bottom". Egypt developed relatively quickly. GDP growth in recent years has been 5-7% per year. This was lower than the pace of development in China or India, but much higher than the global average. However, the fruits of this economic growth did not reach the masses. At the top were the millionaires and billionaires who began to appear in the country after President Sadat in the 70s and early 80s announced the policy of "open doors" ("infitaha").

In the first period of Mubarak's rule, the "fat cats" somewhat turned their tails between their legs, but then, intertwining into a single system with the top of the state apparatus, they behaved more and more brazenly, slurping louder and louder. Egypt's super-rich were created by privatizing the most delicious pieces of state property, obtaining almost free land for future development, privileged loans from state-owned banks, access to government orders, and setting up joint ventures with foreign corporations.

About 40% of the population lived on $ 1-2 a day, ate flatbread with beans, and the "elite" built for themselves separate neighborhoods with golf courses, with all the services and services that the privileged classes have in the West, erected mansions-palaces on the Nile coast, on the coasts of the Red and Mediterranean Seas. Every year, 700,000 new workers were thrown into the Egyptian labor market. Most of them didn't get a job. Formally, unemployment was 10 - 15% of the population, in fact - more. Almost half of the entire economy of the country was accounted for by informal, unrecorded activities of small merchants and artisans, repairmen, handymen, and so on. Sufficiently developed system of higher education

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education, the quality of which fell from year to year, produced tens or even hundreds of thousands of young people who had diplomas, some knowledge and ambitions, but did not have a job. Young people who received an education or semi-education dreamed of their own car, the opportunity to get married (and they did not have money for kalym), and their own housing.

Television showed the Egyptians someone else's beautiful life, a decent existence, decent people, freedom, and they did not have their own future. The economic situation of the masses either changed very slowly for the better or worsened. It was at this point, on the eve of revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and then in other Arab countries, that food prices began to rise around the world due to droughts, adverse weather conditions, and poor grain harvests. (In the Asian giants of China and India, an increasing proportion of food crops were used to produce higher-quality food (meat, dairy products)for the growing middle class, while the global grain market was shrinking, prices were rising, and they are expected to rise again.)

Everything was subject to corruption from top to bottom. Any piece of paper in a public institution, received from the hands of a minor official, could cost 50-100 pounds with a textile worker's salary of 350 pounds per month. ($1 is equivalent to approximately 5.9 Egyptian pounds.) Bribes at the highest level were estimated in the millions and tens of millions of pounds. Entrepreneurs and officials made huge amounts of money "out of thin air", with the help of financial transactions. Thus, colossal state funds were cut between the "fat cats" and officials, and some of them were transfused into others. Billionaires were infiltrating parliament, the highest echelons of government, and government officials were leaving their posts to run giant corporations with hundreds of millions and billions of pounds. At the same time, the population remained poor, immersed in the care of a flatbread. Any protest was suppressed. A state of emergency was maintained for 30 years.

Workers of industrial enterprises, state institutions, and transport played a significant role in the uprising. There are trade unions in Egypt, but there is no powerful trade union organization like in Tunisia. How will the military, "brothers" or Internet youth react to their demands?

Egypt seems to be returning to normal. Banks have opened. Cars are still stuck in traffic jams. Ordinary police officers (not the ones who suppressed the riots) appeared on the streets, supported by army patrols. The Egyptian currency has not yet lost against the dollar. Only tourism was under a big blow, and the occupancy rate of hotels fell several times.

However, the protests continue and become more intense. In Cairo and Alexandria, huge crowds are calling for broader reforms. There were clashes with police in Port Said, south of Cairo, north Sinai, and the Kharga oasis. Strikes and peaceful protests are expanding.

The revolution restored human dignity and freedom to people. What about social achievements? The fact is that there are no social achievements yet and probably won't be any. Popular unrest led to a massive outflow of capital from the country, both foreign and Egyptian, the tourism industry was undermined, and jobs were not added. And so, in the wake of the popular revolution, mass strikes began, from Alexandria to Aswan. Textile workers, transport workers and workers of the Suez Canal, employees of banks and companies are on strike. By the way, the police are also on strike. After all, in addition to the police detachments hated by the people for suppressing riots and the political police, there are a lot of police officers, thin, underfed, poorly dressed, receiving beggarly salaries; they regulate traffic, stood guard over some objects.

In the very first days after the transfer of power to the generals, the Military Council began to appeal not to strike, not to make social demands, not to shake the economy. But will the half-starved wait?

How will the "Internet generation" react to this? After all, it was represented mainly by young people, not from the poorest strata of society. Will they protect the rights of the poor, the unemployed, and workers? Or is it possible that some kind of compromise with the regime is possible, that some of them can be outbid by those in power with posts, privileges, and salaries?

In Indonesia, the Philippines, and Pakistan, military regimes have been replaced by formally democratic ones, but is a new society being built there? After all, as it turned out, in

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corruption, the influence of oligarchs and political clans persist in these countries.

They talk about the "domino effect". Yes, the events in Tunisia naturally prompted and became the banner of the popular revolution in Egypt. And what will happen next? What's the next chip to drop?


The wave of Arab revolutions reached Libya and turned into armed clashes between the opposition and supporters of the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

It is important to note that the desire to "get a piece of bread and butter"is not mentioned among the reasons for unrest. In Libya, there was no poverty, the government built neighborhoods of cheap and quite decent housing, there was affordable education and medical care, and unemployment benefits. The vast desert country with a population of 6.5 million people was covered with beautiful roads. An entire artificial river was built on the basis of underground water sources. (However, the environmental consequences of this have not yet been studied.) With Africa's largest oil reserves, Libya was the continent's third-largest producer, with a GDP of about $12,000. per capita (roughly the same as in Russia).

Yes, as a result of rapid demographic growth, the younger generation of Libya is 40-50% of the population. Among young people, the unemployment rate is high, and the intensity of unfulfilled desires, aspirations, hopes, and ambitions grew. There were plenty of jobs, but they were low-profile and poorly paid. They were occupied by immigrants - about a million and a half million people from different countries, mostly Egyptians. They did not rebel - they came to work - and did not find a common language with the discontented Libyan youth.

Young people did not believe in the slogans of the regime, were outraged by growing corruption, insulted by police brutality, and the country's information isolation.

When Tunisia and Egypt showed successful examples of overthrowing former rulers, young people united by the Internet took to the streets.

Gaddafi responded by mobilizing his supporters - from the army, the police, loyal tribes, mercenaries, and detachments of "his" militias. The first dead appeared, then the rebels seized weapons at the destroyed police stations and military bases, armed themselves. Dozens and hundreds of people were killed in the clashes. On February 22, the colonel gathered loyal young people in Tripoli's Green Square and said that he, as a "leader of the revolution" without government posts, would remain in Libya and was ready to crush the rebels with armed force.

To really imagine the situation, you need to understand the personality of Gaddafi, who has been at the head of the country for more than 40 years. A young officer and admirer of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the leader of Egypt's 1952 anti - Western and partly social revolution, Gaddafi organized and successfully carried out a coup against the king in 1969.The feudal and pro-Western regime was overthrown. Gaddafi then dismantled American and British military bases (including the largest US Air Force base in Africa, Wheelus Field), nationalized foreign oil companies, banks, the property of the royal family, the lands of Italian colonists, and began to build a new state. Even his own country was not called a republic (jumhuriyah in Arabic), but a new word - Jamahiriya-an approximate translation - republic of the masses. The country's pretentious name is the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Like G. A. Nasser, he established close cooperation with the USSR and began to buy (and pay for) mountains of Soviet weapons, but also factories and equipment.

He was a dreamer. He dreamed of creating a single Arab state, first uniting Egypt, Libya and Syria, or-Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania. When the projects failed, he began to dream of creating a United States of Africa - it did not go beyond declarations. He dreamed of creating a just society - for some time he strongly restricted private property, for example, the ownership of land, 5 hectares. It prohibited private trade, which created queues and a shortage of goods in a relatively rich country. Power formally belonged to the people's committees, but in reality-to the growing bureaucracy, the police apparatus, and its inner circle.

But Gaddafi was dangerous,

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a ruthless dreamer, a dictator. To make people "free" and "happy", he was willing to destroy opponents and dissenters. Happiness had to be imposed according to its own patterns. Several disturbances that occurred during his reign were suppressed violently, with numerous victims. He lost touch with the masses, stopped keeping his finger on the pulse of popular sentiment.

It is worth noting the rather rigid national character of the Libyans-the willingness to fight. After all, the Italians spent almost 20 years at the beginning of the last century to conquer this country. Gaddafi had many role models. In his speech on February 22, he referred to the American invasion of Iraq to plant "democracy" there, the Israeli crackdown on the Gaza Strip, and-alas for us-the shooting of the Russian parliament on the orders of Boris Yeltsin.

It is important to note that the greatest success of the rebels was in the eastern part of the country - Cyrenaica - the stronghold of the Senussi Sufi order, which opposes the authorities. After all, the Libyan king who was deposed 42 years ago was the head of this order. The rebels now have the old royal flags. There are calls to establish a caliphate in Cyrenaica.

Civil war broke out in Libya - for a few days? Weeks? What will be its victims? Who will win? It is not yet possible to answer these questions.

There is a mass evacuation of foreigners from the country. Among them - about 500 Russian citizens. In the first two weeks of the civil war, more than 100,000 people - mostly migrant workers-fled Libya.

And how do the US and EU countries react to the events in Libya? They were faced with a dilemma. After all, after a period of anti-Western (anti-imperialist) real politics, the Gaddafi regime began to suit the West. Gaddafi half-acknowledged the Libyan involvement in the bombing of the American Boeing, paying compensation to the families of the victims, according to various estimates, from $200 million to $2.5 billion. He refused to produce nuclear weapons, betraying the Pakistanis who supplied him with nuclear technology. (He was a realist, though, and saw the Americans invading Iraq under the pretext of preventing the production of an atomic bomb.) He again invited Western oil corporations to the country, albeit on favorable terms for Libya. He has made lucrative deals worth billions of dollars with Italy, England, and the United States. Libyan money was invested in securities and real estate in Western countries, including billions of the Gaddafi family. The process of privatizing trade, industry, and banks began, and Gaddafi's inner circle and foreigners profited from it.

His usual anti-Western and anti-Israeli rhetoric was ignored.

And now? The West has already written off Gaddafi. Who will replace the colonel, if any? However, this time the calls of politically correct Western leaders to " stop violence "were replaced by UN decisions on sanctions, and after the removal of American citizens from Libya - by the condemnation of Gaddafi and the appearance of the American aircraft carrier Enterprise off the coast of Libya.


It is clear that the United States will actively support such a revolution in Iran with the help of the Internet, special services, and money. But they support this protest movement in order to overthrow the regime of their enemy in the Middle East, to organize a "color revolution" there. A regime that has grown enormously stronger and stronger since the United States defeated and destroyed Saddam Hussein's power in Iraq, an enemy of Iran, with one hand, and the Taliban's power in Afghanistan, also an enemy of Iran, with the other.

The collapse of the Mubarak regime - Sunni, allied with the United States, anti-Iranian-also strengthens the position of the rulers of Iran, ... until, if broad protest movements do not spread to them. Discontent with the mullocracy is growing in Iran. The driving forces behind the protests are similar to those in Egypt - an urban, educated or semi-educated middle class. But the powers that be in Iran are still much more powerful and cohesive, and they are ready to use force against the rioters.

But what about the regime of Iran's tiny island kingdom of Bahrain, which has a population of one million, where a massive popular movement against the royal regime has begun, following the example of the Egyptians? After all, Bahrain is the base and headquarters of the 5th US Navy, and several thousand US military personnel are permanently stationed.

We emphasize that each country has its own specifics. In Bahrain, the regime is represented by a Sunni ruling dynasty, while the population is 70% Shiite. Sunnis hold top positions in the administration, companies, and leading positions in the economy. Therefore, religious protests are combined with democratic and social protests. The standard of living in Bahrain is high, even among Shiites. But the offended sense of human dignity, the unwillingness of Shiites to be second-class people, pushes them to revolt, while peaceful. The royal regime has not lost its base, its army and police, but it is making one concession after another.

In these circumstances, the United States, like representatives of the European Union, continue to insist on the need for gradual reforms, the need to take into account the opinion of the population, but in fact support the regime. Step by step, the king concedes to the protesters, and they increase their demands.

The specific situation is in Yemen, where the authoritarian regime of President Saleh, an ally of the United States, has ruled for almost 40 years. This is one of the poorest Arab countries in the world.

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countries with a deadening bureaucracy and widespread corruption. At the same time, the authorities must counter the semi-partisan operations of Muslim extremists in the north of the country and the separatists in the south. Here, the contradictions between tribes and between moderate Shiite groups (Zaidis) and Sunnis play a special role. In the end, the final outcome of these events will be determined by the large confederations of Yemeni tribes. Meanwhile, President Saleh is trying to shift responsibility for the unrest to the Israeli and US intelligence agencies.

Social unrest has spread to Algeria. People demand jobs, better working conditions, and higher wages. There is a danger of turning a social protest into a political one. Elements of democracy existed and still exist in Algeria. But at one time, just 20 years ago, when the country was facing a real threat of Islamists seizing power through the ballot boxes, a military coup took place in the country. All those in power should take into account the opinion of the army command. In Algeria, in the 90-ies of the last century and in the first years of this year, there were actually military operations between government forces and Islamists. During the 10 - 15 years of the Algerian creeping civil war, almost 100 thousand people were killed in Algeria, according to some sources.

Close US allies are the royal regimes in Morocco and Jordan. These countries have their own specifics. They are ruled by young, well-educated kings who have already begun to implement some reforms from above, expand the democratic representation of the masses, and conduct a dialogue with the Muslim opposition. Both dynasties are considered direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad and are revered among the faithful. True, the poverty of the population, the lack of resources that do not allow meeting the needs of the masses, raise the heat of social tension, although they do not cause (yet?) aktikorolevskih movements. Naturally, there are many unknowns here.

Artificially shifting the analysis of the socio-political situation from Egypt to such specific countries can greatly distort the picture.

Take Saudi Arabia, for example. Among the supporters of the revolution along the Egyptian path may be some representatives of the urban middle class. And they have to choose between comparative material well-being and the potential danger of rebellion. The royal family, or more precisely, a clan of more than 5 thousand people, scattered throughout the gigantic territory, also operates here. At the helm of the aircraft sit mostly members of the royal family, they are in the apparatus of all departments, at the head of the provinces. Saudi Arabia is home to Islam's main holy sites of Mecca and Medina, and the religious establishment has deep roots. Calls for the restoration of the foundations of Islam in Saudi Arabia would sound ridiculous, because there is no other law in the country than Sharia. The government relies not only on strong police structures, but also on the National Guard, which is formed from loyal dynasties and blue blood tribes. As for workers-7-8 million. If they are immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines and some other countries, then they came here not to stay and get Saudi rights, but to earn money and leave. The crisis may also affect this country, but it will take on a very specific character.

Of course, the educated middle class in Saudi Arabia saw the events differently, in some ways morally supporting the rebels. Saudi bloggers have denounced the government for giving former Tunisian ruler Ben Ali asylum. For some, he was a dictator, and for others-almost godless, too secular ruler. Some complained about insufficient salaries, poor schools, and a lack of jobs.

But the government can resort to repression, propaganda, tribal ties, and patronage in order to weaken any opposition. The elderly (87 years old) King Abdullah, before returning to the country after treatment, announced a social program of $ 30 billion to help the poor, defer loans, and build housing. Any steps towards any kind of democratization have previously given advantages to extreme anti-Western Islamists in Saudi Arabia, so simply calling for "free" elections is a dangerous slogan even for hidden liberals.

Only in the Eastern Province, where there is a fairly large Shiite population, could a mass protest break out. But religious leaders there are very cautious. They are afraid of being accused of playing the role of a kind of "fifth column" of Iran. In early February, young Saudis from the eastern city of Qatif planned a demonstration to demand political reform, but local religious leaders dissuaded them from doing so. Of course, older authorities may lose control of the street. But the majority of Saudis still have little desire to see a revolution in the country. However, they want reforms and less corruption.

The problem is that now the rulers are busy with the issue of succession to the throne and the poor health of very elderly members of the royal family.

Possible protests in Qatar, Oman or the United Arab Emirates. But most of the workers there are immigrants, and they will be thrown out of the country immediately if they protest. And the indigenous people of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have the highest standard of living in the world.

In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad is certainly not fully immunized by what is happening around him. His secret police are monitoring all his movements. Demographic problems, high unemployment, and the police regime may cause anti-government protests. But Assad has shown himself to be flexible and resolute at the same time.-

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a corporate leader. Even small meetings in support of the Egyptian revolution proved impossible. Assad controls the army and security agencies through the Baathist party organization, through his Alawites-members of the moderate Shiite sect and loyal Sunnis. Economic liberalization allowed for a clever division of income between the Alawite and Sunni elites. There are opposition groups. But they are still separated. The Muslim Brotherhood was dramatically weakened by the crackdown. Many opposition intellectuals from among the Kurds or non-religious figures have ended up in prison, others are quiet, and others have emigrated.

In Syria, there is no such poverty as in Egypt, there are no such slums, but, of course, there is discontent. There are many universities in Syria, and like in Egypt, graduates are often unemployed. The younger generation is still depoliticized. The bloody wars in Lebanon and Iraq have convinced them that stability and security are not worth destroying. Assad himself is relatively young - he is 45 years old, he positions himself as an anti-Western and, of course, anti-Israeli leader. In Syria, many see the fall of Mubarak as evidence of the collapse of a pro-American president who has become an ally of Israel.

The Syrian leadership has to make a difficult choice between a state-run economy and free enterprise. It can limit the income of generals, the highest state and party bureaucracy, but also stop subsidies for the masses. Only in January, the government increased gasoline subsidies for workers at state-owned enterprises. Will the government have enough resources to put out social discontent with money, not with repression, if it breaks out in a fire?


The Israeli leadership is concerned and is moving troops from the northern border to the southern one just in case. It is clear why. He had a stable relationship with the regime of Hosni Mubarak, and now the future is absolutely unknown. But they understand that the stability of the Mubarak regime was at the expense of the interests of his people, and in the end the people said "enough is enough". There is still much work to be done. But there will still be a society with new features in Egypt. It should be borne in mind that the Arab dictators, precisely because they lacked legitimacy, supported the hatred of the population towards Israel, secretly cooperating with it. If Israel could negotiate with the Palestinians, it would find its partners in the democratizing Arab world. But, unfortunately, the Israeli far-right leadership is going its own way, deepening the Palestinians ' self-hatred, biting off piece after piece of their territory.

Will the peace treaties with Israel between Egypt and Jordan be respected and to what extent? Will the new Egyptian Government require some degree of treaty revision? Mubarak's Egypt helped Israel with its blockade of the Gaza Strip. On the Egyptian side, there was even an "underground wall" about 20 meters deep, when a trench was dug along the entire border and filled with concrete to prevent smuggling through underground passages. Will the new Egyptian authorities maintain this blockade? The Mubarak regime was an enemy of Hamas in power in Gaza. But Hamas is a sibling of the Muslim Brotherhood, without which it will be difficult to create a new regime in Egypt.

The Obama administration was thrashing around. On the one hand, she supported her loyal old ally Hosni Mubarak, on the other - persuaded him to urgently start reforms, recommended developing democracy without disturbing the order.

In the face of popular uprisings, the United States and its Western allies, as well as Israel, are in disarray. Both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and some Arab rulers have called US President Obama directly, demanding support for Mubarak. Contradictory statements were received from Washington at the first stage.

After all, Washington's very policies in the Middle East and North Africa have consistently used double standards. On the one hand, the United States declared its desire to promote reform and democracy in the countries of the "Greater Middle East", that is, from North Africa to Pakistan; on the other, it relied on its real military and political allies, the authoritarian regimes that existed in all these countries. Of course, the US would like reforms from above, not revolution from below. The old slogan of American presidents, " He's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch," applied to all the leaders of regimes that have already been overthrown or are about to collapse, whether it's President Ben Ali in Tunisia, President Mubarak in Egypt, or President Saleh in Yemen. Along with the popular unrest, the position of the United States wavered.

The United States preached democratic reforms and at the same time feared that the reforms could cause a political collapse and unpredictable consequences. But their absence also meant a collapse, a social explosion, and again unpredictable consequences.

The Egyptian generals had nowhere to go. Five days after the start of the revolution, the chief of the general staff of the Egyptian armed forces was invited to the United States, where he developed a tactic - to sacrifice Mubarak, but for the time being to preserve the power of the military. Whoever won, Obama lost.

At a hearing in the US Senate in February 2011, CIA spokeswoman S. O'Sullivan said that at the end of 2010, intelligence informed the US administration about the threat of instability in Egypt and the weakening of Mubarak's power. "But we didn't know what the trigger would be," she added.

When the Arab revolution began-

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However, in Washington, there was some disagreement in the actions and statements of the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon. The Pentagon acted most consistently. Relying on extensive contacts at all levels with the Egyptian military, he monitored the situation and exerted some influence on them.

Obama, in telephone conversations with Mubarak, pushed him more and more insistently to resign until he simply stopped picking up the phone. Washington believes that Egypt positively assessed these actions of the US president, who did not heed the calls of Israelis, Saudis and some other leaders of Middle Eastern countries to "save" Mubarak.

Under the circumstances, the current turn of events in Egypt is still more or less satisfactory to Washington. But they understand that this is only the beginning, that the paths of those forces that united in the struggle to overthrow Mubarak are likely to diverge. Nor is it certain that the Egyptian military will be able to ensure a " peaceful transition to democracy,"as happened in South Korea.

When Obama visited Egypt in June 2009, he stated:: "America and Islam are not mutually exclusive and should not compete. Instead, they share common principles - the principles of justice and progress, tolerance and human dignity." How will the US administration now respond to the strengthening of the Muslim Brotherhood, which remains the most powerful organized opposition force in the country?

It can be assumed that in order to plug the gaping holes of poverty, the United States and Western European countries can fork out. After all, even constant aid to Egypt (military and civilian) has cost the US $2 billion. per year. It can be increased. After all, in order to support the collapsing economies of Portugal, Greece, and Ireland, the European Union has allocated hundreds of billions of euros. There will also be billions for Egypt ... if it is what the West wants it to be.

It is now clear that the regimes that come to power will be less pro - Western than those that existed before, and perhaps even "anti-Western". Yes, there will be economic, social, and cultural ties with the West and the United States. But there will be no dictators in power who are obedient to Washington and can ignore the opinions of their own people. The peace treaties concluded with Israel by two Arab countries - Egypt and Jordan - are becoming questionable.


Military regimes in Southeast Asia are a thing of the past, but the United States has retained a fairly powerful position there. In South Asia, Washington has maintained a de facto military alliance with Pakistan. Dictatorships in South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore gradually transformed into fairly successful democratic regimes in a highly developed economy. For South Korea, there is simply no alternative to the closest military alliance with the United States.

Many speculate that Egypt may follow the Turkish path when representatives of Muslim fundamentalists, but not extremists, come to power. However, there are still too many unknowns, too many contradictions, and an attempt to transfer the specifics of one society to another can distort reality.

Wael Ghonem was "designated" by the Western media as the face of the Egyptian revolution. He is much younger than Mohammed ElBaradei, he is not religious, he is not closed, he is not associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, he speaks good English, he is married to an American woman and works for Google. His face is most attractive in order to "commercialize the revolution" in the eyes of a Western audience.

Western media's appreciation of the Facebook revolution requires an unbiased approach. It's easy to forget that the French stormed the Bastille and the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace without the help of the Internet or sending photos of each other on Facebook. The same is true of the recent Islamic popular revolution in Iran, although Ayatollah Khomeini's sermons were distributed there via audio cassettes.

The Egyptian revolution didn't happen because of the Internet, Facebook, or Twitter, it was a spark in a pile of dry wood. It was driven by the same forces that have repeatedly fueled revolutions: hatred of the corrupt autocracy and secret police, the despair of the rising middle class, the hopeless situation of the poor, and the inability of the "upper classes" to implement real reforms. The" face "of the revolution, the Facebook generation, and young, educated demonstrators who can express their opinions online are just one slice of Egypt's complex social structure.

After all, you need to remember that in Egypt, 44% are illiterate or semi-illiterate, and 40% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. Low wages, rising food prices, and high unemployment, especially among young people, mean that there are a lot of desperate people in the country, and their voice must be heard in a new, freer environment. Any government has little money to pay off the demands of the masses. He's already running too big a budget deficit.

After decades of repression, the country has a very weak civil society, that is, independent public groups and organizations that could stand between the government and the population and participate in shaping the political course. Egypt had a more or less free press, but it was restricted. Opposition parties eked out a miserable existence. Elections-always! - they were falsified.

The level of economic development of a society, as well as cultural and historical traditions, is of great importance for development

page 17
democracy. A study was conducted, which found that where the per capita GDP level is higher than $ 6 thousand per year, it is easier to establish democratic regimes. Where the level of per capita income is less than one and a half thousand dollars a year, democracy, as a rule, does not survive. In Egypt, according to various estimates, including purchasing power parity, the level of annual income per capita is less than 6 thousand dollars. In general, this is about the same in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country that has managed to maintain some institutions of a democratic system, despite neither corruption nor religious extremism. One can cite the examples of Pakistan and Thailand, where democracy exists in parallel with the special role of the military.

In Egypt and other Arab countries, there was a stronger explosion of popular anger, an emotional revolution, than in Indonesia or Pakistan. Therefore, the army should behave more cautiously. But I would like to note the following: it is necessary to take into account a certain psychological attitude of the Egyptians when they are in the mass. The author of these lines saw the human sea of delight and goodwill of millions towards the then leader of the USSR Nikita Khrushchev, when in the early 60s of the last century he came to complete the first stage of construction of the high-rise Aswan dam. But the same people, with the same intensity of emotions, greeted, more than 10 years later, US President Carter, who was swimming in a sea of pro-American sympathies.

If the Egyptian military, that is, generals and officers, keep their promise to implement democratization and transfer power to civilians, then the new regime may begin to solve the accumulated problems. Egypt's population has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Now there are 83-84 million people here. It is basically already a country of cities, concentrated on a narrow strip of land, more precisely-a solid city, from Alexandria to Aswan, with suburban agriculture. The rest of the country is a desert. We need to find an effective model of economic and social development and create jobs.

But when we talk about future elections, we should not forget about the really deep religious feelings of the majority of the population. In Egypt, a survey conducted by the PEW organization showed that 80% of Egyptians support the idea of stoning unfaithful wives. Those who believe that Egypt will be dominated by the" Internet generation " or the "Facebook generation" should take this survey into account, even if it is partly erroneous, partly unrepresentative. How will supporters of stoning unfaithful wives vote in elections?

The experience of Pakistan, Thailand, and Turkey shows that urban educated middle classes and secular intellectuals are often disappointed by the results of democratic elections in which the less educated population votes for parties that are not pro-Western or liberal in nature.

Thailand has been in the grip of a civil conflict for the past year, almost a civil war, where the Redshirts, who represent more backward areas, rural and small towns, have clashed with the urban, more educated and wealthier residents represented by the Yellowshirts. In Turkey, a significant part of the secular elite is highly suspicious of the moderate Islamist government, although it is recognized as a reliable partner around the world. The Turkish army, as the guarantor of Ataturk's secular traditions, is increasingly being pushed into the background. Many educated Pakistanis are under constant stress and despair as a result of the fact that the political system is dysfunctional and prone to violent outbursts.

If Egypt is lucky, the country's future system may turn out to be something similar to Turkey's-a democracy with a strong Islamist party and an emerging economy and military in the background. But the problem also lies in the fact that any revolution leads first to economic losses, large or small, to a suspension of development, perhaps to a collapse of the economy, to a deterioration of the situation of the masses. If this is superimposed on the mass poverty of the unsatisfied population, another unpredictable social explosion may occur.

If Egypt's development goes in a bad direction, the country will be more like Pakistan: a mass of poor people, a dysfunctional democracy torn between fundamentalists, secularists, and powerful militaries, and the persistence of widespread corruption. Of course, in Pakistan, we must also take into account the most serious interethnic contradictions, which is not the case in Egypt. Egypt has not reached the level of Turkey's economic development, but its GDP per capita is slightly higher than Pakistan's. The future structure of Egypt, if we limit the analysis to the limit, may lie between these two options.

Tunisia has more hope for a functioning democracy with strong Islamist overtones. As for other countries that have won or are winning revolutions, we will refrain from making predictions for the time being.

Can we hope that "as if" revolutions will turn into real revolutions? Will there be a rollback? Will there not be compromises at the expense of the aspirations of the masses? Time will show.

The lesson of the Arab revolutions is that the masses have a new weapon-the Internet, and this weapon may well be used not only in relatively backward or, to use another term, developing countries, but also in developed countries.


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