Inspired by the Tunisian uprising in December, many young Egyptians took to the streets to protest unemployment, food inflation, corruption, freedom of speech and poor living conditions (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/15/tunisia-uprising-drives-i_n_809459.html). Now Egypt’s fate is undecided and an Egytian presidency is in shambles.
Timeline of Protest
Based off a piece in the Miami Herald, (http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/01/2045759/timeline-of-egyptian-protests.html) the protests began on January 25th or the “Day of Rage”. Inspired by the Tunisia uprising, young Egyptians began peacefully protesting but quickly turned violent with many protestors clashing with police. Due to the unrest, Egypt’s stock market declined. In an attempt to prevent future rallies, the Egyptian government cut cell phone and internet services. Attached is a graph of internet usage in Egypt before and after January 27th (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12306041). The government imposed a curfew in major cities and Egyptian President Hosni Murbarak, trying to prevent an overthrow of his 30-year government, made a speech claiming he would appoint a new Cabinet.
On January 29th, police disappeared from the streets and residents formed neighborhood watches to protect their properties. Bread and other food staples began to disappear from food shelves. As of February 1st, 2011, U.S. President Barak Obama has requested an “orderly transition” of power and Mubarak has stated he will not run for reelection in the fall.
Who is this organization that is believed to be the center of the political upheaval in Egypt? Many scholoars believe the Brotherhood plays a small roll in the current Egyptian situation. Islamic scholar and school teacher Hassan al-Banna established the organization in 1928 with the goal to “instill the Qur’an and Sunnah as the sole reference point for ordering the life of the Muslim family.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_Brotherhood). The organization has been suppressed in Egypt since 1952 with known members and leaders being arrested.
The organization supports democracy and is very critical of U.S. foreign policy. The movement does oppose violent means and has condemned the 9/11 attacks; however, the organization has many branches, some of which have supported terrorist organizations. Muhammad Ghannem, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood told an Iranian news network that he would like the closure the Suez Canal to stop the free flow of gas from Egypt to Israel. He believes this would help bring an end to the Mubarak presidency. He also stated the Egyptian people should be “prepared for war against Israel” if Israel prevents the closure of the Canal and the end of the Mubarak regime (http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=206130).
What Do the Protests Mean for Egypt and Other Countries?
According to American Thinker (http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/the_story_of_the_egyptian_revo.html), the following is clear: Mubarak’s presidency is finished, the army controls Egypt and current Egyptian economic policies are over. The article states that prior to protests, the Egyptian government showed unprecedented growth, increasing investments and growing exports. Due to government interventions, the people did not see economic growth in their beloved homeland. Many analysts are discussing the possibility of former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed el Baradei becoming an interim president for Egypt.
Countries outside of Egypt will be impacted by these protests. Libya and Syria will spend vast amounts of money on housing to prevent an uprising between its borders (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8290502/Egypt-turmoil-What-does-it-mean-for-the-Middle-East.html). Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has expressed his support for Murabarak and Algeria has banned all marches “for security reasons.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/31/egypt-protests-spread-other-countries). Also, many American leaders are worried any future leader of Egypt will not be pro-Israel or friendly to the U.S. as Mubarak. It is also possible for Egypt to elect a better president and leader and all this discussion becomes a moot point. For the future of all countries involved in this unrest, I hope a clean and peaceful solution evolves.