“There’s a Reason Public Opinion in the the Arab World Isn’t Pro-American”
Note on Internet: With major protests planned for Friday, the Egyptian government late Thursday disconnected the Internet and Egyptian mobile phones. People are finding some ways of overcoming this. The Institute for Public Accuracy is highlighting online connections that are available via accuracy.org/online-resources-on-egypt — regularly updating all day Friday.
Professor of political science and international studies at Richmond University and currently visiting at the American University in Cairo, Carapico told the Institute for Public Accuracy shortly before phone lines were cut: “Earlier this week Hillary Clinton said that Egypt is ‘stable’ — but Egyptians are not interested in stability. They’re interested in change. Then, she urged ‘restraint’ by ‘both sides.’ This is an absurd statement. You have people protesting for democracy who are being assaulted by a massive state apparatus with rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons.
“The women [in the protests] are unveiled. That’s a strong indication these protests are not from the Muslim Brotherhood. For the past ten or more years we’ve been indicating that the reason we don’t want the Arab electorate to take over is because we don’t want the Brotherhood. Now we’ve backed off from that to say this may not be the Brotherhood, but it’s not pro-American. But I’m sorry, there’s a reason why public opinion in the Arab world isn’t pro-American. And that’s because American foreign policy isn’t pro-public opinion in the Arab world.
“The expectation that somehow there’s going to be this uprising in Egypt or Yemen or Lebanon or Palestine or Tunisia or Algeria or Jordan in favor of American foreign policy when American foreign policy is completely dedicated to lies about what the Israelis do, what Mubarak does, what [Yemeni leader] Ali Abdullah Saleh does and what [deposed Tunisian President] Ben Ali does [isn't realistic]. Of course people are not going to rise up in favor of that.” [audio available]
Carapico is author of Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia.
Mahmoud is with the Alliance of Egyptian Americans, which, with the Coalition of Egyptian Organizations, is holding a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. at noon ET and will hold a protest in front of the White House shortly after. Protests are also scheduled in front of the Egyptian embassy on Saturday at noon. In a statement, the groups urge the U.S. government “to support the Egyptian people’s struggle to achieve freedom and social justice. President Hosny Mubarak has shown very little respect for those legitimate demands. …
“We are very concerned about Secretary Clinton’s statement regarding the stability of the Mubarak government. Secretary Clinton reiterated her support for Mubarak again when she indicated that his government is capable of reform. The United States should instead join France, Germany, and the European Community in condemning the killing of innocent civilians and the arrest of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in Egypt. … The ruthless oppression of peaceful demonstrators by the security apparatus of Mubarak in the last four days and the large budget of the security forces are proof that this regime does not value freedom of speech or assembly and indicates total disregard for the demands for constitutional reform, free elections and ending martial law.”
Seif Da’Na is an associate professor of sociology and international studies at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside specializing in the Mideast and North Africa. On Tuesday, he was featured on an IPA news release stating that the popular movements indicated the “beginning of a new era” in the region.
He notes that economic policies pursued by the the regimes being protested were favored by the Western powers and the International Monetary Fund.
Talhami is emeritus professor in the department of politics at Lake Forest College. Her books include “The Mobilization of Muslim Women in Egypt.” She said today: “These demonstrations were not staged by the Muslim Brotherhood but were spontaneous outbreaks by economically and politically marginalized youths and secular elements.”
Zunes is professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and a contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus. He just wrote the piece “U.S. Continues to Back Egyptian Dictatorship in the Face of Pro-Democracy Uprising.”
He also just wrote “The United States and the Prospects for Democracy in Islamic Countries.”
WikiLeaks this morning has released more documents on Egypt. For a summary, see: thenation.com
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167