Headline yesterday “Mubarak to be released from prison”.
Isn’t that amazing, it’s taken two years for the wheel to come almost full circle. Given Mubarak’s poor health and advanced age, he is unlikely to make any sort of political comeback.
When I wrote about the Egypt and the law of unintended consequences on 10 July, the death toll in the unrest was around 50, now 6 weeks later it is over 1000.
My comment that the country would be better off and far fewer Egyptians dead if we had supported Mubarak instead of abandoning him is more relevant than ever.
There was a reason why Mubarak tried to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood taking power. The consequences of his overthrow are being measured by the body counts in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria.
Other commentators estimate that only around 10% of the world’s population live under true democratic governments. I cannot confirm or dispute that estimate, but I am convinced that it is a minority, with the vast majority living under autocratic systems of varying degrees of oppression.
When the Arab spring has finally withered in the summer heat, we may well find that a long winter of discontent is the prelude to a return to the traditional systems of military or civilian dictatorships, monarchies or new variations of old regimes.
Also yesterday, large numbers of casualties in Damascus, Syria. Symptoms indicate poisoning, probably by some form of chemical warfare. Accusations of responsibility by both sides in the conflict.
Is this the Obama administration’s red-line? I somehow doubt it, I cannot believe the American people want to get dragged into another unwinnable Middle Eastern conflict.
If it escalates to pose a direct threat to Israel or Turkey, there might be some justification for action. While it remains a civil war, any Western involvement increases the danger of installing a more dangerous ruling party than the current one.
As sad as it is to see the death toll climbing in both conflicts, perhaps the West needs to curb its temptation to interfere and let the dramas play out as they have done for thousands of years.
It’s an interesting world.