….Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ended his three-decade reign when he left the capital last week – never to return. Shortly after, the top military body suspends constitution and initiates martial law, deferring to protestors’ demands that legacy government be liquidated. New election law promised.
When all was said and done, there was no placating the protest movement with sacrificial ministers, so once the military made clear that it was unwilling to slaughter on Mubarak’s behalf, the stunningly lopsided correlation of forces dictated the dictator’s departure. It was a revolution that, in many ways, mirrored Karl Marx’s classic description of how an elite-controlled capitalist economy is eventually challenged from below and shouted out of political office, except here the popular army cast the swing vote.
In most instances, the suspension of the constitution and the application of martial law would generate consternation in the West, but in this case, it triggers relief, because it says the military plays sherpa to the nation’s embryonic (at best) democracy movement, which, in many ways, is a late-comer to the scene, thanks to Mubarak’s decades of repression. Ironically, the most organized and experienced opposition party is the much-feared Muslim Brotherhood, by virtue of its decades-long role as convenient bogeyman rationalization for Mubarak’s authoritarianism. Rest assured, Western governments will be funneling all manner of aid to the more secular parties, but it’s not clear if that will have any impact, as the strong majority of Egyptians favor Islamic law….
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