What chance is there that Arab militaries will give up the power to choose who rules to those now protesting in the streets? Columnist Issa Goraieb of Lebanon’s L’Orient Le Jour warns of the unlikelihood such a thing, particularly in Egypt, and also cites his native Lebanon in cautioning Arab protesters to consider what will happen when some form of democracy is finally achieved.
For Lebanon’s L’Orient Le Jour, Issa Goraieb writes in part:
It’s almost a mathematical certainty. The sirocco blowing from the Maghreb, the khamsin raging in Egypt, will, sooner or later, make their searing effects felt on the eastern side of the Mediterranean. This region, dubbed the Levant at the beginning of the last century, includes Syria, Lebanon, historic Palestine and even, by extension, Jordan and Iraq, the unfortunate country that succumbed to the endless flames of sectarian rage even before upheaval began amongst its neighbors.
However legitimate the aspirations of these peoples may be, their first stumbling steps toward democracy will undoubtedly bring them up against enormous obstacles.
In Tunisia as in Egypt, albeit to differing extents, we see the army setting itself up as the arbiter of the situation, energetically – or not so energetically – pushing plagued presidents toward the exit, carefully alternating between expressions of understanding and even sympathy toward demonstrators with acts of authoritarianism on the ground. The military establishment makes and unmakes kings, and is unlikely to willingly renounce the tremendous power to do so. This is especially true in Egypt, where the army would be the first to pay the price should America’s very substantial subsidies be withdrawn, or worse still, should the country return to war with Israel.
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