We – and by we I mean the western world and most especially the USA – have a nasty habit of forgetting some of the past history that makes us uncomfortable. This is especially true when it comes to the Middle East. The current situation in Egypt can trace it’s roots back to just after WWII. When Egypt became a state separate from Sudan and the monarchy was over thrown.
The second president of Egypt was Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein. This Wikipedia entry on him is well worth reading as he was the head of Egypt up until his death in 1970. This is what makes Egypt so important because he was not only the head of Egypt for so long, but was also the main mover and shaker in the Arab world for this time – from 1956 – 1970. His Vice President was Anwar Sadat who became president after Nasser’s death. But Sadat was not whole loved by the Egyptian people do to his friendliness with the west, the elimination of a lot of Nasser’s social policies and most of all the peace treaty with Israel.
The current political party in Egypt, the NDP, is simply the continuation of the original party established by Nasser but under a different name. Basically made up of military and ex-miltary men. Nasser himself was very anti-imperialistic and fought hard against western hegemony. Not only in Egypt but through out the Arab world forming the United Arab Republic (UAR) and seeing the formation of Israel as another attempt at this hegemony. He was also instrumental in Nationalizing the Suez Canal as well as a number of Egyptian industries. He was friendly with and accepted help from the Soviet Union though also suspicious of their intentions as well.
Our rewriting of history include the 6 day war with Israel which Israel began.
So when I hear how Egypt has been our friend and ally for so long, I am aghast. Since this is at best an exaggeration. The one thing that I can see being a big concern for the US is not some Islamic government in Egypt, but the rise of a person of Nasser’s power and influence with the rest of the Arab world.
The protests in Egypt are in my opinion long over due. The subtle and not so subtle imperialist actions of the US are now being challenged from the ground up. This has got to be causing some people to piss in the pants big time.