Egypt: Fanning the Flames of Democracy

February 2, 2011

The flames of dissent continue to spread throughout the Arab world. Additional kindling was provided with President Obama's having told Egypt’s Mubarak that transition to democracy must “begin now.”
Mubarak agreed not to run in September’s election. At the same time, he appears to be attempting to return the country to a normalized status. Retake the street. Pacify the crowds. Which strikes the impartial observer as a bit ominous.
Having begun to burn in Tunisia, and then sparked in Egypt, the flames appear to be spreading to Yemen, Jordan, and Algeria.
Egypt’s stock market remains closed. But internet access has been restored. Government salaries were paid. Shipping continues.
Some groups, though sparse, have now taken to the streets in support of Mubarak. Analysts fret over the possibility of a low-level civil war.
“My first responsibility now is to restore the security and stability of the nation to achieve a peaceful transition,” Mubarak said.
But many doubt his credibility in wishing to establish such a transition. One can only hope that he is sincere.

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