Crisis in Egypt: The protests, U.S. policy, more

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Michele Dunne
Monday, January 31, 2011; 1:00 PM

Michele Dunne is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and editor of the online journal, the Arab Reform Bulletin, discusses the crisis in Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak, U.S. policy and the latest developments out of the capital.

_______________________

Michele Dunne: I am here to discuss the situation in Egypt and answer your questions.

_______________________

The next Iran?: I am worried Egypt will be the new Iran. Let's remember this is how it started in '79...the so-called young, educated students took over...which led to one of the most repressive regimes in the world which sponsors worldwide terrorism....and is much worse than what came before it. How can we stop this from happening in Egypt?

Rocci Fisch:

Michele Dunne: We're going to have to make our peace with the fact that they will be part of the change, while we continue to emphasize that Egypt should make a transition to real democracy, including the rule of law and rights for all Egyptians (including women and non Muslims).

_______________________

Obama and Mubarak: Should President Obama bluntly and openly declare that Mubarak must go now?

Michele Dunne: But U.S. officials have already begun to signal through their calls for an "orderly transition" that they are prepated to see him go.

_______________________

U.S. policy: With other countries in the Arab world trying to launch their own mass protests, what should the United States do to get ahead of this trend in their policies and messages?

Michele Dunne: The superficial and self-serving reforms these governments have undertaken so far clearly will be inadequate.

_______________________

Mubarak, China and Russia: If Mubarak were to cling to power at any cost, meaning violently crushing and oppressing his own people, he'd probably become a pariah in the U.S. and Europe, but what kind of backing might he receive from China and Russia?

Michele Dunne: And it would just be a matter of time until the next outburst of protest.

_______________________

Mubarik's departure: How likely is it that Mubarak will voluntarily leave? It seems that only the military could force him to go.

Michele Dunne: I agree that it is probably only his own military who can tell him that he has to go.

_______________________

Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia: Will Jordan and Saudi Arabia follow Syria's move to reforms in response to the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia before it?

Michele Dunne: Saudi Arabia moves more slowly but pr0bably will also take steps.

_______________________

"Democracy": With no history of democracy and no viable opposition parties, who has the organizational chops to lead Egypt other than the army and the Muslim Brotherhood?

Michele Dunne: And the Brotherhood will be a major political player but will not necessarily dominate.

_______________________

Arab world: Which country in the Arab world do you think will be next?

Michele Dunne: Libya, Syria, and Bahrain spring to mind.

_______________________

Israel-Palestine: What will this mean for Egypt's relations with Israel? And for the peace process?

Michele Dunne: That being said, Egyptians were dissatisfied with what they saw as cozy relations between Mubarak and Netanyahu and a new government might well chill those relations.

_______________________

Brass tacks: Who would actually takes over governing on an operating level if the existing regime is kicked out? Is there much of an opposition party, besides the Muslim Brotherhood, to actually make sure services actually run as necessary for security and basic needs?

Michele Dunne: The Egyptian military probably would not let things get as far as a total collapse of order.

_______________________

Military take over: Hi. Would the U.S. government support the Egyptian military taking over the presidency in Egypt removing Mubarak and his VP Omar Sulieman?

Michele Dunne: U.S. officials are reluctant to say that Mubarak should go, but I think they would accept a scenario in which the military would remove Mubarak (and possibly Sulaiman as well) in order to effect a peaceful transition to democracy.

_______________________

Egypt Youth Uprising: Was such youth uprising expected in U. S. government circles? How do you believe it would last?

Michele Dunne: But they did not take it seriously until they saw the uprising in Tunisia.

_______________________

Israel and Gaza: Any new Egyptian government that follows the will of the Egyptian people will have much less friendly relations with Israel, particularly vis-a-vis Gaza. Should Israel worry about Egypt not following its illegal blockade of Gaza? And what could Israel do about Egypt opening the gates to Gaza on Egypt's border to all non-military goods? Would Israel try to re-occupy Gaza?

Michele Dunne:

_______________________

Opportunities for the United States?: While the chaos engulfing Cairo, the toppling of Tunisia's Ben Ali and the protests we have seen elsewhere certainly present enormous challenges for U.S. policy, might there also be opportunities here? What strategy would you recommend the administration pursue to take advantage of the fluid political situation?

Michele Dunne: And we should press other governments to undertake serious reforms to pave the way for transitions that one hopes can be peaceful and more gradual.

_______________________

It always looks good at the start ...: I'm sure you remember that the 1979 Iranian revolution was also a "people power" revolution with many moderate forces. Ditto the 1917 Russian Revolution and even the French Revolution. But in each of those cases the moderate forces were then brutally purged and murdered by extremist elements that then took over. I am worried that this will happen in Egypt. Do you have good counter-examples which could provide a positive path for Egypt?

Michele Dunne: The U.S. should help them find a constructive path forward.

_______________________

Elbaradie: How would nominating ElBaradai to be the youth uprising representative be viewed by the U.S. government?

Michele Dunne: But remember that it is the Egyptian government, not the United States, that has to negotiate with the demonstrators.

_______________________

Michele Dunne: Thanks for the discussion; signing off now.Cheers, Michele


© 2011 The Washington Post Company

Discussion Archive

Viewpoint is a paid discussion. The Washington Post editorial staff was not involved in the moderation.

Network News

X My Profile