Thursday, May 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Mr President

The Washington Post editorial staff sends their personal birthday greetings to President Hosni Mubarak, who turns 78. Their gift is a fiery editorial.The question they ask is why the U.S continues to give 2 billion USD annualy, while letting the Egyptian President get away with making a mockery out of the Bush democracy initiative.

This is of course the WaPo take on the renewal of the Emergency law, it´s preety much the usual stuff. I think they give too much of an influence, to him when stating that he´s commentary on the shiíte communities in the Arab world being loyal to Iran, rather than their native countries undermined the political process in Iraq, although insensitive, careless and out of line for a political leader of his stature, but that is yet another sign of Mubarak´s former trade mark, cautiousness, patience and moderation, being a thing of the past.
The reference to the judges club is interesting, but unfortunately wrong, they critizised the Presidential elections, but the disciplinary hearings is based on them falsely accusing their fellow judge for complicity in election fraud in the parliamentary elections(yes this is the charge).

Finally the editorial raise the 2 billion USD Question again, and sends a suggestion to the White house and congress, why not sending the money to the civil society instead of the government? Well it sounds like a good idea, considering that money going to NGO´s today is subject to restrictions, and must be approved by the state( of course the state is the single largest benefiecery of foreign aid), but judging from past experience this is not an easy issue. To start, the government have done everything in it´s power in the past to control the civil society by imposing new legislation, tightening the grip further. The state spare no effort in fighting every attempt on direct funding of the civil society, the Manama meeting of the Forum for the Future in November 2005,being only the latest case in point. Lastly the state having the Prerogative of banning an NGO, or withholding the legality permit or in the worst case prosecute for obtaining illegal money from foreign bodies, like Hafez Abu Sáada of the Egyptian Human Rights Organisation or the case aginst Saad Eddin Ibrahim and the Ibn Khaldoun Center for development studies, of course followed by the usual character assassination in the state controlled media.

This makes the question of giving the 2 billion USD aid package directly to the civil society, a whole lot more complicated than at first glance, but if the Bush administration democracy initiative is still on (was it ever?), then this could be an avenue worth exploring.

Happy birtday Mr President! hope you will have a nice day with your family in charming Sharm!

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