Peter Oborne writes:
The United States, Britain and our allies have an atrocious record in the Middle East. We have consistently given our support to a series of despotic, murdering, torturing regimes including Egypt, Tunisia and, for a long time, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. These eruptions in the Middle East present a moral challenge to Western governments. There is no question that we will feel very tempted to try and control events and maintain regimes which, however morally loathsome, are seen as sympathetic to the West.
We must resist that temptation. The future of Egypt, Tunisia and other Middle Eastern countries is not up to us. Over the coming days we are likely to hear from a number of commentators who will claim that we must intervene in order to prevent victory for “international Islam” or some other bogeyman. It is very, very important that we ignore these voices.
Remember the example of Algeria, where in 1991 an Islamic movement secured victory in democratic elections. The West refused to accept the result and, as a consequence, plunged that country into a decade of civil war in which more than 160,000 people were killed.
The lesson is straightforward: that America, Britain, France and other Western countries do not have a legitimate role in determining what kind of government Egypt and other countries around the world choose for themselves.
And Neil Clark writes:
So President Obama calls on the Egyptian government AND anti-government protestors not to use violence.
Do you recall the US or its allies calling on Iranian anti-government demonstrators not to use violence back in 2009? No, neither do I. And do you recall the US President urging anti-government demonstrators not to use violence after the elections in Belarus in December? No, me neither.
Seven people have already been killed in the current protests in Egypt. Will the US and its EU allies be imposing sanctions on Egypt for its brutal clampdown on dissent - as they’ve done on Iran and Belarus?
And will neocon websites be posting pictures of those killed by the police - as they did with Neda Agha-Soltan after the Iranian protests? Will any of those killed this week become a ‘symbol of rebellion’ in the western media and blogosphere?
Don’t hold your breath.
PS The picture above (of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak with his mate, the former Israeli leader Ehud Olmert) will help explain why the neo-con websites/journalists/magazines/newspapers which have spent so much time attacking Iran's clampdown on dissent, won't be spending anywhere near as much time attacking the far more dictatorial Egyptian regime.
Those who have been loudest, not without cause, in denouncing alliances between Stalinists or Trotskyists on the one hand, and Islamists on the other, are now cheering on the former's ushering in of the latter in Tunisia, as well as the takeover of Egypt and possibly of Jordan by the Muslim Brotherhood, and quite possibly that of Yemen by the nearest thing to "al-Qaeda" to have any existence in the real world. But then, they are noisily denouncing the perfectly constitutional and democratic "coup" against the Saudi proxies in Lebanon.
Anyone, anyone at all, except Syria and, especially, Iran, where they are entirely uninterested in the true characters both of the Governments and, as so often historically and today, of the Oppositions. Why, just look at what they are cheering on, and against what, in Tunisia, or Egypt, or Jordan, or Yemen. Or in Syria, or Iran, or Belarus, or Russia, or China, or Cuba. If you do indeed look at what they are backing, then you will be doing a lot more than they have ever bothered to do.
Speaking of Iran, the campaign against Press TV continues apace, with its bank account frozen while Fox "News", owned by the foreigner who has thoroughly corrupted both our Police and more than one Prime Minister, is permitted to carry on without let or hindrance in this country. Press TV should consider a landmark series, with an accompanying book and with as many tie-in newspaper articles as it could place, on The Twelve Tribes of Christian Palestine: Greek Orthodox, Latin Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Melkite, Ethiopian Orthodox, Maronite, Anglican, Lutheran, Syrian Catholic, and Armenian Catholic. Who to present it? Peter Oborne? Or Neil Clark?