by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 39, No. 11, Muharram, 1432)
Egypt is in even greater trouble. Hosni Mubarak, 82, is also suffering from cancer. The men around Mubarak have honed their murderous skills by terrorizing opposition groups like the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon and others that dared stand against Mubarak or his party henchmen in manipulated elections
Palestinians have suffered more than 60 years of Zionist brutality; the latest anniversary of Zionist war crimes in Gaza was commemorated on December 27. This is but one of many problems afflicting the Middle East. There are others looming large in a region that has not seen peace for decades. The implantation of the Zionist entity in the heartland of Islam is the principal source of most of these conflicts and mass dislocations but there are also internal problems plaguing the region.
Two countries in particular, Egypt and Saudi Arabia that are important pillars of the US imperialist agenda are about to enter a period of turbulence whose consequences are difficult to predict. Both have aging rulers whose impending demise is likely to lead to ruthless succession battles. There are no set procedures for orderly transition. True, theoretically the Saudi constitution says the brother next in line will succeed the king (what ayah of the Qur’an or hadith permits this?) The problem is Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Sultan is totally incapacitated while King Abdullah, 87, is currently recuperating from multiple surgeries in the US. Even the third in line, Prince Nayef, is suffering from cancer as are a number of other princes. Some have back problems. Given their age and multiple diseases afflicting the army of children that Abdul Aziz ibn Saud sired — 37 from 22 wives — the kingdom is in for a rough ride. Abdul Aziz, it seems, raided caravans during the day and produced children at night. His nocturnal activities have created unforeseen problems.
Egypt is in even greater trouble. Hosni Mubarak, 82, is also suffering from cancer. He wants his son Gamal to succeed him but that is not so simple. The men around Mubarak have honed their murderous skills by terrorizing opposition groups like the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon and others that dared stand against Mubarak or his party henchmen in manipulated elections. These men, especially people like Omar Suleiman who currently heads the Intelligence Ministry, have no mercy. He has close ties to the Israeli spy agency, Mossad and is clearly their preferred man. Just prior to the Zionist attack on Gaza in December 2008, Suleiman had urged the Israelis to finish off Hamas.
Once the old Pharaoh is gone, these murderous men with oversized ambitions will not be deferential to Gamal Mubarak. They have little reason to, especially when their own ambitions are involved. Following Gamal Abdel Nasser’s death in September 1970, a period of political turmoil ensued until Anwar Sadat consolidated his grip on power. His assassination in October 1981 propelled Mubarak into the top spot but he too faced difficulties despite American and Israeli support.
His departure will create a huge political vacuum in Egypt. This is the result of prolonged dictatorial rule. Mubarak has been in power for 30 years, longer than the rule of his two predecessors combined. Sadat lasted 11 years and Nasser was at the helm for 18. Mubarak has ruled through a state of emergency that was first declared in October 1981 and has been renewed every six months. Thus, Egypt has not known any normalcy. With Mubarak’s death, more turmoil can be expected.
This would result in decline of US influence in the region. As Egypt’s ruthlessly ambitious men — generals and civilians — jostle for power, one of the most important outposts of US imperialism will be destabilised. What will emerge out of this desert storm is difficult to predict but such uncertainty can neither be good for the US nor Israel. The Islamic movement’s ability in Egypt to capitalize on this is an open question. What is certain is that two of America’s most obedient client regimes are heading for turmoil that would further weaken America’s already declining power. That cannot be bad for Muslims.