Egypt's 30-year president Hosni Mubarak is paying for the sham parliamentary elections he held last November, signaling what the Egyptian people could expect with upcoming September elections. The 82-year-old had been setting up his son Gamal as his successor, but the Egyptian people wanted nothing of that maneuver.
In one of the most courageous acts of modern Middle East history, Egyptians have taken to the streets and are risking their lives to send a clear message: Mubarak is finished. The dynasty appears to be finished, too. As Al-Jazeera-Arabic has reported,Gamal has fled the country to London.
So far, the Egyptian military has signaled it won't tie its future to Mubarak -- though it's not yet clear where their support will land. They issued a statement saying: "your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people ... have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people." The military probably well understands that annual U.S. aid of $1.5 billion a year could be withdrawn in the event of a violent crackdown.
The United States has looked to Egypt for leadership in the Middle East, particularly in difficult Palestinian-Israeli issues. But this democracy movement -- like others in the Philippines or Iran -- show that U.S. leaders ought not and cannot tie our foreign policy to particular individuals.
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