The military essentially runs Egypt and will keep the country from devolving into another Iran if Hosni Mubarak is ousted, James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, tells Newsmax.TV.
The United States should favor greater democracy and human rights in the country but not push too hard, the author and polling analyst said.
Zogby, the author of “Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us and Why It Matters,”
said the military remains the backbone of Egypt and they will not cede power regardless of Mubarak’s announced plans not to seek re-election in September and step down when his term ends.
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Zogby noted that all three of Egypt’s presidents have come from the military.
“I think the Egyptian military is stronger than the Iranian military was,” he said. “The shah, of course, was a figure in a very different role than President Mubarak. He was the hereditary king with a certain divine aura around him. Mubarak never had that, doesn’t have that. He’s the president, and everyone knows he came from the military and he would return ultimately to the military when they decided it was time for him to go. So it doesn’t collapse in that way.”
So far, Zogby is willing to give President Barack Obama and the Republican leadership good grades for their handling of the matter and their restraint. They are supporting a more modest approach, he said, adding, “which I think is the right place for America to be right now.”
“Don’t go supporting and sprinkling holy water on a revolution when you don’t who’s behind it and you don’t know where it’s going,” he said.
“Should we be in favor of greater democracy in the country? Of course. Should we be demanding human rights and protection of human rights? Of course, but we don’t know enough to be taking a side which is why I think the administration and the leadership in the House gets some points here for saying let’s be cautious, let be supportive but let’s not in fact push this too far.”
Zogby does not believe the region is about to explode but said it is in a transformational moment and one of the reasons is the "failure of so many policies in that region that have undercut the legitimacy of those governments.”
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