Editorials in the two leading liberal newspapers (whom IRIS has regularly criticized) have finally criticized the continuation of the $2 billion annual aid to the Egyptian regime. It is another hypocritical stain in the essential Bush Arab Democracy project.
So much for holding Egypt up as a beacon of burgeoning democracy in the Middle East. Last Saturday an Egyptian court, in a move worthy of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, sentenced Ayman Nour, the prominent liberal opposition leader, to five years at hard labor for supposedly forging signatures on petitions used to create his political party. If Mubarak doesn't take heed, then it might be time to start thinking about the $2 billion a year in financial and military aid that American taxpayers have spent bankrolling Mubarak's despotic rule.
Now comes the real test: Will President Bush use the considerable means of American leverage over the Egyptian regime in defense of Mr. Nour? A first step would be to suspend all discussions between his administration and Egypt over a free-trade agreement. Mr. Bush should also order a long-overdue review of U.S. aid to Egypt, beginning with its military component. By helping Mubarak's generals, the U.S. merely props up his dictatorship.
The confusing situation in israel
So much of the conventional wisdom about the Middle East generally and Israel specifically is confused. Last week Treppenwitz asked a couple of good questions that highlighted these confusions:My questions are as follows: 1. Why is it considered by many...