Coffee House

Developments in the Middle East are beginning to affect Europe

13 February 2011

After yesterday’s spontaneous clean-up operation on the streets of Cairo,
protestors gathered at Freedom Square today to maintain the revolution’s momentum. There have been minor developments, with the army and its interim civilian administration dissolving
President Mubarak’s gerrymandered parliament, preparing the way for an election in the future.

The timetable for that election remains a mystery – something about which the international community, led by President Obama and assorted European leaders, is questioning without yet
expressing concern. Both Britain and the United States, together with the European Union have again reiterated their support for democracy in Egypt,
whilst maintaining that the Egyptian military’s conduct has been exemplary so far.

Meanwhile, protests and dissent are spreading, with further heated demonstrations taking place in Algeria. The gale of change that is tearing-up Arab Street is beginning
to affect internal European politics. Solidarity protests have been held in Paris
and elsewhere in France, a consequence of its historical ties with Algeria. More worrying for European governments, there are reports of swathes of refugees from Tunisia arriving in Lampedusa, a small island off Sicily. Italian authorities have been overwhelmed by what they
are terming an ‘invasion’, according to al-Jazeera. Further strain on migration services and border controls is likely to be an upshot of political unrest. There are
other problems too. It appears that Hosni Mubarak has secreted vast
in Britain and other European countries. The fate of our recent friend Mubarak and his estate, not to mention the many football-mad autocrats still in office, poses an awkward dilemma
for the West, as it seeks a close relationship with whatever government emerges in Egypt.    

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  • TrevorsDen

    PS one and all – its interesting that some come out with the moral dilema about confiscating Mubaraks millions (billions).

    But we do not elect govt to be moral, we elect them to be selfish on our behalf. If politics was about being moral we would not need elections and governments.
    We only moan about govts not being moral on our behalf if they are caught out.

    But then we the electorate are selfish and immoral…

  • TrevorsDen

    malone — ‘always kick a man when he’s down’

  • maddy1

    Christ it aint easy, Mubarak saved a lot of lives with his peace initiatives! Be a bastard and the whole world and its dog will be on your side, be a mediocre but well meaning non entity and you will be treated like trash.Furthermore the American gave the billions so these poor could at least have a crust in their mouths. If we cannot employ our own youth does anyone really think these people are going to get to working behind the counter at Boots?

  • yank

    Nice, Frank. That Director of National Intelligence (Is this guy’s title meant as a deliberate sneering insult to us proles? That’s the only possible explanation.), who stood up and told us that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “secular” organization, is the same guy who not long ago, as he was being interviewed 24 hours after the Brits had rounded up some ne’er do well religious types, was completely ignorant of the fact.

    That is, the guy whose job is to be on top of it all, our vigilant watchdog, the lone sentry manning the gates, is wandering through life clueless. He ain’t even clever enough to punch into the Drudge Report a couple times a day and monitor world events. And his thousands of employees, useless troughers spending their days on the internet surfing porn and balancing their retirement accounts, can’t even be counted upon to pop him a text re the precise thing he’s to be monitoring.

    That’s where we’re at, re government these days. I’m no longer “cynical”, as that’s no longer sufficient. I just assume when one of these people opens their mouth, they’re either lying or completely out of their depth and can/should be ignored. This is just sad.

    You want Mubarak out? Fine. You want representative government? Beautiful. You want them to stop locking up dissenters? Great. But don’t insult people. We know better.

    “The MB is secular.” I don’t care what you think of it all. It don’t matter where you fall on the scale. That type of stupidity used to get you run out of town on a rail… from everybody.

  • 2trueblue

    You wonder how long it will be til we hear the election date? The country is still cleaning up.

  • PuppetMaster

    This was one of the scenarios for the post peak oil collapse of civilization, a flood of immigrants from Africa overwhelming Europe.
    Whilst I’d like to hope that we do find some new cheap kind of energy, if we don’t then we are looking at rising fuel costs, pushing up food costs, which causes poorer countries to disintegrate.
    We then face the somewhat gruesome choice of ‘getting rid’ of unwelcome immigrants, or being overwhelmed and collapsing ourselves. How long before ordinary people begin to work it out?

  • Boudicca

    I wonder how long it will be before some EU apparatchik wonders out loud how long it will be before a democratised northern Africa becomes associate member of the EU – subsidised by the contributing nations (mainly Germany and the UK) of course.

  • YA

    the only thing that matters:

    “..Mubarak and his regime were apparently the last obstacle in our conflicted world in the face of the Islamist tsunami, a predator that is already devouring some European states and turning the world into an increasingly less comfortable place to live in.”,7340,L-4027802,00.html

  • malone

    Is it not a touch inconsistent to confiscate the wealth of leader only after they have been deposed? Why not make moves when they are still in power? But then where would we draw the line? Are Putin’s billions ill-gotten or kosher? Or does real-politik make them untouchable? Bit of a Pandora’s box really.
    If we have n’t objected when someone in in office then t is a little rich to complain after the event.

  • ndm

    The always excellent Scott Horton had an interesting article in Foreign Policy on the issues facing dictators like Mubarak when they lose power.

  • Noa.

    Thanks for the link Frank, a perceptive analysis from Mark Steyn.

  • ndm

    — It’s worth listening to (and watching) Mark Steyn (my favourite journo) being interviewed by – Megyn Kelly (my favourite anchor) of Fox News on the subject:

    This sounds as incisive as Ben having a chat with Weed.

  • Frank P

    It’s worth listening to (and watching) Mark Steyn (my favourite journo) being interviewed by – Megyn Kelly (my favourite anchor) of Fox News on the subject:

  • Richard Calhoun

    Confiscate all the assets / cash belonging to Mubarak that we can!!

  • Man in a Shed

    Interesting move – threaten mass immigration so that the Europeans won’t protest too much when the inevitable betrayal of thw revolutions and crackdowns follow.

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