Change in Egypt?

(Jerusalem Post) Barry Rubin - There has been a decline in Egypt's relative importance in the Arab world. The country's sheer size and cultural influence assure it a key voice in Arab counsels. However, Saudi Arabia represents wealth and radical-conservative Islam, Syria is the last fortress of traditionally radical Arab nationalism, and Iraq is the place where the great democratic and pluralist experiment is taking place. Cairo does have legitimate grievances vis-a-vis the Arab world. For example, the lack of aid it has received from rich, oil-producing states is remarkable. It is nothing short of astounding that it is American taxpayers, and not Saudi princes, who finance economic aid to Egypt. Much of the rhetoric, by state-owned intellectuals in state-owned media, blames Egypt's problems on the U.S., Israel, and the West. After all, if these outsiders are at fault the government itself cannot be held to blame. While energetically, sometimes viciously, suppressing Islamist radicals, the government frequently wraps itself in the mantle of Islam.

2005-05-13 00:00:00

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