Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Current uprising in Egypt and the Iranian revolution of 1979


Current political developments in Egypt have captivated the attention of all political observers around the world and have virtually pushed all other political events in the background. The Foreign Policy website has recently published an article by Geneive Abdo, an expert on Egyptian politics, entitled “Cairo 2011 is not Tehran of 1979” which rejects analogies between current political uprising in Egypt and the Iranian revolution of 1979 . In this piece, Abdo plays down the US fears that the new Egypt will be an Islamic state on the model of the Islamic Republic of Iran created in the aftermath of the Islamic revolution of 1979. According to Abdo, the main point of contrast between the ongoing uprising in Egypt and the Islamic revolution of 1979 in Iran is that “today's Egyptian uprising is a non-ideological movement” and that there is no charismatic leader like Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran leading the current uprising in Egypt.

Abdo’s arguments in this article are not all intended to be soothing for American and Israeli politicians. She also draws the attention of Western leaders to some inescapable realities regarding the ongoing uprising in Egypt. She notes “Rather than reaching for false analogies between Iran of 1979 and Egypt today, Western leaders should accept the fact that any new Egyptian government is unlikely to support policies the United States has promoted for 30 years, regardless of whether the Muslim Brotherhood has a small or large share in a new government. The time has come for the West to acknowledge that Egyptian society opposes the country's 1979 peace agreement with Israel, resents the United States' close relationship with the Jewish state (a country most Egyptians loathe), and has been historically prepared to end the country's reliance on U.S. aid”.

While Abdo has tried hard to highlight the points of contrast between the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the current political upheavals in Egypt and to reject any analogy between these two political phenomena, her very characterization of the future political landscape in Egypt (as quoted in the previous paragraph) highlights some similarities between them. In fact, while the current uprising in Egypt and the Iranian revolution of 1979 are truly not twin brothers , they are not total strangers to each other either, if not for anything but the very predictions that Abdo has made about the future political order in Egypt . To read Abdo’s full article , click here.


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