Egypt’s Arab Spring Turning into Arab Winter

Earlier this year, several Middle East countries started to experience demonstrations and protests against the dictatorial role of their nations.

Egypt was one of those countries experiencing what has become known as Arab Spring.  It was a public outcry for the removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.  The United States government officially supported the movement calling for Mubarak to step down and turn the country over to democratic rule.  Eventually, Mubarak was forced to leave.

To help try to establish some control and normalcy in Egypt, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took control of the nation and vowed to hold presidential elections within six months.  They received the accolades and endorsements of many western counties including Great Britain and the US.

However, after eight months of rule, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has continued to keep a tight rein on the country and has repeatedly postponed the promised elections until sometime in 2013.  In addition, the new government that promised democracy has been tightening its control over the people.  They’ve pretty much ended all demonstrations, even peaceful ones. The SCAF continues to enforce its emergency laws and has even started going after any critics of the new leaderships and jailing them.

Ahmed Maher, co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement issued a statement saying, “We, the revolution, are not governing Egypt now…The SCAF is governing Egypt. I think they want to keep the power, and they want to make a new regime … depending on the same behavior of the Mubarak regime.”

As a consequence of Maher’s statements, the SCAF ruling council is accusing him and his organization as being foreign agents and as such, their safety and freedom are very much in doubt.

Under Mubarak, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi served as the defense minister.  Tantawi, who holds the position of Field Marshall, controls the armed forces and is considered to be the interim president by the ruling council.

Tantawi appears to be more interested in continuing the type of military rule that Mubarak used with one main difference – who is acting as president.  Under his rule, the Egyptian police continue to arrest, illegally detain, torture and violate prisoners and citizens’ rights.  According to one human rights group, the only difference between Mubarak’s rule and Tantawi’s is the person sitting in the driver’s seat.

Although Mubarak outlawed the terrorist group Muslim Brotherhood from operating in Egypt, Tantawi has done nothing to hinder their infiltration of the Egyptian military and police.   Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have vowed to make Egypt an Islamic state which means that they will not tolerate any Egyptian people to hold to other religious views.

Egyptian Christians make up about 10% of the population and have been increasingly targeted by the Egyptian police.  Christian churches have been attacked and burned down, sometimes with worshippers still inside.  One recent incident cost the lives of a couple dozen Christians.  Other Christians have been beaten by mobs and police.

And still the US State Department continues to send millions of dollars to Egypt as they overlook the wrongful arrests, beatings, torture and murder of Christians which are apparently sanctioned by the government.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs to cut off all aid and support to Egypt until a democratic election is held and a new government that respects the religious rights of everyone is put it place.