Thursday, February 16, 2006

Denial on the Nile

Ok, I understood why Syria and Iran would foment the Dutch cartoon riots. And I can understand why the Saudis would, too, given the number of whackos in the kingdom. But Egypt?

Well, now all is clear:

The Egyptian parliament has approved the two-year postponement of municipal polls despite objections from opposition Islamists and the United States, lawmakers said.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak issued a decree last week calling for the delay of the elections which was passed by parliament's upper chamber on Sunday and approved in two readings late Tuesday by the lower chamber.

The local elections had been due to take place within the next two months.

The postponement was never in doubt as parliament is dominated by Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party but the main opposition bloc -- the Muslim Brotherhood -- had fiercely criticised the moved.

"The NDP and government are afraid of losing their influence to the Islamists in the municipal elections. They are afraid because Egyptians know that there is an alternative," Brotherhood spokesman Issam al-Aryan said Sunday.

What better way to justify banning elections that would benefit Islamist parties than to wave the bloody flag of Islamists gone wild on video beamed right into our homes? Especially after we refuse to back down from our commitment to democracy after the thugs of Hamas won the Palestinian elections?

I'm not saying that I don't worry about Islamists winning in Egypt. But the longer Egypt's denial of free elections lasts, the stronger the Islamists will grow in Egypt as the only alternative to fighting Mubarak's corrupt machine.

This was a cynical move by a corrupt autocrat at our expense.

So how much do we pay Egypt each year to be our "ally" anyway? Two billion? Such a deal!