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AUDIO INTERVIEW Kamran Bokhari, Stratfor analyst: Unlike the 1989 anti-Communist movements, there will be no domino effect in the Middle East

de Cristian Pantazi, adapt. A.C.
Vineri, 4 februarie 2011, 16:55 English | Regional Europe

Kamran Bokhari
Foto: Stratfor
The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have been presented as a 1989 of the Muslim world. Why doesn’t the comparison stand? Kamran Bokhari, Stratfor director for Middle East explains in an interview for the major problems of the countries in the region. Bokhari says Syria and Yemen are in a fragile position and talks about possible scenarios after Hosni Mubarak.

Key points of the interview:
  • Omar Suleiman will be one of the critical players though he does not have experience in negotiating on the domestic front. He has experience on negotiating and mediating between the Israelis and the Palestinians and between the two Palestinian fractions, Hamas and Fatah so he may be an important figure but he may not be the only one. Suleiman has a bad reputation among the Egyptian people as he was head of the most feared instrument of the state, the intelligence service for a very long time.
  • Unlike the 1989 revolutions, we are not looking at a domino factor. Of course, after Tunisia and now Egypt everybody is worried, but every country is actually different. So the way this unrest manifest is going to be slightly different. So for example, in Jordan they are not calling for the end of the monarchy, they are not calling for the downfall of the king. They are trying to negotiate over food and fuel prices and electoral reforms.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood is not going to radicalize the region because it is very different from other radical movements. It wants to win elections and come to power. It believes in democracy but there have not been any elections in Egypt so it’s an untested theory as to what will really happen, will they behave responsibly or not.
  • We are not looking at a radicalization or jihadization of the region
  • For at least about three – four weeks, perhaps even longer the US have been working with the military to ensure as much stability as possible and  orderly transition as much as it is possible.
  • As far as what will come, I think the US hopes that the military can oversee a sort of orderly transition to a more democratic arrangement in Cairo. Now with that democratic arrangement you have the possibility of Muslim government coming in as well.
  • Even if protests did not take place, Mubarak was already on his way out because of his advanced age and ill health and there was already a succession struggle going on between the elite in Cairo.

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