April 30, 2011
Moussa "Anti Israeli demagogue"
This rather strikes me as a sad indication of the extreme Israel centric lens through which US commentators, that the focus of this Anti Amr Moussa article is on his Israel stance, Moussa: The Anti-Israel Demagogue Who Will Likely Be Egypt’s Next President | The New Republic rather than on his rudderless demagorery (of which the Israel baiting is least remarkable). Rather more damning as to his political instincts is this re Libya, which actually more or less ran counter to popular feeling:
The Obama administration got a taste of Moussa’s anti-Western populism as it tried to build international support for intervening in Libya. Although the Arab League initially voted to back the no-fly zone on March 12, Moussa lambasted the attacks on Qaddafi’s forces a week later, telling Egypt’s state-run Middle East News Agency, “What we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians.” And though Moussa issued yet another reversal two days later—this time restating the Arab League’s support for action against Qaddafi—his inelegant 360 should be a reminder that he has made his bones bucking the West. So while the fall of Mubarak raises hopes that Egypt will enjoy a post-authoritarian future, the prominence of Moussa threatens to revive Egypt’s anti-Western, Nasser-era past. And, most alarmingly, this is apparently what many Egyptians want.
As for the last item, well after Mubarek's bankrupt slavishness (and double-talk on a popular Egyptian level, not as if the Mubarek regime actually promoted at an educational / advocacy level pro Western orientations, rather the contrary), it is absolutely no surprise that many Egyptians harken back to the Nasser era and the perception of independence. That I think is not in itself problematic. Indeed, rather it could be healthy. Now, if it also means a roll-back of liberalisation, that is not good. However, as one sees with Tunisia, liberalisation done at the service of an oligarchy that corruptly eliminates competition tends to give a bad name to liberalisation.
The real indictment of Amr Moussa is his shiftless opportunism and consistent bad judgment.
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I thought the anti-Israel demagogue/dupe was …
Or was it Wael Ghonim?
No, it is Ayman Nour.
Actually, of course, it turns out to be Hosni Mubarak!
In a political discourse where being an Arab makes one a suspect, and anti-Israel sentiment is understood only as a pathology rather than a normal common political reaction among Arabs, this is gong to appear no matter who is up.
And the New Republic is not to be fretted over as it is a particularly and singularly insane locus of Israel-Arab discussion, insofar as "mainstream" high politics opinion mags go, and has been so for decades.
Posted by: matthew h at April 30, 2011 11:08 PM