Monday, January 19, 2009

The Last Pharaoh of Egypt: Hosny Mubarak

Egypt has held a special place in the hearts and the imagination of poets, writers, and ordinary folks who admire its rich history and glorious past. It has a special place in minds and hearts of Arabs, Moslems, Jews, and Christians, where Egypt was mentioned as a holy place in their holy books. Yet, in spite of having one of the most glorious heritages, Egyptians remain nowadays very pessimistic about the future of their country. Their future seems to be very bleak and uncertain. Contrary to public belief that the Pharaonic era in Egyptian history had ended thousands of years ago, the Egyptians do still have fresh memories of their pharaohs. The 80 years old President Mubarak of Egypt has been in power since 1981 and was elected for six more years in 2005. Concerns about Mubarak’s health draw much greater attention to the question of who will next rule the nation of Egypt? Succession plan for Mubarak’s son Gamal is already in place.

Visible signs of discord between the United States and Egypt over a wide array of issues have appeared in recent years. Today, the bilateral relationship has eroded over Egypt’s cold peace with Israel, to dealings with terrorist supporting states on its borders. Equally alarming is the rise of anti-American and Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in Egypt’s state media and society. Haunted by the memories of the overnight fall of the Shah of Iran to the Ayatollahs, U.S. policymakers fear a similar event in Egypt. Once thought to be a strong U.S. ally, the Shah, lost his grip over power to the zealous clergy sabotaging every effort for peace and stability in the region. Marcos and Suharto, two old dictators considered strong U.S. allies, as well, fell to the angry mobs in the Philippines and Indonesia.
President Obama is likely to find himself facing an unbelievably bad choice in the largest Arab country. Would America intervene militarily to preserve Gamal’s faltering rule? Or would America throw up its hands writing Tel Aviv a blank check, and hope that a twenty-first-century Masada can hold out in a Middle East where Iran has the bomb? Is Africa where Al-Qaeda hides its money, guns, recruits, training camps—and its future? Africa would be the last great stand in this Long War, where all those impossibly straight borders will inevitably be made squiggly again by globalization's cultural reformatting process. Now this fight heads south...and yes, the Long War could be even uglier there.

If that scenario is not frightening enough, there are few others that are even scarier. A scenario where an ambitious general would stage another coup, turning Egypt into a God -knows-what regime. Would that general ally himself with Muslim radical groups like the Muslim Brothers, Hamas, or Hezbollah? Would Egypt witness another Khomeini-style revolution? Considering the alarming rising poverty figures in Egypt and the disparities between the classes, could Egypt be overrun by an angry and hungry mob, French Revolution style? Egypt would then erupt into lawlessness, chaos, or perhaps civil war with the dissolving of the central government, its head figures and its upper class, already preparing for such a turn of events. If the Muslim Brotherhood were to achieve power in Egypt, Israel's demise would once again become the overt unifying principle for governments in the region. The difference this time? It still may be America and the West that would have to intervene.

Whatever the scenario would be, spillover from what could occur in Egypt in the near future would impact many nations. With Hamas taking control in the Palestinian territories, Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon - backed by the Baathists in Damascus and the Mullahs in Tehran, who would all agree on one thing: hatred for America and wiping the state of Israel off the map; the uncertaininty and anxiety grows among people of the region. For that, Western observers are keeping tabs on the situation in Egypt, fearing a domino effect in case of a trigger event occurring in Egypt.

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Banned book predicts end of Mubarak’s regime and coming political earthquake. “The Last Pharaoh” dissects the political life in Egypt, exposes deep corruption, human rights abuses, and the use of anti-Semiticism and anti-Americanism to gain popularity. The book reveals the story of expelling of more than 100,000 Egyptian Jews, influence of Nazism on Egyptian politics, Mubarak’s personality cult, and the use of religion to give legitimacy to oppression. Concerns about Mubarak’s health draw attention to who will next rule Egypt? Succession plan for Mubarak’s son Gamal already in place. Memories of the Shah’s fall, Marcos and Suharto brings fear of a similar event in Egypt. President Obama is likely to face a dilemma in Egypt:“Would America intervene to preserve Mubarak & Son’s faltering rule? Would an ambitious general stage another coup? Would Egypt witness a Khomeini-style revolution? With alarming poverty in Egypt; could Egypt have a French-Revolution style?

Praise for “The Last Pharaoh”
“This book is stunning in its revelations of Mubarak’s stranglehold on every aspect of life in this glorious, long suffering nation. Connecting one mysterious dot to the next, the author teases the reader from chapter to chapter as he lucidly explains the details of Egypt’s worst kept secrets of all…the ‘secret’ of Mubarak’s power and how he plans to rule from his own royal crypt. " - Prof Tate Miller

Why everyone has to read this book?

“Let me give you the four scariest words I can't pronounce in Arabic: Egypt after Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak's "emergency rule" dictatorship is deep into its third decade, making him one of Egypt's most durable pharaohs. His succession plan is clear: Son Gamal tries to replicate Beijing's model of economic reform, forestalling political reform...” - Thomas P. M. Barnett, Esquire columnist and author of “The Country to Watch: Egypt."

“U.S. policymakers now face a difficult choice: continuing to support the iron-fisted rule of Egypt's current president and his likely hand-picked successor, or backing a beleaguered democratic opposition that some believe could open the door to Islamic fundamentalist rule”. - Voice of America.

"Egypt is the next domino to fall and, as they say, so goes Egypt so goes the Middle East.”
- Robert Baer, former Middle East-based CIA operative, author of See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil

“Equally alarming is the rise of anti-American and Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in Egypt’s state media and society. Haunted by the memories of the overnight fall of the Shah of Iran to the Ayatollahs, U.S. policymakers fear a similar event in Egypt. Bush's successor is likely to face an unbelievably bad choice in the largest Arab country. Elaasar’s book is indeed an eye opener”
- Swiss News Agency

“With so much at stake, the West is slowly coming to grips with a new reality; a reality which no single book or author could possibly address. The Last Pharaoh should be indispensable to anyone hoping to understand Egypt’s role, not only the Middle East, but the potential for Mubarak’s Egypt to impact the destiny of global events”. - The Media Oasis.

“In this remarkably frank and revealing portrayal of Mubarak’s Egypt, no reader of this book could ever again think of Egypt as anything less than the potential tipping point of Middle Eastern society.” - Syndicated columnist Ray Hanania.

"The Last Pharaoh is remarkably thorough. The simplicity of the style and content makes this book required reading for students, journalists, policymakers and general public in order to better understand the mechanisms of authoritarianism and despotism in Egypt." - Political Science Professor, Noureddine Jebnoun, University of Montana.

Obama's Inauguration's Speech: The Role of Arab and Muslim Americans

Obama's Inauguration's Speech: The Role of Arab and Muslim Americans

By Aladdin Elaasar

We are approaching a very historical event in the history of our nation, the United States of America. For the first time in our history, Americans voted for president –elect, Barrack Hussein Obama, as the first African-American president. We are so optimistic about the presidency of President Obama, not only for being the country's first African American president, but for what he represents. Mr. Obama brings a new positive energy, deep global understanding of the intricacies of world affairs, and deep commitment for social justice and reform in our great country, the United States of America.

As a long time resident of Chicago, Illinois, myself, I had the honor and privilege of meeting Mr. Obama in person back in 2003 when he was running for the United States Senate. I met him while we were celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s Day in a church at the South Side of Chicago. You could see the enthusiasm, brightness and the great charisma and passion that Mr. Obama has. So I was not surprised to see him win the presidency.

As an African myself, I cannot tell how much proud and excited I am to see our nation having the first African-American president. This is a historical time for our nation. Arab and Muslim Americans are amongst those who overwhelmingly voted for Mr. Obama. As we know, there are about three million Arab Americans and about seven million Muslim Americans in this country. Not all Arab American are Muslims, and not all Muslim Americans are Arabs. These are very diverse communities. They come in all colors and backgrounds. They have been contributing to this nation for so long. Islam is not a foreign religion to this great nation of ours; Islam knew its way with the first sailors who came to America with Columbus after the fall of Granada in 1492. Islam was the religion of many Africans brought here to America. Muslim soldiers and chaplains contribute to the success of our military.

America has had long close friendly relations with the Arab and Muslim worlds. The first countries that recognised the United States after its independence are the Arab/Muslim North African nations of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, which stand up to this day as strong allies of the United States. The United States has many Arab and Muslim nations as allies. We would like to clarify that Arabs, Muslims and Islam are not the enemy and have not. In our war on terror, we are engaged in a war against extremist elements that have the audacity to commit horrendous acts of terror against innocent civilians that Islam does not approve nor condone. Those literalists and self-righteous extremist elements give a bad name to Islam and Muslims. Islam calls for mercy, forgiveness, coexistence and tolerance. In the last few decades, the world has been plagued by extremist militant fringe groups that live on the margin of society and call for bloodshed.

We should all join hands in subduing this phenomenon and exposing the fallacies behind these so called fundamentalist or Jihadist groups. They have been a threat to many Muslim and non-Muslim societies. They have targeted tens of thousands of innocent Muslims and non-Muslims everywhere. They have an aggressive malevolent agenda with extensive financial networks under many names.

In order for us to win the War on Terror, we need to fight ignorance, desperateness and give hope to the millions who live in extreme poverty and do not see a light by the end of the tunnel who become an easy victim of brainwashing and indoctrination. We need to promote the respect of human rights and dignity, and honor human life as God commanded us to do. Jihad is not blowing one self’s up amongst people. The biggest Jihad, as we were told by Prophet Muhammad-PBUH, is struggling with one’s self and making one’s self a better one. Violence breeds violence and complicates issues. Dialogue should be the option. Words, not bullets; Cultural understanding and tolerance.

Unfortunately, many Muslim societies are still living under the yoke of absolute rulers, authoritarian regimes and military dictatorships, for almost half a century. The result has been the absence of a real dialogue, lack of transparency, grave abuses of human rights, extreme poverty and corruption, the exploitation and politicization of religion in a way that enforces oppression and alienates the Muslim masses who get polarized by extremists calling for violence and abusing the concept of Jihad.

Absolute rulers in Arab and Muslim countries have contributed to the creation of a fertile soil for hopeless young people to be recruited by extremists, while the official state controlled media in these countries always promote intolerance and conspiracy theories, anti-Americanism and anti-semanticism, in order to tighten the grasp of these totalitarian regimes. In order to distract their population from real nagging domestic issues, these regimes are always playing on the fear factor and trying to find an external or an internal enemy to put the blame on.

Muslims should start by questioning themselves, fix their house from the inside, ask for their rights and domestic reform rather than putting the blame on outsiders. The Muslim world is in a bad shape and it needs help before the internal collapse of these societies and the impact that it can send throughout many parts of the world.

In the West, we should extend a helping hand to these societies and help them get back their freedom, rather than giving a handout. We should not shake hands with dictators and supporters of extremism. We should not allow them amongst us, and we should not let preachers of hatred to brainwash our impressionable youngsters.

Muslim Americans and Muslims everywhere else do not need foreign money that come to our communities under the pretext of building mosques or charities while they promote an extreme hidden political agenda and an intolerant version of Islam that has been behind many extreme movements. Muslim communities can be self-sufficient.

I extend my congratulations to president –elect, Barrack Hussein Obama, as the first African-American president and wish him success and guidance. I call upon all Muslim-Americans to support him and pray for him and our nation. Wa Aslam Aliakum wa Rahmatulah wa Barrakatuh

Aladdin Elaasar is a syndicated columnist, lecturer and an advocate for human rights and democracy. He wrote: “Silent Victims” and “The Last Pharaoh”.

Born, raised and educated in Egypt, Aladdin Elaasar is one of the foremost authorities on Egypt and the Arab World. In the United States, Aladdin Elaasar worked as a school teacher, counsellor for refugees, served with AmeriCorps at the Jane Addams Hull House Chicago, and as an ESL teacher. He is a former professor of Arabic language and Area Studies at the Defense Language Institute, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Elaasar has been a frequent commentator on the Middle East on American TV and Radio networks and cofounder and former Vice President of NAAJA, the American Arab Journalists Association. He speaks English, Arabic, French and Spanish. omaraladin@aol.com

Aladdin Elaasar

Aladdin Elaasar is a syndicated columnist and lecturer. Some of his writings are: “Iraq, the State and Terrorism”; where he predicted the downfall of former Dictator Saddam Hussein. Elaasar also wrote: Silent Victims: The plight of Arabs and Muslims in Post 9/11 America. And “The Last Pharaoh: Mubarak and the Uncertain Future of Egypt in the Volatile Mid East”and “Barracuda: The Unauthorized Biography of Sarah Palin: What You Do Not Know and Should Know about America’s Potential Vice President”. Elaasar has been a frequent commentator on Middle Eastern affairs on several local American TV and Radio networks and media and cultural consultant since 1992. Email him at: omaraladin@aol.com