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Monday, January 31, 2011

A New Middle East?

First of all, I'd like to start out by saying that my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Egypt. Over the last week, I have been trying to stay abreast of all the information pouring in from the Middle East, specifically the protests occurring in Cairo.  For someone like me who up to two years ago had little knowledge about the area and its multiple layers of conflict, its very difficult to fully understand the complexities and century-long disagreements that have ensued between the people of the Middle East. I will humbly admit that up until two years ago, I did not know the true difference between Iran and Iraq, had absolutely no knowledge of  the Israeli and Palestinian war. However, even with my limited and newly acquired knowledge, its plain to see what is happening right now is a huge monumental turning point in Middle Eastern affairs.

My summary:
The people of Egypt, after enduring 30 years of autocratic rule under a man by the name of Mubarak, have come together to protest in the streets for his resignation. Mubarak was put into power in the early 1980's after his predecessor (name?) was assassinated, approx. three years after he signed the Camp David Peace Treaty with Israel. Mubarak, who at the time was the vice-president, took over and has continued to honor the peace treaty with Israel, and has also maintained positive ties with the US. Therefore, although the people of Egypt have been under an oppressive rule for the last 3 decades, the United States feels that it is in a very difficult situation and that decisions shouldn't be made too hastily. First, if Mubarak is ousted, the US is concerned about who will take over control, since as of now, the only other stable party is the extremist Muslim Brotherhood. Secondly, what would it mean for Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, since the Muslim Brotherhood has been known to support the Hamas, who are associated with the Palestinian people's war. In addition, half of Israel's natural gas comes from Israel.

Time will tell...

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