Saturday, December 10, 2005
Egypt's Ugly Election: "Eager to believe Mr. Mubarak's promises that he will lead a gradual democratization of Egypt, the Bush administration has been slow to react to these remarkable events. Last week the State Department issued a foolish statement saying that there was no 'indication that the Egyptian government isn't interested in having peaceful, free and fair elections.' This week it corrected itself, saying there were 'serious concerns about the path of political reform in Egypt.' But the administration's next steps will be crucial: Will it support the legalization of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has renounced violence and endorsed democracy -- and which has proven it has the support of millions of Egyptians? Will it demand freedom for Ayman Nour and support the independent civic movement that has demanded genuine political reform? Will Mr. Mubarak's behavior be linked to the $1.8 billion in annual U.S. aid Egypt receives? Egyptians will now see if Mr. Bush is serious about defending the cause of freedom in the center of the Middle East."