As Egypt Rages and Protests Spread to Yemen, US Administration Shifts Tone
Egypt entered its third day of fiery pro-democracy protests and Mohamed ElBaradai, a figure for reform, flew to the country to join them--as the family of current autocratic president Hosni Mubarak departed. The heavy protests have seen police stations torched, protesters beaten, gassed and killed, and rocks and "petrol bombs" hurled at authorities. ElBaradai's appearance will likely galvanize the protests on the street.
The protests, sparked by similar demonstrations which ousted the authoritarian government of Tunisia, have spread past Egypt now and on to Yemen, where protesters have begun to gather to demand the ouster of their regime. According to Reuters, "Protesters in all three countries complain about surging prices, a lack of jobs and authoritarian rule that has relied on heavy-handed security to keep dissenting voices quiet."
The situation is a complicated one for the Obama Administration's foreign policy stance to adjust to. They is vocally supportive of Democratizing the Middle East, but also views the current leaders of countries like Egypt and Yemen as its allies in fighting terrorism. While not going so far as to demand his ouster, administration officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have stepped up their demands that the leaders adopt Democratic reforms to satisfy the angry public. “We call on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from violence,” Clinton said, according to Bloomberg. “We urge the Egyptian authorities not to prevent peaceful protests nor block communications, including on social media sites.”