What's Next For Egypt? Leaders Around the World Call On Egyptian Military to Ensure Legitimate Democracy

Yesterday afternoon, against the regal backdrop of the White House Grand Foyer, President Obama praised the people of Egypt for their historical accomplishment. 'There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place,' he said. 'This is one of those moments. This is one of those times.The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.'

In the same speech -- as beautiful as any he's given -- he reminded us that this was just the first step, that the transition to democracy will indeed be difficult and delicate.

World leaders echoed that sentiment, including UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon, who 'urge[d] the interim authorities to chart a clear path forward with the participation of all stakeholders." Catherine Ashton, the EU's Foreign Policy Chief, observed, "It is important now that the dialogue is accelerated leading to a broad-based government which will respect the aspirations of, and deliver stability for, the Egyptian people." 

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces promised to meet demands in its statements yesterday. 'The Armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people,' they said, 'and achieving them by following on the implementation of these procedures in the defined time frames with all accuracy and seriousness and until the peaceful transfer of authority is completed towards a free democratic community that the people aspire to.'

Still, some are skeptical. Foreign Affairs' Ellis Goldberg writes:

The Mubarak regime as it has existed for the last decade -- an increasingly corrupt and incompetent government that has conferred immense economic advantages on a handful of politically connected businessmen -- has been shattered. A more open political system and a responsive government that ensures its own safety by trimming back the power and privileges of the military could still emerge. And the army may step in as a transitional power and recognize that, as much as it might like to, it cannot return to complete control. The Egyptian military is far more professional and educated than it was in the 1950s, so many officers may recognize the benefits of a democracy. More likely, however, is the culmination of the slow-motion coup and the return of the somewhat austere military authoritarianism of decades past.

The people of Egypt are still celebrating on the streets so, for now, we wait. Read more at Foreign Affairs and Al Jazeera.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at February 12, 2011, 4:46am

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