The surprise ouster of long-time Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak today came with an additional shock, that Vice President Omar Suleiman, the unsavory torturemaster of the Mubarak regime who Western officials appeared to have hand-picked as his successor, got brushed aside.
While the details of exactly how it happened are unclear, Mubarak’s ouster led to all power being turned over to the military, making 75 year old Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi the new de facto head of state.
Gee, I guess nobody likes a torturer. Not even his fellow members of government. Or, perhaps they feared and disliked the torturer more than the rest.
Still, its not exactly the 4th of July for Egypt. Not when a dictator is replaced by military rule. That still ain't exactly democracy. Now, like all militaries in such a familiar situation, I'm sure we'll here lots of talk of free and fair elections to be held some day. The trick of course is how long is it until that day, and just exactly how free and fair are the elections.
But, its always fascinating to see how things work in the sphere of influence of this great arsenal of democracy that is America. America, that great land of freedom, seemed quite happy with a dicator in power for 30 some odd years. And now, surprise, surprise, when the actual people about whom we mouth such words of freedom decide that they actually want some freedom and not dictators for life and CIA trained torturers, what they really get is rule by a military that has close ties and gets a big chunk of its funding from the USA.
So, now "Mubarak's poodle" has replaced the dictator for life. Its a sign of how bad things have been in Egypt that this is apparently greeted with some relief by the people there.
Egypt’s military, of course, though not as rife with torture as the police, has a shady reputation itself, and its dominance over the entire nation’s economy hardly makes it an ideal instrument of reform. Still, locals seem quite hopeful at the moment, and so long as he isn’t Mubarak or Suleiman, there seems to be almost universal consensus that he will be an improvement.