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Ottawa favours ‘gradual’ transition in Egypt

Canada’s position breaks with U.S.


 

The Canadian government supports President Hosni Mubarak’s gradual transition plan, which would see him step down in time for Egypt’s presidential elections, scheduled for September. “A vacuum does not mean transition,” Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said on Thursday, “The transition must be orderly, we have said it from the beginning.” It is a position that breaks with other Western governments as well as the Obama administration, which is reportedly working on a proposal that would have Mubarak resign immediately and hand over power to his new vice-president, Omar Suleiman. NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar portrayed the Canadian government’s decision as hindering pro-democratic forces in Egypt, and said that keeping Mubarak in power will only magnify the civil chaos and the impotence of the government in regaining order.

The Globe and Mail


 
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Ottawa favours ‘gradual’ transition in Egypt

  1. This is a profoundly sane position. Our primary interest in Egypt should be to ensure regional stability. The peace treaty with Israel is absolutely critical for this – not because we care about Israel, but rather because Israeli security is critical to the Israel-Palestine issue which is, in turn, critical to mid-east stability.

    Democracy should be a second-order concern, but even then, the most effective democratic transitions are gradual ones. Democracy is not just about institutions, but also about having the social fabric necessary for peaceful dialogue and debate.

    Moreover, there is a wide body of evidence suggesting that transitional democracies are exceptionally warlike (unlike established democracies or autocracies). Governments in such countries face strong temptations to rally a divided populace by scapegoating enemies.

  2. This is a profoundly sane position. Our primary interest in Egypt should be to ensure regional stability. The peace treaty with Israel is absolutely critical for this – not because we care about Israel, but rather because Israeli security is critical to the Israel-Palestine issue which is, in turn, critical to mid-east stability.

    Democracy should be a second-order concern, but even then, the most effective democratic transitions are gradual ones. Democracy is not just about institutions, but also about having the social fabric necessary for peaceful dialogue and debate.

    Moreover, there is a wide body of evidence suggesting that transitional democracies are exceptionally warlike (unlike established democracies or autocracies). Governments in such countries face strong temptations to rally a divided populace by scapegoating enemies.

    • Yes we care about Israel,nt palestine who are constantly trying to take over their land.You wont destroy Gods people

      • How big a chance does a two-state solution have if Egypt is run by the likes of the Muslim brotherhood? If you really cared about the Palestinians (as opposed to hating Israelis), you would want to ensure that the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty is upheld.

        • And the moderate, conservative, non-violent Muslim Brotherhood would do what, based on their actual record?

          Not that they are likely to control Egypt anyway.

    • At first when I started to read your post, I thought..there we go another Israel lover…perhaps a jew. As I read further, I began to see your very valid arguments and accepted your logic. However there remains here a transgression to Justice. Israel, guilty of human rights violations and crimes against humanity is getting away with apartheid like genocidal activity. This has been tolerated for 10 years now for the sake of stability. It gives rougue states like Iran, Lebanon and Sirya an excuse or moral justification to fund terrorist activities or to support of Hamas, another terrorist organisation. It may be best to let Israel feel the heat from the coming uprisings and revolutions in the arab world so they stop establishment of new jewish settlements and lift the siege on west bank and Gaza. Israel needs to contain its occupation, and make more consessions. Even Arial Sharon had this much figured out.
      Democracy and free elections are very different things as you point out, still, aloowing a country to evolve according to its own natural inclination is surely worth the risk.

      • But that's just the thing – when did Ariel Sharon finally cave on the two-state solution (which might have happened if the man was in better shape)? He had a change of hearts on the two-state solution a few years after Israel's most significant conventional military threat (Iraq doesn't border Israel, but a Syrian-Iraqi alliance might have done the trick) was invaded by the United States. A two state solution became feasible – even to a guy probably complicit in war-crimes – only in an environment where Israel was secure.

        As bad as you seem to think the Israelis are, they have been holding back because of their reliance on the United States for aid, and a desire to maintain a good global image. If they face a serious enough threat, or if they feel they have nothing to lose, things will get ugly.

        And for the record, I am not a Jew, nor especially pro-Israel. My preferred solution would be a one-state solution, in which Palestinians were given the same rights as other citizens of Israel (including a large number of Arab Israelis). Indeed, an independent Palestine strikes me as an odd cause celebre for the left. We are talking about a pseudo-state that executes homosexuals and takes its approach to women's rights out of the handmaiden's tale. Proper unification with the full rights of citizens would not only end the ongoing conflict, it would liberate millions of Palestinians from oppression by other Palestinians.

        However, that option is not politically feasible, and gets less so as the Palestinian population skyrockets (which kind of contradicts your claim that there is genocide going on). So a two state solution may be the least worst option.

        • You make many valid polits, but please consider yourself pro-israel. You have some good reasons for it too, yet, although i agree with most of your reasoning, having seen the aftermath of Israeli brutality since 1970's in kafar qasem, Deir Yassin, Lebanon and inside westbank and Gaza I just cant neglect a need to get justice just so that we arrive at stability. In short, things have to get much uglier before they get better.

  3. Yes we care about Israel,nt palestine who are constantly trying to take over their land.You wont destroy Gods people

  4. I'm feeling pretty good about this decision, if we know anything about the next-in-line guy–and I presume we do. We know Mubarek is strong and if his desire is to remain on Egyptian soil and not have to be whisked away to the U.S. or somewhere, he might agree to put the proper democratic things in place. I don't know if this second-in-line guy is strong enough to put real democratic reforms in place, or prevent being being run over by the Brotherhood, or perhaps he IS strong enough to become dictator part II.

    Still, it feels so strange to be in agreement with Harper and offside with the rest of the world. I've got to have something wrong.

  5. I'm feeling pretty good about this decision, if we know anything about the next-in-line guy–and I presume we do. We know Mubarek is strong and if his desire is to remain on Egyptian soil and not have to be whisked away to the U.S. or somewhere, he might agree to put the proper democratic things in place. I don't know if this second-in-line guy is strong enough to put real democratic reforms in place, or prevent being being run over by the Brotherhood, or perhaps he IS strong enough to become dictator part II.

    Still, it feels so strange to be in agreement with Harper and offside with the rest of the world. I've got to have something wrong.

    • Oh but doesn't it feel so good. Surely in your heart of hearts you yearn for a Conservative Prime Minister to cut taxes, brutalize criminals and rule you like a King!

  6. I'm feeling pretty good about this decision, if we know anything about the next-in-line guy–and I presume we do. We know Mubarek is strong and if his desire is to remain on Egyptian soil and not have to be whisked away to the U.S. or somewhere, he might agree to put the proper democratic things in place. I don't know if this second-in-line guy is strong enough to put real democratic reforms in place, or prevent being being run over by the Brotherhood, or perhaps he IS strong enough to become dictator part II.

    Still, it feels so strange to be in agreement with Harper and offside with the rest of the world. I've got to have something wrong.

  7. I'm feeling pretty good about this decision, if we know anything about the next-in-line guy–and I presume we do. We know Mubarek is strong and if his desire is to remain on Egyptian soil and not have to be whisked away to the U.S. or somewhere, he might agree to put the proper democratic things in place. I don't know if this second-in-line guy is strong enough to put real democratic reforms in place, or prevent being being run over by the Brotherhood, or perhaps he IS strong enough to become dictator part II.

    Still, it feels so strange to be in agreement with Harper and offside with the rest of the world. I've got to have something wrong.

  8. At first when I started to read your post, I thought..there we go another Israel lover…perhaps a jew. As I read further, I began to see your very valid arguments and accepted your logic. However there remains here a transgression to Justice. Israel, guilty of human rights violations and crimes against humanity is getting away with apartheid like genocidal activity. This has been tolerated for 10 years now for the sake of stability. It gives rougue states like Iran, Lebanon and Sirya an excuse or moral justification to fund terrorist activities or to support of Hamas, another terrorist organisation. It may be best to let Israel feel the heat from the coming uprisings and revolutions in the arab world so they stop establishment of new jewish settlements and lift the siege on west bank and Gaza. Israel needs to contain its occupation, and make more consessions. Even Arial Sharon had this much figured out.
    Democracy and free elections are very different things as you point out, still, aloowing a country to evolve according to its own natural inclination is surely worth the risk.

  9. Typical Canadian reaction. When you see someone struggle to gain their own destiny, to reach its goal or to write a wrong Canadians want them to do it gradually, with minimum fuss and without any disruption. I am sure that is a wish not to disrupt the Canadian world, interest and convenience but is it right for Egypt? They have the right to solve their own problems when and how they can. Sovereignty aside, we have no moral or other right to mingle in Egyptian affairs, not the least because we have no idea what we want on anything. Canada has no foreign policy other than self interest and self preservation. If that is the case lay off the criticism and let the people of Egypt be free, not in September but now. Why do you think the dictator of Egypt wants to delay his departure?

  10. Typical Canadian reaction. When you see someone struggle to gain their own destiny, to reach its goal or to write a wrong Canadians want them to do it gradually, with minimum fuss and without any disruption. I am sure that is a wish not to disrupt the Canadian world, interest and convenience but is it right for Egypt? They have the right to solve their own problems when and how they can. Sovereignty aside, we have no moral or other right to mingle in Egyptian affairs, not the least because we have no idea what we want on anything. Canada has no foreign policy other than self interest and self preservation. If that is the case lay off the criticism and let the people of Egypt be free, not in September but now. Why do you think the dictator of Egypt wants to delay his departure?

    • asdf

    • I would not know for sure what is right for Egypt, but many witnessed what happened to Iran in 1979. That was thought to be a popular revolt too, people did not know then that their tails were pulled and their cause was hijacked successfully by Islamists. Iranians 1979's hello to democracy was also their goodbyes, hopefully Egypt's transition to democracy will be for good and not a show for some opportunists whose goals differ that from the real aspiration of its people .

  11. How big a chance does a two-state solution have if Egypt is run by the likes of the Muslim brotherhood? If you really cared about the Palestinians (as opposed to hating Israelis), you would want to ensure that the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty is upheld.

  12. Oh but doesn't it feel so good. Surely in your heart of hearts you yearn for a Conservative Prime Minister to cut taxes, brutalize criminals and rule you like a King!

  13. But that's just the thing – when did Ariel Sharon finally cave on the two-state solution (which might have happened if the man was in better shape)? He had a change of hearts on the two-state solution a few years after Israel's most significant conventional military threat (Iraq doesn't border Israel, but a Syrian-Iraqi alliance might have done the trick) was invaded by the United States. A two state solution became feasible – even to a guy probably complicit in war-crimes – only in an environment where Israel was secure.

    As bad as you seem to think the Israelis are, they have been holding back because of their reliance on the United States for aid, and a desire to maintain a good global image. If they face a serious enough threat, or if they feel they have nothing to lose, things will get ugly.

    And for the record, I am not a Jew, nor especially pro-Israel. My preferred solution would be a one-state solution, in which Palestinians were given the same rights as other citizens of Israel (including a large number of Arab Israelis). Indeed, an independent Palestine strikes me as an odd cause celebre for the left. We are talking about a pseudo-state that executes homosexuals and takes its approach to women's rights out of the handmaiden's tale. Proper unification with the full rights of citizens would not only end the ongoing conflict, it would liberate millions of Palestinians from oppression by other Palestinians.

    However, that option is not politically feasible, and gets less so as the Palestinian population skyrockets (which kind of contradicts your claim that there is genocide going on). So a two state solution may be the least worst option.

  14. Mubarak doesn't have an ounce of legitimacy, but given that Egypt is more than 90% Muslim, it's quite likely he'll be replaced by an Islamist who would impose Shariah law and brutally oppress non-Muslims. You can always count on a Muslim electorate to do this when it has the chance, the elections of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon being recent examples. There are more than 50 nations on earth where Islam is the majority religion and not a stable democracy among them. Canadian political correctoids will find out all about this the hard way once Muslims start to form a strong voting block in Canada, thanks to mass immigration and a high birthrate.

  15. Mubarak doesn't have an ounce of legitimacy, but given that Egypt is more than 90% Muslim, it's quite likely he'll be replaced by an Islamist who would impose Shariah law and brutally oppress non-Muslims. You can always count on a Muslim electorate to do this when it has the chance, the elections of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon being recent examples. There are more than 50 nations on earth where Islam is the majority religion and not a stable democracy among them. Canadian political correctoids will find out all about this the hard way once Muslims start to form a strong voting block in Canada, thanks to mass immigration and a high birthrate.

    • There is one jewsh state in the world and it is just as oppressing towards non- jews. That is because Jews and Muslims are essentially the same. The roots of the religion are the same and many of their customs are similar. Both arabs and Jews are semite people and sadly thats were the historical roots of violence are. I am sure of instead of Israel the arabs had the power, they would the same to the Jews that jews are doing to the arabs nowdays. I am not anti- jew or anti arab, yet have the wisdom not to buy your biased argument that violence and oppression is exclusive to muslims. In fact I believe there exist no other nation in the wolrd that is guilty of such severe and widespread brutality towards another nation as Israel. In brief, violence is a human triat and can be expected from any type of people given the right circumstances.

      • If the Mouselems laid down their weapons, there would be peace. If the Jews laid down their weapons, they would be annihilated.

  16. There is one jewsh state in the world and it is just as oppressing towards non- jews. That is because Jews and Muslims are essentially the same. The roots of the religion are the same and many of their customs are similar. Both arabs and Jews are semite people and sadly thats were the historical roots of violence are. I am sure of instead of Israel the arabs had the power, they would the same to the Jews that jews are doing to the arabs nowdays. I am not anti- jew or anti arab, yet have the wisdom not to buy your biased argument that violence and oppression is exclusive to muslims. In fact I believe there exist no other nation in the wolrd that is guilty of such severe and widespread brutality towards another nation as Israel. In brief, violence is a human triat and can be expected from any type of people given the right circumstances.

  17. You make many valid polits, but please consider yourself pro-israel. You have some good reasons for it too, yet, although i agree with most of your reasoning, having seen the aftermath of Israeli brutality since 1970's in kafar qasem, Deir Yassin, Lebanon and inside westbank and Gaza I just cant neglect a need to get justice just so that we arrive at stability. In short, things have to get much uglier before they get better.

  18. asdf

  19. This is a social revolution, not a religious one, and it's just getting started and will likely spread over time. Unemployment and poverty are driving it. There is a vast amount of difference between Iran '79 and Egypt now. The Shah's secret police were a whole other beast, and the largest opposition were the Islamists…oppression was the driving force for revolt, not poverty. This is not the case in Egypt…its economy is stagnant, like so many other authoritarian regimes. As for Israel, it had the power to dictate a peace deal with the Palestinians but instead chose to hedge on anything concrete because it's always holding out for the possibility of gaining more. If Egyptian reforms take root, all bets are off the table and any negotiations will go back to square one…that is Israel's biggest concern. A potentially ambivalent Egypt will dramatically weaken Israel's position.

  20. This is a social revolution, not a religious one, and it's just getting started and will likely spread over time. Unemployment and poverty are driving it. There is a vast amount of difference between Iran '79 and Egypt now. The Shah's secret police were a whole other beast, and the largest opposition were the Islamists…oppression was the driving force for revolt, not poverty. This is not the case in Egypt…its economy is stagnant, like so many other authoritarian regimes. As for Israel, it had the power to dictate a peace deal with the Palestinians but instead chose to hedge on anything concrete because it's always holding out for the possibility of gaining more. If Egyptian reforms take root, all bets are off the table and any negotiations will go back to square one…that is Israel's biggest concern. A potentially ambivalent Egypt will dramatically weaken Israel's position.

  21. Hey Jack…I served in Egypt (Cairo) in 1974, Sharia law was and is alive and well. Simple Islamist retribution, rob bread, lose offending hand, rob again, lose another limb. As for L Cannon, he and his government are ultimate puppets, all foreign policy vetted by US.

  22. Hey Jack…I served in Egypt (Cairo) in 1974, Sharia law was and is alive and well. Simple Islamist retribution, rob bread, lose offending hand, rob again, lose another limb. As for L Cannon, he and his government are ultimate puppets, all foreign policy vetted by US.

    • Rick says: "As for L Cannon, he and his government are ultimate puppets, all foreign policy vetted by US." True enough. And in turn, US foreign policy in the Middle East is vetted by the Israel lobby to conform to what best serves Israel's interests.

  23. Rick says: "As for L Cannon, he and his government are ultimate puppets, all foreign policy vetted by US." True enough. And in turn, US foreign policy in the Middle East is vetted by the Israel lobby to conform to what best serves Israel's interests.

  24. And the moderate, conservative, non-violent Muslim Brotherhood would do what, based on their actual record?

    Not that they are likely to control Egypt anyway.

  25. I believe Canada should support Mubarak as they have done in the past, He is the only good neighbor of Israel who supports Israel's war crimes and human rights abuses whole heartedly just like Canada does and will continue to do . I do not know why Canada wants Mubarak to leave , Democracy looks good in text books and it looks good if it brings into power any one who supports Israel , but in this particular case , democracy is not a good idea! All those in the west, who pretend to be the ones who are full of the milk of human kindness, stand for fairness and freedom of expression will end up supporting Mubarak .
    It is Ironical that the only Jewish state surviving on American tax payers money and on the schooled ignorance of people in Canada US and Europe , is standing on flimsy foundations , with all the weapons and willingness to kill and mass murder the prospects of a real democracy in a neighboring country sends shivers in their spines . They will start beating the drum of holocaust to drum up support for Mubarak, Canada must comply . If Canada complies, They will find ways of keeping King Harper in power for another 12 years. Don't forget to change the text books ! world history started with Holocaust , nothing else ever happened , not even big bang. Long live Canada Israel friend ship and love!

  26. I believe Canada should support Mubarak as they have done in the past, He is the only good neighbor of Israel who supports Israel's war crimes and human rights abuses whole heartedly just like Canada does and will continue to do . I do not know why Canada wants Mubarak to leave , Democracy looks good in text books and it looks good if it brings into power any one who supports Israel , but in this particular case , democracy is not a good idea! All those in the west, who pretend to be the ones who are full of the milk of human kindness, stand for fairness and freedom of expression will end up supporting Mubarak .
    It is Ironical that the only Jewish state surviving on American tax payers money and on the schooled ignorance of people in Canada US and Europe , is standing on flimsy foundations , with all the weapons and willingness to kill and mass murder the prospects of a real democracy in a neighboring country sends shivers in their spines . They will start beating the drum of holocaust to drum up support for Mubarak, Canada must comply . If Canada complies, They will find ways of keeping King Harper in power for another 12 years. Don't forget to change the text books ! world history started with Holocaust , nothing else ever happened , not even big bang. Long live Canada Israel friend ship and love!

  27. I would not know for sure what is right for Egypt, but many witnessed what happened to Iran in 1979. That was thought to be a popular revolt too, people did not know then that their tails were pulled and their cause was hijacked successfully by Islamists. Iranians 1979's hello to democracy was also their goodbyes, hopefully Egypt's transition to democracy will be for good and not a show for some opportunists whose goals differ that from the real aspiration of its people .

  28. If the Mouselems laid down their weapons, there would be peace. If the Jews laid down their weapons, they would be annihilated.

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