The Egyptian Revolution and Police Tools ‘Made in the USA’

As of this writing, the Egyptian revolution has entered its 16th day and is gaining ground and momentum: spreading to new regions, evolving into strikes and civil disobedience and clarifying its demands. What started as an impressive series of demonstrations on January 25th’s ‘Day of Wrath’ has now escalated into full fledged calls  for not only the removal of Egypt’s tyrant Hosni Mubarak, but his entire regime: the national assembly, the senate and the constitution. (For a breakdown of the evolution of the protesters’ demands and strategy as well as their clearest articulation, see this excellent article by Anthony Alessandrini.) That this list also includes the newly appointed vice-president Omar Suleiman (favored partner to both the CIA and the state of Israel for years) has become one the protesters loudest proclamations.

After Suleiman’s attempts to ‘stabilize’ Egypt by holding ‘talks’ on February 7th with certain elements of what he called the opposition have been roundly rejected by the hundreds of thousands of protesters, he ominously referred to a military take over of the country, as well as the possible violence that may unleash on unarmed demonstrators, strikers and journalists.

Suleiman was reported as having said, “[the alternative to these talks] is that a coup happens, which would mean uncalculated and hasty steps, including lots of irrationalities. We don’t want to reach that point, to protect Egypt.” Adding that “the government doesn’t want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools.”

Ending Our ‘Aid’

With this thinly veiled threat looming, it is crucial to emphasize then that the US is not only directly arming the Egyptian military and providing it with tear gas and other tools to repress the pro-democracy movement, but is also home to several private military contractors who sell their ‘police tools’ to Egypt. One concrete action that the NYC-based Adalah-NY has recommended is writing the US State Dept. and asking that our tax dollars not be given to producers of those now infamous tear gas canisters which announce ‘Made in the USA.’

As the Arab world’s pro-democracy movement which was sparked by the Tunisian uprising continues to catch fire, and US complicity is revealed, there is no better time to push the US public to advocate for the people’s demands, and deny dictators the repressive tools they would be nothing without.

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