Thursday, September 8


Haroon Siddiqui compares Bush's actions re Louisiana with those in Iraq and Egypt:

In Iraq, victory is always said to be around the corner — with the transfer of "sovereignty" to the locals, with the elections and now with the new constitution. As historic as the document is, few Iraqis care. They won't until they, too, receive some relief from their endless misery.

Exaggerations also mark the administration's hailing of the ostensible arrival of democracy in Egypt, its other Arab client state.

Under American pressure, Hosni Mubarak, the pharaoh in power since 1981, permitted competition in the presidential election yesterday, thusly: Voter registration was closed before the announcement of the contest.

The strongest opposition, the Islamic Brotherhood, was barred from fielding a candidate.

The only ones on the ballot were those with the signatures of 65 members of the lower house of parliament, 25 of the upper house, and 10 of municipal councils, all controlled by Mubarak.

The election commission banned election monitors, foreign or local.

On the eve of the election, in an unrelated incident, a fire broke out at a student theatre, killing more than a dozen young people. Among the first to arrive at the scene were not the firefighters and ambulance and aid workers but armoured riot police to secure the site — just like in Louisiana.


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