Let us not hurry to draw conclusions about Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean

Article published on Feb. 3, 2011
Article published on Feb. 3, 2011
by Georgios Kokkolis We are living historic moments that's for sure. The world in 2011 is very different from what it was a couple of years before...
The West is in deep crisis, the emerging economies of the Far East have come on well in the game and the Middle East is experiencing an unprecedented challenge of the once-powerful dictatorial regimes that for years dominated not only politics but every aspect of life in the countries they dominated. 

Many analysts however are quick to say that a new era begins for the Middle East, and perhaps for the entire planet. My approach is much more restrained since in the age of blogs and interaction, we are trying to anticipate events, to interpret them immediately, which makes us carriers of the news rather than analysts.  A quick browse through newsletters, publications and the Internet will convince you that within a few hours armies of emerging ''Egyptologists'' or ''Tunisiologists'' appeared, who considered the riots as ''inevitable'' and who try stupidly to compare societies. Others, tend to ''group'' countries just because they share ''similar'' features or connect the riots to ''muslim axis'' and become ''prophets'' of the creation of ''Arab democracies''.For two things we can be sure: first, that something is changing in the Middle East, and secondly that the people who protested are impoverished. However, it is far from obvious why this happened now and why these Arab leaders which the people feared, now seem like muppets in human history. Who expected the Egyptian army, the cornerstone of Mubarak's regime not only to keep distance of the demonstrations but actually to encourage them? Many questions arise in relation to the attitude of U.S. and the EU.

The main reason why so many days in Cafebabel we did not deal with the riots in Tunisia and Egypt is simply because we believe that any conclusions yet are either wrong or rush conclusions.The once beloved children of the Americans in the region are no experiencing a ''drain'' from the superpower that nobody could thought of in the past. 

The most crucial part, however, is that Egypt is not Tunisia: the recently spotted ''Leviathan'' deposits have completely changed the geopolitical balance. The continental shelf between Cyprus, Israel, Greece and Egypt seems to be the El Dorado of the Mediterranean. The importance of the Egyptian Exclusive Economic Zone  along with the Suez Canal and the fact that Egypt is the only country to recognize Israel, making the need for a stable country stronger than ever. I want to remind to all those fans of democracy that in Arab countries which have not an embedded democratic culture, the usual result of such changes is that the country is entering in a prolonged period of anarchy. The domino theory that appears either spontaneously or artificially has spread both in Algeria and Jordan were similar reactions take place. The Mediterranean Sea is undergoing major transformations: the crisis of the European South, the rise of  Turkey, ''Leviathan'' and the collapse of the North African regimes are events that augment the geo-strategic value of the  area and should be treated with caution. Let us not hurry ..

Why Americans and the West in general ''burn'' Mubarak especially now? Why they want change ''here and now''?Nothing at the moment can guarantee that the opposition in Egypt is ready to govern and to avoid fundamentalist Islam. Georgios Kokkolis is a PhD candidate in Modern Greek Studies at King's College London.