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Mubarak Deserves to Be Hanged: Analyst

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TEHRAN, May 10 (ICANA) – The Egyptian people have called on Mubarak and top aides to stand trial and the military council has granted it, yet there is still a danger of counter-revolution.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 7:40:40 PM
Mubarak Deserves to Be Hanged: Analyst

Press TV interviews Dr. Ali al-Kabbani, journalist and political analyst on its Africa program on what lies ahead for Egypt as it seeks to build a new democratic order. Following is a transcript of his interview.

Q: Will they really hang Mubarak in Egypt?

Dr. Ali al-Kabbani: Certainly he deserves to be hanged for all the crimes he committed -- criminal offenses by ordering the murder of 846 Egyptians for no crime but to ask for freedom, dignity and democracy.

The problem with a dictator and autocratic regime is he thinks he is above the law. So really what we are seeing is crimes since 25th of January (2011), but the crimes of Mubarak have been extended through three decades in Egypt. He thought that he owns this country and the country became a family business for him and his two sons and the parasites that were living around him.

Q: How far would this net spread because getting one man makes a big difference in terms of the symbolic significance, but obviously Mubarak isn't the only one who benefitted from his 30 years of rule?

Dr. Ali al-Kabbani: Certainly not. But he was the head of corruption and it was a state of corruption - really every element of the Mubarak regime ought to be tried.

Now the joke in the Egyptian society is that we've got now the ex-ministers in Porto Tora. There is an exclusive place for them called the Port marina in Alexandria where they have their yachts on the Mediterranean. So now they are having a wing in Porto Tora, which is a jail for high profile criminals.

How far will they really go in the trial of Mubarak? The Supreme Military Council is under a lot of pressure from Saudi Arabia and from the US not to try Mubarak.

But the fact is that they put him under detention and they took his two sons and sent them to jail under detention and started an investigation. It is a message that they will not be blackmailed and this is actually a positive point for the Supreme Council.

Saudi Arabia has threatened by stopping aid to Egypt and has sent Egyptians working in Saudi Arabia back to Egypt. And they have stopped their investment. This is a serious diplomatic statement.

Q: We've talked about the death of these (846) peaceful protesters seeking justice and democracy long awaited, but can you provide a picture of how the corruption worked in the country because that's also on the table as part of the accusations.

Dr. Ali al-Kabbani: It was a state of corruption from the head of the regime to everywhere. The security forces, which Mubarak relied on would interfere and involve themselves in all the appointments of heads of establishment in Egypt. For example, they would choose the president of the university, the deans of different colleges, the professors etc. That's in the university, which as you know is the think tank for the country. From the heads of those establishments comes agents for the secret service and the states security force, which was just for the security of one man, Mubarak.

What they call the national media was the propaganda apparatus for Mubarak. So you find that from the head of the television network down to news writers are chosen by the security and intelligence forces. It's hard to imagine, but some of the television presenters were earning ten million pounds; this is unheard of -- in a poor county like Egypt where forty million people are living below the poverty line on less than two dollars per day.

Q: Can you outline the forces -- We've heard about the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed el-Baradei -- Who are the forces that could take over?

Dr. Ali al-Kabbani: Talking to Egyptians they say they don't know who will replace Mubarak. Maybe we kept him all that time because we don't have an alternative. The main framework of dictatorship is to put up a blind and hide any quality and qualified people in Egypt so the Egyptians only see one idol, which is the president who is interfering in all aspects of life. Actually, Egypt is full of very qualified people.

I would say democracy needs bringing up a generation on understanding democracy and practicing democracy until it becomes a way of life.

But in our houses we are not democratic, the father is a dictator; in our school we are not democratic, the teacher is a dictator, in companies, in hospitals, everywhere. In the political parties, all the members of the political parties in opposition stay in power until they die -- like the president.

Q: So you think it's something endemic in Egyptian culture that people are used to power being very top heavy and it's going to take a psychological change for people to accept or conceive of a democracy that's not so top heavy?

Dr. Ali al-Kabbani: I would say it's a process, which will take time. We can't just switch from dictatorship to democracy. And it has to be practiced and to learn from error and success. What we see though is all these uprisings throughout the Arab world is by the young generation.

Q: In terms of governmental leadership potential, could you name any names, is it too early to say? There is only five months before the elections, who is likely to step up to the plate?

Dr. Ali al-Kabbani: It's too early to say, but I will support the person that the Egyptian people choose. Because when someone comes in by ballot box, if you realize you made a mistake, you can remove him by the ballot box. But if he comes with a tank and a gun, you can't remove him but by tank and gun like the people of Libya are doing for Gaddafi now.

I don't really think that anyone is popular now because no one has a political record to be credible to be chosen. The Egyptians have to see the programs and choose among them and then they will learn by trial and error and then they can change any president after one term of four years or a second term of eight years.

Q: Yes because they've changed the rules now after a referendum that a person can only stay for two terms of a maximum of four years.

Dr. Ali al-Kabbani: Changes that have been made in the constitution came only to help the coming election, but the new House of Parliament will start a new constitution. So we are living actually in a transitional government, a temporary Supreme Military Council and with a temporary constitution. All that will change when the elections are done both presidential and parliamentary so we'll have a stable government, which will be accountable in front of the Egyptian people.

So I tell the Egyptians you have to be patient until you have a permanent government. And one would tell the military council also to speed up the process because the Egyptian people were really worried about the slow process in trying Mubarak, his sons, and elements of his regime and because of the outside pressure the council made the process quicker and they are now under detention.

Q: What do you think will happen in the next five months, a best case scenario?

Dr. Ali al-Kabbani: The danger the revolution is facing is the counter-revolution and foreign conspiracy. So putting members of the old regime under detention is a message that shows that we are aware of the counter-revolution and we will not allow the elements of the old regime to play in politics and abort this revolution.

Also by not accepting the dictate of foreign or regional international powers it shows that we are independent and we will let the Egyptian newly-elected government decide the foreign policy of Egypt.

There are many positive things that we have seen now. The revolution has won a battle; they have not won the war yet. They have made great positive achievement, but they have not achieved all their demands and only time will let us know if the revolution will succeed in full and create a democratic life or the counter-revolution and foreign conspiracy will play a role in aborting real democracy.

Q: Well, five months is not a very long time.

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