UM Middle East Expert Weighs In On Conflict In Egypt
MIAMI (CBS4) – Protester’s in Egypt are sending a strong message to President Hosni Mubarak. After 30 years, they want him out.
What’s happening there is already having an impact on Wall Street. Friday, stocks had their biggest one-day plunge in two months, and crude oil prices surged. The concern is whether the protests will spread throughout the Middle East.
After years of poverty, high unemployment and rising food prices, the people of Egypt say they’ve had enough.
“They are tired, they are frustrated with what they have,” said University of Miami professor Amanullah de Sondy, who is considered an expert in Middle East policy.
De Sondy says many people of Egypt have felt suppressed, and for the first time in a long time, are powerfully expressing their frustration with Mubarak’s government.
“There is emotion and the frustration pouring out into the streets, and I think that this is something positive that will emerge from all of this,” de Sondy said.
Crowds fill Egypt’s streets in loud protests.
Angry demonstrators are demanding an end to President Mubarak’s regime. He’s held the presidency for more than 30 years. In a news conference Friday, Mubarak fired his cabinet and put in place new ministers.
“A new government as of tomorrow to shoulder new duties and to account for the priorities of the upcoming era,” Mubarak said.
President Barack Obama spoke with Mubarak over the phone.
“I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters,” Obama said.
Social networking has been used by demonstrators to plan the protests, prompting the Egyptian government to blocked-off access to Facebook, Twitter the Internet and halt phone service.
Obama said he wants that to stop.
“I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions that they’ve taken to interfere with access to the Internet, to cell phone service, and to social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st Century,” Obama said.
The Obama administration has threatened to cut the $1.5 billion in annual foreign aid sent to Egypt if Mubarak’s response to the demonstrations turns bloody.