Egypt's protests against Hosni Mubarak's thirty year regime have major implications for the Middle East and the United States. Today the Egyptian military stepped in to restore order to the streets, with warm greetings from the people protesting. Egypt has played a major bulwark against Arab aggression against Israel because of Egypt's treaty with Israel in 1979. A major recipient of U.S. aid, the $1.5 billion Egypt receives yearly has helped prop up the Mubarak regime, and Egypt protects a major pipeline that funnels oil to the West. The Egyptian protests have been fueled by the population's displeasure over poverty, joblessness, repression, and lack of democracy. Protesters have included militant groups that the government would prefer not to have influence on Egypt, including a group with ties to Osama bin Laden and Hamas. Mubarak has responded to the protests by shuffling his cabinet, though it hasn't improved his appearance to the population. The military has become the police force in Egypt and appears to be the deciding factor as to how the conflict will play out, because it has yet to decide if it is with the regime or the people. This crucial decision may decide the future of Egypt.
by Margaret Nunne