After 18 days of intense protests from Egyptian citizens, President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down after holding office for over 30 years. The significance of this moment in international politics has been compared to the magnitude of the fall of the Berlin Wall symbolizing the reunification of Germany and the failure of the German Democratic Republic’s socialist (verging on communist) political economy. However, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a certainty about what it indicated for the future of Germany. In this case, Obama’s statement that this is very much “the beginning of the beginning” is very true. Washington policymakers and Islamic groups around the world are waiting as the Egyptian government restructures itself.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the militant Islamic group Hamas have extended congratulations to the Egyptian people for accomplishing this revolution. According to CNN, Josh Muravchik, a fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, was quoted saying that “Everybody is reading this differently…Iranians think this is going to turn into an Islamist takeover of Egypt.” What is happening on a massive scale is international actors are scrambling to exert influence in the region. Muravchik went on to state that Mubarak stepping down from his Presidency could have major negative implications for the United States.
In Bloomberg, reports indicate that Mubarak’s departure has precipitated a 10-week low in the crude oil market. The US markets overall have been on an upward trend since the departure of President Mubarak. The Dow Jones, originally down 50 points since Mubarak’s speech indicating he would remain in office, closed today 43.97 points up at 12,273.26. This marks its highest close since June 2008.
While Egypt has been a persistent concern for investors over the past weeks, it has not stopped the market from rising in response to fourth-quarter earnings. The rally on the Dow seems to be the product of Mubarak’s resignation on the heels of the encouraging economic news the US has posted recently. According to the Associated Press, consumer sentiment indexes are at their highest since June 2008.
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