Not that Arab “moderate” regimes are necessarily appalled by Bashar’s tactics; in many aspects they can even prove nastier and more brutal. Unfortunately, the uproar after Hariri’s assassination is an exception; most of the time, the effect of political assassinations remains limited and business goes on as usual.
But the Arab leaders understand the rules of the game, they know how to assassinate, and are far more subtle in the exercise of repression. They know that, however brutal, their reign is secure as long as they mind three vital aspects;
1- Mind the Victim(s)
There will always be resentment following assassinations. For this reason, it is vital to placate a victim’s family and their supporters. At the very least, such “arrangements” could neutralise the dead leader’s powerbase.
In some respect, the Lebanese were pre-empting a
2- Mind your Country
When Mubarak took over after Sadat, he did not roll back or change the economic policies of his predecessor, nor did he change
His regime will only be weakened if Mubarak fails to deliver continued economic benefits.
3- Mind your Patrons’ Interests
After taking over from
The assassination of Hariri did nothing to change that reality.
Final proviso (Update March 25th, 2007)
Even in case you’re carrying out a political assassination, it helps to appear “above reproach”.
A few are amazed how Mubarak escaped; in spite of sitting next to the Pharaoh, when Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli and his men sprayed the tribune with their AK’s, he was only injured in his hand… Many suspect that Mubarak had eliminated Sadat, who “had appointed the former deputy prime minister, Dr. Abdel-Kader Hatem, as vice president in his place”. The appointment was supposedly carried on the morning of October 6, the day of the assassination…
But all this is beside the point; Even if it were true, it would not have mattered. Mubarak made sure to co-opt the interests around Sadat, ensuring the “continuité de l’Etat”, and maintaining his country’s alignment with the
While not valid in themselves, such speculations can be useful "mental experiments"; especially when so little verifiable information is available on closed societies such as
In this case, speculation shows how orderly transitions are possible, even in the case of repressive regimes; the key is to maintain key interests happy.
For all practical purposes, Sadat was assassinated by his “former” colleagues from the Moslem Brotherhood, and his courageous deputy took over to make sure his legacy endured. In
Even those who think that Mubarak’s accession to power was not Kosher are hard pressed to find it Treif...