February 05, 2011
From Dictator To Dictator - Obama's "Orderly Transition"
I'll be happy to be wrong with this, but I believe the anti-government protests in Egypt will get snuffed for now. The revolution is aborted but not yet dead. It is likely to return in one form or another though that may take a while.
As I write this hundreds of additional troops in riot gear have arrived around Tahrir. The army is trying to remove the barricades around the square and to push, slowly, slowly, the people out. A General talked to the people who are determined not to leave. Civil resistance can win against unmotivated riot-police or a mob of thugs. A few thousand demonstrators without weapons in a rainy place can not win in direct confrontation with a halfway competent military force.
The army announced that it will, from now on, "vigorously" enforce the curfew which begins at 19:00 Cairo time. I'd take them on their word. If real military violence is needed, its likely that the Presidential Guard, which is separate from the army, or armed riot police will be used for the bloody task under the cover of the night.
The decisive weight of the U.S. was put on the side of a continued military dictatorship. That certainly could have been different. The $1.3 billion bribe the U.S. is paying each year to the Egyptian military could certainly have been used to achieve a real step to democracy and a civil government.
Instead Obama's "orderly transition" will only take place from one General to another, Mubarak to Suleiman, with the later one likely to turn out to be an even more vile dictator than Mubarak ever was.
To play to the media and "western" public some regime negotiations will follow with a fake opposition which will not include any of the real opposition that took to the streets.
One can already see this playing out on Al Jazeera. The editorial line of the ancor man has somewhat changed today from emphasis of the protesters and their demands to playing up general economic hardship and the talking lines of so called "world leaders" - all of them "westerners" of course. Its coverage of Cairo has markedly while the picture quality of some of their visual takes from Cairo is suddenly back to a normal level. Were there phone calls made from the White House and Cairo to Qatar who's Emir founded and controls Al Jazeera?
The negotiations with the opposition will be sold as "meaningful" without any real positive change for freedom of Egyptians. Instead of that we can expect a months long harsh but very silent and brutal crackdown on anyone who is somehow identified as related to the opposition.
Looking back the Egyptian government must have anticipated such protests for quite some time. In hindsight the total scheme that played out looks well prepared.
Taking the police off the street, releasing thugs and prisoners, organized looting, closing down communication, closing down commerce and banking - all done by the regime, not the opposition, without any real need to do so - was sold by the regime propaganda as done by the protesters.
In between this "chaos and fear" campaign a disgruntled military initiated a coup at the very top of the Egyptian government. Mubarak was pressed by the military to name a General as successor and to install a cabinet led by another General. He had to discard his plans to install his own son Gamal and his neoliberal entourage as his successor. Some scapegoats will be found and kicked out of the political hierarchy.
That done, the military has found ways to fix relations with Washington which for a short moment seemed to lean to the side of the protesters. Concerted pressure from the Israeli, Egyptian and Saudi lobby helped. As did the usual reflex of Obama to play to his constituency while actually doing the opposite of what they demand. "Stability" for Israel was and is the primary concern in Washington D.C. We thereby now get "orderly transition".
Its now time to develop new strategies that can defeat the government playbook we have seen here.
Posted by b on February 5, 2011 at 10:46 AM | Permalink
I am afraid it is as you say. There will be more deaths for sure.
"the military has found ways to fix relations with Washington which for a short moment seemed to lean to the side of the protesters." What moment was that? It was all an act. And I doubt the military needed to fix relations with the U.S. They know who their daddy is.
Posted by: Rick | Feb 5, 2011 11:16:03 AM | 1
The situation is quite depressing. I fear for all those wonderful people that liberated Tahrir and transformed it into a symbol of freedom, humanity and cooperation, defending their vision against the ruthless brutality of the regime. I may sound pathetic, but all this actually had me in tears at some points over the last days.
Posted by: Lex | Feb 5, 2011 11:25:24 AM | 2
Its now time to develop new strategies that can defeat the government playbook we have seen here.
b, I'm still optimistic. These young are smart and will not stop.
Posted by: Rick | Feb 5, 2011 11:31:18 AM | 3
I'm afraid for the people who started this revolution and still remain in Tahrir. Let's hope that the new courage they taught to all the Egyptian becomes an example and today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year they become strong enough to destroy the oppressive regime and the international cabal that backs it. They are fighting against the greatest world powers.
I read that they are planning a new large protest tomorrow. Banks are supposed to reopen now at 8:30 on Sunday, signaling the return to 'normality'. The normality that will prosecute, torture and kill all those who opposed the regime. The fight has not ended and there are still many eyes that may help prevent a massacre. The problem is that I'm not sure the big media presence will remain much longer and even AJE is changing bit a bit their editorial line and reporting.
Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 5, 2011 11:44:59 AM | 4
What is likely to happen in the Square is bad enough. But the real business, for which Obama and Washington will be wholly responsible, will be the subsequent hunting down, detention and so on of tens of thousands of people.
I have been pessimistic about this for some days. But that is reflex. The government is not very bright, and it is not thinking for itself. Clearly the pressure from Washington is coming from the crudest (Pentagon) sources. There is no effort being made to provide even a figleaf of justification for anyone to claim that the protests have succeeded.
On the face of it this failure to produce a new boss (who though he will act like the old one has a different appearance, image..is younger, more urbane) is very ominous. It can only mean that this is a message to the world as a whole, and Arabs in particular, that resistance will not be tolerated.
If this is the case, look far a rollback in Tunisia and for an attack on Lebanon, plus sabotage in Syria and Iran. Perhaps even in Turkey.
The Zionists realise how close they have come to defeat. This is making them dangerous. All the more so because they have a vast Zombie, armed to the teeth and incapable of rationality, in the form of the US, led by the nose.
Such a movement as we have seen cannot be defeated, if it is, for long. The new generation, to whom cold war propaganda is as dubious as old 1914 atrocity stories from Belgium, is viewing the world as it is: a place bullied and exploited by an extraordinarily unattractive USA, whose real nature is becoming ever more apparent. The automatic default since the 1940s has been to give US Foreign Policy the benefit of the doubt. That is no longer the case: young Egyptians know now that Obama and Mubarak are on the same team, each is responsible for the other's actions. Anything suggesting otherwise is best ignored.
For the young it is just one more indication that nothing should be taken for granted: jobs, social services, pensions, health care, justice, decency, are all grist in the (satanic) neo-liberal mill, which will chew them up and chew up the planet itself unless it is stopped. By them.
Like everyone else I hope that I am wrong, decent humanity has had martyrs enough.
Posted by: bevin | Feb 5, 2011 11:50:14 AM | 5
depends who it is who is on the square. you do not shoot your own kids.
feels like 1968 to me. as I remember it there was a tremendous sympathy for it in the establishment.
Posted by: somebody | Feb 5, 2011 12:13:27 PM | 6
I’m still very doubtful, pessimistic, see b’s top post, yet,
From the optimistic hopeful end:
If Mubarak quits, leaves, flees or dies or whatever, all the figures of his regime will fall like dominoes, and space for a new era will be suddenly opened up.
This the state apparatus knows. So do the protestors.
I posted many days ago that this *one* demand was both symbolic and strategic and would never be given up. Never, meaning without vicious repression, when all demands become null and void. The protestors obviously realize that any compromise on this score means losing, with only cosmetic folderol papering over some new variation of the previous state of affairs.
On this score, the protestors are winning for now, as Mubarak has made regular, incremental, successive, small concessions.
Latest, (swiss radio..?, no sure it’s so?), quitting as head of the fake majority party.
Pushed into legislative retreat, step by step, he will end up by throwing in the towel in a fit of pique.
He is stubborn as a mule but also realistic, as he is narcissistic, petulant, out for number one, old, etc. Yet, his entourage may work on him, and he is someone who functions with face to face interaction.
The protestors might have considered meeting him face to face.
I understand the decision not to, the rigor of the absolute refusal, its purity, but there is a point - hard to judge - where one can absolutely annihilate an adversary by such an encounter when one holds much of the cards. Specially with someone like Mubarak.
What happens next is anybody’s guess.
Posted by: Noirette | Feb 5, 2011 12:25:31 PM | 7
The unknown question is whether rebellion will ignite into revolution. One of seven people in Alexandria was said to have come out into the streets; and in Cairo, we saw the skirmishes, and serious street battle that took place when Mubarak's hirelings and accomplices attacked those in the resistance, who have been occupying Tahrir square for days.
If the people are driven out of the Square with bloody military force; then consequences will follow. This may not happen immediately; but it will happen soon. It will be no time to drag their asses home, and wait complacently for the knock on the door. These people showed themselves as people who are not defeated, as people who have rejected intimidation, as people who refer to themselves as the resistance; and it is doubtful they will stop short of revolutionary action.
Posted by: Copeland | Feb 5, 2011 12:30:47 PM | 8
A powerful photostream from Tahrir by 3arabawy
Posted by: b | Feb 5, 2011 12:39:40 PM | 9
Note that as a ‘revolution’ it is real personal.
The protestors have made no effort to take over media in any way.
Normally, you’d expect at least the take over of a radio station, or setting up one. Invading an office of Gvmt. TV. Or burning it down. Twitter messages don’t count, those are picked up by Corporate media, Al Jazz first of all, Egyptians are not reading twitter messages, they are hiding in their homes, trying to go about their business, feed their children, etc.
Posted by: Noirette | Feb 5, 2011 12:45:04 PM | 10
Confirmation from the horse mouth - just out - NYT: Obama Backs Suleiman-Led Transition
MUNICH — The Obama administration on Saturday formally threw its weight behind a gradual transition in Egypt, backing attempts by the country’s vice president, Gen. Omar Suleiman, to broker a compromise with opposition groups and prepare for new elections in September.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to a conference here, said it was important to support Mr. Suleiman as he seeks to defuse street protests and promises to reach out to opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Administration officials said earlier that Mr. Suleiman and other military-backed leaders in Egypt are also considering ways to provide President Hosni Mubarak with a graceful exit from power.
“That takes some time,” Mrs. Clinton said. “There are certain things that have to be done in order to prepare.”
Now, the United States and other Western powers appear to have concluded that the best path for Egypt — and certainly the safest one, to avoid further chaos — is a gradual transition, managed by Mr. Suleiman, a pillar of Egypt’s existing establishment, and backed by the military.
Whether such a process is acceptable to the crowds on the streets of Cairo is far from clear: there is little evidence that Mr. Suleiman, a former head of Egyptian intelligence and trusted confidant of Mr. Mubarak, would be seen as an acceptable choice, even temporarily. Opposition groups have refused to speak to him, saying that Mr. Mubarak must leave first.
But Mrs. Clinton suggested that the United States was not insisting on the immediate departure of Mr. Mubarak, and that such an abrupt shift of power may not be necessary or prudent.
The above NYT piece was posted 57 minutes ago - seems I beat the NYT with that.
Posted by: b | Feb 5, 2011 12:52:03 PM | 11
The US makes it clear and transparent.
8:07pm Hosni Mubarak must stay in power for the time being, says Frank Wisner, Barack Obama's special envoy for Egypt.
We need to get a national consensus around the pre-conditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes.
Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 5, 2011 1:10:58 PM | 12
Yes, it looks bad for the short run. I suspect and fear that the smooth transition to the new boss includes disappearing those who organized the demonstrations (and what steps are being taken to ensure that this does NOT happen?)
The use of the word zombie by bevin reminds me of a piece I wrote a while ago, appended below. However, I wish to point out that while "zombie" is an accurate metaphorical description of the American public, it is obviously NOT true of the Egyptians. It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future.
Uncle Sam as Zombie - a metaphor for the Republic's state of health
Dead? Catatonic? Just resting? Pining for the fjords, like the parrot in the Monty Python sketch?
I suggest the American Republic is zombified, in a metaphorical sense of the literal truth of the horror movie cliche. The superstition about zombies is that they are dead, and returned to a kind of life in death by magic. The truth (and I am relying on the accounts of Canadian ethnobotanist Wade Davis for this) is that they have been intentionally poisoned in such a way that they appear dead, and after the "corpse" is buried the folk psychopharmacologist (a.k.a. "witch doctor") revives and enslaves them. Their state of mind after zombification no doubt depends not only on the drug regimen they have received, but their pre-existing beliefs about what has happened to them.
"The Republic", of course, is not a biopsychosocial system that can literally be given mind-altering drugs. It is a kind of abstraction for collective social behavior, and the art, science, and business of the manipulation of collective beliefs has many ardent practitioners these days (even, in a sense, those of us who blog).
I ask you to join me in a thought experiment. Let's imagine that there might be some way for Uncle Sam, now lying in his grave, to return to life - not just a half-life of working for his (and our) oppressors, the military-industrial-congressional-financial-corporate media complex.
How could that be done? What would it take for the Republic to become unzombified? What are the "antidotes" for the "brain poison"? If "ideas" and "feelings" are what have poisoned us, are there other "ideas" and "feelings" that can restore us to health? Some say there is hope - structures of oppression built by people can be dismantled by other people. Or maybe Kurt Vonnegut was right in the pessimism he expressed in his last years - there is no way in hell that the U.S. will EVER become a humane and reasonable nation.
May the Creative Forces of the Universe have mercy on our souls, if any.
[first published October 22, 2007 at Salon.com]
Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. | Feb 5, 2011 1:17:16 PM | 13
Obama's statement means all they have is a dead horse, otherwise they would have switched.
There seems to be contradiction: Obama's envoy says Mubarak should do the transition.
Has anybody inquired from Angela Merkel yet why Honecker was not asked to transition the reunification?
Something like 1/10 of the population was out on the streets reportedly despite the terror and despite the curfew. You don't crack something like that without risking to break up the army.
Posted by: somebody | Feb 5, 2011 1:31:32 PM | 15
@Noirette - The protestors have made no effort to take over media in any way.
Wrong - there was an early attempt to take over the State TV building. But it was heavily guarded by the Presidential Guard(!), ready to shoot.
Posted by: b | Feb 5, 2011 1:34:41 PM | 16
b, I noticed the "quote marks" in the post title's ...Obama's "Orderly Transition"
First the gas pipeline explosion and now this:
Blast hits Egypt's church amid unrest
Starting to look like a standard playbook to get the people blaming one another and cause divisions.
Am I reading too much into these events? Are they related?
Posted by: Rick | Feb 5, 2011 1:49:15 PM | 18
u s imperialism is the practice of swine
their bloody indifference to the reality of the people in egypt or anywhere else for that matter is criminal & has always been criminal
the young girl in the square who sd if they left they would be hunted down one by one is perfectly precise - it is the reality - this is a mass movement which contrary to markfromireland's contention does include vast numbers of the working class, the union movement has also been active - but perhaps like iran - a formal general strike is demanded
operationally, i fear - that b is correct though that the army might squeeze the people out of the square, with force if necessary but i imagine they are under orders to not touch a hair on either anderson cooper's or john simpson's head
i hope i am wrong, really but in venezuela - the rank & file military were very important for the mass movement
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 5, 2011 2:20:41 PM | 19
i hope to that in the square where they have alreay show great tactical intelligence - they are capable of responding to any moves by the army short of massacre
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 5, 2011 2:33:22 PM | 20
I don't agree with some of what markfromireland says. I read about strikes on some industries last week. The protests spread through many Egyptian cities. And who does he thinks is the main base of the MB? The rich elites and middle class educated youth? Not very likely.
There are othere reasons that could explain why there has been little attention to the city or the agrarian poors. They don't appear on the media radar. They don't speak English. They may don't tweet. But it doesn't mean that they aren't there, the numbers where quite huge. The media presence has been pretty limited. Even AJE journalists were just present in Cairo, Alexandria and may be Suez. Information from any other city was very limited and came from phone calls and such.
The main difference with Iran is that the regime never was able to muster a large contra-protest, say hundreds of thousands. On the other hand Iran had a few large pro Ahmadinejad at the same time the Green Revolution was unfolding. The other main difference is that I haven't still seen the western media naming the revolution with a color even before it had even started.
Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 5, 2011 2:33:46 PM | 21
@The Paper - I agree - some NTP party bigwig was asked on AlJazeera if he would bring up a counter demonstration showing his support, when he declined, I knew which side had more support.
Mark still has a point - we do not know how much support ot really has - state propaganda is really heavy and likely to be heard more in less affluent parts of the society - I'd say we don't know, but we saw a quite diverse crowd in Tahrir - not just "youth" as the regime claims - lots of older folks and not so well off MB people there too.
Posted by: b | Feb 5, 2011 2:45:35 PM | 22
What is true is that without weapons the most effective way to challenge the army dictatorship is with millions on the streets to try to split the ranks of the army from the top officers (but even then numbers didn't work in Argelia though that was a bit different).
At this point the battle on the international flank is almost lost with today's US explicit endorsement to the regime non-transition. The EU is a non-entity and follows the US line, Turkey and Iran are too far and have no way to influence the regime, Russia and China have their own reasons to avoid supporting revolts and in any case this is such a close US client they can't likely buy influence.
Armed revolution has little chance (even if they had weapons, see Argelia).
The elite (army) has closed its ranks after their own internal coup. Creating a new division has become more difficult.
Peaceful protests and capturing the streets seems the only viable path at this point. Similar to Ghandi's struggle. But can the Egyptian army be played on the moral responsibility line like the dying British Empire was?
Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 5, 2011 2:48:38 PM | 23
Just spoke to my mom who spoke to a cousin in Egypt. She isn't engaged in protests but is one of the many who supply the protesters with food, etc. She told my mom that morale is very high, the crowd very diverse as we all knew. But there is a problem if the square being a big shopping center and that the shopkeepers are getting angry that they can't reopen.
I wonder if the protesters could ask the shop keepers to return and then try to buy as much of their supplies as they can locally.
Also, while they haven't done it yet, there is a fear that the army will actively try to prevent people from supplying the protesters.
Spoke to another cousin directly but she is a government employee in a fairly senior position and fears her phone could be tapped. Still she said anti Mubarak protesters greatly outnumber the pros.
Speaking of which, there was supposed to be a big pro gov rally today. Haven't heard anything about it, though.
Posted by: Lysander | Feb 5, 2011 3:12:15 PM | 24
From Al Jazeera blog. Frank Wisner:
8:07pm Hosni Mubarak must stay in power for the time being, says Frank Wisner, Barack Obama’s special envoy for Egypt. ‘We need to get a national consensus around the pre-conditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes.’
Posted by: annie | Feb 5, 2011 3:14:25 PM | 25
when we look at things coldly, egypt is a client state of u s imperialism, par excellence - second only to israel - imperialism is already losing so much ground around the world, it cannot afford to lose this most loyal puppet & his appareil
u s imperialism has shown that if it cannot make an accord contingent on its own interests, first of all - then it will shed blood, as it has done time & time again
when the masses defeated imperialism in venezuela & bolivia - there was leadership available even tho chavez or morales were only elements within the resistance -- because of chavez there was enormous support amongst the rank & file soldiers which bolstered their efforts, it is a little more complicated in bolivia but i think the army could see a very violent civil wat & they stepped back - & morales has been very delicate with the army which has of all latin american countries, a deep connection with u s military power
i think if we look at the movement all across latin america - there are great lessons - in the last decade they have been able to make great advances simply because u s imperialism has proved itself incapable of fighting on so many fronts
i hope with all my heart, the people have created a new dynamic that will not step down, they will not blink & that they force the puppets to reveal themselves openly as the gangsters they are
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 5, 2011 3:22:51 PM | 26
AngryArab also fears the counter-revolution succeeding. He asks to storm the Bastille. Not sure if that's still viable.
Egyptian uprising danger of stagnation
Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 5, 2011 3:39:04 PM | 27
it is easy to say that from his professorial chair but in essence it is true - the counter revolution is preparing terrible things but we ought to have faith in the people & i hope the prepared participants of mb are actually their to offer their organizational expertise fro a greater good
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 5, 2011 3:50:49 PM | 28
"We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation. And now some among us begin to cry out: Let us go into the marsh! And when we begin to shame them, they retort: What backward people you are! Are you not ashamed to deny us the liberty to invite you to take a better road! Oh, yes, gentlemen! You are free not only to invite us, but to go yourselves wherever you will, even into the marsh. In fact, we think that the marsh is your proper place, and we are prepared to render you every assistance to get there. Only let go of our hands, don’t clutch at us and don’t besmirch the grand word freedom, for we too are “free” to go where we please, free to fight not only against the marsh, but also against those who are turning towards the marsh!
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 5, 2011 4:59:10 PM | 29
"The real education of the masses can never be separated from their independent political, and especially revolutionary, struggle. Only struggle educates the exploited class. Only struggle discloses to it the magnitude of its own power, widens its horizon, enhances its abilities, clarifies its mind, forges its will."
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 5, 2011 5:14:36 PM | 30
I am obviously missing a lot: I don't have access to anything except print media and not much of that. But the thing that strikes me is that this movement ought to be able to communicate on its own behalf.
Is there a possibility of holding long "teach in" style public meetings in the square, with a variety of points of view explaining what it is all about, what the world is being asked to do (stop interfering, stop supplying the dictatorship with weapons). And what is felt about, for example the Palestinian problem and the Peace Treaty.
Some way has to be found of taking advantage of world wide attention and cutting out the "middle-men" the interpreters, pundits etc, al most all heavily invested in the neo-imperialist ideology and beholden to a revisionist zionist (fascist) influenced establishment. It is possible now to cut them out of the equation, let them get honest work.
Are no Universities holding "teach ins" to explain what is happening, its historical context and the way in which islam is used as a bogeyman by the ruling class?
But perhaps this is all going on and I'm totally out of touch. The point is to create momentum, in this case just by holding the ground and using it to put the likes of Frank Wismer in perspective: explaining who he is, his career, his family connections, the CIA, the lobbying he does for the kleptocrats in Mubarak's entourage(who make billions from, that sucker, Joe Taxpayer...
Posted by: bevin | Feb 5, 2011 6:58:29 PM | 32
i hope bevin that they are doing that - at least sharing their experience of the struggle & you are right about cutting out the middle men - the media is a criminal conspiracy - at the very least degrading what is full of wonder & beauty covering it in crime
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 5, 2011 7:13:06 PM | 33
rememberinggiap has the heart of a poet, passionate...
Posted by: euclidcreek | Feb 6, 2011 12:48:54 AM | 34
It is amusing to observe how people are seeing this popular movement through the eyes of the mass media they dislike, yet without stepping around the media to see what is actually happening. AFAIK few foreign journalists have made much attempt to report on the protests that have been occurring in every population centre up and down the Nile valley, which is where 85+% of Egypt’s population resides.
As well as Cairo there have been protests involving many tens of thousands of citizens every day in Alexandria (probably the most beautiful city in the world), Giza, & Mahalla, as well as smaller demonstrations in the regional centres.
It seems likely that Shirley Bassey (the black Bush as Egyptians like to call the amerikan prez) blinked first in the face of Mubarak's intransigence.
Hosni knows that his resignation can only mean eventual disgrace for him and his entire family. Not for nothing has he refused a vice president all these years and concentrated so much power in the office of the Egyptian prez there is no 'legitimate' way Suleiman can have some functions devolved down to him.
Suleiman is an asshole torturing friend of zionists, but he is no yes man, loyalty isn't a common trait of the sociopath and there is no doubt that Suleiman who is believed to have participated in some of the 'juiciest' torture sessions, is a sociopath.
So Shirley has backed down at the urging of amerika's sociopath on the spot Frank Wisner, but for all their talk of transition periods etc., the amerikans and the israeli gangsters must be really worried, because they know that this decision will cause them a lot of trouble.
First in terms of the bad look that is going to be the sight of the nice well-mannered democracy activists of last week getting the shit kicked out of them for being fundamentalist terrorists this week by a mob that Shirley has just endorsed as being friends of amerika. This will not play well with young amerikans and Shirley must know that.
That is the least of it, they can't even be sure that the repression will be effective. There are a helluva lot of pissed off Egyptians and this far every attempt by Egypt to bash them into line has failed. Sure there are some presidential guard units that are separate from the normal conscript army, but there won't be enough of them to be everywhere at once, which means the elite will have to hope they can get some oppression out of the ordinary army. Not only is that by no means certain, as soon as one of the actions of the ordinary army meets with failure or is even held in stasis for a period, there is a high probability that mid-level officers will decide that their future lies in the 'new Egypt'. Sure many of them have been indoctrinated at classes in amerika, but that in the main wasn't so they could all be run as agents in place. Most would refuse such treason. It is more about providing back ground and favouring amerikan/israeli interests ahead of Palestinian interests. Not ahead of Egyptian interests.
I think that one of the chief reasons we have seen such a 'softly, softly' attitude towards the army is precisely because the elite has finally realised that having a system where no one at the top can ever retire lest they be scapegoated for their sins in office (see Habib al-Adli the interior minister & secret police boss dropped in the cabinet 're-shuffle' last week, now languishing in the slammer with former trade minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid) means that the people in the middle get pretty bitter waiting for their bosses to die so they can get snouts & fetlocks in the trough.
That brings us to the last and most important reason why Shirley Bassey and the EC whiteys are shitting bricks over being forced to endorse Mubarak for the next 8 months.
Suleiman & Mubarak are gonna be hard at it trying to do the other down, because failure will be fatal. Mubarak knows that as soon as he is out of power, be it now or in October Suleiman will toss him to the wolves to keep his own situation safe for as long as possible. This means Mubarak has to move now before Suleiman accrues sufficient power.
This is why these gigs are hereditary. Not because these creeps love their kids. These sorts of people are incapable of the normal range of human emotion. No, they line their kids up for the gig because they figure that is their best chance for having a quiet retirement, or if they die in the saddle as most do, of preventing all of the treasure they have stolen from being snatched by the new incumbent before their family has even got outta the palace.
Suleiman who didn't get where he is today by underestimating the treachery of humans, also knows he has to go against Mubarak fast, before Mubarak stitches him.
All of this will be the main thing on the prez and the new VP's minds when they should be concentrating on the protesters, who neither truly understand sufficiently to be able to stymie them.
The rebellion is far from over, I'm sure that many Egyptians understand that they are largely 'over the hump' - which just a dab of steadfastness will win the day.
When I watched ALE this morning (local time which was right about when Wisner announced to the Munich Security hoo-ha, that Mubarak should stay on, Al Jazeera was running the line that all of these reshuffles and musical chairs in the party reminded them of the last few days of Honecker's rule.
It is pretty accurate, there is no sign of a real strategy, this is governance on the run with competing loyaties and issues outside the range of understanding of the rulers causing chaos.
Maybe Munbarak will pull it off, but the odds aren't good and he hasn't been looking lucky lately.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 6, 2011 1:44:40 AM | 35
The MB has divided the real opposition by agreeing to hold talks with Suleiman without conditions. Not unexpected. I hope they could at least pass a note the other factions of the opposition about what to expect from now on ... and how to lay low if required.
The chance of Mubarak stepping down are now lower than 50%. And with all this orderly transition shit and what is constitutionally legal and what not there is no talk about any kind of elections sooner than September. Expect Suleiman or another top general getting elected by 70-80% (90% is for senior dictators) of the vote on first round on the presidential elections. Some token opposition candidates will get the rest. The MB has already stated that they won't have a presidential candidate (to apeace the western democratic dictators). The recently 'elected' Parliament will remain controlled by the NPD, or whatever party or parties are created out of the NPD corpse, people will remain the same.
Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 6, 2011 3:17:49 AM | 36
PSA (Public service announcement)from your Uncle $cam;
Fuck the Government...
Find the ip address of a seized website
Also see, How To Stop Domain Names Being Seized By The US Government
”The rain …falls upon the just and the unjust alike; a thing which would not happen if I were superintending the rain’s affairs. No, I would rain softly and sweetly on the just, but if I caught a sample of the unjust outdoors I would drown him.”
Posted by: PSA from Uncle $cam | Feb 6, 2011 3:41:19 AM | 37
Debs, thanks for coming back. I have missed your inputs of late which are usually very helpful and informative.
However, I am having real trouble understanding the point(s) in your post above. You are mistaken if you think these protests in Alexandra,Cairo,and Suez which have been widely covered in the mainstream media don't represent the views of 85% of the population who you imply live in spread out areas up and down the Nile River. The populations in Egypt are mainly urban and often very densely urban. These three cities alone are large dense cities and the immediate wider population of these three cities is in excess of 20 million.
”It is more about providing back ground and favouring amerikan/israeli interests ahead of Palestinian interests. Not ahead of Egyptian interests.” Again, I think you are mistaken. As some examples in recent news, the gas pipeline into Israel sells gas at a large discount - the people of Egypt are getting ripped off and they know that. And I'm reading stories that the tunnels with the Gaza Strip are working in reverse right now- actually servicing unfed Egyptian soldiers. These Egyptian leaders don't put their people first by any measure. That is what this Revolution/uprising is all about. The billions in U.S. aid is mostly military, how does that benefit the U.S. or Israel as a priority when the money could go to urban infrastructure or just plain food , clothing and shelter for the population?
”I think that one of the chief reasons we have seen such a 'softly, softly' attitude towards the army is precisely because the elite has finally realised that having a system where no one at the top can ever retire lest they be scapegoated for their sins in office.” I think you are wrong here also and not just in spelling. The main reason for comradeship with the army is that every male has to serve in the military, the military is familiar and most every family has a connection to it. But the people have little connection to the very elite top brass. The pleading General in the square yesterday proved that.
I also miss the significance of Shirley Bassey, and this is from a true blues music lover. So Shirley has backed down at the urging of amerika's sociopath on the spot Frank Wisner, but for all their talk of transition periods etc., the amerikans and the israeli gangsters must be really worried, because they know that this decision will cause them a lot of trouble. I have been watching and reading about this revolution for over a week now, and you are the first person I have heard that has used the word American to talk about the U.S. government. Of course I realize that is your style, but this Revolution is not about the American people. It is 'shirley' about dislike for the U.S. government support for the Egyptian leaders but even that is a small part. But as "Naked Gun 2-1/2" would say, "Don't call me Shirley!" Mubarak and Barack, the difference is muc (slime).
Posted by: Rick | Feb 6, 2011 4:18:40 AM | 39
We do know one thing, and that is that the people of the USA will not make the decision on the county's response to events in Egypt. The people will not even make this call through their elected representatives in the congress as the constitution is no longer the guiding principle of the nation. In the modern empire the ability to use force anyplace on the planet rests with just one man.
We also know that if the military is engaged in some "heroic rescue operation" of 'our' people and some horrible atrocity (children, can you say false-flag?) occurs that can be blamed on the evil Muslims in Egypt then the god-president may well decide that it is in our 'national interests' to 'restore order' and bring the guilty to justice. (they will have a trial right after that bin Laden fellow)
Posted by: Joseph | Feb 6, 2011 7:12:13 AM | 40
Rick @39, one thing that has raised red flags for me throughout this ordeal is the paucity of criticism for the U.S. I posted a link to an article at Global Research a while back that speaks to this. I'm not casting aspersions, because I don't believe anything we are witnessing through filtered lenses can be easily described and so cut and dried, but it does make me think twice.
Here's that link again for those who may have missed it:
"Dictators" do not dictate, they obey orders. This is true in Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.
Dictators are invariably political puppets. Dictators do not decide.
President Hosni Mubarak was a faithful servant of Western economic interests and so was Ben Ali.
The national government is the object of the protest movement.
The objective is to unseat the puppet rather than the puppet-master.
The slogans in Egypt are "Down with Mubarak, Down with the Regime". No anti-American posters have been reported... The overriding and destructive influence of the USA in Egypt and throughout the Middle East remains unheralded.
The foreign powers which operate behind the scenes are shielded from the protest movement.
No significant political change will occur unless the issue of foreign interference is meaningfully addressed by the protest movement.
The US embassy in Cairo is an important political entity, invariably overshadowing the national government. The Embassy is not a target of the protest movement.
Chossudovsky then suggests this tactic to the quasi-rebellion, and I believe it is a positive suggestion:
Our message to the protest movement:
Actual decisions are taken in Washington DC, at the US State Department, at the Pentagon, at Langley, headquarters of the CIA. at H Street NW, the headquarters of the World Bank and the IMF.
The relationship of "the dictator" to foreign interests must be addressed. Unseat the political puppets but do not forget to target the "real dictators".
The protest movement should focus on the real seat of political authority; it should target (in a peaceful, orderly and nonviolent fashion) the US embassy, the delegation of the European Union, the national missions of the IMF and the World Bank.
Meaningful political change can only be ensured if the neoliberal economic policy agenda is thrown out.
Couple this with what I posted about BP's bonanza gas find in the Nile Delta and Mubarak's ridiculous wealth, and one can easily entertain the notion that BP is sponsoring this event in order to oust Mubarak because he, and his son who was to replace him, have become too expensive, and thus are affecting BP's return on investment. Suleiman and Co. will do it for much less......because they enjoy what they do and get intrinsic value out of administering suffering.
Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 6, 2011 8:28:51 AM | 41
Actual decisions are taken in Washington DC, at the US State Department, at the Pentagon, at Langley, headquarters of the CIA. at H Street NW, the headquarters of the World Bank and the IMF.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has cautiously welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood's involvement in political dialogue in Egypt, telling National Public Radio that Washington would "wait and see" how talks develop.
Today we learned the Muslim Brotherhood decided to participate, which suggests they at least are now involved in the dialogue that we have encouraged ... We're going to wait and see how this develops, but we've been very clear about what we expect.
Posted by: hans | Feb 6, 2011 8:39:47 AM | 42
Al Jazeera's Ayman Moyeldin has been arrested by the military in Tahrir square
Posted by: b | Feb 6, 2011 9:35:42 AM | 43
Senior US Marine Says "Multiple Platoons" Are Headed To Egypt
This senior Marine told our source that the Pentagon will deploy "multiple platoons" to Egypt over the next few days and that the official reason will be ‘to assist in the evacuation of US citizens."
Our source was told that "the chances they were going over there went from 70% yesterday to 100% today."
Posted by: b | Feb 6, 2011 9:42:55 AM | 44
hans, I do not trust the Muslim Brotherhood, but not for the reasons conservatives don't trust them. I believe the Muslim Brotherhood is extremely useful to the global Plutocracy. If you look at its history, it is a nefarious organization with past ties to the Nazis, and the CIA. I guess we are to believe that those ties just vanished into thin air, just as the ties the CIA had to the Nazis vanished into thin air. However, the reality on the ground belies that vanishing act. The Muslim Brotherhood has been a miserable failure according to its official implied mission, especially considering the organization came into existence in the early 20th century. The last 100 years has seen the riches of the desert stolen from underneath the feet of the people of the Middle East whilst the Muslim Brotherhood stood guard and witness.
I see the Muslim Brotherhood as a convenient Catcher In The Rye for honest radical dissent in Middle East. As a compromised, and co-opted organization, it literally catches the disaffected, of which there are many, in its web and turns them into useful tools for the global Plutocracy. The organization creates an image that can then be fraudulently flogged by the right wing, and Centrist, pundits ad nauseum.
Now, considering the above, why would Hillary insist the MB have a say in the negotiations? Because the Democrats must be seen as in bed with the Islamists, and excoriated as such by the right wing press, and as the Catcher In The Rye, the MB can contain a certain percentage of the disaffected in Egypt by pretending to represent their interests.
Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 6, 2011 9:56:28 AM | 45
@Rick I wasn't aware I'd been anywhere but I also thought what I had said was fairly simple. That is that the majority of egyptian communities throughout Egypt had been having demonstrations, but as far as most TV coverage goes everything has been in Cairo. It is the same right now. With the exception of some mobile phone footage nearly two weeks old of a bloke in Alexandria being shot, there hasn't been any real insight into the breadth of the these demonstrations. How many people know the movement started in Alexandria in late 2010 when police killed a local? Tunisia got the foreign media interested but the rebellion was already well under way when Ben Ali pulled the pin.
I also stand by my assertion that the egyptian Army officers who has been dragged back to amerika for training, may listen to amerika on issues about Palestine, but that doesn't mean they will listen to amerika on issue closer to home, that is on egyptian matters. They are not all agents of amerika, many are careerists who trained in amerika to help their careers, but if at the moment listening to either the NDP or amerika is considered dangerous for careers, they will not do so.
I realise it goes aginst the current lunatic amerika the all powerful imperialist meme, that seems so popular, but I don't believe amerika or their crazed & ignorant citizenry will have jack shit effect on what happens in Egypt.
As I write this 1 million Egyptions are back in the center of Cairo demonstrating along with similar proportions in other towns. The MB came out of its meeting with Suleiman saying they didn't believe that the regime could be trusted about anything. They aren't about to do any deal, they just wanted to take offer of seeming legitimisation, which could backfire but they are old men and prolly want some small win when it is on offer.
The central part of what I wrote remains unchanged; that Mubarak & Sulieman are at odds over what comes next. Sulieman wants Mubarak gone yesterday so he can set about implementing the corrupt amerikan agenda which will seek just as the french drafted lebanese constitution does, to marginalise the masses.
Mubarak knows if Sulieman stays on after he (Mubarak) goes, Sulieman will blame Mubarak and the "old guard" (ironic Sulieman is 72 & has been around Mubarak for ever) for the sins of the past and he will set about destroying Mubaraks name and wealth to ingratiate himself with the Egyptian people.
Mubarak has one big card left to play, virtually the entire political process across the 'three arms' of government, executive, legislative and judicial, must defer to the president. Repeated changes from 1980 onwards have ensured the complete control of the president over everything especially the electoral process.
Wisner managed to get Mubarak to agree to replace some of the people at the head of the NDP with types that Sulieman had nominated, but that is pretty meaningless, despite leaks outta Sulieman's office that Mubarak was stepping down from his role of supreme boss of the party, that didn't happen, corrections were issued out of the prez palace immediately stating that Mubarak is still in charge of the NDP.
Sulieman knows that reality makes all the stories about Gamal being out of play meaningless because old Hosni can put his son back in the saddle at any time he chooses.
This makes the decision to 'crack down' really hard, cause it will be hugely unpopular at a time when popular support matters more than ever before. Mubarak can sit back and do nothing if he chooses but now as 'working' VP Sulieman will be expected by his bosses to 'do something'.
When the crackdown backfires Mubarak can ditch Sulieman, blaming him for the excess.
No one quits in Egypt just as they didn't in the corrupt days of Rome and its emporers; because to do so means you can no longer protect yourself or your family. The two major implications of that policy are aged and incompetent leadership, which is out of touch with the nation and an extremely pissed off 'middle management' sector who don't want to have to wait until they are too old to enjoy it, to grab the fruits of power.
The middle layer of Egyptian military, public service and political classes may not see anything other than disaster and eventual humiliation from following the path of either Sulieman or Mubarak. There will be few immediate gains and much to lose. Sure the timeservers will stick with the status quo, but the smart powerful thinkers are likely to see the advantages in going for popular support by being seen to back the protesters.
This isn't over by any means; all of this concern about what the western media is saying and what western leaders are thinking is arrogant bullshit, those people are powerless to effect this issue in more than a peripheral way.
amerika gives egypt 1.5 billion a year, Mubarak's net worth is estimated at between US $40 and $70 billion. Amerika is only offering a bit of spare change, nice if you can get it but hardly a game changer.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 6, 2011 10:18:27 AM | 46
re mistah charley at 14, “two detained reporters..”
Here is the report from Serge Dumont, Belgian, who writes for le Temps, CH, my summary.
He was with Aude, a reporter for Swiss Radio, with him taking pictures and her some sound, in Choubra, popular quarter of Cairo. They fell on a pro-Mubarak demonstration, the crowd went hysterical and tried to lynch Aude. She managed to jump into a cab, and Serge became the target. They beat him and took the camera, etc. A policeman told him: Save yourself, they want to kill someone! The crowd went wild screaming SPY! SPY! Another policeman arrived, with two men in civil clothing (later he realized they were military) - policeman checked him out and said OK, but the two others insisted on taking him. They called a cab and took him to a barracks outside the city. Serge paid for the cab.
Then much travel ensued, he was finally given over to the Mukabarat, and the scenes described are the same as in the article posted. Interrogated, again and again, etc. There was no direct violence. They took all his things and locked him up in a dungeon. 30 hours on, the military put him a a vehicle, with a bunch of other journalists, they were all told to hide low to not be shot, and were left off individually or in small groups at various (random?) points in Cairo.
Serge was dropped at a spot where there were civilian protectors or vigilantes. As soon as they saw him...they went wild, and called to the army, present at every street corner, and the very same scenario was repeated. He was aggressed, locked into a jeep, and driven to the *same* barracks as before, where the whole process was repeated, if with more alacrity. Again, he was liberated in the same way, but this time he asked to be left off at a precise spot, discrete, and the military complied.
He made his way to the airport and took the first flight out, to Rome.
(>b, i didn’t know they had tried)
Posted by: Noirette | Feb 6, 2011 1:13:23 PM | 49
@Debs - With the exception of some mobile phone footage nearly two weeks old of a bloke in Alexandria being shot, there hasn't been any real insight into the breadth of the these demonstrations.
Wrong. AlJazeera had live video and video reports from Alexandria everyone of the last 13 days. It showed some just about 30min ago. It also had a team in Suez until some five days ago when things got to dangerous for them. It has reports from other cities too, though mostly be phone.
Mubarak's net worth is estimated at between US $40 and $70 billion.
Issandr at The Arabist seriously doubts that number. It is likely pulled from hot air. $1-2 billion would be probably more correct.
Posted by: b | Feb 6, 2011 1:24:07 PM | 50
And today I heard the AJE host confronting the affirmation of a MB member from Alexandria on phone saying that there were hundreds of thousands marching today when their own reporter had said there were around 2-5 thousands. The MB member didn't know how to reply back. Making up big numbers is something that every march organizer does there or anywhere else so no big deal. Next time MB should put to the task someone with more experience.
Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 6, 2011 1:30:29 PM | 51
From b's link to The Arabist about Mubarak's wealth, the Arabist states:
o I don't see how this accounting can be so easily done. But no way he's richer than Bill Gates. Don't believe the hype.
Comparisons to Bill Gates are absurd. It's like comparing Jabba the Hut to Hello Kitty. Mubarak has the full force of Egypt at his disposal. He doesn't have to have legal title to something that is de facto his via his undisputed power.
Either way, if the Global Plutocracy is prepared to jettison him, he will easily go the way of Manuel Noriega, if not Saddam Hussein.
Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 6, 2011 1:52:04 PM | 52
@b as you can see there are many cogent rebuttals to the angry Arab. It appears Mubarak ran his scams early on in his career and has been feeding his own organisations contracts via his son ever since.
Mubarak has no intention of leaving Egypt and leaving himself open to the 'global plutocracy' aka those dependent on amerikan military implicit support. He is still planning on remaining in Egypt where he hopes to control his fate & that is where the schism is between him and Sulieman.
As for the out of town coverage I have been alternating between the Beeb and AJ most days and the beeb has had fuck all while AJ has had little more, both news organisations have been basing their correspondents in and around Cairo.
Time will tell either way but it is foolish to imagine that overseas influences will determine the outcome here. amerika wants to and has been trying hard to but so fat its attempts have been soundly rejected. Hence the climbdown over Mubarak's dismissal.
Those who want to contruct a conspiracy theory about life where everything is hopeless because the great amerikan machine wins every time, should enjoy their pointless morbid dialogues in here with all the other fuckwits who imagine the all seeing eye of amerika is operates so effectively that they can even persuade a mob of highly educated egyptian civil engineers to do their dirty work and destroy the twin towers, with nary a word leaking out, despite the fact that 'the job' would have required a huge cast of humans all with different views on the world at least some of whom would have moved away from whatever belief system persuaded them to get into the conspiracy in the first place.
It is a stupidly destructive point of view to hold not least of all because humans are fragile creatures lacking in confidence. Tell enough people something is hopeless for long enough and they will begin to believe it and take forever to crawl out of the rut.
The Egyptians have got out of the rut and won't be tossed back under as easily as all the amerikan exceptionalists round here would have us believe.
So much angst invested in something so perverse, it is sick.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 6, 2011 2:56:56 PM | 53
ps Take a look at how the tunisian elite is finding out how their attempt to have new boss just like the old boss is going for them An AP story in many dailies today:
Tunisia's interior minister on Sunday suspended all activities of the country's former ruling party amid the most serious protests since the country's autocratic ruler fled into exile.
Fahrat Rajhi suspended all meetings of the Democratic constitutional Rally, known as the RCD, and ordered all party offices or meeting places it owns closed and intends to seek its dissolution, a ministry statement said.
The official TAP news agency, which carried the statement, said the measure was taken because of the "extreme urgency" of the situation, a reference to deadly protests, and to "preserve the higher interests of the nation."
The announcement came hours after crowds pillaged, then burned a police station in the northwestern city of Kef a day after police shot and killed at least two demonstrators.
It was the worst violence in Tunisia since its autocratic president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was forced into exile Jan. 14 after a month of nationwide anti-government protests.
Deadly protests have also erupted in other corners of this North African country, currently run by a caretaker government.
Authorities have been cleaning out traces of the Ben Ali regime, notably eliminating figures connected with the former ruling party — but not fast enough for many citizens. The RCD's activities were not just limited to the political scene. Under Ben Ali's 23 years in power, the party had tentacles in all aspects of Tunisian life.
Among other distrusted entities is the police force, which instilled fear as it carried out the repressive policies of Ben Ali. The move by the interior minister, ultimately in charge of police, could amount to a double gesture to shore up the "people's revolution" in the eyes of many Tunisians.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 6, 2011 3:04:12 PM | 54
m b absolutely clear after meeting - there were no concessions, mubarak was buying time & if he does not leave - mb said the next meeting will be at tahrir square
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 6, 2011 3:13:37 PM | 55
& b - thankful as i am of aje coverage - they have for days now repeated more or less the bbc meme - today it is - 'society cannot function', 'the people in the square do not have a leader etc', 'overstate the importance of the meeting with mb' etc etc - of course part of that is the 24 hour coverage & you take things out of thin air but in the end i certainly do not trust aje to represent the interest of the egyptian people
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 6, 2011 3:17:47 PM | 56
& as b suggested - the army appears to be blocking the people into a more limited space in the square - this fucking army is not to be trusted
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 6, 2011 5:23:05 PM | 58
“Revolution is not a dinner party, not an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly and modestly.” mao tse tung
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 6, 2011 7:44:16 PM | 59
It’s great that the Moon is open and serving again.
After a Revolution, the world is never the same again.
The Arab Revolution is not a religious revolt. It is a cry for jobs and human dignity. I won’t see it. But, the Revolution will come west. Corporate feel good propaganda/marketing doesn’t work if you don’t have a job. Human pride demands a job, a family and an end to corruption and the forever wars. Will it be as simple as a new party and elections or will be it more bloody? I do not know.
Posted by: VietnamVet | Feb 6, 2011 7:49:03 PM | 60
Debs:"That is that the majority of egyptian communities throughout Egypt had been having demonstrations, but as far as most TV coverage goes everything has been in Cairo. It is the same right now. With the exception of some mobile phone footage nearly two weeks old of a bloke in Alexandria being shot, there hasn't been any real insight into the breadth of the these demonstrations."
I also disagree that TV coverage has neglected other cities. But more importantly, many people in the world, especially those who are seriously trying to follow events, use the Internet. There are thousands of tweets on Jan#25 describing this Egyptian revolution, many linking to videos of demonstrations in various cities of Egypt -especially Suez and Alexandria - and many linking to written articles or photos.
Debs, first you write this:
I realise it goes aginst the current lunatic amerika the all powerful imperialist meme, that seems so popular, but I don't believe amerika or their crazed & ignorant citizenry will have jack shit effect on what happens in Egypt.
Then you write this:
Sulieman wants Mubarak gone yesterday so he can set about implementing the corrupt amerikan agenda...
Moreover, I may be crazy and a lunatic "amerikan", but at least I can do basic math when comparing "amerikan" aid to Mubarak's worth. Here is a starting point:
(Reuters) - The United States has given Egypt an average of $2 billion annually since 1979
(Your figure of 1.3 billion is just military aid, and doesn't include economic assistance of over $800 million/year.) Multiply that 2 billion times 31 years and you get $62 billion. I would not call $62 billion dollars "spare change". I have no idea what Mubarak is worth, but to compare his three decades of ill gotten gains to a single year of U.S. aid is worst than crazy.
And I believe the amount of aid may actually be greater, with money going to Egypt obtained from other budgets. Are items like the military training of Egyptian military officers that you mentioned part of the aid packages or part of the U.S. Defense budget? But aid is just one example where the Egyptian people have been abused where the U.S. is involved. For another possibility, take a look at the money collected from the operation of the Suez Canal.
Finally Debs, I do not say the outcome of this Revolution will be determined by the U.S. I know of no other American who thinks this way but I am sure there are some in our government who do. And I am probably more optimistic than any other poster here at MOA. In fact, quite the contrary, I am looking at the Egyptian people to inspire some of the many lazy Americans who need to wake up. It is the Egyptian people, especially their youth, who may finally bring the change needed to America.
Posted by: Rick | Feb 6, 2011 9:28:36 PM | 61
r'giap #59 "Revolution is not a dinner party..."
The Egyptian youth are very idealistic, which is what has made this Revolution so great.
Unfortunately they are likely to face even more disturbing realities as this thread discusses. In any case, I stumbled across this young Egyptian girl's latest website post at about the same time reading rgiap's post/quote from Mao Tse Tung - a stark contrast indeed.
The UNITED republic of Tahrir
Posted by: Rick | Feb 6, 2011 9:53:51 PM | 62
Addendum to last post:
domibrown: RT @marwame: Tuesday in #Tahrir has been announced as the "day for decorating the square". This is the cutest revolution ever. #Egypt #jan25
Posted by: Rick | Feb 6, 2011 10:23:40 PM | 63
Frank Wisner's comments to the Munich Security conference are coming unstuck.
Robert Fisk is reporting on the strange scenario of Hilary Clinton hiring Hosni Mubarak's lawyer to persuade Hosni to throw in the towel.
Frank Wisner, President Barack Obama's envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a New York and Washington law firm which works for the dictator's own Egyptian government.
Mr Wisner's astonishing remarks – "President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical: it's his opportunity to write his own legacy" – shocked the democratic opposition in Egypt and called into question Mr Obama's judgement, as well as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a "personal capacity". But there is nothing "personal" about Mr Wisner's connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises "the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government's behalf in Europe and the US". Oddly, not a single journalist raised this extraordinary connection with US government officials – nor the blatant conflict of interest it appears to represent.
Wisner's wiki page (at the moment doubtless this will be edited shortly) says:
"Wisner was involved in a diplomatic gaffe during the pro-democracy uprising in Egypt in early 2011. The Obama administration asked Wisner to carry views to Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, including advice that Mubarak should resign to defuse the crisis. Wisner was not successful in convincing the dictator of the wisdom of the administration's suggestions. Just 4 days later, after a day in which Mubarak allies took violent reprisal against democracy activists, Wisner spoke to a security conference in Europe and called it "crucial" that Mubarak stay on in the interest of "stability", in direct contradiction of the American policy he had been asked to convey. The State Department immediately disavowed his comments and disparaged his previous role, saying he had not served as envoy, but merely as an available conduit for certain administration views  Adding fuel to the furor over Wisner's comments was the fact that after retirement from the diplomatic corps, he had been a highly placed official of a firm that has lobbied on behalf of the dictator, as well as serving on the board of the largest Egyptian bank."
I have to say that feeling around where I am is that the NDP elite cannot continue to hold power, the entire Arab world appears to loathe them either because they have been so evil and corrupt, or because they got found out being so evil and corrupt.
Posted by: UreKismet | Feb 7, 2011 3:50:00 AM | 64
The Obama administration asked Wisner to carry views to Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, including advice that Mubarak should resign to defuse the crisis.
This sort of shit makes me laugh. In this day and age, we still have people "carrying views." With all the technology out there, one would think they could get Mubarak on a closed circuit conference, but no, it must be important to do things the old fashioned way.....have a dubious individual globe trot the message and then somehow botch it.
You can't write this shit any better. It's pure comic relief.....except it's a tragedy.
Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 7, 2011 6:56:33 AM | 65
Beyond the Pyramids, the Square
Egyptian artist and musician Ahmed Bassiouni died on January 28 from asphyxiation while participating in the popular uprising. 100radiostation.com has been playing his music continuously ever since.
Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 7, 2011 7:25:06 AM | 66
As AngryArab says the Egypt revolt hasn't become a revolution yet. It seems like any change in one direction or other may take some time. The protests seem to have lost some steam after two weeks of confrontation. The regime didn't make any important concession yet but it doesn't want to implement a crackdown, either by doubts on their strength or because their strategy is to bid their time. This could drag on with talks for days or weeks and then flare up again, unexpectedly, after the protesters or the regime decide to make a move.
In Tunisia it's a bit unclear and depends how the elections (not sure even about the date) are organized. There are similar attempts to create an 'orderly transition'. See the same brutal police still trying to apply their rule yesterday and killing a few protesters. Banning a party, but not it's members, doesn't really mean nothing more than a face change. The army in this case seems much less involved in the previous regime so can be 'used' to control the old regime. Though of course it may attempt to become or influence the new leadership. In any case it looks, just like in Egypt, the Tunisian population now has the will to fight for their interests and it won't be easily coerced. That's the real change that has happened.
I think it's easier to say that there is an Arab revolution in the sense that the fear that limited any attempt to protest or confront the regimes governing the Arab countries has been broken. But a real social and governance change has not occurred or is guaranteed yet.
Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 7, 2011 8:59:34 AM | 68
OOps I meant ABC News (big difference NOT)
Posted by: Rick | Feb 7, 2011 9:16:21 AM | 70
The return of the color revolution(s): F. William Engdahl: Egypt’s Revolution: Creative Destruction for a ’Greater Middle East’?
Just tossing it out here for discussion. I don't subscribe to the story as the article describes. Sure, CIA and co have been playing that game for years, and building relations with 'deserving individuals' inside Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere in the middle east. And sure a bunch of people within the imperial forces have wet dreams of a grand plan for the 'remake' of the ME into 'golden' cage.
However, the story omits several important, crucial aspects of the current events: it is partly a hunger revolt; it is a continuation and culmination of multiple revolts, strikes and protest movements over the past years, starting way earlier than 2008 as stated in the article - particularly in Egypt. The latter is something the western media rarely, if ever has mentioned in the past.
(though I kind of admire that guy for having the patience and dedication to read year after year through the publications of Rand corp and assorted extremists).
Posted by: Philippe | Feb 7, 2011 9:58:44 AM | 71
From Dictator To Dictator - Obama's "Orderly Transition".... Have you noticed, as the Angry Arab has, that Sulaiman is not only 72 years old himself, but has also had five heart attacks? He can't be the long term plan for Egypt, in the minds of the Mubarakist elite, in the minds of the US government, the Israelis, etc., etc., etc....
Posted by: alexno | Feb 7, 2011 10:50:10 AM | 72
Do you really think that this is planned and not just reacting? There is always another army general ready to serve the US for a price. Mubarak's son was for sure ready to serve them and he is quite younger.
What isn't mentioned with all this calls for 'orderly' transitions is that western support for dictators and coups against the moderate democratic movements is what leaves the field open for extremists. The lessons from Iran with which they try to hide their love for dictators are the wrong ones.
Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 7, 2011 12:05:31 PM | 73
> some discussion up top:
Per the media, there have been very consequent, and ongoing, demos in other towns in Egypt.
Yet demonstrators represent a tiny % of the population.
There are more than 80 million ppl in Egypt, and perhaps, at the very extravagant most, 2-3 million on the streets.
Numbers means little, even a small group can have tremendous effects, create horrific problems, insuperable conundrums and international embarrassment. (Specially if under the cameras..)
What is the regime, the army, to do? Shoot them all? Remove the bodies or leave them to rot? Burn up Liberation Square with napalm or whatever? Then the simulacrum of a benevolent, conciliatory power, is wiped away, international credibility is damaged fatally, escalation ensues - or not - at least the fear of it is daunting.
Posted by: Noirette | Feb 7, 2011 12:37:42 PM | 74
@Rick - Multiply that 2 billion times 31 years and you get $62 billion. I would not call $62 billion dollars "spare change". I have no idea what Mubarak is worth, but to compare his three decades of ill gotten gains to a single year of U.S. aid is worst than crazy.
The biggest chunk of the $1.3 billion military aid Egypt received per year was going back to U.S. military-industrial complex to by shiny and expensive but useless weapons. The rest was a bribe for the officer corps. The "civil" money was mostly dispersed through USAID which used U.S. contractors to do the projects. What Mubarak got out of that is a cut on everything, mostly through frontmen. He never got the big blocks, he didn't need to. A few percentages of everything is quite a lot, but I still doubt it is the 10-20-80 billion rumored about.
Posted by: b | Feb 7, 2011 12:54:58 PM | 75
you are right - can you imagine the poor soul who has to go through the rands corporation rubbish - that they imagine is thinking, policy or strategy
i could not iagine a more nightmarish task
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 7, 2011 1:14:36 PM | 76
Here's a beautifully crafted remix/redux of "The Egyptian Revolution" thus far. It's amazing what juxtaposition can do for perspective and perception. If this doesn't move you, nothing will. My hope is that all of this wonderful energy is not squandered. Remember the Kafka quote I posted. The point of no return must be found.....the Tipping Point.
Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 7, 2011 1:22:25 PM | 77
Under dictatorships, or locked-in regimes of various kinds - all vary - civil and labor movements wither and die out. Duh.
If it last for a generation, there is nobody with status, visibility, kudos, a role, a position, left.
Opposition withers, or is contained, managed, within the top circle (China, US), or outside of it (any place).
Different branches of the regime, Gvmt, army, police and security, militias, judiciary, some part of the ‘economic’ powers, banks, may have internal quarrels but often they collaborate to obscure, cover up.
The ‘uprising’ is thus spurred by, and in the hands of, the aspiring, those on the fringes who hoped for more, who could not rise, are educated, feel they deserve better, want more freedom, development, etc. The Iranian green revolution is a poster child.
Eng summary of Youth movement demands: quote,
Therefore we call for the following:
Guarantees for achieving the peaceful transfer of power in the coming period. Agreement on the clear vision and concrete demands articulated in Dr. Ahmed Zuwail's letter and outlining practically applicable steps such as:
I. The Constitution: A constitutional assembly of wise men should be assembled to draft a new constitution, based on liberty, human rights, and the orderly transfer of power.
II. The independence of the courts must be guaranteed.
III. Free and fair elections must be conducted for the upper and lower houses of parliament and for the presidency, overseen by the independent judiciary.
IV. Government: A new transitional government of national unity must be appointed. The military must intervene to keep order and to protect the nation in this transitional period.
Delegating the Negotiation Committee to act as a mediator in the negotiation process and to undertake talks and negotiations with us and enter into dialogue with Vice President Omar Suleiman as a representative of the existing regime, and take all necessary measures and decisions to deliver the country from the current crisis and put forward a vision for the future.
A call for a shift in power, a shake up, a take-over, presented as copy paste of democratic, western principles. The demands echo or create Obo’s talking points, free and fair elections, transitional Gvmt, peaceful transfer, protect the nation, vision for the future, liberty, etc.
Not surprising that some are cynical or sceptical...
Posted by: Noirette | Feb 7, 2011 1:25:33 PM | 78
Yes, I am cynical and skeptical of that approach, Noirette. You do not demand from a cabal. You take. A cabal takes, and only knows take. You can't, and don't, negotiate with a cabal.
So, calling these "demands" is already dead in the water. I would suggest a Declaration be drafted similar to the Declaration of Independence in the U.S. No doubt, there are brilliant minds that can be tapped to help pen this and provide it to the worldwide press. From that Declaration, a new Constitution should be crafted and implemented.
The message should be clear...this is what we will have.. To "demand" something from these scumbag crooks is to give them further legitimacy, and they should be given no such thing at this point.
Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 7, 2011 1:39:54 PM | 79
again eh? But in 1776 a small group of mainly elite landowners and the like could make a declaration and demand whatever they wanted because if the rest of the people even heard about it in time, they would probably accept this as the voice of their betters.
There is no chance of that now, even in Egypt where people have been told what shape the day will be for decades. Now they are standing up for themselves they aren't ready to let a new bunch tell them what to think.
As soon as the coalition of bloggers release something that seems dictatorial, they have played straight into the hands of the NDP who will use what they say to split their support.
Contrary to what is said in the other thread, I am sure what the MB is doing will further the immediate ends of the resistance.
The protestors aren't politicking for a particular brand of ideology they are trying to build a vehicle that brands which others make can use.
Looking at the Muslim Brotherhood, a welfare organisation that has fulfilled most of the functions that open societies prefer delivered by their state as possible players in the new solution is also false thinking. The MB took the chance of legitimisation when it was on offer and have not been discussing constitutional issues with Sulieman, they have been seeking to resolve outstanding injustices while the opportunity is there.
Some MB members may become involved in politics, almost certainly will but the MB won't be the vehicle they will use.
This is a complex situation where most of the established political parties were little more than small factions of the NDP which were set up to provide a repository for disillusioned voters ballots. Everyone knew that so they voted MB as a way of expressing their distaste for the process. The MB wore the bage of opposition with honour but it shouldn't be needed in the new Egypt if the protests are effective, so the MB will get back to the work they prefer to do and stay away from politics.
Posted by: UreKismet | Feb 7, 2011 2:50:57 PM | 80
Now they are standing up for themselves they aren't ready to let a new bunch tell them what to think.
That wasn't my point. I fully realize who penned the Declaration of Independence in the U.S., and I fully realize it was to be free from Imperialist England to set up their own Oligarchy. Nonetheless, it was a Declarative Document, the wording of which one would be remiss to deny as positive in scope, aside from its intent. That's what I am suggesting for the Egyptian Revolution, and yes, of course, it should come from them, the people, not some Elitist Intellectuals. Not all "brilliant minds" are Elitist Intellectuals.
Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 7, 2011 3:26:29 PM | 81
From Twitter#Jan25 about 10 minutes ago:
3 Killed and 400 injured in protests in The New Valley (El Wadi el Gedid) a short while ago.
Here is the location from iTouchMap:
Posted by: Rick | Feb 7, 2011 8:28:44 PM | 82
Another Twitter#Jan25 from Elazul:
Violence today has been reported in Alex, Suez, Mahalla, and El Wadi el Gedid, among other places. Sadly All eyes on Tahrir. #Jan25 Jan25
I have no confirmation on any of this violence. Has anybody at MOA heard/read anything to confirm this?
Posted by: Rick | Feb 7, 2011 9:20:49 PM | 83
This is a revolution against corruption and against injustice, oppression and gagged.
Posted by: Chris Taus | Feb 8, 2011 4:08:47 AM | 84
i wouldn't be surprised if the Frank Wisner fiasco is a two-pronged attempt by Hillary Clinton to both help out her good family friend, Mubarak, and to undermine her boss (Obama) to make him look inept because she's positioning herself to run in 2012.
Posted by: lizard | Feb 8, 2011 7:06:28 AM | 85
@CaireneGirl: Two more killed in #Wadi-El-Gedid in Today's protests By Mubarak Police. #Mubarak more blood on your hands #jan25 #Egypt #freedom #democracy
Posted by: Rick | Feb 9, 2011 6:42:07 AM | 87