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Arab Spring (formerly "Youth Protests in Egypt - Internet Shut Down") - Page 3

post #101 of 351
Thread Starter 

This is so tragic and horrible to watch.  I'm watching MSNBC's live coverage. 

 

I'm calling tomorrow:

 

U.S. Dept. of State 202-647-4000. Call Mon-Fri, 9AM-5PM

 

White House comment line 202-456-1111

post #102 of 351

yt, is this the video Maddow was showing? Says it's from an hour ago? Was also watching CNN, too bad they don't make it clear what is LIVE or not.

post #103 of 351
Thread Starter 

MSNBC was covering it live for three hours, two with Maddow and one in between with Ed Schultz.  When they showed earlier footage they had a graphic that said it was from earlier.  Richard (can't remember his last name) and Brian Williams were on a rooftop watching as the protesters drove out the thugs while an army tank gave them cover (the thugs).  Then the thugs were throwing molotov cocktails down on the protesters.  It was really hard to watch.

post #104 of 351

His name's Richard Engel.

 

And if the pro-Mubarak folks hate Americans so much, I really really hope that there is some sort of force present at that airport in Cairo protecting people.  That could be a massive disaster should they decide to storm that airport.

post #105 of 351
Quote:
Originally Posted by yt View Post
... while an army tank gave them cover (the thugs).  Then the thugs were throwing molotov cocktails down on the protesters.  It was really hard to watch.

 

Again, I know the situation is confusing but the army is helping the pro-Mubarak folks.
 

post #106 of 351


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

Some food for thought.

 

I find myself falling into the thought process he describes quite often despite my best intentions. It's probably a combination of the natural 'fear of the other' and the cynicism one develops from seeing democracy manhandled even in countries where the democratic traditions and liberties are supposedly ironclad. But in the end, you either believe in an idea and hope for the best (while prudently preparing for the worst) or you end up getting in bed with people you wouldn't trust with running a hot dog stand.


 

That's a great article, thanks for that stelios.  I've been trying to get at what the article was arguing.  Some of the coverage of this Egypt debacle has been frustrating in the West.  Over and over we hear repeated calls of the fear of radical Islam, even though its crystal clear in both Tunisia and Egypt this is not the case.  Fear of the Brotherhood, borders Islamophobia.  Its a bit racist to insist Arab revolt can only be a product of fundamentalism, and certainly dishonest, when this notion has just been disproved(twice).  

 

Its interesting that CNNs coverage of this revolution is relatively pro Mubarak in comparison to Al-Jazeera.  Of course one could characterise their difference as Al-Jazeera being anti Mubarak, and in fact CNN kinda said that about Al-Jazzera!  But this is not surprising, as like the NYT, CNN is frequently targeted by the Israeli lobby, and they desperately want Mubarak to stay.  Not saying this instance is an act of Israeli lobbying.  But Israel wants to continue this shell game of pretend peace talks with Palestine while they continue to colonize land and create Palestinian concentration camps.  And this shell game can only be played with a partner like Egypt which gives the process a certain level of credibility, and this may come to an end.  Omg!  We might not be able to steal Palestinian land and lives with 100% impunity.

 

And fear of Hamas is nonsense, since Israel has done everything in their power to ensure Hamas rises to power.  Remember when the US warned Israel Hamas might come into power, Israel responded, " Good.  That way we treat Gaza with full military force."  Israel has always wanted Hamas to come into power.  Also remember, Israel shelled the Gaza strip almost 8,000 times in the three years between Israel leaving Gaza and the beginning of the Gaza war.  This figure is from an Israeli human rights organization.   A single shell frequently kills over a dozen people.  The aim is make life so hellish, that they simply leave.  Of course, Hamas was going come into power, that was the aim.   But you won't hear about this in the Western Media.  Other than possibly the Guardian.

 

 

Quote:

Even in the case of clearly fundamentalist movements, one should be careful not to miss the social component. The Taliban is regularly presented as a fundamentalist Islamist group enforcing its rule with terror. However, when, in the spring of 2009, they took over the Swat valley in Pakistan, The New York Times reported that they engineered "a class revolt that exploits profound fissures between a small group of wealthy landlords and their landless tenants". If, by "taking advantage" of the farmers' plight, the Taliban are creating, in the words of the New York Times "alarm about the risks to Pakistan, which remains largely feudal," what prevented liberal democrats in Pakistan and the US similarly "taking advantage" of this plight and trying to help the landless farmers? Is it that the feudal forces in Pakistan are the natural ally of liberal democracy?

 

The inevitable conclusion to be drawn is that the rise of radical Islamism was always the other side of the disappearance of the secular left in Muslim countries. When Afghanistan is portrayed as the utmost Islamic fundamentalist country, who still remembers that, 40 years ago, it was a country with a strong secular tradition, including a powerful communist party that took power there independently of the Soviet Union? Where did this secular tradition go?

 

Two interesting points.  I love that the Guardian is calling out NYT.  NYTs coverage of Pakistan has been a joke for a while.  But very concerned.  I don't think any newspaper outside of Pakistan covers Pakistan as much as NYT.  I don't know why I even read that piece of shit anymore.

 

And second point goes back to what I was touching upon earlier.  That invading a country or its neighbors destroys secularism.  Religiosity or fundamentalism isn't a core cultural trait of any of these countries, as proved by Afghanistan's secularism pre Soviet invasion.  And we've been far too complicit in suppressing democracy and secularism when it suits our needs.  Its pretty much an accepted fact Karzai blatantly rigs elections in Afghanistan(and we've had chances to address this), but as long as he's our buddy, tis cool.

post #107 of 351
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarleyQuinn22 View Post

His name's Richard Engel.

 

And if the pro-Mubarak folks hate Americans so much, I really really hope that there is some sort of force present at that airport in Cairo protecting people.  That could be a massive disaster should they decide to storm that airport.


 

Thanks, Engle's great--I shouldn't have spaced on his name.  Yeah, you would think there would be consequences to the fact that they were out hunting down journalists. 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by yt View Post
... while an army tank gave them cover (the thugs).  Then the thugs were throwing molotov cocktails down on the protesters.  It was really hard to watch.

 

Again, I know the situation is confusing but the army is helping the pro-Mubarak folks.
 


The army was giving them cover to get out of Tahrir Square.  I'm calling the pro-Mubarek thugs because of the reports that many of them were paid to wreak havoc and many of them are NDP police out of uniform. 

post #108 of 351

Nabster, which version of CNN are you watching? I don't think the coverage has been pro-Mubarak at all.

post #109 of 351
Just watching Lang and O'Leary and they had a little piece on the Mubarak family fortune: estimated to be US$40B to US$70B due to "military contracts"! This is in a country where the average income is less than US$6K!

 

post #110 of 351

I am legitimately concerned for these journalists' safety.  A group of them from ABC were nearly beheaded today.  No story is worth this.

post #111 of 351

Interesting article.

 

 

Quote:

Although originally the Brotherhood was organized into paramilitary cells cells along European (fascist and communist) models in order to readily disperse when the power against them was too strong and to re-unite when that power weakened,, today it forswears violence in political struggle. This has made it a target of Al Qaeda's venom. In January 2006, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the former leader of Egypt's Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda's leading strategist, blasted the Brotherhood's willingness to participate in parliamentary elections and reject nuclear arms. "You falsely affiliated with Islam," he scolded. "You forget about the rule of Sharia, welcome the Crusaders' bases in your countries, and acknowledge the existence of the Jews who are fully armed with nuclear weapons, which you are banned to possess." The next day, Dr. el-Erian responded by putting al-Zawahiri in the same camp as nationalist dictators who oppose any peaceful participation or transition to democracyin non-violent political opposition. True, al-Qaeda's ideological mentor, Sayyid Qutb, was a Muslim Brother who preached jihad against infidels and "unclean" Muslims; but Qutb had few followers in the Brotherhood, as al-Zawahiri has stressed.

 

People in the West frequently conflate the Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. And although their means for gaining influence are very different, even many Egyptians suspect that they share a common end that is alien to democracy. When I asked Dr. Erian about this, he retorted that the United States and Mr. Mubarak had conspired after Sept. 11 to "brainwash" people into thinking of all Muslim activists as terrorists, adding that "the street" knew the truth. The street, however, manifests little support for the Brotherhood. Only a small minority of the protesters in Tahrir Square joined its members in prayers there (estimates range from 5 to 10 percent), and few Islamic slogans or chants were seen or heard.

 

But there is little reason for the United States to fear a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood. If Egypt is allowed to find its own way, as it so promisingly began to do over the past week, and the problems that America and Europe most fear from this unhappy region - violent extremism and massive emigration - could well fade as the disaffected youth who most fuel these fears at last find hope at home.

 

 

 

Quote:
Nabster, which version of CNN are you watching? I don't think the coverage has been pro-Mubarak at all.

 

Well its branded as regular ole CNN, but it must be CNN international I'm thinking.

 

CNN seemed a little reluctant to criticize Mubarak.  The quality of your pundits and experts says a lot.

 

Al-Jazeera had Slavoj Zizek, the leading expert on cultural theory, on as a guest.  And he was amazing and insightful.  You would never see this on CNN.  But Al-Jazeera has also had guests on the other side.  But these guests on Al-Jazeera get tough questions.  CNN just seems to slant the closer to that fear.  They're not really critical with their guests, at least certain ones.  They just embody the silly attitude, that Mubarak may not be a good guy, but the devil you know.  At least, for a while this attitude was on display.  The coverage between Al-Jazeera and CNN is pretty different.  Maybe it's more accurate to say Al-Jazeera is anti-Mubarak, relatively speaking.

 

This war against the jounalists is nothing new, and it pales in comparison to the targetted killings of journalists in Israel, all used to create an information vacuum.

 

Reports of protests sweeping all throughout the region, and North Africa.  Yemen, Jordan, Morocco, Iran, Libya, Algeria, Syria and Bahrain all are protesting, or planning massive protests.  The dominoe effect is incredible.  I doubt most will be as successful, but still.  On another note, this is could really suck for the global economy. 

post #112 of 351

Wonderful, moving, inspiring stuff...

 

 

 

Quote:
 In show of peace, Egyptians finally reveal their true colours 

 

THE queue was a dozen wide and hundreds deep; it snaked past the pair of bronze lions at the mouth of Qasr El Nile bridge and fanned out across the river.

Cairo has witnessed gunfire, petrol bombs and backstreet anarchy in the past week, but on Friday people flooded in to show the world something different.

''We are the heart of the Egyptian people, the ones who make this country work,'' said Samar Atallah, 29, an anti-Mubarak protester. ''We're here for peace. We are not hundreds, we are not thousands, we are millions.'' 

Peace - alongside solid community organisation - was the hallmark of Egypt's ''day of departure'', an event that produced the biggest turnout yet in Egypt's 12-day-old national uprising. The target of that uprising was yet to be toppled, but at times, amid the impromptu tea stalls, the neat rows of first-aid tents and the well-manned security cordons, that almost didn't seem to matter. At the centre of a city that is rife with chaos, Tahrir Square had become an oasis of calm.

As a mark of how secure this anti-Mubarak stronghold has become after days of fierce fighting with armed supporters of the current regime, Egypt's defence minister walked among the hundreds of thousands who packed the square. Hussein Tantawi was welcomed by the crowds, who chanted, ''Marshal, we are your sons of liberation.''

But after state TV accused those in Tahrir of fomenting unrest and being in the pay of unnamed foreign powers, Mr Tantawi's message - that the government was responding to the people's demands and they could now go home - got a colder reception.

''The tragedy is in the lies told about us by the regime,'' said Amr, a 32-year-old protester who preferred not to supply his full name. ''Do people really believe these lies? It's propaganda. This is our moment, our time. Mubarak has to go. He will never know how we feel. We want to live, not to struggle.''

Mr Tantawi wasn't the only diplomatic celebrity in the square. Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, also joined the throng. Mr Moussa is in the frame to succeed Mr Mubarak, who continues to cling to power despite the rapid draining away of international support for his regime and the paralysis of Egypt's economy. Asked about any potential campaign for the leadership, Mr Moussa said he was ''at the disposal'' of his countrymen.

But high-level political manoeuvring was only a small part of Tahrir's story, as hundreds of thousands of people swept in to make a stand against a three-decade-old dictatorship that is still clinging on for dear life.

After the ''days of rage'' this was altogether different, a festival of singing, socialising and solidarity, as speakers addressed different corners of the crowd and food and drink were passed freely among those present.

''You're witnessing the beginning of the first popular Egyptian revolution,'' beamed Mohsena Tawfik, a legendary Egyptian actress. ''It's a symbol against corruption and repression not just for our country but for the whole Arab world.''

The peaceful energy inside the square contrasted sharply with the neighbourhoods surrounding it, where the absence of police and the presence of pro-Mubarak gangs have left many streets highly volatile.

As midday struck, hundreds of thousands bent down to pray, a moment of silence to remember the scores of protesters who have lost their lives in the past fortnight. 

 <i>Photo: AP</i> 

 

 

 

 

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27937C7C-28EE-4092-A671-B9588445B33B_mw1024_mh768_s.jpg  

 

post #113 of 351

amazing. absolutely amazing.

 

 

thanks for that

post #114 of 351

Anderson Cooper tweeted that he's leaving Egypt.

post #115 of 351
Thread Starter 

Rain Dog, great post.  The Day of Departure was very inspiring.  I really hope Obama et al are putting pressure on Mubarek behind the scenes.  I also don't think if Suleiman is interim leader that he will stay in that office for long.  The Egyptians haven't gone through this much to just get more of the same. 

post #116 of 351

I pray for the people of Egypt to get their liberty, as well as protect them from the pressures and possible co-opof their people's revolution by extremists. 

post #117 of 351
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Vivisector View Post

I pray for the people of Egypt to get their liberty, as well as protect them from the pressures and possible co-opof their people's revolution by extremists. 



 ...or any internal or external interests that don't have the Egyptian peoples liberty at heart for that matter.


Edited by The Rain Dog - 2/6/11 at 4:00pm
post #118 of 351

 

Obama's riddle of the Sphinx

 

Why is the most civil rights-sensitive of recent US presidents so disturbingly tone-deaf to Egypt's latest cry for freedom?

 

 

WHETHER it likes it or not, the US - assisted by its Western allies - is making strategic choices in the Arab world. Even as it dithers and totters, its spokesmen initially uttering vague condemnations and half-hearted calls for change, Washington is taking sides. Even as Barack Obama called on Hosni Mubarak "to do the right thing", his special envoy to Cairo, Frank Wisner, declared that "Mubarak should remain in power to oversee transition".

The Egyptian government is propped up by the US, through massive financial and military support. The Pentagon has the ear of its army generals and security apparatus and the ability to influence events, even to help tip the scale in favour of the Egyptian people if it so chooses. At the very least, it should ask for Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately, freeze US taxpayer funding for his dictatorship, and push for a transitional government representing the people, rather than the regime, to take power now and organise elections.

Anticipating uprisings in other Arab countries - there are rumblings in Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Sudan and Algeria - it could insist on accountability and respond favourably to demands that Mubarak be put on trial if evidence emerged that he was directly implicated in the violence perpetrated by his security apparatus and violent supporters in recent days. This could save lives by sending a message to other Middle Eastern despots about the dangers of trying to stop civil disobedience with bloodshed.

Washington has done none of this of course. It is inching towards a pro-democracy position, putting pressure on Mubarak without quite making a full commitment to his departure yet and insisting on a smooth transition - which for now seems to mean at best replacing him with another ally and symbol of the regime, General Omar Suleiman, a long-time friend of the US and Israel.

The American position - in the words of assistant secretary Philip Crowley - is that it is not up to the US to determine who will lead Egypt (a statement parroted with remarkable accuracy by our own Prime Minister). Are we supposed to believe that our governments have suddenly developed a post-colonial sensitivity to the sovereignty of other nations?

Judging by the unfolding events, what the US administration means appears to be the reverse: it is not up to the Egyptian people to say who will lead Egypt. The tragedy is that prolonging the agony and delaying the inevitable is costing blood in Tahrir Square, as we have seen over the past few days. By not acting decisively on the side of the Cairo protesters - now that the will of the people is being confronted head on by Mubarak's organised supporters - Washington has missed yet another opportunity to build a healthier relationship with the Arab world.

It is the saddest and most dangerous of strategic choices by Washington, one that is made under pressure of events, dominated by the same jaded view of the Middle East that has governed US policy for decades.

This is a short-sighted and morally reckless view that sees the entire Arab world with its 340 million people as, at best, a source of crude oil and an inconvenience to 7 million Israelis, or at worst, a constant source of threat to Israel's security.

This attitude is partly responsible for some of the dictatorships that have sprung up in the Arab world, with their Faustian offer of "stability" and "security", an offer which, judging by modern Middle Eastern history, has given neither Arabs nor Jews any lasting security.

The people of Tunisia and Egypt - and hopefully more to come - are taking exception, turning down an offer they were not consulted about in the first place. They need our support today.

The one US president most associated with the civil rights movement does not appear willing to grant it, not wholeheartedly anyway. In his scrambling attempts to keep up with developments in the region and make sure he doesn't "lose Egypt" - urged no doubt by his realpolitik advisers - Obama seems to have overlooked the fact that this is the single most important historical development in the Middle East for more than half a century, a civil rights movement with major ramifications for the entire Arab world. No audacity of hope here, just a paucity of scope.

Arab memory is laden with grievances against the US, some imagined, many alas all too real - the US-funded daily persecution of Palestinians, the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US-sanctioned burning of Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008, and the US-supported mediaeval dictatorships in Riyadh and Sanaa.

Now we have blood running in Tahrir Square while the US watches nervously, treading a fine line, attempting to salvage what it can from the old order, hoping to maintain some control over the make-up of any new government. Some of us with stakes in the Arab world liked to believe that such uprisings, if we dared to imagine them, would elicit a different reaction from the West, to believe that the rhetoric on democracy and freedom is, at some level, sincere and deeply felt.

I make no judgment on the sincerity of the rhetoric, but the shamefully half-hearted reaction of our governments to the Cairo uprising so far gives little reason for optimism.

Obama - himself only two years ago an almost universal symbol of freedom - has spoken to the Arab world, even if he thinks he's only spoken to his advisers. The thirst for democracy and freedom may be alive in Tunis and Cairo but, in Washington DC, it rings as hollow as footsteps on an icy winter night.

Abbas El-Zein is the author of Leave to Remain, a memoir about growing up in civil-war Lebanon.

 

 

.....and within that context.....

 

 

 

Quote:
 

EGYPT'S embattled President Hosni Mubarak appears likely to remain at the helm, according to a US-approved transition plan for presidential elections to be held within eight months.

Despite 13 consecutive days of protests involving millions of Egyptians calling for his resignation, the 82-year-old dictator has persuaded foreign powers that Egypt would be best served if he oversaw the transition.

As the largest opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, caved in to pressure to hold talks with new Vice-President Omar Suleiman, the Obama administration's special envoy to Egypt, Frank Wisner, spoke of Mr Mubarak in glowing terms.

 

Speaking to the Munich Security Conference via video link at the weekend, Mr Wisner, a former US ambassador to Egypt, described Mr Mubarak as an ''old friend'' of the US.

''You need to get a national consensus around the preconditions of the next step forward, and the President must stay in office to steer those changes through,'' Mr Wisner said. ''I therefore believe that President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical, it's his opportunity to write his own legacy.''

Speaking at the same conference, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the transition with Mr Suleiman as its public face was crucial to preventing extremists from hijacking the political process.

 

Despite Mr Suleiman's role as head of Egyptian intelligence for the past 20 years, making him responsible for implementing much of the regime's repressive agenda, Mrs Clinton said support for him was essential.

''There are forces at work in any society and particularly one that is facing these kinds of challenges that will try to derail or overtake the process to pursue their own specific agenda,'' she said.

''It's important to support the transition process announced by the Egyptian government actually headed by now Vice-President Omar Suleiman.''

Echoed by British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the conference, the call for an orderly transition represent a sharp departure from signals sent by the White House last week that called for an immediate transition of power.

Mr Cameron, who cautioned against the need for speedy elections, denied there was a trade-off between the speed of reform and stability. ''There is no stability in Egypt,'' he said. ''We need change, reform and transition to get stability. The longer that is put off, the more likely we are to get an Egypt that we wouldn't welcome.''

 

 

Mother fucker.

 

Next time someone asks in all honesty why the Arab world hates the west I'm punching them in the fucking nose.

post #119 of 351
Thread Starter 

Well, I can't help but feeling that Obama is in an untenable position right now and is threading the needle as best as he can.  If he were to strong arm Mubarek out, I mean literally send in US tanks, that would have echoes and ramifications for years.  On the other hand, continuing this shell game of involvement in the transition is in many ways the same problem.  The Egyptian people want Mubarek out and I don't think they will stop protesting his presence no matter what signals the US sends.  But I think this growing resentment of Obama because he doesn't send in the tanks is unfair.  I think the consequences of that kind of approach would be perceived as more akin to colonialism with time.  I think it's an incredibly complex situation and while, yeah, I'd love it if Obama threw his full weight behind the protesters, I can just imagine the kinds of dangerous conspiracies that would thrive throughout the Middle East as a result.  What the Egyptians are doing is incredible, and it's inspiring people all over the world.  I think (and hope) they will ultimately prevail.  But if he discontinues aid, yes it would hit the military, but regular people could end up dying.  So I don't think it's black and white, is what I'm trying to say. 

post #120 of 351
Quote:
Originally Posted by yt View Post

Well, I can't help but feeling that Obama is in an untenable position right now and is threading the needle as best as he can.  If he were to strong arm Mubarek out, I mean literally send in US tanks, that would have echoes and ramifications for years.  On the other hand, continuing this shell game of involvement in the transition is in many ways the same problem.  The Egyptian people want Mubarek out and I don't think they will stop protesting his presence no matter what signals the US sends.  But I think this growing resentment of Obama because he doesn't send in the tanks is unfair.  I think the consequences of that kind of approach would be perceived as more akin to colonialism with time.  I think it's an incredibly complex situation and while, yeah, I'd love it if Obama threw his full weight behind the protesters, I can just imagine the kinds of dangerous conspiracies that would thrive throughout the Middle East as a result.  What the Egyptians are doing is incredible, and it's inspiring people all over the world.  I think (and hope) they will ultimately prevail.  But if he discontinues aid, yes it would hit the military, but regular people could end up dying.  So I don't think it's black and white, is what I'm trying to say. 



There are plenty of options for the Obama Administration to see off Mubarak without 'sending in the tanks' yt - the fact is Obama isn't doing any of them because his administration simply aren't that sure they want him gone. If they really wanted him gone, he'd be gone by now. The Egyptian people know this as well as we do.

post #121 of 351
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rain Dog View Post

There are plenty of options for the Obama Administration to see off Mubarak without 'sending in the tanks' yt - the fact is Obama isn't doing any of them because his administration simply aren't that sure they want him gone. If they really wanted him gone, he'd be gone by now. The Egyptian people know this as well as we do.



How do you know that that's true?  He says he wants the transition now; Mubarek is digging in his heels.  People who have spent a lot of time covering Mubarek and Egypt have said he does not want to leave in an undignified way.  He's clinging to the idea that he'll somehow come out of this with his head held high.  That's the conflict on that level.  Mubarek won't be chased out and the protesters have stated in the clearest possible terms that he needs to go.  I don't see how anyone can say unequivocally that if they wanted him gone he'd be gone.  Bush and Saddam Hussein, yes.  He sent in the military.  Beyond some clandestine CIA action, I don't see how Obama can force Mubarek out with the way he's talking.  Again, the biggest leverage he has is aid money, and what will happen to the people if that happens.  I'm not pro-Mubarek in the slightest.  The revolutionaries are clearly in the right here and I'd love it if Obama could force him out too.  But I think that blaming Obama is the easy thing to do when the situation feels much more complicated to me. 

post #122 of 351

I love how people think the US is omnipotent and all Obama needs to do is press a button and Mubarak vanishes in a puff of smoke.


The US and EU are pressuring Mubarak to leave: he is resisting. But it's his (and the Egyptian people's ) decision, not Obama's or the US Government.

 

Oh and if the US actually tried to strong arm a change in regime, the new government would be tainted in the eyes of a larger part of the Middle East.

 

I think the whole region is at an inflection point: Egypt, Tunisa, Yemen, Syria are all experiencing mass protests by 20sometings who are highly educated and have not been able to get any kind of gainful employment, in many cases for TEN YEARS. If Egypt makes a peaceful transition, it will set an example for the whole region. Or we could see a new crop of Authoritarian regimes emerge, maybe Islamic, maybe secular.

 

It's so weird living in the US and seeing these major historical changes (not just the Middle East: also the transformation of the USSR into a pot porruri of nations, China etc).

post #123 of 351
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post

I love how people think the US is omnipotent and all Obama needs to do is press a button and Mubarak vanishes in a puff of smoke.


The US and EU are pressuring Mubarak to leave: he is resisting. But it's his (and the Egyptian people's ) decision, not Obama's or the US Government.

 

Oh and if the US actually tried to strong arm a change in regime, the new government would be tainted in the eyes of a larger part of the Middle East.

 

I think the whole region is at an inflection point: Egypt, Tunisa, Yemen, Syria are all experiencing mass protests by 20sometings who are highly educated and have not been able to get any kind of gainful employment, in many cases for TEN YEARS. If Egypt makes a peaceful transition, it will set an example for the whole region. Or we could see a new crop of Authoritarian regimes emerge, maybe Islamic, maybe secular.

 

It's so weird living in the US and seeing these major historical changes (not just the Middle East: also the transformation of the USSR into a pot porruri of nations, China etc).


Of course it's not as simple as Obama having the power to make Mubarak disappear in a puff of smoke but considering the US has been propping up his regime to the tune of around two billion dollars every year, you can't tell me that doesn't buy a fair bit of clout in the country - and it's clout Mubarak used to stay in power at the US's behest for three decades of oppression. Yes it has to be the Egyptians peoples decision what happens in their own country now, but considering the US's hands in the last thirty years up to now, they could be a lot more helpful and supportive of that decision making process than they're being - if they really wanted to support the concept of the peoples right to choose like they pay lip service to.

post #124 of 351
Thread Starter 

I'm only saying that we don't know what Obama is doing behind the scenes.  Maybe some day it'll be in wikileaks, but right now the media seems to be all over the map on it.  And since so many in the mainstream have sworn a blood oath against Obama, it's likely that a lot of the reports we're hearing are deceptive.  I totally get your frustration.  I feel the same way.  But I'm not ready to blame Obama.  This is another situation the US president has inherited.  Our foreign policy in the Middle East has been FUBAR for a long time.  It's not going to transform overnight.  I think what the people in Egypt are doing is a miraculous first step, and I would much rather have Obama in office right now dealing with it than Bush or McCain or Romney or Palin or any of them. 

post #125 of 351
Quote:
Originally Posted by yt View Post

I would much rather have Obama in office right now dealing with it than Bush or McCain or Romney or Palin or any of them. 



At the end of the day tho yt, that's still really not saying all that much. Faint praise indeed.

post #126 of 351

I don't actually want the US to get actively involved in this. What most bothers me is how tone deaf and heavy handed this Wisner guy's comments were. "An old friend of the US?" You have people in official places saying things like this amid a popular revolt and then go around asking innocently "Why do these people hate us?" when they start throwing stones at your embassies and burning your flags? These comments will be repeated ad nauseum in the Arab world. This guy needs to be thrown under the bus fast, publicly and with absolute certainty.

 

It reminds me of the US being surprised at the extreme rise of anti-americanism in Greece during the late seventies, early eighties. It couldn't have been the US falling over themselves to legitimize the junta by sending their vice president in a state visit, before anyone else. Or backstabbing us in Cyprus. It was communist influence. Or evil spirits. 

post #127 of 351

Given the U.S.'s dealings with regime change over the past ten years, Obama being gunshy about jumping into this arms a-flailin' is both understandable and reasonable.

post #128 of 351
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Merriweather View Post

Given the U.S.'s dealings with regime change over the past ten years, Obama being gunshy about jumping into this arms a-flailin' is both understandable and reasonable.



 Yeah but it was opponents to the Bush Admins Iraq template of 'regime change' - of which Obama was a vocal member - that insisted that democratic chnage in a country had to come from within and not from outside at the point of a gun. Egypt is the perfect example for that change that many in the American left and the west in general have paid lip service to as the way it's supposed to happen. To vacillate now in the face of it seems disinginious at best, outright hypocrisy at worst.

post #129 of 351

How much vacilating is he doing? He's outright said that Mubarak needs to go. You seem to want nothing short of a condemnation of Mubarak and a demand for him to be ousted right this second. That type of language/rhetoric isn't going to help matters on the streets of Egypt.

post #130 of 351
Thread Starter 

Rain Dog:  "At the end of the day tho yt, that's still really not saying all that much. Faint praise indeed."

 

Maybe it's the PTSD talking, but the Bush years were a long spiral into horror. If you go back to the early 2000s in this very forum, you'll see a lot of angry rants about the illegal invasion of Iraq, which fell on fully deaf ears, and torture, and warrantless wiretapping, and FBI stings on activists and on and on ad infinitum. It's not a joke to praise the president for being thoughtful and deliberative. Even though much of his actions are infuriating, I don't doubt for a minute that Obama has a genuine interest in reality, a desire to be a force for good, and a deliberative, pragmatic nature. So while I wish he'd throw his weight behind the people of Egypt and damn the torpedoes, I think people should give him the benefit of the doubt.

 

Which isn't to say people shouldn't be writing and calling their representatives in congress, the White House and the State Dept. and voicing their solidarity with the Egyptian people and desire to see that crook Mubarek gone. I just heard on Labor Radio that the AFLCIO is supporting Egyptian workers into organizing into unions. Each of us must do whatever's in our power, as Billy Kwan says in The Year of Living Dangerously, to "add your light to the sum of light." I choose to believe that Obama is doing what he can in a complicated situation.

post #131 of 351

Here's a pretty fucking good reason why pushing Mubarak out and supporting the will of the Egyptian people as forcefully and quickly as possible may have been a pretty good and ethical idea...

 

'Day of Rage' activists now dread reprisals

 

 

 

Quote:
AS VICE-PRESIDENT Omar Suleiman takes an increasingly active role in managing Egypt, many pro-democracy supporters are starting to wonder whether their actions in the past two weeks will have consequences.
 
''We are the most vulnerable,'' said Ekramy El-Zaiat, a 33-year-old accountant who has walked to Tahrir Square every day since the ''Day of Rage'' that shook Cairo 12 days ago.
 
''We fear the worst now,'' Mr Zaiat told The Age. ''We are still thinking that we can persuade Mubarak to go, but even if we do, Suleiman is the one in charge and we know what he is capable of.''
 
Although he is not reviled like the former Interior Minister Habib Adly, who was directly responsible for much of the torture by Egyptian police in the past decade, Mr Suleiman's former role as the head of Egyptian intelligence makes him an unnerving figure for many.
 
''I wonder, are our pictures being put up on a wall inside the Interior Ministry?'' Mr Zaiat said. ''Are there people monitoring the international press, taking down the names of people quoted? It might not be next week, but will there be a knock on the door next month, or the one after that?''
 
Wael Elleithy, a correspondent for al-Ahram, Egypt's biggest-selling daily, voiced similar concern. ''Many of us have taken a risk to come to Tahrir [Square], and of course I am very concerned about punishment for people who took part in protesting,'' he said.
 
''My hope is that the Vice-President is true to his words, that we are free to be here, that we are, as he said, legitimate.''
 
According to a freelance Egyptian journalist who has translated for several foreign media organisations, people like him are also vulnerable.
 
He said there was a particular antipathy building in Egypt towards foreigners, who were being blamed for the chaos.
 
''Suleiman himself said [foreigners were interfering] on state television, so anyone who has been seen to help the foreign media could definitely face questions later,'' the journalist, who preferred not to be named, said.
 
There have been increasing reports of journalists being harassed and in some cases beaten. Other journalists have had their cameras seized, and the offices of several local and international media organisations have been raided.
 
With human rights groups now putting the number of Egyptians killed in the violence at almost 300, foreigners are being openly accused. To leave viewers in no doubt what such people look like, state television has been showing pictures of foreign news crews.
 
At the Information Ministry, bureaucrats are also starting to enforce the old rules. In notices slipped under the doors of hotel rooms in Cairo at the weekend, foreign journalists were told they were now required to get accreditation from the ministry if they wanted to stay in Egypt.
post #132 of 351

He said there was a particular antipathy building in Egypt towards foreigners, who were being blamed for the chaos.

 

And there's ^ a good reason to not rush in and force the leader of a sovereign nation (whom we've supported and who supported us for 30 years FYI) our of power. ANYone who got into power under US (or any other foreign country's) influence will become a scapegoat and target. We could easily prolong and intensify the violence by assuming too high a profile.

 

 

post #133 of 351
Thread Starter 

I think the energy in Tahrir Square is incredible -- more people turned out yesterday than any of the previous demonstrations.  Everything I've read on twitter and from various news sources has been really positive.  I don't think the people are going to be intimidated so easily.  I also don't see any antipathy towards foreigners in anything I've read. 

post #134 of 351
Thread Starter 

Wael Ghonim spent 12 days in captivity by the police and emerged to give an emotional interview on a privately own news station in Egypt.  He's inspired and continues to inspire a lot of people to continue the fight.


 

From Frontline:

 

Quote:

CAIRO - The Egyptian revolt found its face today.

 

It's the face of a Google executive with a small goatee who ignited the youthful demonstrations that changed the Arab world with a simple call to action on his Facebook page.

 

His name is Wael Ghonim. And his tearful account on national television of his arrest and detention by security forces for the last 12 days riveted the country and steeled the nerves of an estimated 250,000 protesters who flocked to the square in what seemed the largest crowd to date.

 

Their collective demand that President Hosni Mubarak step down was made perfectly clear by the chant in Arabic that rises up from the crowd: "Leave, leave, leave."

 

After being released last night from prison, Ghonim came to Tahrir (Liberation) Square today and took the stage before a swelling crowd today, saying, "You are the heroes. I am not a hero, you are the heroes. As long as you are standing here, you are a hero."

 

He expressed a deep sorrow for the thousands who've been injured and the 300 killed in the demonstrations.

 

"I saw young people dying and now the president has a responsibility to see what the people demand," he said.

Ghonim was thrust into the spotlight today of a protest movement that is in search of a leader.

 

So far his role has been in creating the social network that sparked what many are now calling a revolution. He was behind a Facebook group that called on Egyptians to be inspired by the revolution in Tunisia that toppled a dictator. He called on all

 

Egyptians to come to the streets and stand up against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, whose 30-year reign is now teetering on the edge of collapse.

 

Ghonim's powerful testimony seemed to energize the protest movement, which pushed its way past an army checkpoint to bring the crowd right up to the footsteps of parliament.

 

They are edging closer to the halls of power, and yesterday it was increasingly apparent that this protest movement is gaining momentum.

 

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/2011/02/cairo-the-new-face-of-the-revolution.html?

post #135 of 351

The Egyptian people really are becoming more and more inspiring with each passing day. I was watching The Late Late Show last night and Ferguson had Egyptologist Kara Cooney on discussing the protests and she was saying that for every looter that was trying to get into museums or warehouses of artefacts there were hundreds if not thousands of Egyptians who would race to stop them, linking hands outside the buildings, taking on looters with nothing but makeshift clubs while they were armed with automatic weapons. She said if anyone saw looters moving towards these places local mosques would announce on their speaker systems what was happening and people would rush to protect the artefacts.

 

She was also saying that most people assumed or outright believed the looters were Mubaraks men let loose to cause damage and chaos as they were suspiciously well equipped for random looters, able to get up on museum roofs and rapple down into exhibit rooms and the like.

post #136 of 351

Mubarak to announce he's leaving tonight. The people win.

 

Seems like a military coup, the military council met without Mubarak and he's supposed to be the chief of the council.

post #137 of 351

Fuck, yeah. I was getting a little nervous about this.

 

Let's see if the army can keep itself from a power grab.

post #138 of 351

NBC NEWS: No confirmation from Mubarak about resignation.

 

Really something interesting going on at the top though. Hopefully this doesn't turn violent.

post #139 of 351

NBC: Confirms that Mubarak will step down and make an announcement tonight.

post #140 of 351

BBC has the CIA saying that there's "a strong likelihood" of Mubarak stepping down.

 

NPR says that the military commander for the Cairo area announced to the people at Tahrir square that "All your demands will be met today."

 

It seems it's game over.

post #141 of 351

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

 

So let's say that the people that don't like Israel and the US are the ones that wrest control of this situation once Mubarak is gone. Suez Canal traffic grinds to a halt, and oil prices skyrocket like the Forth of July. Egypt's economy doesn't heal overnight, and angry eyes turn towards the East for someone to blame. Israeli military can probably handle several of the Arab nations, but there still are nukes on the battlefield in this situation.

 

Boy, figuring this out would have been great back when I was a wargamer. But now, I just dread what might be on the horizon.

 

I think that the vast majority of Egyptians have legit beefs with how things have been. I don't blame them for a moment for rising up. What I worry about is the Arab equivalent of the National Socialists taking power in Germany post WWI. In the modern world, that would be the radical Islamists. Sure, Egypt is a secular nation. So was Iran back before the Shah was run out on a rail.

 

post #142 of 351

The fact that the military is getting actively involved makes an extremist takeover much less likely. And from what I've read so far the Muslim Brotherhood doesn't seem all that extreme to me. 

post #143 of 351

Funny moment on MSNBC, a government official was quoted as saying the Brotherhood was a mostly secular organization and the MSNBC correspondent in Egypt (who seems to know the group and ME politics very well) literally laughed at that assessment. They're not the Taliban, nor Al-Qaeda, but they are a political religious organization. As long as they don't dominate the post-Mubarak govt. things should be fine.

post #144 of 351
Thread Starter 

I have AJ English on right now.  Sharif Kouddous is stating the obvious, which is that the military can't act against the people without expecting major ramifications from the US and other supporting countries.  http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

post #145 of 351

They're definitely not secular. But they're not "We must create a Caliphate from Indonesia to Morocco" crazy either. And although the current extremist strain of Islam that's the ideological root of groups like Al Qaeda did indeed begin in Egypt with Qutb, the Brotherhood never supported it. In fact, they have been called traitors by extremists because of that rejection. Working with them and properly incorporating them in any new power structure in Egypt will go a long way to proving the West doesn't have a problem with Islam itself, rather with a particular part of it.

post #146 of 351
Thread Starter 

Did anybody just watch Mubarek speak?  It was complete silence and then as soon as it became clear Mubarek wasn't stepping down, the crowd went crazy and started holding up their shoes and shouting angrily, almost drowning out the translator's voice.  It was a huge disconnect between the message he thought he was delivering and the one the people heard.  Amazing. 

post #147 of 351

Mubarek seems dead set on ending his political career as a head on a pike.

 

Seriously, there's tone-deaf and then there's 'suicide by angry mob', and this last speech is going for the latter.

post #148 of 351

A bunch of us at work gathered around a TV to watch the speech.  Could not believe how out of touch that fucker is.  He'll be lucky to survive to September, because the people in that square are furious right now.  This is not going to end well at all.

post #149 of 351

Is the only option now violent revolt?

post #150 of 351
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica View Post

Is the only option now violent revolt?

No, peaceful transfer of power according to the laws of the land is on the table.

 

The protesters might do well to go home and take this softball without looking for a pyrrhic victory.  The biggest inciting factor behind this "revolution" is economic opportunity.  Mubarek leaving today isn't going to speed up the economic change the country desires any moreso than him leaving in September.  A protracted revolutionary "war" will only serve to make things much worse before they get better.

 

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