January 30th, 2011

Egypt

Ed Note: See comments below to follow events into the third week of the Egyptian revolution culminating in the resignation of Mubarak and assumption of power by the so-called Supreme Council of the armed forces on February 11.

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An amazing month, week and weekend.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed El Baradei this Sunday evening in Cairo took leadership of the … revolution and told the world — Washington — there will be no going back to the status quo ante.

Here is the streaming Al Jazeera English. The only way to go:

The Egyptian demonstrations that began on January 25 were inspired by the Tunisian revolution, itself inspired by revelations in the first huge batch of Wikileaks US diplomatic cables.

The Likud Lobby is surely telling Obama that Israel and the West cannot tolerate a democracy in Egypt — a fortiori in light of the Palestine Papers and the continuing stream of Wikileaks diplomatic cables.

Quite a pickle for the American president, a man of words and little action.

But if he continues to sit on his hands and allows Mubarak to enforce a crackdown, sympathetic eruptions seem certain to occur thru out Arab lands.

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Mub’s appointment of intelligence chief Sulieman as vice president on Saturday seemed a step toward Mub’s departure. But now it’s now clear.

The regular army has been supportive of the demonstrations — which is to say they have not attacked. The violence of Thursday and Friday was initiated by various secret police forces. Al Jazeera reports that the elite Presidential Guard troops number 22,000. I wonder if that’s true. And wonder where the loyalties of all these forces now lie and how they’re divided.

Ayman Nour, another top opposition leader, speaks today of negotiating with the army and other leadership figures, to form a “national unity” government to cross the interregnum to the scheduled 2011 elections. Not clear if he sees Sulieman an acceptable interim leader.

Tourism is essential to Egyptian life. The current status quo cannot go on forever. It’s clear that el Baradei is calling on Washington to pull the plug on Hosni and move forward. We shall see.

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158 comments

  1. ed says:

    AHA. After days of neutral to negative spin, the NY Times an hour ago got on board with a headline:

    “Jubiliation Greets el Baradei!”

    But this since has been toned to :

    “Opposition Rallies to el Baradei”

    Perhaps it’s a classic case of weekend/late night Mice in copyediting trying to put their own spin on things (in this case rather on target) while the fat cats and the big cheese are away.

    January 30th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

  2. ed says:

    Aha. It seems the Obamarama DID take a slight step today –as Hillary spoke of an “orderly transition.” I think this is the first advance from neutrality re Mubarak per se.

    Progess. On the whole I think this cautious circuituous communication via the public airways between el Baradei and Washington since the former’s return to Egypt on Tuesday has been … professional and acceptable.

    El Baradei has been — until today — reticent about leadership while steadfastly repeating the Line of the Day (that Mub has to go). And Washington has with baby steps now advanced in the direction of democracy, contra Israel.

    There is no doubt this is a major event for the mideast and for western-islam relations. It’s a crisis that Washington cannot at this point avoid. Obama is going to be compelled to do that which goes so against his character — to lead.

    January 30th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

  3. ed says:

    Aha. It seems the Obamarama DID take a slight step today –as Hillary on the Sunday talk shows spoke called for an “orderly transition.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/world/middleeast/31diplo.html

    I think this is the first advance from neutrality re Mubarak per se.

    And thus: On the whole I think this cautious circuituous communication via the public airways between el Baradei and Washington since the former’s return to Egypt on Tuesday has been … professional and acceptable.

    El Baradei has been — until today — reticent about leadership while steadfastly repeating the Line of the Day (that Mub has to go). And Washington has with baby steps now advanced in the direction of democracy, contra Israel.

    There is no doubt this is a major event for the mideast and for western-islam relations. And it’s a crisis that Obama cannot at this point avoid. Events have conspired to compel him to choose.

    Pragmatists and peaceniks in Israel can be heard at Al Haaretz, the prominent left-of-center newspaper.

    http://www.haaretz.com/

    THe war party is housed at the Jerusalem Post.

    http://www.jpost.com/

    January 30th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

  4. ed says:

    Holy crow. I didn’t realize that most the USA does not get Al Jazeera on cable. When did this happen? Huff Post story doesn’t say, terribly reported and written.

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000851406887

    Here is the online stream for Al Jaz English.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

    Has been indispensable the past four days with a ton of live reportage from Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said, both reporters and citizen-journalists calling in.

    One central item this made clear on Saturday: secret police thugs out vandalising and terrorising and, in Alexandria, turning off the water. All I surmise to provoke general outcries of Security, which Mubarak could then use to justify a general crackdown.

    24 hours later, it looks like that tactic has failed. The army arrested thousands of “thugs” saturday night and el Baradei has stepped forward to accept leadership.

    January 30th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  5. ed says:

    I see that el Baradei in his main message today, said that the main demand is that the regime must go, not merely Mubarak.

    Assuming the translation is on target, that would seem to be a rejection of Sulieman (who per se may well be a decent candidate for an interregnum leader).

    January 30th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  6. ed says:

    One am Monday the 31st in Cairo and Mubarak issues a statement instructing his new prime minister to control inflation, work on jobs for the people, etc.

    So bizarre that it’s ominous. Prefatory to a crackdown?

    January 30th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  7. ed says:

    Whoops — Mubarak’s Information Ministry today said it was going to revoke Al Jazeera’s license to broadcast in Egypt and accreditation of its reporters.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113085252994161.html

    Then, later, six reporters/staff arrested in Cairo.

    Then, later, they are released but their camera equipment is not.

    Let the sun shine.

    January 30th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

  8. ed says:

    And now — Julian Assange on SIXTY MINUTES.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/26/60minutes/main7286686.shtml

    ZOW.

    Steve Kroft, the CBS reporter, is impressed. Calls Assange a journalist and a publisher.

    Kroft and CBS are clearly taking aim at the scurrilous disregard for WL and JA expressed by NY Times exec editor Bill Keller last week.

    To a huge extent it’s about Israel, beneath the surface. Everyone knows that the Western half of the mideast order in place since Sadat was shot is dissolving in the face of … public knowledge about that order, and some courageous people in Tunis, Cairo, Alexandria, Suez ….

    Background on Wikileaks:

    http://newcombat.net/Conversation/2011/01/04/wikileaks/

    January 30th, 2011 at 8:06 pm

  9. ed says:

    Well well. Baby Assad tells the Wall Street Journal, in what the latter advert’s as a “rare interview” that maybe it’s time for reform.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704832704576114340735033236.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

    January 30th, 2011 at 10:22 pm

  10. ed says:

    The Wash Post top online story as Sunday closes declares White House on Sunday “aligned itself with protests” and the lead highlights the “transition” language used by Hillary and Daley on the talk shows.

    Fifty years ago such a Post slant would mean the CIA wanted Mubarak gone yesterday. Now I don’t know what it means.

    January 30th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

  11. ed says:

    Also from the Post piece:

    The administration “has been way behind the curve,” said former Jordanian foreign minister Marwan Muasher, a vice president at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    “So far, they’re just reacting. They’re looking at it from two prisms – the need for stability . . . and the peace process in Israel.

    “This is not about Israel,” Muasher said. “I wish for once the United States would just leave Israel out of this and look at it for what it is. People are fed up with corruption, and they want a better government.”

    END QUOTE

    January 30th, 2011 at 11:49 pm

  12. ed says:

    Monday largely waiting for big rally on Tuesday.

    February 1st, 2011 at 1:23 am

  13. ed says:

    Wow. Tuesday in Liberation Square.

    Best estimate is that TWO million are gathered in central Cairo.

    Despite cut-off of trains and internet and phones …

    Estimate nationwide is that EIGHT million are participating.

    This means people like Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post will no longer be able to refer to the phenomenon as “the riots” without plainly lying to her readers.

    February 1st, 2011 at 9:25 am

  14. ed says:

    So far in Cairo they haven’t marched away from Tahrir Square. Yesterday an activist there said the plan was to march to the presidential palace and take it over. It seems cooler heads may have prevailed, to excellent effect.

    Odd note: US State Department issues a note saying, in light of the demonstrations, the US is evacuating non-essential personnel. So far nothing else out of Washington.

    February 1st, 2011 at 9:30 am

  15. ed says:

    The army remains placid amid the demonstration. Policing peacefully.

    One guy on phone — from Alexandria — says the army is “protecting” the protest, presumably from the secret police.

    Another from Cairo says the army stopped and arrested a truckful of men with weapons who seem to have been secret police.

    It now seems clear (to foreigners) that it’s deployment into the streets Friday afternoon — after the main battle between secret police and people on the October 6 Bridge in Cairo — was a political as well as a security move. And the surprising (for us) happy reaction of the protestors — greeting the army as a friend — was well founded in local experience.

    February 1st, 2011 at 9:30 am

  16. ed says:

    A speaker at Lib Square is saying We will never go back to being SLAVES.

    I wonder how geopolitical an expression it may be. For the fact is that the past 30 years of Egyptian history in the region was motivated by a solicitude to enforce the Camp David agreement. Not that there was no domestic component supporting the status quo; of course there must have been.

    But the geopolitical was there too. To a degree Hosni and the Egyptians who subsisted with secret police beneath him, were Whores of Washington and Jerusalem.

    And the humiliating revelations of the Wikileak and Palestine Paper cables — showing the pursuit of a Palestinian state having been for years an utter farce — set a match to very dry wood.

    February 1st, 2011 at 9:40 am

  17. ed says:

    The scene in Alexandria is very beautiful — right there on the very edge of the Mediterranean, with crowds packed between a mosque and a couple fancy tourist hotels.

    It’s neat to see the Mediterranean in this context. A reminder of the deep history and the connections to the other mediterranean cultures, a couple of which the West generally venerates as its spiritual ancestors.

    February 1st, 2011 at 9:46 am

  18. ed says:

    “The people demand the removal of the regime.” Banners in English and Arabic. They have their message together.

    Al Jaz shots show people still streaming en masse across the bridge into central Cairo — giving the impression that the demo is growing.

    The huge numbers are a bit worrisome for practical let alone security reasons. Food, water, health care, toilets.

    February 1st, 2011 at 9:48 am

  19. ed says:

    It seems that rather than Mub merely resigning and leaving Sulieman as president, a new interim “national unity” government — the term people have been using — is what “the people” want.

    With elections perhaps as soon as possible, rather than waiting until those scheduled for September.

    It’s not clear. There is SOME lack of leadership yet in evidence.

    Has el Baradei said anything in public today? I haven’t heard of it.

    February 1st, 2011 at 9:52 am

  20. ed says:

    The King of Jordan has dissolved his parliamentary government in reaction to sympathetic protests in motion in Amman since Friday.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703445904576117801815760950.html?mod=mktw

    February 1st, 2011 at 9:57 am

  21. ed says:

    Yesterday Brent Crude traded over $100 but the North American benchmarks stayed in low $90s.

    Same today. No oil panic. I imagine this reps confidence that the Egyptian army is firmly in control of security and would not interfere with traffic thru the canal.

    February 1st, 2011 at 10:05 am

  22. ed says:

    I hope the lack of public word from ANYONE today means that (ahem) final arrangements are being made behind the scenes.

    February 1st, 2011 at 10:22 am

  23. ed says:

    Aha. El Baradei has met today with the US ambassador in Cairo.

    AJ says he chose not to appear at Lib Square.

    February 1st, 2011 at 10:36 am

  24. ed says:

    Turkish Prime Minister cancels visit to Cairo next week. Will come when things return to normal.

    February 1st, 2011 at 10:37 am

  25. ed says:

    Angela Merkel visits Jerusalem, where Shimon Peres — a lefty — tells her his doubts about the value of democracy in Egypt.

    http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=206218

    February 1st, 2011 at 10:40 am

  26. ed says:

    kissinger speaks

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4519110/kissingers-perspective-egypt-in-chaos/?playlist_id=86857

    February 1st, 2011 at 10:46 am

  27. ed says:

    Raging racism and lies from Glenn Beck last night

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4519110/kissingers-perspective-egypt-in-chaos/?playlist_id=86857#/v/4518470/beck-why-egypt-matters/?playlist_id=87485

    February 1st, 2011 at 10:53 am

  28. ed says:

    Fox is in overdrive to paint the grossly false story of “riots.” Murdoch. Ailes. Poison.

    February 1st, 2011 at 11:03 am

  29. ed says:

    The Daily Show in contrast:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/mon-january-31-2011-bill-gates

    February 1st, 2011 at 11:10 am

  30. ed says:

    Night has fallen on Tuesday over there. The day the masses came out.

    The huge assembly there on the Mediterranean in Alexandria is singing the national anthem.

    It almost sounds like La Marseillaise … I wonder if they sing that too.

    Again, all brought to the world by Al Jazeera English streaming live on the net.

    February 1st, 2011 at 11:36 am

  31. ed says:

    AHA

    US Ambassador Margaret Scobie has indeed met today with el Baradei in Cairo. State Department just confirmed a few minutes ago.

    Scobie (State says) is meeting with a circle of “opposition leaders.”

    February 1st, 2011 at 11:46 am

  32. ed says:

    Here is the major more centrist, left-of-center paper in Israel

    http://www.haaretz.com/

    The Jerusalem Post (the former Palestine Post) houses the war party.

    And here is my new-old neighborhood paper, the venerable Jewish Daily Forward:

    http://www.forward.com/

    February 1st, 2011 at 11:47 am

  33. ed says:

    AHA — And John Kerry from Davos calls on Mubarak to step down. That’s it.

    Kerry spoke more moderately on Sunday, stopping short of a call for resignation. Clearly he’s speaking for the US government today.

    February 1st, 2011 at 11:47 am

  34. ed says:

    AHA. Egypt state television is reporting sympathetically from Tahrir Square. Said by Al JAz anchor to be a new and surprising development.

    I now am willing to bet the bag of biscotti that Mr Gushue forgot to drop off during recent visit that final arrangements are indeed being made.

    ( I don’t think Kerry would have said what he said if not.)

    February 1st, 2011 at 12:37 pm

  35. ed says:

    More Al Jaz reportage of the presentation on Egypt television.

    Phone call-ins from people expressing dismay at the chaos and criticism of the demonstrations.

    So it seems a mix. But the official silence has been broken. The mass demonstrations have been acknowledged by the Idiot Box.

    February 1st, 2011 at 12:38 pm

  36. ed says:

    Center of demo said by AJ to be preparing to again camp out overnight in and around Lib Square.

    Numbers reduced from the one to two million said to be there during day, but much larger than last (monday) night.

    The happy carnival atmosphere of last night seems amplified by great happiness that the crowds came and the world saw and the army stood in support, policing the city and apparently arresting a fair amount of would-be hooligans.

    The streams of people on the bridge are two-way, as people go home to bring back warm clothes, food, etc.

    February 1st, 2011 at 1:08 pm

  37. ed says:

    Jets and helicopters were in the air again today (tuesday).

    And a helicopter circling the Lib Square right now, well after dark, 8 pm local time (seven hours ahead of New York).

    February 1st, 2011 at 1:10 pm

  38. ed says:

    Sometime today/Tuesday or yesterday White House dispatched Frank Wisner (related to the Frank Wisner who was founding father of CIA ?!?), a personal friend of Mubarak, to Cairo. Perhaps working on the transition arrangements. Finding Hosni a new home, etc.

    February 1st, 2011 at 1:54 pm

  39. ed says:

    This was John Kerry’s Op-Ed in Times yesterday Monday, talking about a post Mubarak Egypt

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/opinion/01kerry.html

    February 1st, 2011 at 1:56 pm

  40. ed says:

    State Dept confirmed earlier today Tuesday that the White House had sent Frank Wisner, former ambassador to Egy and India, to Cairo. He’s a close friend of Mubarak.

    I believe he is also the son of CIA founding father Frank Wisner (who died in the 60s).

    Here’s some skepticism re the choice:
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/31/is_obamas_new_egypt_envoy_too_close_to_mubarak

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:04 pm

  41. ed says:

    Here is Omar Shariff, who was on Al Jaz yesterday and now on ABC today/monday.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/video/omar-sharif-supports-egyptian-protesters-12811583

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:06 pm

  42. ed says:

    9 PM in Cairo and the chanting at Lib Square is as loud as ever. They have a big TV screen set up for tele-vision.

    Al Jaz anchor reports rumor that the government is about to make another statement. Ecstatic anticipation.

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:09 pm

  43. ed says:

    Everyone entering the central square area is ID checked and frisked by the army, on the lookout for secret police agent provocateurs.

    This is the use the concrete barricades installed yesterday evening have been put to.

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:14 pm

  44. ed says:

    Brit commentator on Al Jaz worrying about the lack of a leader for the opposition. El Baradei today declined to come to Lib Square, for reasons of security, the Brit reports.

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:19 pm

  45. ed says:

    The AJ anchor now says that Mubarak himself is expected to speak in public, tonight. Perhaps this is the main reason for the big screen installed at Lib Square.

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:20 pm

  46. ed says:

    A young woman in Cairo: “We want to shoo our president …”

    Easily misunderstood as “shoot.”

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:24 pm

  47. ed says:

    Al Jaz reports that “according to diplomatic sources” Obama has told Mubarak that he should not run for re-election in September.

    Message was passed by Wisner today.

    Source for story is Al Arabiya television, citing unnamed sources. NY TImes echoes:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/02/world/middleeast/02transition.html

    Times story also says Mubarak will announce tonight he will not run again.

    Is this another attempt to hang on? WIth US support? We shall see.

    Meanwhile 930 pm in Egypt, a reporter from Lib Square says folks there are calling this night, Tuesday night, The Night of Departure.

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:28 pm

  48. ed says:

    Given the action on the ground, the notion of sending the son of a founder of the CIA across the ocean to tell Hosni not to run in September is a bit absurd.

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:41 pm

  49. ed says:

    PFAFF the ALL-SEEING writes about Tunis and Cairo:
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/feb/24/uprisings-tunis-cairo/

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:46 pm

  50. ed says:

    Egy state TV says Mubarak will release a very important statement shortly.

    February 1st, 2011 at 2:46 pm

  51. ed says:

    William Ney The shutdown of communications media in Egypt on Friday was done with big help from Brit and AMerican corporations:

    http://www.commondreams.org/video/2011/02/01-2

    February 1st, 2011 at 3:35 pm

  52. ed says:

    Heeeere’s Hosni !

    Ooops. Not good. Opens with a denouncement of the demonstrations, as initially well intentioned but now railroaded by people with “political” motives.

    Chaos or stability, he says, is the choice.

    Obama’s failure to lead is now evident.

    Says he had no intention of running for pres in the fall prior to this eruption. But intends across the months left in his term to hand over power in an atmosphere of order, etc.

    Goes over the new initiatives he’s offered across the past week, including adopting the changes recommended by the commission that examined the most recent (and heavily corrupted) election.

    Says the malefactors of the current manifestation (arsonists, looters ….) will be arrested.

    Speaks of his pride in his service to the state the past 30 years and says he will die on the soil of Egypt.

    A proper strongman.

    February 1st, 2011 at 4:14 pm

  53. ed says:

    It was a good speech, for a proud strongman of a minor power who pretty much did what he was told by his Uncle (Sam) in Paradise these past thirty years.

    Obama now bears responsibility for what follows, for inserting (or at least backing) the “Don’t Run Again” into the global discourse.

    If Washington, speaking perhaps most effectively thru the Pentagon, had told him to resign, I imagine it would have been obeyed. But maybe I’m wrong.

    Hard to see how major violence will not now follow. But maybe I’m blind.

    February 1st, 2011 at 4:18 pm

  54. ed says:

    Chant now in Alexandria: “Go away, go away, revolution to the death!”

    February 1st, 2011 at 4:27 pm

  55. ed says:

    Interesting reaction from young man on Lib Square, recognizing that Hosnia is “the kind of character” whose pride would never allow him to be chased off his throne.

    Well, we shall see if something truly compromised may be worked out to avoid big bloodshed. At the moment — aporia.

    Same fellow notes that this same proud Egyptian (Hosni) killed several hundred Egyptians in the street in the past week.

    Says people on the square are talking again about marching to the Prez Palace, which, he says, would be dangerous and is dubious course.

    Says he doesn’t think waiting for the September elections is viable.
    Suggests let Hosni have a clean and honorable exit — but do it now.

    February 1st, 2011 at 4:38 pm

  56. ed says:

    Obama speaks.

    Opens by saying USG is in contact with a broad range of Egyptians.

    Then congratulates the Eg army and asking it to continue to do well, as if the army were running the show.

    Very interesting that no mention of Mubarak has yet been made.

    Now says he spoke to Mubarak after the latter’s speech, and Hosni knows change must come.

    The says he believes and told Hosni that the transition must begin now.

    Closes by telling young Egyptians he hears them.

    Well. Better than I was anticipating post Mubarak speech. I was expecting to hear the Wait Until September idea repeated and endorsed.

    What Obama said doesn’t contradict the idea of waiting til September, but in context works against it.

    Seems White House was a bit surprised by Mubarak’s intransigence and that with the phone call post Obama has pushed things along a bit. Obvious question is re the nuts and bolts of the transition that must begin now.

    February 1st, 2011 at 9:45 pm

  57. ed says:

    WEDNESDAY Feb 2

    The Agent Provocateurs come out in mass to attack the Tahrir Square demonstration.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 9:35 am

  58. ed says:

    It had been Washington’s job to pull the plug properly.

    IMHO this is another failure of leadership for the american president.

    Even if things had gone properly on Monday and Tuesday, the problem of how to control and turn off the vast secret police force that across 30 years had grown accustomed to terrorizing the populace would have been a big problem.

    The Slow Transition, across its weeks and months, will allow the police to arrest, torture, etc the young opposition leadership.

    The “routine torture” US diplomatic cable is worth recalling.
    El Baradei has accused the gov’t of “scare tactics,” setting the secret police loose.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 9:37 am

  59. ed says:

    Provocs take over an army APC and attack the crowd with it.

    Woman who was wounded telling AJ that the Agent Provocs who attacked her arrived in “government buses” outside the square.

    Some of the Provocs came on horses and camels, charging the crowd.

    The army is generally bystanding, protecting the antiquities museum but not attacking the Agent Provocs. Army seems to have followed instructions from Pentagon/Washington to work respectfully with Hosni as he winds his way to retirement.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 9:38 am

  60. ed says:

    Provocs setting a big bldg on fire.

    Man on site describes a gang of Provocs as barefoot, poor, perhaps not from the city. Ie rustics recruited (with money) to come to the city center for a day of hard labor on behalf of Hosni and the police state.

    Al Jaz reporter estimates Provocs as a few thousand at most.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 9:39 am

  61. ed says:

    Brit reporter says demonstrators are citizen-arresting the Provocs and delivering them to the army, which has taken shelter (at this spot) in the museum compound.

    Reporter says at least five of the arrested Provocs were found to have police IDs and army has consented to arrest them.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 9:40 am

  62. ed says:

    Young opposition leader on AJ says these are not “anti-mubarak demonstrators.” They are “thugs,” from the police.

    Says what is happening on the square is a mass crime and that Mubarak must be tried for his crimes.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 9:41 am

  63. ed says:

    All this was so predictable across Sunday thru last night as Washington dithered and wandered its way toward a policy.

    It was Washington’s job to put a quick end to it by having the Pentagon tell the Eg Army that Mubarak should go immediately. One can’t expect a Proud Strongman to voluntarily depose himself. It’s not his role.

    Mubarak, geopolitically, was a creature of the Washington-Israeli power axis. It was Washington’s job this past weekend to send him into comfortable retirement.

    Obama however is a Beautiful Soul and doesn’t understand.

    Now it’s a battle to the death, or, as the demo leader just suggested, toward a regime that will prosecute Mubarak.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 9:45 am

  64. ed says:

    El Baradei calls what is happening a crime against egypt.

    The whole vision of Mubarak peacefully retiring is now blown.

    Now the choices seem to be that the police state remains in power (under whatever figurehead) or democracy eventually happens, represses the secret police, and prosecutes Mubarak and those responsible across the years for the regime of “routine torture.”

    February 2nd, 2011 at 9:58 am

  65. ed says:

    Lib Square is still largely invested by the original demonstration, a Brit reporter says.

    There is chiefly one front with the Provocs, in front of the museum, pushing toward the central square at the moment.

    The army earlier told people to respect the curfew this evening. It’s about five minutes away.

    Looks like the army has just sprayed the Provocs in front of the museum with tear gas.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:01 am

  66. ed says:

    The boss of Yemen has just promised that he, too, won’t run for re-election in 2013. Nor pass the baton to his son.

    Rather ludicrous.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:05 am

  67. ed says:

    New statement from el Baradei, calling on the army to intervene.

    Washington as far as I can tell has been silent all day.

    The head of the UN has said the day’s events are “unacceptable.”

    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:18 am

  68. ed says:

    A Booker Prize Egyptian author tells AJ that the gangs of recruited thugs are the sort typically used by the police to terrorize people during elections.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:02 am

  69. ed says:

    Darkness fully fallen. Water cannons employed by the army. But the provocs still active.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:15 am

  70. ed says:

    Gibbs at White House deplores violence and counsels restraint.

    Off record sources say Obama’s call to Mubarak Tuesday night post Mub’s speech did not mince words.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:24 am

  71. ed says:

    Off record sources say Pentagon calls yesterday to Eg army congratulated them on job but did not counsel political intervention.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:25 am

  72. ed says:

    AJ White House rep speaks of DC sources wondering when Pentagon will tell Eg Army to intervene politically. The pressure of Likud Lobby on Washintgon organs, and within the Pentagon, is the unspoken guerilla in the room.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:27 am

  73. ed says:

    Mahmoud Ali Sabra, a former “director” in Mubarak’s administration, calls on Obama to force Mub to “step down now.”

    Calls Mubarak shameful and a criminal, no longer worthy of being called “president.”

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:47 am

  74. ed says:

    Clashes continue past midnight on Wednesday in Cairo.,

    This is about a mature Police State fighting back on its own behalf. It’s not really about Mubarak.

    It’s about thousands of secret policemen (soldiers and bosses) feeling their very way of life suddenly on the line, fearing prosecution for the “routine torture” they’ve been practicing on common criminals and political prisoners for decades.

    Similar things happened when the eastern European police states were dissolving.

    It’s a great misfortune for the story to have been cast with so personal a focus on Mubarak. For one thing it allowed Obama to finesse it the way he has. The Proud Strongman …

    February 2nd, 2011 at 6:05 pm

  75. ed says:

    Even if Mubarak retired to Paris tomorrow, the thousands of people who made the Police State go would continue to defend the status quo state, as a matter of self and lifestyle preservation. They know that if a real democracy takes control of the organs of state, they will be jobless and prosecuted.

    Thus, if Washington really wanted to change the status quo, it would defend the democracy movement to the hilt. But the fact is that the Egyptian police state was born, post Sadat murder, as a result of US-Israeli geopolitical interests buying off Mubarak and the police apparatus.

    The lack of leadership in the democracy movement has proven rather disastrous, it seems to me. They needed someone across the past weekend making the case on the global stage that this is fundamentally about a domestically-oriented democracy movement trying to throw off a police state.

    Instead it became a story about the retirement of a Proud Strongman … Which allowed Obama/Washington to finesse it as they have.

    It’s clear that the right in Israel considers this a matter of fundamental interest. There are I imagine few limits, in their minds, as to what they will do to keep the police state intact.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 6:59 pm

  76. ed says:

    This TIMES piece paints a flattering picture of the White House.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/world/middleeast/03diplomacy.html

    I’ll believe it only when I see Washington empower an interim government composed of leaders across the spectrum — the “national unity” government the rather shy leaders of the movement in Cairo have spoken of across the last week.

    Short of that, I read this kind of Times story as pure publicity by reporters currying favor with their favorite.

    The “orderly transition” the Cairo government has in mind means merely replacing the president atop the police state. THe police state is the thing that has to go.

    But Israel above all wants the police state to stay.

    Which leaves Obama in a pickle. The Israelis invaded Gaza during the Bush-Obama interregnum and Netanyahu since then has consistently laid the wood to Obama, who rolls over with a groan.

    I see no reason to expect different this time, but will joyously admit my error if events prove me wrong.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:54 pm

  77. ed says:

    It’s really sad the movement over there has no leader. El Baradei has been a huge disappointment. It may be, alas, he’s afraid for his skin, or that of his family. For if the police state succeeds in defending and renewing itself, there will certainly be retribution.

    That’s why it’s quite true that there can be no turning back. The secret police have a thousand names on a list already, I’m sure. Video closeups of all the young organizer types in Tahrir square the past week.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:54 pm

  78. ed says:

    It’s 430 in the morning over there and gunfire continues to echo. The police state in the night is trying to end this thing right now.

    Some if this is the broad middle-class desire for stability. Their stock market was down nearly 16% on Thurs and Friday.

    The costs are huge, worldwide, in matter and spirit. Sadly Obama does not have the balls, perhaps not the power, to give meaning to the Cairo Speech. “A new start” for the West’s relationship with Islam, is what he said he had come to proclaim.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:55 pm

  79. ed says:

    US State Dept issues Last Call circa 10 pm NY time, 5 am Cairo Time:

    All remaining U.S. citizens who wish to depart #Egypt on a USG flight should report to airport immediately. Further delay is not advisable.

    http://twitter.com/TravelGov

    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:55 pm

  80. ed says:

    A young woman at Tahrir Square crying on the phone explains to Al Jazeera her presence there, at such a dangerous moment: “they will hunt us down one by one.”

    ?”I don’t understand. The army is where all this confrontation is happening. Why is this torture repeated over and over again and nobody is stopping it?”

    It’s heartbreaking to listen to this girl.

    A fortiori: If this police state born of Western convenience is allowed to suppress this movement, Islam is going to erupt.

    The background here are the dip cables — Wikileaks and Palestine Papers. They reveal the Israeli-Palestine peace process as an utterly cynical, farcical and hopeless charade.

    It really is time to live up to the Cairo Speech. If not, we’ve just begun to know what War of Terror means.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:56 pm

  81. ed says:

    Mubarak’s speech was so Patriotic. I wonder if it might be that the secret police and other leaders atop the regime perhaps overrode him, letting loose the dogs about 24 hours ago.

    I mean: Everyone knows Hosni is indeed on the way out. Looking forward to retirement. But the younger lions and the jackals he’s been leading all these years, they still had a future to negotiate. Still heavily invested in the long-term health of the police state.

    Who knows. If indeed Hosni pushed the button on all this, his speech will live in infamy, for its deceit and hypocrisy.

    In any case Hosni’s status as a national hero is history.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:00 pm

  82. ed says:

    6 AM THUSDAY FEBRUARY 3

    A big barrage of molotov cocktails tossed by Provocs off a big bridge down upon the democracy demonstrators — who bang on their tin barricades and respond with taunts.

    Another day on Liberation Square dawns.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:12 pm

  83. ed says:

    I sent whitehouse.gov an email a few minutes ago:

    This may be your Bay of Pigs.

    It’s time to make the Cairo Speech mean something.

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:54 pm

  84. ed says:

    A good piece in the Times about the reeling mind of the Arab world

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/world/middleeast/03arab.html?hp

    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:58 pm

  85. ed says:

    I think Washington could turn the police state off if it wanted to. It would be done thru the Pentagon.

    The Egyptian army would then repress the Provocs and help install an interim National Unity government — and THAT would turn off the money (at least the PUBLIC money) paying the secret police and its day laborers. The police would melt into the street, as in East Germany in November 1989.

    It wouldn’t be over. But the turn would have been made.

    But Washington as of yet has not pushed the button. Because Israel needs a Strongman in Cairo.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 12:10 am

  86. ed says:

    Pop Mechanics (dubious source given their 9/11 junk) indeed argues that the Egyptian Army “is a creation of the Pentagon”

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/dissecting-america-and-egypts-military-relationship-5168761?click=pm_news

    February 3rd, 2011 at 12:11 am

  87. ed says:

    The new Prime Minister (sworn in Monday morning) isn’t quitting, but has apologized and said it won’t happen again.

    The Egyptian attorney general has frozen assets of a number of governmental leaders, present and former, and forbidden them to travel abroad.

    Also is questioning the former Interior Minister as to why the police were pulled off the streets last Friday after the bloody victory of the protest on October 6 Bridge.

    “We must not humiliate ourselves” says the new PM, explaining why calls for Mub’s resignation are unacceptable.

    He’s a very smooth, urbane fellow.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 9:30 am

  88. ed says:

    An overview of what the Wikileak cables of US-Egyptian relations show.

    Like other Arab leaders, Mr. Mubarak is depicted in the cables as obsessed with Iran, which he told American diplomats was extending its tentacles from “the Gulf to Morocco” through proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah. He views these groups — particularly Hamas, a “brother” of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood — as a direct threat to his own rule. END QUOTE

    February 3rd, 2011 at 10:01 am

  89. ed says:

    Yesterday the White House man Gibbs said “Now means yesterday” re when the “transition” should begin.

    Now, Obama speaking this THURSDAY morning briefly mentions Egypt without saying anything of substance.

    “We pray that the violence will end … and a better day will dawn in Egypt …”

    Reduced to praying?

    Just as he clearly was not prepared to try to govern Washington, he seems to not know how to exercise the office’s proper power overseas.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 10:04 am

  90. ed says:

    This is the report of US Ambassador Margaret Scobey re routine and pervasive torture practiced by the Egyptian police and secret police:

    EG:

    2. (C) Torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread. The police use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions, but also against demonstrators, certain political prisoners and unfortunate bystanders. One human rights lawyer told us there is evidence of torture in Egypt dating back to the times of the Pharaohs. NGO contacts estimate there are literally hundreds of torture incidents every day in Cairo police stations alone. Egyptians are bombarded with consistent news reports of police brutality, ranging from high profile incidents such as accidental but lethal police shootings in Salamut and Aswan this past fall (refs B and C) that sparked riots, to reports of police officers shooting civilians following disputes over traffic tickets. In November 2008 alone, there were two incidents of off-duty police officers shooting and killing civilians over petty disputes. The cases against both officers are currently making their way through the judicial system.

    http://www.wikileaks.la/us-embassy-cables-police-brutality-in-egypt/

    February 3rd, 2011 at 10:28 am

  91. ed says:

    Prominent femme TV news anchor on Eg State TV has resigned in protest over lack of coverage of Wednesday’s violence.

    She says (in English) she has been threatened by secret police, told that she “can disappear from the face of the earth”

    February 3rd, 2011 at 10:29 am

  92. ed says:

    Nicholas Kristoff — the Times’ globetrotting Moral Scientist — affirms what many people on the scene told Al Jaz yesterday about how the “Pro Mubarak protestors” — agent provocateurs — were organized:

    The pro-Mubarak forces arrived in busloads that mysteriously were waved past checkpoints. These forces emerged at the same time in both Alexandria and Cairo, and they seemed to have been briefed to carry the same kinds of signs and scream the same slogans. They singled out foreign journalists, especially camera crews, presumably because they didn’t want their brutality covered. A number of journalists were beaten up, although far and away it was Egyptians who suffered the most.

    END QUOTE

    February 3rd, 2011 at 10:40 am

  93. ed says:

    Detailed report on Al Jaz on deaths by rifle shot that occurred during the night. Seems clear they were shot by police snipers, as reporter details.

    As reporter speaks, a number of rifle shots ring out that the reporter identifies as snipers shooting at him and/or the group he is standing among out in vicinity of Lib Square.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 11:38 am

  94. ed says:

    Sulieman, the former head of the foreign intelligence service and now the Vice President, is speaking and answering questions, and making — at least on the international stage — a complete ass of himself.

    Dithering re parliamentary requirements. Professing ignorance re bad actors in Wednesday attacks.

    Without Al Jazeera we wouldn’t have a clue as to how empty it all is.

    “The youth must have confidence in the state.”

    He then says that continued demonstrations by the youth indicates “political agendas” rather than lack of confidence in the state.

    He rejects calls for Mubarak to resign as “alien to Egyptian culture.”

    He blames “friendly states who are hosting non-friendly television stations” which are broadcasting bad information.

    And pushes back against Obama’s chiding, wihtout naming him or Hillary or the US.

    Like the new prime minister, Sulieman is suave. Almost seems a television actor. And the rhetoric is so purely that of the Dictator that it at moments it seems a cinematic farce — eg THE LAND OF THE BLIND.

    Well. Sulieman’s speech was largely for domestic consumption — but its ludicrous effect on the international audience may well redound to support of the demos and more pressure for real change.

    But … at the moment it seems the police state is intent upon defending itself.

    So It’s clear — tomorrow Friday the war is on, as the demos calls for another big demonstration and Mubarak’s resignation.

    Will the army continue to be a bystander?

    And will Obama manage to more than pray for the solution he says he supports?

    February 3rd, 2011 at 11:48 am

  95. ed says:

    Well. Hosni invited Chistianne Amanpour in for a little chat, to air tonight on ABC in the old Ted Koppel slot.

    Most of the gist is already out:

    The Proud Strongman is weary of his burdens, wishes he could resign, but fears the chaos that would ensue if he did.

    One wonders who’s in charge, really. Perhaps, as so often in committees, not quite anyone.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 8:18 pm

  96. ed says:

    Daily Show Wednesday evening

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-february-2-2011/arabian-fights

    But you want funny ?

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4520346

    February 3rd, 2011 at 8:18 pm

  97. ed says:

    Robert Fisk, longtime resident-correspondent from Lebanon for the Independent, has been in Cairo for since the 25th — and finds the Obamarama a bunch of gutless cowards:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/3/robert_fisk_obama_administration_has_been

    Fisk says he saw army units on Friday ordered to attack and clear the square and refuse.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 8:19 pm

  98. ed says:

    Thursday evening NY time the TImes says the Obamarama is talking with Cairo officials about a plan to have Hosni go immediately and Sulieman run an interim government.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/world/middleeast/04diplomacy.html

    Even if so, and successful, not clear it would make the demos go home. Maybe the devil is in the details.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 8:31 pm

  99. ed says:

    Al jaz just ran a feature story about a couple in Cairo who’ve been leading the blog resistance for some time. The husband, Manal, has been in jail for some time, it seems.

    This is their main blog, I guess
    http://manalaa.net/

    But it’s not opening up.

    Manal and Alaa :

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr&&sa=X&ei=DVlLTaq-LMnZgQeNtPU_&ved=0CBIQBSgA&q=alaa+manal+egypt&spell=1

    Ah. Manal was released from prison after 45 days.

    All these youngish people the past weeks, suddenly speaking their minds on television as the police take notes and videoclips …

    Retribution is a dish usually served cold, in the dark.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 8:43 pm

  100. ed says:

    Seems Al Jaz has lost the camera that was giving decent panoramic shots and closeups from (I think) the Hilton tower north of the museum.

    And voices are speaking of enhanced crackdowns on journalists. I guess the police state is trying to shut down reportage of whatever happens tomorrow.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 9:22 pm

  101. ed says:

    Martial law in Algeria — its 19-year old “state of emergency” — will be lifted.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/02/20112315364175524.html

    So. Algeria.

    Yemen (I promise neither I nor my son will run for prez next time)

    Jordan (the government has been dissolved)

    Syria (Baby Assad says its time for reform)

    Tunisia (a revolution in perhaps the most westernized Arab state that will likely empower a religious party)

    Egypt.

    All touched off by US and other diplomatic cables that showed cynical corruption and, then, that negotiations across the past decade for a palestinian state were a patent cynical charade.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 9:52 pm

  102. ed says:

    Shamboyant slovenian philospher Slavoj Zizek and Tariq Ramadan — grandson of one of the Muslim Brotherhood founders — talk well on Al Jaz as sunrise approaches in Cairo.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/rizkhan/2011/02/2011238843342531.html

    Pretty Cool. 3x above Charlie Rose.

    I wonder how sedulously & circuitously Charlie is selling Israeli soap in all of this. Guess I’ll have to check him out.

    The Daily Show treatment this Thursday evening — following the Wednesday police/provoc violence in Egypt — was grotesque.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-february-3-2011/mike-mullen

    I like Admiral Mullen, and I like Jon Stewart. But here they both toe the Likud Lobby line. It’s hard to blame Mullen, given his uniform. Stewart is another matter. There are places a Nice Jewish Boy mus’n't go.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 11:58 pm

  103. ed says:

    So. FRIDAY FEB 4.

    The Many have again come out. crowds swelling in cairo, alexandria, suez et al.

    The whole Lib Square area is again full and still swelling, a reporter says, after midday prayers.

    Eg state tv is completely blacking it out. Showing casual strollers along the shimmering Nile. Proclaiming its patriotic duty to dispel the lies of foreign television stations.

    The Agent Provoc army (several thousands in Cairo, it seems) of goons that attacked across Wednesday thru most of the day Thursday, has been entirely withdrawn. Al Jaz says the army is more carefully policing the main front where those battles took place. No such today.

    February 4th, 2011 at 9:27 am

  104. ed says:

    Reporter saying the protest in Alexandria is much larger than Tuesday, filling several areas across the city.

    On Tuesday they were among fancy hotels and a famous mosque right on the water, the turquoise Mediterranean. The reporter says today they are also investing a square inland at the university, library et al.

    February 4th, 2011 at 9:29 am

  105. ed says:

    Slavoj Zizek was rather funny yesterday when asked about the risks of fundamentalism in a freer Egypt. He replied with observations that if you go into the American south you find people who still believe in devils and angels

    February 4th, 2011 at 9:32 am

  106. ed says:

    Hillary seems to have aged a decade during her two years as Secretary of State. She’s been travelling a ton during that time.

    And now has had a rough two weeks. Her initial statement ten days ago — that the government of Egypt is stable — is still playing to amusing effect. It’s clear — as in 1991 with the Soviet Union — that Americans rarely have a clue what’s going on overseas. The burdens and limits of empire.

    February 4th, 2011 at 9:35 am

  107. ed says:

    State TV gives a phone interview to an organizer of the demos. He says the protests will continue.

    Reports of a call to march on the presidential palace, which the army surrounded with barbed wire earlier in the week. And an Al Jaz pro reporter says people are suddenly leaving the square. Question is whether they are going home as curfew and sunset come or perhaps indeed to the palace.

    Latter would be provocative.

    February 4th, 2011 at 10:20 am

  108. ed says:

    Some reports and signs of Provocs again at work:

    == The army running to quell something.

    == Some arrests by army.

    == The demos beating a tatoo that, reporter says, has been used to signal danger.

    Also video of a peaceful Pro Mubarak demonstration in an affluent suburb that state tv is broadcasting.

    Report of 200 or 300 Pro Mub Provocs coming across Oct 6 Bridge heading for Lib Square, but the army then responded and turned them back across the river.

    A call came today from the gentle head of the United Nations for Egypt to accelerate the elections currently set for September.

    February 4th, 2011 at 10:31 am

  109. ed says:

    Fully dark over there, now. Tahrir Square is still full. No march to the prez palace as earlier rumored. And not a lot going home.

    February 4th, 2011 at 11:14 am

  110. ed says:

    As the revolution Normalizes, one wonders what the dark heart of the police state really thinks.

    Taking notes for retribution, a dish best served cold and in the dark?

    Sulieman was said a few years ago — when it was first said he would be named vice president — to be a relatively liberal alternative to Mubarak. But then Gamal, Hosni’s son, came forward as the heir apparent and Sulieman never got his chair.

    As longtime head of the foreign intell svc he’s certainly part of the state’s westernized posture in the region. And IMHO the most important thing about this revolution is that it might CHANGE that posture, to restore some pressure on Israel to get the Palestinian state back on the rails.

    IE, this revolution is a relief valve for the reasonable outrage that the Wikileaks and Palestine Paper gave rise to. It’s clear that Washington will never discipline Israel. There is a geopolitical need, then, for the most populous Arab state, there on Israel’s border, to assert what one might call natural regional pressure for a just settlement of the Palestine war that began in 1948.

    February 4th, 2011 at 11:14 am

  111. ed says:

    Word on Al Jaz from one of the committee of Ten opposition figures who’ve been talking with Sulieman and the regime’s new ministers. He sounds somewhat hopeful. Idea being:

    Mubarak gets re-dubbed “Honorary President” now and remains such thru the September elections — rather like the honorary monarch of England, I guess, presiding over a parliamentary government the latter which has full exec powers — and that an acceptable portfolio of changes is now enacted to allow the demos to declare victory and start participating in the government.

    This leader’s talk on Al Jaz is followed by a younger activist saying Mubarak as Honorary Prez is still too dangerous. He’d be pulling the strings. The police would still be at work arresting the democracy movement’s leaders, etc.

    February 4th, 2011 at 11:16 am

  112. ed says:

    Nobody we can hear knows how easily the secret police can be reigned in. The sure start is to seize control of their money and stop paying them. That’s how the Stasi eg were shut down, fairly effectively and fairly quickly.

    But can Sulieman (longtinme “CIA” chief) be trusted to dump the army of his former partners in Central Security into the unemployment lines?

    The fundamentals reassert themselves. This is a mature police state. The man sitting atop it is only the tip of an iceberg.

    February 4th, 2011 at 11:24 am

  113. ed says:

    It’s so hard to get out of a police state. One wishes Americans were less blase about sinking into one, as we surely have been since 9/11, with no abatement under Obama at all.

    Our children and grandchildren will curse and damn us to hell one day.

    The demonstrations in Alexandria continue very strong. The train station has been invested with camping demos who say they will not go home, staying thru the night. University area also still full. And the mosque-hotel area on the sea.

    Seems hundreds of thousands still active in Alexandria after dark. Live pictures at the moment on Al Jaz.

    February 4th, 2011 at 11:27 am

  114. ed says:

    Occurs to me that it was possible to effectively stop paying the Stasi because East Germany was not a wealthy place.

    Egypt-Washington-Israel, on the contrary, are rich. So even if the new Interior Minister in Egypt issues all the right orders to shut the police state down, money can still flow and keep the secret agents on the job.

    Indeed, this is how the CIA was born. Truman shut down the OSS (the wartime spy agency) in September 1945, following FDR’s plan.

    Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner (father of the FW that Obama sent to Cairo earlier this week) then simply kept the agents and organs on the payroll, Dulles from his office at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York and Wisner from his desk at the State Department.

    (The Army meanwhile was absorbing the European spy network of nazi general Reinhard Gehlen.)

    Dulles and Wisner kept their OSS agents in place and initiated operations, including the overthrow of the Phillipines government in 1946. All with “private” money from American capitalists looking to conquer the Pacific Rim, ahem, Communism.

    Meanwhile Truman kept refusing public pressure from Dulles, Wisner and a larger group to found something like the CIA.

    And then for reasons that remain mysterious to history, Truman consented in late summer 1947, signing the National Security Act. Upon which the OSS bones that Dulles and Wisner had been keeping warm were reconstituted as CIA Officers.

    So how likely is it that the police state in Egypt can be turned off? I worry for all these youngish people who’ve been speaking their minds so clearly the past weeks. The police are surely taking notes. And retribution is surely a dish best served cold, in a dark cell.

    February 4th, 2011 at 11:37 am

  115. ed says:

    Across the weekend the status quo asserted itself after the Obamarama blessed Sulieman as transitional boss. Hosni will stay in office.

    The big meet among the latter and various opposition voices was a non-starting media event for the status quo. Mubarak will not be resigning. The demos in the square says the protests shall go on. But where can they go?

    Thus, as Sunday Feb 6 concludes, there seems little hope for dismantling the police state. Much danger across the coming months for the leaders of the demos. And one more reason to find Obama a mediocre leader. The Cairo Speech alas remains merely words.

    February 7th, 2011 at 1:47 am

  116. ed says:

    Frank Rich is right about pretty much everything today re Egypt and the Ignorant American.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/opinion/06rich.html

    Every columnist at the Times is writing about Egypt. Maybe means something. ( Israel is at risk? )

    Roger Cohen is perhaps the best:

    Far from chaos, there is serendipitous order. “We’ve been organizing as we go; if there’s a problem, solve it,” Omar el-Shamy, a 21-year-old student who hasn’t left the square for a week, told me. Through necessity talent is allotted: the doctor here, the engineer there, the security guy in that corner and the IT expert in this one.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/opinion/07iht-edcohen07.html

    Nick Kristoff’s heart has been bleeding in Cairo for two weeks it seems:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/opinion/06kristof.html

    Even Tom Friedman is more right than wrong, although he of course (contra Rich) is effusive re Twitter

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/opinion/06friedman.html

    February 7th, 2011 at 1:52 am

  117. ed says:

    Gamal Mubarak’s great pal the steel king had his fancy corporate HQ razed last week along with NDP headquarters.

    “Ahmed Ezz sucks the blood of the people,” said Osama Mohamed Afifi …

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/world/middleeast/07corruption.html

    February 7th, 2011 at 1:52 am

  118. ed says:

    This is worth reading, from a former CIAist, re Muslim Brotherhood among other things

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/opinion/07gerecht.html

    February 7th, 2011 at 1:56 am

  119. ed says:

    Robert Fisk — who in midweek called Obama “gutless” — on Frank G. Wisner’s role:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-envoys-business-link-to-egypt-2206329.html

    It’s all but incredible to think that Wisner was sent under White House color and then allowed to speak his “personal” mind contrary to the Obamarama’s. But that’s the story now put out by the State Department.

    Robert Fisk — who in midweek called Obama “gutless” — on Frank G. Wisner’s role:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-envoys-business-link-to-egypt-2206329.html

    It’s all but incredible to think that Wisner was sent under White House color and then allowed to speak his “personal” mind contrary to the Obamarama’s. But that’s the story now put out by the State Department.

    I guess we have just seen the Shadow Government in action on the street, rare in the glare of public light.

    Wisner of course is the son of the co-founder of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    February 7th, 2011 at 2:18 am

  120. ed says:

    MONDAY FEBRUARY 7

    Demonstrations by the demos continue in Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere despite the apparent victory of Mubarak and the police state on the geopolitical stage.

    The continuing live blog at Al Jaz, with folders for each date from Jan 28 onward …

    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/06/live-blog-feb-7-egypt-protests

    … a good way to keep track without watching the stream all day long.

    The stream:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

    February 7th, 2011 at 9:52 am

  121. ed says:

    The Al Jaz professional journalist arrested late last week was released. Now talking on AJ.

    Says the army took journalists prisoner and treated them as prisoners of war — and beat them and subjected them to low grade torture and psy ops routines.

    February 7th, 2011 at 10:19 am

  122. ed says:

    Wikileaks cable shows Sulieman was israel’s choice to replace Mubarak in 2008

    And here’s a piece that identifies Sulieman as “The CIA’s Man in Cairo.”

    And another more generally about Egypt as a tool of Israel.

    February 7th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

  123. ed says:

    A piece about Hosni’s local and global money empire: Fascism as Mussolini once famously defined it: the union of police power and big business.

    February 7th, 2011 at 9:36 pm

  124. ed says:

    The New York Review of Books (our finest periodical) re the impasse in Palestine

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/feb/24/israel-palestine-breaking-silence/

    February 8th, 2011 at 10:30 am

  125. ed says:

    Another BIG TUESDAY – Feb 8

    Big Tuesday seems to have brought a Revolution Redux, with another big rally inspired by a speech given by a local Google executive just released after two weeks in jail.

    White House Gibbs slaps back Sulieman (for comments yesterday re maybe Egypt isn’t quite ready for democracy).

    Gates at the Pentagon again praises the Egyptian army.

    So it seems Washington today was pressing with support for the demos.

    And the feature NY Times piece of Tuesday reflects more hope and support (from the Times) for the demos than other recents

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/09/world/middleeast/09egypt.html

    Even Tom Friedman believes. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/opinion/08friedman.html?src=ISMR_HP_LO_MST_FB

    February 8th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

  126. ed says:

    The now public rumors of Mubarak’s shocking personal wealth are roiling over there. Widespread calls to look into it legally.

    He was our gangster. Ie, Israel’s gangster. And for loyal service was cut a huge piece of the action.

    February 8th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

  127. ed says:

    Wednesday saw a general strike in support of the demos.

    And the Times telling Obama he fucked up by endorsing Sulieman.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/09/opinion/09wed1.html

    And the active leadership of the revolution comes out of the woodwork:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/world/middleeast/10youth.html

    Asked if he could imagine an Egyptian president who was a Christian woman, he paused. “If it is a government of institutions,” he said, “I don’t care if the president is a monkey.”

    One can see why Baradei was not embraced as the leader (although an assistant of his is in the core group).

    Well, now they’re out there. Will they survive?

    February 10th, 2011 at 12:19 am

  128. ed says:

    Thursday Feb 10 — the key day, perhaps!

    Began with en masse marching by doctors, lawyers and other white-collar workers, out in force following the revelations of day before that the leaders of the demos since January 25 were a group of about 15 doctors, lawyers, journalists and techies.

    Then — the Army commander addresses the crowd at Tahrir Square, indicating Army is stepping in and promising “all your wishes shall be realized.”

    CIA chief Panetta today reported to have said says Mubarak likely to resign before day is over.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/world/middleeast/11egypt.html

    Will VP Sulieman merely step in as president, or something more revolutionary occur?

    February 10th, 2011 at 11:20 am

  129. ed says:

    Head of NDP says it’s the “right thing” for Hosni to step aside.

    Hosni reported to have gone to his villa on the Red Sea with staff, but Prime Minister says Hosni is still in office and power.

    February 10th, 2011 at 11:25 am

  130. ed says:

    !!!!

    Al Jaz reporter from Tahrir Square says the idea there is for a complete retirement of the current constitution. A year-long government led by a “presidential council” in which the Army would take part. A new constitution written by experts. Then elections under that constitution about a year hence.

    This seems to be the dream of the demos organizers/leaders.

    February 10th, 2011 at 11:25 am

  131. ed says:

    A retired Eg general calls in to say that Hosni’s absence from the meeting of the Supreme Council of the Army that took place (apparently today Thursday) indicates that Hosni is no longer in power.

    February 10th, 2011 at 11:32 am

  132. ed says:

    This follows the strong words Monday from the White House and Pentagon in support of the demos and Egy Army, respectively.

    I think we have to assume that Washington did, early-to-mid week, push the Army button as forcefully as it could and that today’s events to some degree follow.

    If so, hats off to Obama and Washington. They done good.

    February 10th, 2011 at 11:36 am

  133. ed says:

    Mubarak will be speaking on Eg TV this evening. Some speculation that it’s a taped message from the presidential palace.

    February 10th, 2011 at 11:38 am

  134. ed says:

    Another retired general cites corruption of “the businessmen” under Mubarak, people “taking all the cake” and riches of the state, as a chief reason for supporting this peaceful revolution.

    February 10th, 2011 at 11:45 am

  135. ed says:

    The Saudi king is reported to have told Obama not to humiliate Mubarak and that if Washington withdraws financial support to the existing regime, Saudi Arabia would step up with cash in support.

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=207647

    Interesting insight into the oil-rich Sunni world and its fears of revolution, from the Shia but perhaps also the demos.

    February 10th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

  136. ed says:

    Here’s a current view from the old militaristic Right in Israel

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=207554

    Here’s a better view also from the Jerusalem Post

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=207558

    February 10th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

  137. ed says:

    State TV announces that Hosni’s impending statement will be LIVE (unusual, it seems — last week’s eg was taped) and from the Prez Palace. So he is still in Cairo.

    February 10th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

  138. ed says:

    Renewed talk from Eg courts re investigations of certain ministers and big businessmen (some of whom had their passports and assets frozen early last week). Seems they are the ones suspected of organizing and funding the Agent Provoc attacks of the first Friday and following Weds and Thurs.

    February 10th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

  139. ed says:

    Cairo cabdriver comments that traffic in the city has been terrible since the secret police were assigned to traffic duty last weekend.

    February 10th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

  140. ed says:

    Well, Hosni seems to have moved against all the signals during the day indicating his departure. He has offered a wider array of constitutional reforms but insists he will not resign until he passes the office to the victor in Sept elections.

    A 20 Million Man March is on for tomorrow.

    What will the army do now — after giving the impression earlier on Thursday — issuing what it called Communique Number One — of having assumed control of the government?

    February 10th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

  141. ed says:

    Uh oh. Eg state TV now says Sulieman will speak. Perhaps to issue orders to the Mob to disperse?

    It seems a dangerous moment. The party/regime structure certainly splintered today. Those still in control are perhaps cornered tigers.

    February 10th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

  142. ed says:

    Sulieman has spoken. Seems to have told the demos to go home or suffer the consequences. Hard to get a precise take given the crude simultaneous translation on the tube.

    But tomorrow, clearly, is a war. The big question is what the army will do. Where does its loyalties lie? Are they as divided as the regime in general now is?

    February 10th, 2011 at 4:47 pm

  143. ed says:

    FRIDAY FEB 10

    El Baradei has a piece in the NY Times this morning. It came up on the website late last night after the Mubarak-Sulieman speeches.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/opinion/11elbaradei.html

    February 11th, 2011 at 9:42 am

  144. ed says:

    So far Friday, general fears of all hell breaking loose have not been realized. 430 pm over there and no mayhem in evidence.

    Just the demos, out again in massive force, with the army speaking mildly in support of the regime as it protects the state TV station, the prez palace in Cairo, another prez residence in Alexandria along the lovely turquoise sea ,..

    February 11th, 2011 at 9:43 am

  145. ed says:

    The lack of political leadership among the demos is telling and a real problem.

    Baradei’s piece in the Times (see above) might be imagined to lead to something, but it seems the 30-somethings who have organized the demos since Jan 25 don’t accept him as their leader.
    (This is my impression — it’s a big question that I haven’t seen anyone speak to.)

    It remains clear that serious divides in the Egyptian regime were made public yesterday. The head of NDP saying Hosni should go. A senior Army commander at Lib Square telling the demos all its hopes would be realized.

    If only the demos had a brain intent upon assuming some power, perhaps it might acquire some. But the 30-something organizers seem clearly to have limited themselves to making demands. One can see why the army today has kinda spoken in support of the now-reformed status quo.

    February 11th, 2011 at 9:44 am

  146. ed says:

    Part of the problem is the mature police state resisting to the end any possibility of its people being prosecuted for their crimes across the years. The Wikileaks cable by US Ambassador Scobey, detailing the “routine” and “pervasive” torture practiced upon common criminals and political prisoners alike by the police state’s police is background here.

    February 11th, 2011 at 10:12 am

  147. ed says:

    But part of the problem too is a demos that seems — despite its bristling anger about Mubarak’s “paternalism” — to be playing the role of the temperamental, demanding child.

    Eg, if most of Mubarak’s power has been transferred to Sulieman, then the continuing demands for Mubarak’s resignation are somewhat in apt. But the demos is still chanting Hosni Go, with heightened anger and (last night post speeches) streaming tears.

    February 11th, 2011 at 10:13 am

  148. ed says:

    THERE THEY GO.

    “Taking into consideration the difficult circumstances the country is going through, President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave the post of president of the republic and has tasked the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to manage the state’s affairs,” Mr. Suleiman, grave and ashen, said in a brief televised statement.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/world/middleeast/12egypt.html

    February 11th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

  149. ed says:

    A good panel at Democracy Now as the cheers echo west.

    http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2011/2/11/the_egyptian_revolution_a_democracy_now_special_on_mubaraks_resignation

    February 11th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

  150. ed says:

    For the Supreme Council of the armed forces to take over seems to mean Sulieman too is on the short side here, even if he participates in the council.

    His presence there would console Israel.

    But the refusal to allow him to become president seems a significant indication of the army’s disposition along the democracy-tyranny spectrum.

    February 11th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

  151. ed says:

    Aha, el Baradei is out voicing the year-long interim government plan aired a few days ago when the organizers of the demos came out of the woodwork.

    Listening to Mona Seif I recall … last Wednesday night, as the Agent Provocs were attacking in force, when she cried that they would die on the square if necessary, that if they turn around now “they will hunt us one by one” and the like. The voice of Liberation Square, in my mind. You can hear her tonight, on the Democracy Now linked just above.

    Nice to think so many people in the world are so happy tonight.

    February 11th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

  152. ed says:

    Dr Sally Moore, who teaches bellydancing, was one of the prime organizers, as detailed in the NY Times piece linked a dozen or two comments above.

    http://www.bellydance4wellbeing.co.uk/id1.html

    February 11th, 2011 at 8:35 pm

  153. ed says:

    Woolsey is a great sick fuck and he’s out there already pushing the Likud line:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/02/11/exp.woolsey.egypt.next.regime.cnn

    Woolsey was a PNAC founder calling for war on Iraq in 1998:

    http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

    As great a threat as the Iranian/shia interference that Woolsey trumpets is false-flag radicalization by the Mossad aimed at undoing the newborn democracy movement.

    February 11th, 2011 at 9:35 pm

  154. ed says:

    There’s a great interview on Al Jaz with a rep from the truly progressive pro-Israel Washington organ called J STREET.

    There IS a Left in Israel that wants to settle the 1948 war.

    Overcoming the Israeli Right in Washington (aka “Likud Lobby”) is a huge task. The people at J Street are working on that.

    February 11th, 2011 at 9:35 pm

  155. ed says:

    Al Jaz English streaming:
    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

    ?”I’m so proud, I’m so proud, I’m so proud!” a young Egyptian woman cries …

    February 11th, 2011 at 9:36 pm

  156. ed says:

    Can the number being thrown around the past week re Mubarak’s personal wealth — 70 BILLION — can it really be true?

    February 11th, 2011 at 9:38 pm

  157. ed says:

    Time to go to a new thread to follow events post Hosni — as Algiers goes up in arms.

    http://newcombat.net/Conversation/2011/02/11/egypt-after-hosni-algeria/

    February 11th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

  158. Conversation » Day One After Hosni:Algeria up in arms says:

    [...] the sun comes up on the first day After Hosni, Saturday February 12 — Algiers is now up in arms, with a reported 30,000 police trucked in [...]

    February 12th, 2011 at 9:41 am

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