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Posted at 9:33 AM ET, 02/ 4/2011

A fateful day in Egypt

By Jennifer Rubin

A former Middle East negotiator told me last night that with Friday prayers, it's hard to predict how many Egyptians will be in the streets today and how much violence will occur. Mubarak "may have concluded the only way out is a Tiananmen [Square]," meaning a bloody crackdown. Mubarak might be able to do it, the negotiator observed, "but if he does we'll have to freeze military aid at once -- and the Army loses its position in Egypt, which is a real danger."

Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies agrees that today is key. "Mubarak obviously believes he can tire out the protesters. I think the lesser numbers Thursday probably underscore that his strategy has merit." But he, too, is uncertain whether crowd numbers will rise on Friday and during the weekend. He cautions that the unleashing of brutal thugs "should say something about [Mubarak's] brutality."

Something else telling occurred on Thursday: Members of the Western media were brutalized, beaten and, in some cases, imprisoned. We might bemoan that some of the coverage then became rather egocentric. When Egyptians are dying in the streets, I'm not sure we need to dwell on Anderson Cooper's injuries. But the positive aspect of this is that the U.S. and world media are fully invested in Mubarak's downfall. It might seem petty for journalists to become energized only when they are pummeled, but that is an inseparable part of the 24-7 news cycle -- the media's self-infatuation.

In this case, that self-regard has positive consequences. The media make common cause with their oppressed counterparts. (Twitter binds American and Egyptian bloggers together.) And the pressure on the U.S. and other governments to act more forcefully intensifies. Realpolitik is definitely out of fashion. And perhaps most important, the Egyptian military knows that it has been observed, filmed and scrutinized, not only by Mubarak but before people around the world.

And so we will see whether Mubarak has so debased the hearts and souls of his functionaries that they, like the Chinese Communists, are willing to slaughter their own people. But if the administration is doing anything right, it is in stepping up military-to-military contacts, pressuring the Egyptian officers whom we have supported so lavishly. We are, according to multiple reports, urging them not to be Mubarak's instrument of oppression. If not Obama and his hapless civilian advisers, perhaps our fine military men can steer Egypt away from destruction. We should pray they do.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 4, 2011; 9:33 AM ET
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Comments

Even PBS noted Thursday night that rumours had been spread that foreign journalists were "Israeli agents provocateurs". (pernicious rumours is what I think the reporter said).

Most of what I see on CNN has been amplifying the scope of the anti-Mubarak protestors whilst deriding the pro-Mubarak protestors, and also emphasizing the panicky departures of thousands of tourists and western workers.

CNN's skewed reports are why I always default to Bloomberg Business News where at least they report on the various ways the Cairo protests have/are totally disrupting the Egyptian economy.

I find it astonishing that Right Turn has been so easily duped by so much filtered 'reporting', infected by magical thinking.

Tens of Millions of Egyptians depend on daily subsidized bread. It seems very selfish of Tens of Thousands of twittering protestors to actually put the lives of millions at risk.

Posted by: K2K2 | February 4, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

So yesterday you were all worried about the MB, today, eh not so much! I give up tracking your changes Jennifer.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 4, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I was watching Hannity last night.

He had Michelle Malkin on, and though I have heaard the name before and maybe saw her face, I knew nothing about her.

She crticized Obama, which I later learned is her bread and butter, and then he asked her what we SHOULD be doing in Egypt.

The question surprised me because, because I'm pretty good at the names of important people, and I wondered how I missed what her previous role in government or business was.

Anyway, her answer was, forgive me for paraphrasing, we should support the government of Egypt, Mubarak, and our allies in Israel and at the same time support all the true freedom loving people in the area. I'm not kidding, it was THAT junior high school/ Miss America contestant!

So I did a little research.

Malkin is apparently a writer, and that's about it. An English major from Oberlin College, she's never held a government position, nor been in the military, nor run for office, nor run a business, nor done anything whatsoever but dispense her opinion on things of which she has no personal knowledge.

To answer the unasked question, yes it WOULD be just as ridiculous to hear the loathesome Keith Olbermann give his opinion about what we should be doing in Egypt too.

So anyway I find Hannity a lot of fun some nights like tonight, I'm just astonished that there are people on both sides in the viewing audience who take the commentators on Fox and MSNBC for informed experts (note, Elliott Abrams really IS an expert, not the kind of person I'm referring to).

As to who I have been listening to Mohamed El-Erian of Pimco, for one, a terrific business man and Egyptian by birth.

However I woonder about my own trust in his opinion because he is exactly the sort of Westernized charismatic person who appeals greatly to Americans in all non Western nations. It makes me wonder does he really know what the Egyptian public and government is thinking/planning or is he too far removed?

I think it's symptomatic of the bad side of the 24 hour news cycle today, that we're inundated with opinions, not knowledge.

Somewhere (for you old timers) Phil Donahue is smiling, triumphant at last!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 4, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Given our limited ability to have any impact, and the uncertainty as to what the consequences of any action would be, the most sensible approach seems to be Krauthammer's (sp?): work with the Egyptian military to guide a transition to free elections. If everyone understands that 1) a new day is coming, and within months, and 2) power will not come from throwing rocks in the street, then who's in charge in the interim won't matter much. The difficulty, of course, is in making the promise of change credible. That may be where the US can help.

Posted by: Mahon1 | February 4, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Will Egypt be China's first customer for its new stealth fighter?

Posted by: aardunza | February 4, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Drat. As Phil might say, let's have a show of hands on that.

Posted by: aardunza | February 4, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps if Ms. Rubin had the courage to be in Cairo herself she would think differently about reporters being beaten. Instead she is safe and sound passing judgements from 8000 miles away. I should have respect for this why?

Posted by: kchses1 | February 4, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

A free-for-all among all Michelles on the Obama question. Paul McCartney is most likely the culprit for that trend. But it will change -- I'm a firm follower of the Schlesinger cycle theory of first names. There, said the piece and will now go away in peace.

Posted by: aardunza | February 4, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Mahon:

It's the transitional time that is always the most dicey. Cuba is the rarity where you went from capitalism to communism in one easy step. In most revolutions, the interim government is the one that gets killed, both figuratively and literally.

All the people discussing Iran don't remember that there really was a secular (comparatively speaking) interim before rule by Ayatollah decree. Most of those leaders were assasinated or executed.

Mubark staying is probably impossible. The successor government is not likely to be the final type.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 4, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The Egyptian military is playing this well. They are the real regime, not President Mubarak, and by not forcing him out precipitously they are keeping the demonstrators' focus on Mubarak rather than on them. Mubarak is a sick, old man who's leaving next fall anyway, and the military has achieved its main goal of eliminating his nonmilitary son Gamal as his successor.

The army has allowed violence to break out the past couple of days but is now maintaining order, thus calming the crisis and boosting their own approval. They have two possible courses from here, both favorable to their own interests: Watch the demonstrations gradually peter out and then stick with the announced plan; or, if pressure builds rather than dissipates, when it finally becomes intolerable put Mubarak on a plane and replace him with Suleimane or their chief of staff.

Either way the army should enhance its already high prestige and popularity. Many Egyptians are yearning for normalcy, so that they can get on with their lives and feed their families. Remember, they are watching state-controlled TV. Maybe the Saudis will give the regime some money to buy bread or something. In any event, the army looks like it will survive as the guarantor of the state, which is our main strategic interest.

I hope the army will take sincere steps towards introducing human rights and the institutions required for representative democracy, with firm checks against an Islamist takeover. The absolute best case would be an eventual alliance between the army and democratic reformers, with the Muslim Brotherhood and their puppet ElBaradei left on the outside.

If Egypt is very fortunate, it will develop a constitutional republic with a popular army to guard against the schemes of the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood. The conspirators who murdered Sadat thirty years ago must not be allowed anywhere near the levers of power.

Posted by: eoniii | February 4, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

eonii:

We've been agreeing on much in this debate, but I have to point out something from the above:

"The absolute best case would be an eventual alliance between the army and democratic reformers, with the Muslim Brotherhood and their puppet ElBaradei left on the outside."

How can you have "democratic" reforms, that exclude the biggest opposition political party in the nation? I don't have an answer to that question, but the implication is the key to the future is it not?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 4, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

johnmarshall, I love democracy and human rights, but I recognize that the MB would impose Sharia and wage jihad, because they've said so. If the army thinks the MB would win an election, then they should be excluded and suppressed. If they would get only 20% of the vote or so, then let them serve in Parliament but not hold any portfolios in the government. Treat them like Cold War French and Italian governments treated the Communists -- as a disloyal opposition that none of the respectable parties would form a coalition with.

To me, it's all tactics. Do whatever works to prevent an unimaginable geopolitical catastrophe, a MB takeover of the most important Arab country. If the Islamists ever get a seat at the table and the army is neutered, they will do just as Hezbollah did in Lebanon -- murder and intimidate their way into power. We must not give superficial democratic forms priority over the long-term Egyptian project of liberty and a pluralist democracy.

Someone said that the rule of scorpions in a jar is that the big scorpion always eats the little scorpions. The disciplined MB looks like the big scorpion and the disorganized democratic reformers the little scorpions. I wouldn't mind at all if the army squashed the big scorpion. They'll have a pretext soon enough.

Posted by: eoniii | February 4, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

eonii:

I don't know enough about Egypt to know if your strategy will work, but it seems to be the currently most likely outcome.

It maybe necessary, and it may be successful, but let's be honest and not call it democracy because that would be pretending.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 4, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if it will work, but I think it's the army's strategy. They're smart enough to know they need to broaden their base by bringing in democratic reformers but to realize the danger presented by the Muslim Brotherhood. Our administration is idiotically decreeing that a new government must include "non-secular" parties, i.e. the MB. The army is thankfully ignoring our orders. As long as they don't have to fire on the protesters, I think they'll emerge stronger.

Posted by: eoniii | February 4, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Are you sure you understand their meaning? I would consider the MB a secular party, because of their orientation.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 4, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"Secular" means not specifically religious or tied to a religious body. You may be thinking of "sectarian", which means confined to the dogmatic limts of a sect. That's what the Brotherhood is. Their credo is:

"Allah is our goal; the Prophet is our guide; the Quran is our constitution; Jihad is our way; and death for the glory of Allah is our greatest ambition."

The MB believes that all legitimate law comes from Allah, as revealed to his Prophet in the Quran. The rest is just details. The idea of popular sovereignty is blasphemous to them, but they are eager to use an election to gain political power -- so that they can impose a permanent theocracy, or Sharia law, and then wage jihad against their enemies. There's no role for such people in a liberal democracy because they abhor that particular infidel institution.

Posted by: eoniii | February 4, 2011 10:44 PM | Report abuse

well stated eonii. The Muslim Brotherhood is the foundational Sunni Political Islamist movement. Sunnis historically have been more comfortable with a separation between the ruler/government and religious leadership.
The MB emerged from the post-colonial frustration with 'unjust' rulers (14th century Damascene Ibn Tamiyya's contribution to the concept of unjust ruler).
From al Banna (sp?) to Sayyid Qutb to Hamas and Al Qaeda.

I am hoping that the Obami know how unpopular America is on Egypt's 'street', and that calling for inclusion of non-secular factions, i.e., MB, is intended to freak out Egyptians. Besides, the MB keeps saying they will not engage in talks with the government until Mubarak is gone, further making them look intransigent.

Considering how invested the military is in the economy (they even make dishwashers!), they are treading a fine line. Mubarak is one of them, and anything other than an orderly, peaceful transition will make the military look weak. They certainly do not want to have to fight another war with Israel, as some of the MB have been calling for.

Very heartening to know the current Cairene rumours are that foreign journalists are Israeli spies - at least the Israelis are now given human form, instead of those Mossad-trained sharks :)

Now we can speculate on what Amr Moussa might throw into the mix.

Posted by: K2K2 | February 5, 2011 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Good post, K2K2. Obama is mainly posing for American audiences who are soaking up the incomplete media narrative of earnest young democrats peacefully protesting autocratic rule. If he were actually trying to help the Egyptians find a peaceful solution, he wouldn't be hectoring Mubarak and the military, who are too proud to be publicly ordered about by a rather weak American president. He's making himself look ridiculous, and by extension our country.

I'm hoping the military has a sound plan to wait out the demonstrators while maintaining their popularity with the people. Their ability to stand outside politics as the protector of the nation is a precious resource that will be needed eventually against the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Egyptian military understands how dangerous this group is that assassinated Sadat and spawned Hamas. It's a delusion shared by liberals and neo-cons that participating in government would moderate the MB's hateful goals. That certainly didn't happen when Hamas won the election in Gaza in 2005. The MB hasn't softened their rhetoric one iota, but the mainstream media studiously ignores what they tell us about their intentions.

Posted by: eoniii | February 5, 2011 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Will you get over your obsession with the MB eonii? You're like a kid who's convinced there are mosters under his bed.

You love to quote the MB to demonstrate how scary they are, but then dismiss any comments from them to the contrary.

These past few days the MB has:

1. Rejected Kameni's claim that the demonstrations have anything to do with Islam

2. Said they would not field a presidential cnadidate in upcomming elections.

Does that sound like Shariah imposing, terrorist loving, jihadists to you?

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: eoniii | February 5, 2011 1:37 AM

"The MB hasn't softened their rhetoric one iota, but the mainstream media studiously ignores what they tell us about their intentions."

That's because you have your nands clamped so fiercely ober your ears every time you hear rhetoric that doesn't sound extreme.

So let's enlighten you

1. The Muslim Brotherhood has ruled out fielding a candidate for the office of president

http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/brotherhood-says-no-plans-for-egypt-presidential-bid

This was confirmed by a spokesman for the MB on CNN.

2. A statement issued today by the group said that “the clear popular desire (is) that Egypt be a civilian-ruled, democratic state” and that they would also support this position. They did however offer to play an additional role in negotiating the end of the Mubarak regime.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middleeast/news/article_1617073.php/Muslim-Brotherhood-says-it-does-not-aim-to-rule-Egypt-Extra


This was confirmed by a spokesman for the MB on CNN.

3. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the upheaval in the region is a defeat for the U.S., and a 'liberating Islamic movement.' But Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood rejects his statement, calling it the 'Egyptian people's revolution.'

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-khamenei-iran-egypt-20110205,0,3601046.story?track=rss

I know it's a waste of time pointing this out to you, but I'm providing it just in case you have a lucid, non paranoid moment of clarity.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 4, 2011 6:52 PM

eonii:

I don't know enough about Egypt to know if your strategy will work, but it seems to be the currently most likely outcome.

--------------

Rest assume John, eonii knows even less about Egypt and is basing all his opinions on right wing blogs written by Islampohobic ignoramuses.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 6:26 AM | Report abuse

shingo:

You're a counter-puncher, which I understand because I'm one too.

If you don't mind though, put yourself on the spot and take the lead on this one. What do you expect the government of Egypt will look like on say January 1, 2012?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 5, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

eonii, I would add a point that, in general, it is a bad precedent for an autocrat to be forced to resign by a noisy crowd (in this case so over-amplified by western media), especially when a presidential election is already scheduled.
One of the great strengths of western democracies like America and most of Western Europe (dare I include Israel?) is the example of the peaceful transfer of power through electoral processes.

I believe Belgium has now set the time record for inability to form a government after elections, although Belgium does not require UN troops like the ongoing post-election stalemate in Ivory Coast.

Meanwhile, the Bedouin of Sinai are throwing their 'hats into the ring', although it remains unclear whether the gas pipeline from Egypt to Jordan explosion was Bedouin sabotage:

"Bedouin Arms Smugglers See Opening in Sinai" FEBRUARY 5, 2011.
By MATT BRADLEY in El Arish, Egypt, and JOSHUA MITNICK in Nitzanei Sinai, Israel
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704570104576124363132383924.html
"...The isolated Sinai Bedouin—who number in the hundreds of thousands—have long felt mistreated by Egyptian authorities, complaining about heavy-handed treatment by the police and about being excluded from the Sinai Peninsula's recent economic windfall from tourism and mineral resources.

Now, some Bedouins say they have been arming themselves to prevent police from returning to the peninsula.

"The Bedouin need freedom. They need respect. The Bedouin are not hungry for food, they are hungry for honor," said Mosa Delhi, a Bedouin leader.
...
In Sinai, most Bedouin—a largely nomadic ethnic group that live in desert regions across the Middle East—are herders and ranchers, and live isolated lifestyles bound by strict codes of honor and loyalty. They tend to resist national loyalties, choosing instead to hew to tribal alliances and family connections. ...
Menachm Zafrir, a former civilian security liaison at the border farming cooperative at Nitzanei Sinai, said he has noticed in the past week that Egyptian border forces are no longer facing toward Israel. They have turned around toward Sinai, he said, "to make sure the Bedouin don't slaughter them.""

Posted by: K2K2 | February 5, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Shingo, of course the Muslim Brotherhood is the main threat to American interests, modernism, and the birth of a liberal democracy. Though they are adopting a popular front tactic at the moment, their goals are clear -- sharia and jihad -- and their history of conspiracy and assassination -- the murder of Sadat and probably the attempt on the life of Egypt's VP Suleiman last Monday -- attests to how dangerous they are. I'm heartened that they evidently lack the majority support to run their own candidate for president and must run a puppet like ElBaradei, but that just means they plan to seize power in stages.

What matters most is the survival of the army as the power that guarantees the state and protects it from the jihadists. Egypt is a very backward society beyond the small westernized middle class. This excerpt from the writer who uses the pen name Spengler gives a hint of what modernizers are up against:

"Nine out of ten Egyptian women suffer genital mutilation. US President Barack Obama said Jan. 29, “The right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny … are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere.” Does Obama think that genital mutilation is a human rights violation? To expect Egypt to leap from the intimate violence of traditional society to the full rights of a modern democracy seems whimsical.

In fact, the vast majority of Egyptians has practiced civil disobedience against the Mubarak regime for years. The Mubarak government announced a “complete” ban on genital mutilation in 2007, the second time it has done so – without success, for the Egyptian population ignored the enlightened pronouncements of its government. Do Western liberals cheer at this quiet revolt against Mubarak’s authority?

Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt’s First Lady, continues to campaign against the practice, which she has denounced as “physical and psychological violence against children.” Last May 1, she appeared at Aswan City alongside the provincial governor and other local officials to declare the province free of it. And on October 28, Mrs Mubarak inaugurated an African conference on stopping genital mutilation.

The most authoritative Egyptian Muslim scholars continue to recommend genital mutilation."

Posted by: eoniii | February 5, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

K2K2, I agree. It's important that the protesters see that their reasonable demands for civil liberties and representative democracy are being met in an orderly way, but that the army rather than a mob in the streets is still in charge. Rule by a mob inevitably leads to a small, disciplined cadre seizing power. That is how most revolutions end, and in this case it would be the Muslim Brotherhood. That's why the authority of the military must be preserved. The US government should not undermine the military in any way.

Posted by: eoniii | February 5, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Eonii, the Muslim Brotherhood is no threat to America in any way. They are just the latest in the ongiong list of boogie men that you've been told to be afaid of, and like a good little soldier, you've followed the instructions.

Before that, you were told that Iran was the main threat to America.
Before that, you were told that Taliban was the main threat to America.
Before that, you were told that Al Qaeda was the main threat to America.
Before that, you were told that Saddam was the main threat to America.
Before that, you were told that Noriega was the main threat to America.
Before that, you were told the Sviet Union was the main threat to America.

The MB support modernism, and have been pushing for democracy for decades. They assassinated one leader. So did Israel. So did the US.

It's obvious that youve been consuming a stedy diet of Faux News hysteria. No one but them reported on any attempt on Suleiman's life, which means it mnever happened.

You clearly have no regard for democracy, but are enemoured with dictatriship and martial law. No army has any role to polay in creating a democracy, which is why the US military is forbidden from operating inside the US.

There is nothing backward about Egypt's socieity, but you ignorance is clearly born of deep seated rascism and contempt for Islam.

"Nine out of ten Egyptian women suffer genital mutilation."

Egypt has had a ban on female circumcision since 2007. Neither the Qur'an nor the Bible demand or mention female circumcision

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6251426.stm

It does hwoevr ring very hollow when someone who has such contempt for human life in an Arab state pretends to have any reagrd for women's rights. You no dobt suported the Iraq war that killed hundreds of thuosands of women.

"In fact, the vast majority of Egyptians has practiced civil disobedience against the Mubarak regime for years."

And Mubarak has practiced brutal repression every time.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: eoniii | February 5, 2011 2:04 PM

"That's why the authority of the military must be preserved. The US government should not undermine the military in any way."

That's totalitarnianism or fascism, which you clearly favor over democracy.

BTW. It's laughable that you expressed such outrage over the alledged attemtp on the life of the torture point man, yet fully suport the killing of 300 civilians by Mubarak's hired thugs.

Clearly, you coudl less for the Egyptian public.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

The Egyptian State Media has officially denied there was any attempt on Suleiman's life.

So another one of eonii's hysterical anti MB conspiracy theories goes up in smoke.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Shingo, I'm the opposite of a fascist. I hate totalitarianism of all stripes, be it communist, fascist or Islamist. They each embody Orwell's nightmare vision of the future, "a boot stamping on a human face -- forever". As Jean Kirkpatrick pointed out in the 1980s, a mere dictatorship can evolve toward democracy (South Korea, the Philippines, we hope Egypt), but a totalitarian regime (North Korea, Cuba) will not. The mullahs in Iran will never "evolve", but some day we hope the Iranians will overthrow them.

Hillary Clinton, after a shaky start, seems to be catching on to the fact that the Egyptian military is our best bet. Maybe she's been reading my posts. ;) Today her envoy to Egypt said that Mubarak should stay through the election, and Hillary endorsed the guy you've called "the torture point man":

"In her most striking remarks, the US secretary of state said: 'There are forces at work in any society, particularly one that is facing these kind of challenges, that will try to derail or overtake the process to pursue their own agenda, which is why I think it’s important to follow the transition process announced by the Egyptian government, actually headed by vice-president Omar Suleiman.' "

As to the accounts that an assassination attempt was made on Suleiman, killing two of his guards, it's unclear what actually happened. The Egyptian government has denied the reports, as you said.

Posted by: eoniii | February 5, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

eonii: I read Spengler yesterday - and found it fascinating how he used the resistance to Mubarak's efforts to ban female "circumcision" to illustrate the difficulty of 'modernizing' a very traditional Egyptian populace. Too bad Mubarak did not do more about education first.

I thought Sec Clinton's remarks reflect the realization of how important it is to the development of true democracy to have a peaceful transfer of power. Maybe someone finally figured out the anti-Mubarak protestors are a small minority without a clear leader, and Egypt is probably about thirty days away from serious bread shortages for the TENS of MILLIONS of Egyptians who subsist on less than $2 per day and rely on government subsidized bread from bakeries owned by the military (the military IS Egypt's government since 1952). and tourism, which brings in the foreign exchange to import wheat, has almost shut down. and the gas pipeline to Jordan is in flames.

A truly fascinating, and tragic, example of how foreign media over-amplifies the protests of a small minority.

Maybe Amr Moussa will step forward, but I sense, as president of the Arab League, he actually represents the status quo. The Saudis will not bail out a leaderless coalition of leftists, intellectuals, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Posted by: K2K2 | February 5, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: eoniii | February 5, 2011 8:35 PM

"Today her envoy to Egypt said that Mubarak should stay through the election, and Hillary endorsed the guy you've called "the torture point man""

And then went on to retract that statement, which suggests that Clinton disagrees with your posts.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12374753

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: K2K2 | February 5, 2011 9:56 PM

"The Saudis will not bail out a leaderless coalition of leftists, intellectuals, and the Muslim Brotherhood."

The saudi's days are numbered. Hopefully they will be displaced sooner rather than later.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to hear what PJ Crowley said when he disavowed Wisner's claims:

"Spokesman Philip Crowley said Frank Wisner's views were his own, and not co-ordinated with the US government."

Wisner is of course, a lobbyist for Egypt, so he was probably trying to act on behalf of his client Mubarak, rather than his client, the US.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

eoniii,

The Philipines did not evolve into a democracy. Marcos was overthrown by popular revolt, just like we are witnessing in Egypt.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 5, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

You're right about the Philippines but wrong about Wisner. He just returned from discussions with Mubarak on behalf of Obama. He was expressing the new US policy that Mubarak should stay through the elections to insure an orderly process. This is our actual policy but not our public policy.

Also, I quoted above Hillary's endorsement of VP Suleiman leading the democratization process. The US government is not supporting the escalating demands of the protesters. We're backing the army to maintain order so long as they don't fire on the protesters. The army and the protesters seem to be on pretty good terms.

Mubarak's decision not to seek re-election and his son no longer being a possible successor is a huge victory for the pro-democracy forces. At this point, they should go home and prepare to participate in the electoral process.

Posted by: eoniii | February 6, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

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