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Why Mubarak is Out
February 2, 2011 6:15 AM   Subscribe

Why Mubarak is Out by Jadaliyya, an independent Ezine produced by ASI (Arab Studies Institute) — Many international media commentators are having a hard time understanding the complexity of forces driving and responding to these momentous events. This confusion is driven by the binary “good guys versus bad guys” lenses most use to view this uprising. Such perspectives obscure more than they illuminate. There are three prominent binary models out there and each one carries its own baggage: (1) People versus Dictatorship: This perspective leads to liberal naïveté and confusion about the active role of military and elites in this uprising. (2) Seculars versus Islamists: This model leads to a 1980s-style call for “stability” and Islamophobic fears about the containment of the supposedly extremist “Arab street.” (3) Old Guard versus Frustrated Youth: This lens imposes a 1960s-style romance on the protests but cannot begin to explain the structural and institutional dynamics driving the uprising, nor account for the key roles played by many 70-year-old Nasser-era figures.

To map out a more comprehensive view, it may be helpful to identify the moving parts within the military and police institutions of the security state and how clashes within and between these coercive institutions relate to shifting class hierarchies and capital formations. I will also weigh these factors in relation to the breadth of new non-religious social movements and the internationalist or humanitarian identity of certain figures emerging at the center of the new opposition coalition.
posted by heatherann (78 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Related:
Mubarak supporters, protesters clash in Egypt.

Live video feed of protests and counter-demonstrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
posted by ericb at 6:22 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


That was the most informative thing I've read about the uprising.

Here's a key bit that illustrates how complicated the whole thing really is:
A second group is organized through the very active and assertive legal culture and independent judicial institutions in Egypt. This strong legal culture is certainly not a “Western human rights” import. Lawyers, judges and millions of litigants – men and women, working-class, farmers, and elite – have kept alive the judicial system and have a long unbroken history of resisting authoritarianism and staking rights claims of all sorts.  A third group of new social movements represents the intersection of internationalist NGOs, judicial-rights groups and the new leftist, feminist, rural and worker social movements. The latter group critiques the universalism of UN and NGO secular discourses, and draws upon the power of Egypt’s legal and labor activism, but also has its own innovative strategies and solutions – many of which have been on prominent display on the streets this week.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:37 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a current Egypt thread this could possibly fit into.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:42 AM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


ericb

thanks, that video stream is out of control
posted by coolxcool=rad at 6:42 AM on February 2, 2011


The Guardian:

... the regime [Mubarak] presided over for 30 years is still very much in power and will remain so until a new order can be established... The survival plan centres on Omar Suleiman... Suleiman is, in effect, heading a junta of former or acting military officers. Mubarak has been reduced to a figurehead, sheltering behind this clique. But they will not humiliate him. ... Part of Suleiman's plan is immediate talks with the opposition, however defined. Again, this posture will reduce western pressure on the regime. ... In dealing with those who reject Mubarak's move as insufficient, the regime's strategy may be to wait them out, to hope that, in time, the fervour and size of the protests will abate – that they will run out of steam. ... if Suleiman plays his cards well, Washington may rally round a regime-led transition.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:52 AM on February 2, 2011


The Armed Forces of the Arab Republic of Egypt are quite unrelated to the Markazi or police and see themselves as a distinct kind of state altogether. One could say that Egypt is still a “military dictatorship” (if one must use that term) since this is still the same regime that the Free Officers’ Revolution installed in the 1950s. But the military has been marginalized since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accords with Israel and the United States.

Marginalised? The Egyptian military is the second largest recipient of American foreign aid after the Israel Defense Forces. If anything Egyptian military has hugely benefitted from the peace treaty with Israel. Only Sadat took the bullets.

It seems that maybe the Egyptian military are also tired of Mr. Mubarak - they are obviously not throwing their support behind Mubarak and opposing the demonstrators - but this does not in any way mean that they are conceding power to "the people." Right now, the people are helping the generals to get rid of Mubarak. The real fight might come later when the people find out that the military regime has other ideas about reform. But throw Hosni under the bus? In a minute.
posted by three blind mice at 6:57 AM on February 2, 2011


I blame the mummies.
posted by jonmc at 7:06 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's getting ugly in Tahrir Square:
Al Jazeera English: Live Stream

Video: 'Bedlam' In The Streets.

CNN's Anderson Cooper Attacked, Punched In The Head By Pro-Mubarak Mob In Egypt.

Egypt Pro-Government Supporters Clash With Anti-Government Protesters (w/ updates).
posted by ericb at 7:14 AM on February 2, 2011


Where human nature is concerned, all differences are matters of degree rather than kind.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:23 AM on February 2, 2011


the bottom line is that any government in egypt which is responsible to public opinion is not going to stay on the sidelines for things like the US invasion of Iraq or Israel's attack on Hezbollah.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:31 AM on February 2, 2011


Smoke coming from the Egyptian Museum, it looks like it might be on fire, or something very, very close to it is on fire.
posted by geoff. at 7:38 AM on February 2, 2011


It also looks like the people throwing large objects on the roofs are definitely pro-Mubarak. They look really dangerous and the supporters appear to be trying to set the buildings on fire. If you're not watching this is all right next to the museum. It looks like the smoke coming from the museum has stopped.
posted by geoff. at 7:40 AM on February 2, 2011


There's a current Egypt thread this could possibly fit into.

That's really more a Slavoj Žižek thread than an Egypt thread.

It's getting ugly in Tahrir Square

It's really disgusting these Mubarak thugs are trying to do to what has so far been such a beautiful up-swelling of Democracy.

If it wasn't settled before, I'd say the appalling spectacle of Mubarak's police goons infiltrating the crowds of peace-loving Egyptians with clubs and knives in an attempt to intimidate Democracy back into hiding for the benefit of their dictator settles beyond all doubt that Mubarak needs to step out of the way now--not tomorrow, but today.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:42 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It's really disgusting what these Mubarak thugs..."
posted by saulgoodman at 7:43 AM on February 2, 2011


CNN is reporting and showing Mubarack's thugs hurling numerous Molotov cocktails from the rooves of buildings down into the crowd of anti-Mubarack protesters.
posted by ericb at 8:08 AM on February 2, 2011


CNN -- Egypt crisis: Anti-government demonstrators fear bloodbath after dark.
posted by ericb at 8:09 AM on February 2, 2011


So you've got the kindasorta police, the not quite police, the not police either, and the not really a military any more none of which will admit that any other is the boss of me. I can see this is going to end well.
posted by localroger at 8:13 AM on February 2, 2011


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs just issued the following statement:
"The United States deplores and condemns the violence that is taking place in Egypt, and we are deeply concerned about attacks on the media and peaceful demonstrators. We repeat our strong call for restraint."
posted by ericb at 8:14 AM on February 2, 2011


It needs to be highlighted with as bright a light as possible that these thugs are not in fact ordinary civilian protesters, but Mubaraks private goon squad, because the military has vowed not to attack protesters. These criminals are not protesters, and the military should do everything in its power to protect the people of Egypt from Mubarak's thugs.

There are going to be a lot of attempts to spin these violent acts as the acts of legitimate pro-Mubarak protesters, and to characterize them as the inevitable outcome of mass Democratic uprising, rather than what they are: a cynical, calculated political move on Mubarak's part, meant to exploit the Egyptians army's commitment to not harming civilian protesters.

So it's vitally important to counter that spin at every opportunity.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:15 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


So you've got the kindasorta police, the not quite police, the not police either, and the not really a military any more none of which will admit that any other is the boss of me.

"A Cairo resident tells translator Jafar Jafari that he can see people wearing military uniforms who are not actually military personnel, but instead members of the police force."*
posted by ericb at 8:17 AM on February 2, 2011


"A Cairo resident tells translator Jafar Jafari that he can see people wearing military uniforms who are not actually military personnel, but instead members of the police force."*

Shit, they're trying to stoke mistrust between the protesters and the military.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:21 AM on February 2, 2011


So is the military gonna sit by and let Mubarak's thugs turn this ugly:?
posted by spicynuts at 8:24 AM on February 2, 2011


Realtime results for #Mubarak thugocracy and # Tahrir on Twitter.
posted by ericb at 8:35 AM on February 2, 2011


"Some thugs/killers caught by people say they were paid 100 Egyptian pounds per person..."*

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron:
“If it turns out that the regime in any way has been sponsoring or tolerating this violence, that would be completely and utterly unacceptable. These are despicable scenes we are seeing and they should not be repeated.”
posted by ericb at 8:42 AM on February 2, 2011


Nicholas Kristof: The View From Tahrir
posted by homunculus at 8:42 AM on February 2, 2011


"Some thugs/killers caught by people say they were paid 100 Egyptian pounds per person..."*

CNN's Ben Wedeman (who as I mentioned in the earlier Egypt thread has turned his Twitter feed into Pulitzer-calibre street-level reporting in the last week) has fwd'd a report that state-owned businesses were offering cash to anyone willing to get on a bus to join a pro-Mubarak protest.

I'd link to the exact tweet but I've never been able to figure out how to get a single msg to open in its own tab with its own URL on Twitter . . .
posted by gompa at 8:52 AM on February 2, 2011


So Robert Gibbs is stepping it up to a strong call for restraint, and David Cameron promises a full investigation. Heartening, not.

A man is beating is wife and all these people see is a marital clash. Mubarak has tortured people for 30 years and he's not going to leave without exercising the tools in his garage. Everybody knows this. Expect it to get worse. Call the WH.
posted by rhizome at 8:53 AM on February 2, 2011


gompa: click on the time of the tweet. "5 minutes ago," "4 hours ago," etc.
posted by rhizome at 8:55 AM on February 2, 2011


Well, that was easy (and/or I'm an idiot).

Wedeman's most recent message:

Government-sanctioned mass lynch underway in Tahrir Square.

Which is truly fucking chilling.
posted by gompa at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2011


gompa: click on the timestamp ("4 minutes ago", "6 hours ago", "Jan 31", etc) to get a tweet on its own page.
posted by epersonae at 8:58 AM on February 2, 2011


rhizome: jinx! you owe me a coke. :)
posted by epersonae at 8:59 AM on February 2, 2011


McCain and Gingrich Lash Out At El Baradei, Accuse Him Of Secretly Being In Cahoots With Radical Islamists
posted by homunculus at 8:59 AM on February 2, 2011


This thread is still live: Is a revolution at hand?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:31 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not trying to sound like an expert here but it's now looking like the most significant detail in the history of the last few days was the mysterious disappearance over the weekend of most of the police force.

The rats were getting themselves organized.

All apologies to actual rats for the insensitivity inherent in that metaphor
posted by philip-random at 9:34 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


McCain and Gingrich Lash Out At El Baradei, Accuse Him Of Secretly Being In Cahoots With Radical Islamists

Funny that. Cuz back when we wanted the Russkies out of Afghanistan, we were in cahoots with Radical Islamists. One of whom is currently public enemy number 1.
posted by spicynuts at 9:36 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know what to think of the military yet. Certainly it would reveal their motive if they were to act specifically against one side or the other in the riots.
By not acting though they could be:
1. Waiting for things to get far enough out of hand so that it would justify a takeover for:
a. their own benefit or
b. the benefit of Mubarak
c. the benefit of some other group
2. Waiting to see what develops behind the scenes in order to choose sides
3. Hoping to see Anderson Cooper get clobbered again
4. Behaving very professionally
5. Divided in loyalty with the lower ranks siding with the populace
6. Some other thing that one of you will help me to understand

I optimistically note that there were a lot of pro-reform Egyptians riding around on tanks and APC's yesterday and the day before.

So I don't know about the military yet but I'm sure that the vastly outnumbered pro-Mubarak group are not motivated by a wish to see reform come to Egypt. I suspect they are populated by the police and beneficiaries of the Mubarak regime.

This thread is still live: Is a revolution at hand?
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:31 AM on February 2


Yeah I hate when this happens.
posted by vapidave at 9:38 AM on February 2, 2011


A man is beating is wife and all these people see is a marital clash. Mubarak has tortured people for 30 years and he's not going to leave without exercising the tools in his garage. Everybody knows this. Expect it to get worse. Call the WH.

What do you want to do? Invade Egypt?

Obama to Mubarak: "...A transition to representative government must begin now."

Me to Mubarak: Get the hell out now.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:49 AM on February 2, 2011


I don't know what to think of the military yet. Certainly it would reveal their motive if they were to act specifically against one side or the other in the riots.
By not acting though they could be:
[snip]
5. Divided in loyalty with the lower ranks siding with the populace
6. Some other thing that one of you will help me to understand


"The military" isn't just one thing. From the article:
The military is split by some internal contradictions. Within the Armed Forces there are two elite sub-branches, the Presidential Guard and the Air Force. These remained closer to Mubarak while the broader military turned against him. This explains why you can had the contradictory display of the General Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammad Tantawi, wading in among the protesters to show support on 30 January, while at the same time the chief of the Air Force was named Mubarak’s new Prime Minister and sent planes to strafe the same protesters. This also explains why the Presidential Guard protected the Radio/Television Building and fought against protesters on 28 January rather than siding with them.

The Vice President, Omar Soleiman, named on 29 January, was formerly the head of the Intelligence Services (al-mukhabarat). This is also a branch of the military (and not of the police). Intelligence is in charge of externally oriented secret operations, detentions and interrogations (and, thus, torture and renditions of non-Egyptians). Although since Soleiman’s mukhabarat did not detain and torture as many Egyptian dissidents in the domestic context, they are less hated than the mubahith. The Intelligence Services (mukhabarat) are in a particularly decisive position as a “swing vote.” As I understand it, the Intelligence Services loathed Gamal Mubarak and the “crony capitalist” faction, but are obsessed with stability and have long, intimate relationships with the CIA and the American military. The rise of the military, and within it, the Intelligence Services, explains why all of Gamal Mubarak’s business cronies were thrown out of the cabinet on Friday 28 January, and why Soleiman was made interim VP (and functions in fact as Acting President). This revolution or regime change would be complete at the moment when anti-Mubarak tendencies in the military consolidate their position and reassure the Intelligence Services and the Air Force that they can confidently open up to the new popular movements and those parties coalesced around opposition leader Elbaradei. This is what an optimistic reader might judge to be what Obama and Clinton describe as an “orderly transition.”
posted by heatherann at 10:00 AM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


This thread is still live: Is a revolution at hand?
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:31 AM on February 2

Yeah I hate when this happens.


What we really need is two or three more threads going; then we'd have a better sense of how really chaotic things must be.

For instance, I'm surprised to see that this comment isn't in the other thread. That's where I meant to put it.
posted by philip-random at 10:08 AM on February 2, 2011


Anyone else get that sinking feeling that this is the end of the massive protests? In a week's time, Mubarak will still be there, there will still be skirmishes on the streets, and the world's media will have turned away to celebrity gossip and whatever nondescript far eastern bombing happened that day.

*sigh*

I'd like to see the WikiLeak cables of the past two weeks. I can't help but think that the US and Israel have done everything in their power to keep Mubarak in place for as long as possible. If there's anything we've learned, it's that governments and nations really don't care about anything except their own bargaining position. The US and Israel have nothing to win by letting go of the Hosninator, and everything to lose.
posted by Harry at 10:16 AM on February 2, 2011


Editorial cartoon responding to US govt calls for "restraint."

Also, given that the "Revolution at hand" thread is now five days old, 2,000 posts strong, well off the front page and freighted with multiple tangents already, might possibly the most significant popular liberation movement since the fall of communism be ready for a second forum in which to be discussed? I'd be willing to post a message to that effect with a link here at the end of the other thread if this sounds reasonable . . .
posted by gompa at 10:19 AM on February 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Note the pink tie (Re: this? (2nd PP)) in the briefing happening now.
posted by vapidave at 10:24 AM on February 2, 2011


I hope the crowds can peacefully envelop and disarm the secret police, like a white blood cell eating bacteria.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:32 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Harry: The White House is still publicly calling for Mubarak to begin giving up power and forming a transitional government that includes the opposition leaders right now.

It doesn't take any kind of "behind the scenes" coordination between the US and Israel for a bunch of fascist goons from Mubarak's personal police force to infiltrate a crowd of peaceful Democratic protesters in plainclothes doing everything in their power to provoke incidents of violence and to stoke paranoia between the civilian protesters and the military.

Distracting attention from the real criminals acting here and now in Egypt is a bad idea, because if people take their eyes off of what Mubarak and his goons are up to now, there's a good chance they will get away with it. They mean to discredit the protests to create more pressure to use force to put an end to them. They want people to believe there exists some legitimate, strong Pro-Mubarak sympathy among the people of Egypt, when in reality there does not. This is just the most base thug politics, nothing more sophisticated or complex.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:32 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Update at 1:30 p.m. ET: Mubarak has said he will remain in power until after an election in September. Is the Obama administration, which says the time for a transition is "now," satisfied with that?

September is not now, Gibbs says.

posted by saulgoodman at 10:39 AM on February 2, 2011


Not sure any views explain much at this point or where this is going, but from what I note just now, the Pro-president forces are now fighting with the anti forces, and that begins to suggest a civil war rather than a revolution. If that is so, the army will decide things, unless they too splinter andfight among themselves.
posted by Postroad at 10:41 AM on February 2, 2011


Big caveat: I do think the folks who started the disruptions are either paid thugs or just outright Mubarak supporters.

Tiny-in-the-back-of-my-head-observation: After yesterday's announcement there where many Egyptians who publicly said they could live with a September transition (and many who said he must go now). Today's outbreak of violence will likely change the opinions of those who where heretofore willing to wait. The violence will not necessarily be of benefit to Mubarak, but to those who where demanding his immediate departure.
posted by edgeways at 11:01 AM on February 2, 2011


The violence will not necessarily be of benefit to Mubarak, but to those who where demanding his immediate departure.

Depends on how effective the violence is, how sustained, how much of a beating the pro-CHANGE demonstrators can stand. This is pure THUG-ism in effect, the goal of which is to maim-kill-SCARE those who would stand against the old order, with the key word probably being SCARE. (ie: this is what your future looks like if you do not shut the fuck up and go home now).
posted by philip-random at 11:14 AM on February 2, 2011


Regarding the pro-Mubarak protesters... why would anyone do this? As the woman in today's NYTimes article says, why would you sell Egypt for US$8?
posted by danny the boy at 11:32 AM on February 2, 2011


Yeah, and I don't disagree. I am by nature a suspicious bastard though, and while (as alluded to above) based on first hand accounts I do think this is nearly wholly on the side of Mubarak, I can at least see different possible scenarios.
posted by edgeways at 11:34 AM on February 2, 2011


My reading is that Mubarek's "police force" has been openly and successfully thuggish for 30 years and are looking at a situation where they're going to lose their status and their jobs. They don't need Mubarek to tell them to go medieval on the people's asses. It may not even matter to the thugs at street-level or the levels of bureaucracy between them if this kind of inhumanity will "save their jobs", many will just want to "punish" the people who are going to "ruin their lives". This is what, in my own definition, turns a criminal into a Desperate Criminal, and there is an entire class of those people in Egypt.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:41 AM on February 2, 2011


Regarding the pro-Mubarak protesters... why would anyone do this? As the woman in today's NYTimes article says, why would you sell Egypt for US$8?

Mubarak's 30 year rule includes a very large state security apparatus. Long-time hard-liner loyalist employees of Mubarak's government, particularly those in the police or intelligence, may fear retributive justice that any change of power might bring (as it did in Iraq and South Africa): i.e. they may well lose their jobs, face persecution, and be thrown in jail.
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 11:44 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Danny the boy: 100 Egyptian pounds is ~$17, but your point stands. A lost of Egypt's lower classes make 200 le a month, and unemployment is high. There are always people willing to forfeit their future in order to feed their family today.
posted by KGMoney at 11:54 AM on February 2, 2011


Oh yeah, I was referring to this:

"Some protesters reported that they had been approached with offers of 50 Egyptian pounds, about $8.50, to carry pro-Mubarak placards. “Fifty pounds for my country?” one woman said, in apparent disbelief."

I guess you get more if you're willing to throw some molotovs. Something something 30 pieces of silver.
posted by danny the boy at 11:58 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


F.A.Q. on U.S. Aid to Egypt: Where Does the Money Go—And Who Decides How It’s Spent?
posted by homunculus at 12:24 PM on February 2, 2011


Fascinating press conference from State right now. I'm impressed how much the reporters are trying to get State to dictate a goal for Egypt, or to suggest actions for Mubarak to take, and how well the guy is diverting them.
posted by rhizome at 12:55 PM on February 2, 2011


A CBC correspondnt is reporting huge amounts of gunfire.

I hope the people can restore peace. After quelling the thug-cop uprising.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:10 PM on February 2, 2011


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make an FPP on this --am too shaken up and in tears to do a good job:

there's video evidence now that WAEL GHONIM, the google exec that disappeared last Friday, was taken by mubarak's thugs.

thanx for whomever does this.
posted by liza at 1:25 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


UPDATE! DO NOT FPP

Jillian York from Berkman Center says trusted sources say that video is NOT @Ghonim.

He is still missing.
posted by liza at 1:39 PM on February 2, 2011


liza I think it will reach more eyes if it is here and in the other thread http://www.metafilter.com/99979/Is-a-revolution-at-hand rather than in a new FPP.

I'll post it to the other thread but I think between the 2+ threads and the different media that everyone is trying to analyze and absorb simultaneously a new FPP would be lost.

OP: Phew
posted by vapidave at 1:39 PM on February 2, 2011


Rights NGO claims that Israeli planes carrying crowd dispersal weapons have arrived in Egypt

U.S. tax dollars at work.
posted by scody at 1:46 PM on February 2, 2011


The NGOs report is highly suspect. Secret Zionist crowd dispersal technology disrupting the will Arabs? What is this dispersal technology? Is there any evidence of it's use by the IDF previously? Lobbing tear gas or pepper spray out of a helicopter or back of an aircraft doesn't seem that complicated.
posted by humanfont at 3:12 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm taking it with a grain of salt as well, but the organization seems legit. Although this:
an abundant supply of internationally proscribed gas to disperse unwanted crowds
Well, could you tell us what exact gas this is? You may well just be describing tear gas. I imagine it's not illegal for Egypt to buy tear gas, so what exactly is the issue here? Is it that it's Israel? Would Italy have been okay?

It's definitely an interesting detail, regardless of its veracity, but right now to me it seems like it raises more questions than it answers.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:26 PM on February 2, 2011


"Rights NGO claims that Israeli planes carrying crowd dispersal weapons have arrived in Egypt"

That post/article is dated Monday, 31 January 2011 14:20

Since then there has been some rather direct very public condemnation of Mubarak from both Obama and Gibbs.
posted by vapidave at 5:11 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Secret Zionist crowd dispersal technology disrupting the will Arabs? What is this dispersal technology? Is there any evidence of it's use by the IDF previously? Lobbing tear gas or pepper spray out of a helicopter or back of an aircraft doesn't seem that complicated.

No one said secret. It could simply be more teargas canisters. Or it could be something like LRAD devices or Active Denial Systems
posted by delmoi at 6:26 PM on February 2, 2011


(btw, I'm not saying the report is accurate, just that there are some effective new crowd dispersal technologies out there)
posted by delmoi at 6:29 PM on February 2, 2011


This has been quite interesting. Everything is inthe hands of the armed forces, as indeed it always has been, but for all the chaos and confusion the choice they face has been stripped bare: pick a side, men with guns. They sowed the wind. Thought they could use the protests to jimmy out Gamal and his cronies, succeeded in that, and so they told everyone to go home. But they didn't go. So they stood aside to let the goons in to bust heads and bring and end to this, and the goons couldn't do it. Couldn't even take the square. And now you have street battles and a the capital city revolving into utter chaos: they cannot stand by forever, probably not even for a day. Earlier in the week they cloaked themselves in the flag, said they wouldn't fire, said the people had rights ---- how can they fire now and not destroy the love and loyalty that people had for them? Yet to come in on the side of the protestors is also to risk destruction, by all accounts of how things really get run over there ---- no more Gen. Fat Stacks, with a finger in this and that state-run enterprise, and plum civil service jobs to hand out to all the cousins. Which do they fear more? Can the US lay a finger on that particular scale? Superficially one would think we might be able to, but I have no idea how it would work in practice, whose levers the aid really pushes. And can the rank be counted on? That's a tricky one too --- Mubarak's goons are loyal, perhaps it's foolish to think they train 'em up any less well in the services....
posted by Diablevert at 7:02 PM on February 2, 2011


Diablevert i'm more cynical than you. I'm seeing a horror of rage divorced from any ideal. But the military hasn't killed anyone. I have been watching this for the last 14 hours. The Egyptian military has tried to keep the idiots apart by firing tracer rounds over the heads of the stupid enraged boys but this is the most excitement ever for the stupid enraged boys. A tank drove between the different groups three times emitting a thick smoke screen for cover but rather than take that opportunity to retreat the stupid boys advanced on one another as though anything could be settled.
Do Not Fucking Romanticize This. I'm tempted to too when I describe it to myself but it's just a bunch of dumbass boys and the Men, Women, Aunts and Uncles of Egypt will be along soon this morning.
posted by vapidave at 8:05 PM on February 2, 2011


Fox News can't find Egypt on a map
posted by moorooka at 2:51 AM on February 3, 2011


Journalists attacked by mobs, detained in Cairo
posted by homunculus at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's like this time around, our journalists are embedded with the resistance.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:45 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu
posted by homunculus at 11:25 AM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Journalists attacked by mobs, detained in Cairo

Rounding Up The Reporters -- Journalists Beaten, Detained.. Nick Kristof: 'I Worry About What It Is They're Planning That They Don't Want Us To See.'
posted by ericb at 12:45 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Suleiman has been the face of the government on TV in the last 2 appearances so that indicates to me that Mubarak will in fact not stand for election but wants to leave with some honor intact. This article is interesting. Christiane Amanpour interviewing Mubarak:
"He told me that he is troubled by the violence we have seen in Tahrir Square over the last few days but that his government is not responsible for it," Amnapour said in her account of the interview.

"Instead, he blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned political party here in Egypt," she said.
Old habits die hard I suppose.

On another note: I'm clearly too wound up about this and I apologize if I've given offense to anyone.
posted by vapidave at 2:04 PM on February 3, 2011


Suleiman has been the face of the government on TV in the last 2 appearances so that indicates to me that Mubarak will in fact not stand for election but wants to leave with some honor intact.

On WBUR (one of Boston's NPR stations) this afternoon writer and commentator Rami Khouri had a similar perspective. Mubarak will never resign. It's about "saving face." Suleiman is now "the face of Egypt" and will likely announce that Mubarack -- for personal reasons, etc. -- is no longer President.

One can only imagine the "behind-the-scenes" diplomatic efforts. The U.S. and its allies have leverage regarding annual funding, etc. Yet, it's really a complex puzzle ... and for me way beyond my comprehension.
posted by ericb at 5:21 PM on February 3, 2011


White House, Egypt Discuss Mubarak's Exit Plan.
posted by ericb at 6:22 PM on February 3, 2011


I'm intrigued about these rumors Mubarak may be about to flee to Montenegro. Sounds like a nice place to me.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:06 AM on February 4, 2011


Breaking news: Mubarak To Step Down -- "Egypt's vice president to take control, sources tell NBC News."
posted by ericb at 7:39 AM on February 10, 2011


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