January 29, 2011

"The crowd went unchallenged by troops, who... smiled and shook hands with protesters and invited them up onto their tanks."

"On Friday, the troops had appeared steadfastly neutral. Late Saturday, however, they were doing nothing to move demonstrators out of the streets..."
Asked if they would enforce the curfew, soldiers said they would not.

"We are with the people," said Ahmed, a 20-year-old conscript.

Soldiers accepted fruit, water and soda handed out by protesters in Tahrir Square and smiled as protesters chanted, "Go, Mubarak, go!" Children were hoisted up on tanks in the middle of the square to have their photos taken with troops as the hulking remains of the National Democratic Party headquarters building, home to Mubarak's ruling organization, burned in the background.

50 comments:

edutcher said...

There are some who think Mubarak is playing it smart and letting the protesters burn themselves out marching, after which they'll go home and that will be pretty much the end of it.

There are others who say the military (the real power) is figuring which side it's on and, Egypt being a relatively secular state which the generals don't want to hand over to the crazies, are trying to move events in the direction of a more moderate regime.

PS OT: I love the title of the article in one of the sidebars:

Why Obama is still a B President.

B? He's lucky if he ends up with a D-.

Julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Hey this is this generations Shah of Iran/Jimmy Carter moment.

How do you think Barry is gonna do?

Julius said...

Yeah, the protesters very well might burn themselves out.

And that's a shame because a boost from American political class might prevent that.

Too bad the Congresspeople are silent and the Obama regime only offers behind-the-scenes support at most.

My Congressperson, Darrell Issa, has said NOTHING about it. He obviously doesn't support democracy in Egypt. He'll come out with a speedy press release whenever there's an opportunity to diss the President; he'll tweet about Fanny and Freddie but not a single character of 140 in support of the demonstrators; he'll use his pulpit when it suits his political ambitions, but will apparently pass on an easy opportunity to support basic human rights.

This episode shows my Congressman Issa to be a pathetic loser, and from what I see most of the other Congresscritters are the same. Meanwhile Team Obama is floundering... wasn't it Joe Biden who said that Mubarek was just fine and should remain Egypt's autocrat?

It seems that everyone in America's political class has decided that democracy can go fuck itself.

Is there any political leader who will support democracy and human rights? Anyone who will stand up to the autocrat? Anyone? Anyone?

Maguro said...

America's political class should be ambivalent about this. If Mubarak is overthrown, the next government will probably be a lot worse in every respect that matters to us.

AllenS said...

Tell me, Julius, just what are YOU willing to do to support democracy in Egypt? By the way, which side is for democracy, Mubarack or the protestors?

LarsPorsena said...

As the Muslim Brotherhood waits in the wings.....

SteveR said...

Everyone (except Murbarak's folks) will have a good time at least until the Muslim Brotherhood takes over.

AllenS said...

Check out what I just did. I typed Mubarack, when it should have been Mubarak. I guess they all look the same to me.

Julius said...

You guys should have more faith in democracy and in humanity. There is no reason to presume that the Muslim Brotherhood will take over the government one the autocrat Mubarak is ousted. That's merely a hypothetical, while the existing tyranny is real and immediate.

LarsPorsena said...

"...There is no reason to presume that the Muslim Brotherhood will take over the government one the autocrat Mubarak is ousted. .."

but that's where the smart money is.

Trooper York said...

Yeah let's get rid of that Shah of Iran guy. I mean how bad could it be?

It's not like Iran is gonna turn into a hotbed of terrorism and develop nuclear bombs and stuff....oh wait a minute.

Julius said...

...but that's where the smart money is.

Dude, every time our political class has tried to predict the future in the last decade or so, they've got it wrong. The economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc...

You can't predict the future. It's just not possible. We ought not to try, and ought to deal with what is immediately in front of us.

thefewandtheplenty said...

What if the soldiers are actually pro-government and when they head "Go Mubarak Go" they heard it like "You go, girlfriend!", like that kinda "Go" . Not like, "It's time to leave now".

Regardless if a revolution comes or not both sides should have a pretty good laugh about that.

edutcher said...

Issa doesn't formulate foreign policy. Having him grab a mic and say something would be the sort of thing Jesse Jackson or Jimmy Carter (or Chuckie Schumer) would do.

The people who are supposed to formulate and articulate are sending out mixed messages and that's not good.

Calling for calm and new, honest elections is the smart way. Backing the people is what the realists hate, though. The reset crowd at State, particularly Madam Secretary, can't see that.

PS The Muslim Brotherhood has been in the forefront of Egypt's struggles for 80 years. They're going to have a lot to say about how things turn out.

Maguro said...

There is no reason to presume that the Muslim Brotherhood will take over the government one the autocrat Mubarak is ousted...

You're wrong. The MB is by far the strongest political force in Egypt apart from the government.

They're reasonably numerous, highly motivated and ruthless in the extreme. The MB is exactly the type of group that has historically triumphed in similar situations in the past - the Khomenists in Iran, the Bolsheviks in Russia, the Jacobins in revolutionary France, etc.

It's possible that someone more appealing to us comes out on top if Mubarak falls. But it's unlikely.

PaulV said...

Condi Rice in 2005 speaking truth to power via instapundit

http://www.verumserum.com/?p=20976

LarsPorsena said...

"...It's possible that someone more appealing to us comes out on top if Mubarak falls. But it's unlikely..."

It would have to be someone in the armed forces.

Ugliest scenario..Zawahiri returns in triumph as head of state

lemondog said...

re: friendly troops, wasn't the initial Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 met with accommodating troops?

Fen said...

I worry that any revolution by the people will be co-opted by Iranian proxies (pay close attention to the "protestors" with rocket-launchers).

Trooper York said...

Sometimes the best you can hope for is that the dictator is so busy killing his own people and they are so busy killing the government types that they don't have the time or inclination to cause trouble for the rest of us. But if you lose that dictator guy then they start looking around to cause trouble.

Realpoltik means letting them kill each other and helping one side or the other to even it up a little so they stay busy killing each other and leave the rest of us alone.

David said...

Today is a different day. The protestors may learn that petting snakes is risky. I expect Mubarak to try to wait them out, and crush them if that does not work.

traditionalguy said...

To unite people in support of a government in the Moslem world the "Kill the Jews" goal has been all they needed. Mubarak was the renegade by making an Egyptian peace with Israel, and then maintaining it 30 years. For that the US has rewarded him all these years. Now the US wants to secretly join the larger group that says "Kill the Jews". Turkey has been doing the same since Obama's Cairo speech. This really means that the Israelis will now do their thing without getting prior US permission. Watch out Arabs.

lemondog said...

Mubarak was the renegade by making an Egyptian peace with Israel,....

Wasn't that Sadat who was then assassinated?

traditionalguy said...

Lemondog...Right, Sadat was MIA and his bureaucrat named Hosni Mubarak had to take command to maintain stability, promising to honor Anwar Sadat's peace legacy. Well he produced that stability for sure.

David said...

Some food for thought from John Bolton:

Let me be clear here, this is not just the Mubarak-family government. The military has ruled Egypt since Gamal Nasser and they over through King Farook.

It’s the military that is the real government and they are not going to go peacefully.

I think the question is whether and to what extent the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamists have infiltrated the leadership. If the military holds firm it’s entirely possible, although bloody, that the government can hold onto power. That doesn’t necessarily mean Mubarak will be in power, but the military will be, and I think that is why this contrast makes it so important for people to understand, this is not a choice between the Mubarak government on one hand, and sweetness and light, Jeffersonian democracy on the other.

I don’t think we have evidence yet that these demonstrations are necessarily about democracy. You know the old saying, “one person, one vote, one time.” The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t care about democracy, if they get into power you’re not going to have free and fair elections either.

And I think there is substantial reason, for example, to worry the minority Coptic Christian population, about 10% of the population will be very worried if the Muslim Brotherhood came to power.

Let’s be clear what the stakes are for the United States. We have an authoritarian regime in power that has been our ally. We don’t know at this point what the real alternatives are.

PaulV said...

Army is in control. Their loyalty is to funding ths gives them a good life. The people know enough not to attack the troops. The army does not like Egyptian Brotherhood and prefer peace with Israel rather than getting their pretty toys destroyed or shedding blood.
Expect Mubarak to go into semi-retirement and primie facie changes. WV: desse

Fen said...

Thanks for the Bolton remark. Good analysis

edutcher: The Muslim Brotherhood has been in the forefront of Egypt's struggles for 80 years. They're going to have a lot to say about how things turn out.

Yup. And I didn't realize how much blood they have on their hands until I researched their history.

Fen said...

via Gateway Pundit:

"Likely Mubarak Successor was just named in Egypt. Spy Chief was just appointed vice president. This was a newly created post since Mubarak has never had a vice president in over three decades.

Omar Suleiman, the spy chief, was just appointed the vice president today. Hosni Mubarak’s sons are not in Egypt, they are in London, and will not takeover the presidency after their father leaves office."

Alex said...

Julius - you are pretty naive about how things work in the Arab world.

Julius said...

Am I, Alex?

I think you underestimate the strength of our country. The Middle East works in precisely the way that our country decides... if America doesn't like the outcome, we can just move our forces in and take over the country. We have all ability to do that. We just hesitate too much in exercising our power, especially when it comes to shaping the world in accordance with our values.

We did it in Afghanistan and Iraq, purportedly for the benefit of the people in those countries as well as our self-defense. Having those invasions under our national belt underscores any threat we might make to another country. And we should absolutely be threatening Egypt now... Mubarak must go, and the Muslim Brotherhood must not take over; if the Egyptians defy us, let's unleash Shock & Awe Part III.

David said...

Julius--Bit of a difference between Egypt and Iraq. Egypt is bigger, more populous, more urban, has a larger military, is in a more strategic position, etc. The notion that we can (or should) go in and take over is ridiculous.

David said...

"The Middle East works in precisely the way that our country decides..."

So we have decided to have Israel be at war with its neighbors for 62 years? Man, that was a bad decision.

Julius said...

So we have decided to have Israel be at war with its neighbors for 62 years?

Yes, we have. We could have backed up Israel with a defense pact: you strike Israel, we strike you back twice as hard.

Would it work? We never tried it so we don't know! But the Arab world respects strength, and the times when we've been successful in the Middle East are when we seriously committed our military and political resources to whatever specific change we had in mind. Spreading American and Western values by military force-- or even by threat of force-- simply works.

David said...

Well, you have a point, Julius, except that wars don't always work out as planned.

Michael K said...

This is the most ominous development for Mubarak. The same thing happened in Romania. He should study the end game. Ceausescu ended rather badly. Mubarak will have to depend on the army to safely run when the time comes.

Michael K said...

lemondog, the Chinese government brought in troops from the western provinces who did not speak the same dialect as the protestors. Those were the troops who crushed the rebellion. Egypt probably does not have that option. China is huge and, even though Mandarin is the official language, many people in undeveloped provinces speak other dialects.

DaveW said...

If Egypt falls to an Islamofacist government within a few years we could be faced with Israel surrounded (again) by actively hostile powers - Egypt with a large capable land army, Syria (and Lebanon) with similar capabilities, Jordan with who knows what nowadays and Iran with nukes. That could suddenly turn into the ugliest thing imaginable.

It's hard to see an upside to this situation from a U.S. perspective. It might come out OK but it is surely dangerous in the extreme. Still, nothing we can do about it so we're going to have to ride the tiger. Hopefully the Egyptian people won't find themselves under a new tyrannical regime.

Alex said...

Julius - a defense pact with Israel is exactly what your paleo-con friends like Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan do NOT want. They just don't like those Jooooos.

BJM said...

@Julius

Democracy my ass...as others have remarked, the Muslim Brotherhood waits in the wings. Egyptians may find that they've traded one tyrant for another.

I've had the AlJezeera English live feed on in background since yesterday and it's growing worse outside of Cairo. Looting is spreading, very soon the streets will be in the hands of thugs. AJE claims Luxor already is, and that the thugs are the security police.

Egyptians are setting up neighborhood defenses and an attempt to loot the Cairo Museum was thwarted by citizens until the army arrived...will Egypt's antiquities go the way of Iraq's?

Although I believe Obama would prefer that Mubarak fall, he has only his party to blame for the predicament in which he finds himself in Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia. The left was so blinded by hatred for Bush that they threw the democracy baby out with the Iraq bathwater.

We were so busy with partisan eye-gouging that we missed a crucial opportunity in not supporting the Cedar Revolution.

Too late now, it is what it is, we can only watch. When you look at all the so-called "freedom" movements in the Mideast as a whole; a different picture emerges. It's not one of freedom and/or democracy, in spite of different root causes and ideologies, the one constant is the Muslim Brotherhood.

Should Tunisia and Egypt both fall to hard-line Islamists Libya will come to heel and Islam, in one form of theocracy or another, will control a large portion of Mediterranean-North Africa coastline/waters, the Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba. Then of course, Iraq is really between a rock and hard spot and will be lost sooner than later.

We are going to have to come to terms with the fact that the West's influence and political role is over in the region.

Trooper York said...

The tryanny is going to come to an end. The unwashed masses are finally going to be heard from in a meaningful way. The pressure of public opinion and their own incompentance has conspired to form the perfect storm. The evil regime might finally be coming to an end.

The Wilpons are being forced to sell the Mets.

Trooper York said...

Film at eleven.

Quaestor said...

Lars Porsena wrote: Ugliest scenario..Zawahiri returns in triumph as head of state.

I would not be surprised to learn Zawahiri was already back in Egypt. Some intel reports indicate that he made his way to Yemen last year to cement Al-Qaeda's local franchise to the central leadership. From there is just a day or two by boat to Sudan, and thence on to Egypt via Wadi Halfa.

Obama's task is not to support Mubarak against the mob or the mob against Mubarak, but to bide his time and see what factions emerge and which, if any, might produce a secular democracy that will keep the peace and suppress jihadism. So far he seems to be doing alright, except that he needs to staple Biden's piehole shut.

This is a very delicate situation that could easily result in another, and much more potent, base for jihad.

traditionalguy said...

So Hosni has him a Vice President now. Hosni was once the head negotiator with Arabs and the Vice president appointed by Anwar Sadat while he set up the Peace with Israel, After the Muslim Brotherhood assasinated Sadat Hosni enacted slowly and surely all of the Peace Treaty terms. Does this mean Hosni is ready to go now at age 83?

Cedarford said...

Alex said...
Julius - a defense pact with Israel is exactly what your paleo-con friends like Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan do NOT want. They just don't like those Jooooos

_______________________

No, traditional conservatives array (sometimes with the Left) against American Imperial overstretch where we are dragged into commitments and meddling NOT in our vital national interest over ideology.

They break with the neocons over the ideas that "we owe Israel any blood and treasure requested", over defense pacts for Freedom Lovers that amount to meddling in non-aligned global regions or direct challenge to a powerful nations sphere of influence (Ukraine, Georgian, Khazakstan joining NATO with US committed to fight Russia if conflict breaks out within the Russian sphere).

Traditional conservatives break with Empire-minded liberals who argue that America "has a moral duty" to intervene anywhere "Precious human rights are violated". After Iraq and Afghanistan - that activist liberal mindset has taken a hit. Now when they scream about our duty to intervene in 8 different spots in Africa from the Congo to the Noble Darfurans, Haiti, Burma...they are just mouthing it.

It isn't All About the Jews, Alex.

It is America confronting Imperial Overstretch. And the public believing we neither have the money or the will to be the World's 9/11 Service, uplift the Mexicans, nation-build the Somalis, feed the fast breeding Haitians for all eternity, fight wars as requested by Israel, and deploy to the Ukraine and 100 other nations.

America's Politico said...

Prof. this video will be of interest to you, as you are a blogger. It is must be watched in its entirety. We are seeing a birth of revolution with or without social media. We are all from Egypt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC8PJNCrhmM&feature=player_embedded

Ali Karim Bey

Fen said...

I blame Chris Matthews, Ritmo and the DNC for the violence in Egypt. They need to be shut down before more people are killed.


/s

Lawgiver said...

I wonder what the Mossad is doing now?

Rialby said...

I hope they don't make a run at our embassy. Then the conversion of Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter will finally be complete.

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