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Live from Cairo (19)

BREAKING 11:03AM On state TV, Sul says Mub gone! ("Erhal!" is chant: "Leave!") Has asked the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to take charge. Chant: "The people have brought down the regime." 11:56AM Mubarak's Wikipedia entry already edited to say he was the President of Egypt. Obama statement expected shortly.

BREAKING 11:01AM Statement expected from Mub shortly. [Was from Sul!]

SUMMARY 9:00AM Friday Long lines headed toward Palace to join crowd there. Mub in Sharm El-Sheikh (plane seen by eyewitnesses; heavier security). Big crowds surround of state TV. State-owned media says that ten govt buildings surrounded by protesters in Alexandria. Communique #2 from the Army: It will lift the state of emergency when the current situation ends, backs Mub power transfer to Sul, tells protesters to go home. Military still cultivates good relations with protesters; bottles of water. At least one middle-ranking officer has gone over to the protesters. 9:48AM Two helicopters land inside the Palace grounds. Big enough for luggage with $60 billion? Waiting for a statement to be read from the Palace. Google exec and A6Mer Wael Ghonim refuses Communique #2. Communique #3 from the Army coming?

[Best question from an interviewer EVAH: "Why is is necessary to shut down the state television building?" Yes, from AJ. Sometimes I get the sense that AJ wants to prove that they're "real" by asking "objective" questions like that... --lambert]

Crowds surround the state TV building, troops with tanks and machine guns protecting it. Staff has not been able to leave since last night.

10:21AM bencnn tweets:

Crowd pressure pushes down stretch of barbed-wire fence front of State TV, then pulls it back, chanting "silmiya" "peaceful"

Awesome. Does anybody understand how new this is? Contrast here or here.

Sidebars

  1. Sequence of statements for Mub's non-resignation Thursday
  2. Not Facebook but unions
  3. Sources

Friday material continues here.

* * *

SUMMARY 7:55PM Light the blue touch paper and stand back... Promised statements not yet made: Obama's White House, and Communique #2 from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. 8:07PM White House statement. As strongly worded as a statement can be without actually saying Mub should go. 9:43PM Protesters still in TS. New: A few thousand now camped out before the Ministry of Information, and others at the Palace. Still no Communique #2.

9:56PM AJ's evanchill reports via YT. Shoes start at 4:00 [#30]. Not a bad gesture to adopt in this country, I would say. Also, be sure to listen all the way to 5:55, "a very well-crafted speech," and 7:07, "my cousin and her company." Egyptian society really is divided.

* * *

BBC:

2128: Journalist Lina Wardani tells the BBC: "Thousands of angry Egyptians are moving now towards the presidential palace. I think things will change tonight or tomorrow morning. I don't expect these angry masses to go home or wait until tomorrow. These people are not going to go home. It's not only Tahrir, it's all the streets to downtown. People are chanting 'down with the regime'."

AJ live blog:

11:50pm: Among the chants heard in Tahrir Square:

?We're off to the presidential palace. We're going as millions of martyrs?.

Reuters:

It’s now about 12:30 a.m. in Egypt. CNN is reporting that protesters have formed a human chain around the headquarters of state TV in Cairo.

[Still haven't heard anything about troop movements, which is good news, eh? --lambert]

Guardian:

This is interesting: the BBC's Paul Adams reports that people in Cairo are receiving text messages from the high council of the army, saying that it is monitoring how events unfold and will decide how to act.

[I take that as a positive, actually (depending on the actual wording, which I don't have). So far, the TS people have behaved with incredible maturity (which I hope does not sound patronizing; I look up to them) and I hope this continues.... --lambert]

* * *

Daou tweets on media coverage:

Great job by U.S. media declaring Mubarak definitely quitting -- also Leon Panetta, others...

True, but that was surely the expectation on AJ as well, and they just read out a timeline of the sourcing on it. Heck, my expectation -- driven by hope and admiration, for sure. "Reality is more complicated than any theory."

* * *

ElB reacts:

Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei reacts on Twitter to the latest developments: "Egypt will explode. Army must save the country now."

* * *

Fareed Zakaria:

I think the Mubarak regime is trying to bait the crowd in Tahrir Square and is hoping for violence and is hoping for some kind of march on the presidential palace that seems to get violent. Then they can step in and in the guise of restoring order, return to the military rule, return to the martial law that they want to consolidate. That's the danger here.

This might be a turn that history will record as the moment things went awry."

[Or not. Violence can simplify. I hate to think the situation has become so simple that a CNN analyst gets it right. --lambert]

* * *

7:02PM Rep: People leaving TS, marching to different areas. 300 to Ministry of Information, surrounded by 20 tanks, and Heliopolis, where the palace is.

7:24PM NBC:

Update 6:48 p.m. ET: NBC News' Chuck Todd reports that White House officials say President Barack Obama found Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's speech "extremely dispiriting."

After making upbeat remarks earlier in the day at a speech in Michigan, in which he said the world was watching "history unfold," Obama is now expected only to issue a written statement this evening.

"We've got to work this carefully," a U.S. official told Todd. "We've got to get this just right."

Noting ambiguity arising from differing translations of Mubarak's remarks — which left it unclear just how much power Mubarak had turned over to Vice President Omar Suleiman — Todd said officials at the White House "want to believe that Suleiman is in charge" but can't be 100 percent of that.

Well, sure. After all, Sul is a torturer.

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: Sequence of statements for Mub's non-resignation Thursday

The Economist has a nice sequence of what we heard throughout the day:

In the early evening, Egypt's Supreme Military Council met and issued a very coup-like "Communiqué No. 1" stating that "all the people's demands will be met." State television, which had hitherto showed only a sliver of the packed square, moved its cameras to offer a full view of the joyous protesters. It also announced that President Hosni Mubarak would soon speak to the nation, in what most presumed would be a resignation speech.

Rumours spread on Twitter and satellite channels that Mr Mubarak was headed for Dubai, Manama or Sharm al-Sheikh. Debates erupted over whether his vice-president, the dour Omar Suleiman, a former intelligence chief, would be an acceptable replacement. The protesters began to split between those who would be satisfied with Mr Mubarak's resignation, and those who wanted to continue the revolution. All the while, contradictory reports emerged from the wire agencies, satellite stations and Egypt's political class.

In Tahrir Square, expectations were high. Many had come to take part in revelry, but Mr Mubarak's speech continued to be postponed. Jokes began to circulate about why he was so late, with the consensus being that he was, after all, an Egyptian, a people not known for their punctuality. Amidst the drumbeats and jovial chants, time passed.

And then the bubble burst.

Except I'd say that the indications, official and otherwise, of Mub going were stronger than this. But the sequence is right.

Marc Lynch on sequence:

It's hard to exaggerate how bad Hosni Mubarak's speech today was for Egypt. In the extended runup to his remarks, every sign indicated that he planned to announce his resignation: the military's announcement that it had taken control, the shift in state television coverage, a steady stream of leaks about the speech. With the whole world watching, Mubarak instead offered a meandering, confused speech promising vague Constitutional changes and defiance of foreign pressure. He offered a vaguely worded delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, long after everyone in Egypt had stopped listening. It is virtually impossible to conceive of a more poorly conceived or executed speech.

Omar Suleiman's televised address which followed made things even worse, if that's possible, telling the people to go home and blaming al-Jazeera for the problems. It solidified the already deep distrust of his role among most of the opposition and of the protestors, and tied his fate to that of Mubarak. Even potentially positive ideas in their speeches, such as Constitutional amendments, were completely drowned out by their contemptuous treatment of popular demands. Things could get ugly tonight --- and if things don't explode now, then the crowds tomorrow will be absolutely massive. Whatever happens, for better or for worse, the prospects of an orderly, negotiated transition led by Omar Suleiman have just plummeted sharply.

Yep. And AKAIK, that was Obama's plan. Oopsie.

More on sequence from The Times:

The anger was fueled in good part by expectations that Mr. Mubarak would be making his last address to the nation. For much of the day, people traded rumors about where he might be preparing to go to — Bahrain and Dubai were two rumored destinations — and then by a cascade of official statements suggesting that might be the case.

The first came from the civilian government. Around 3 p.m., Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told the BBC that talks with Mr. Mubarak about his possible resignation were already under way.

Gen. Hassan al-Roueini appeared in Tahrir Square to tell protesters that “all your demands will be met today,” witnesses said, words that were quickly read by crowds around him to mean that Mr. Mubarak was on the way out.

A short time later, the military, still seen as potentially decisive in the conflict, announced that it was taking action in what sounded to many people like a coup.

“In affirmation and support for the legitimate demands of the people, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened today, 10 February 2011, to consider developments to date,” an army spokesman declared on state television, in what was described as communiqué No. 1 of the army command, “and decided to remain in continuous session to consider what procedures and measures that may be taken to protect the nation, and the achievements and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.”

Around the same time, Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, the chief of staff of the armed forces, appeared in Tahrir Square to tell the protesters the same thing, to roars of celebration.

The reports seemed increasingly convincing, to both protesters and even high-ranking officials. Hossam Badrawy, the top official of the ruling party, said in a television interview that he had personally told the president he should resign. And, though Mr. Mubarak did not respond, Mr. Badrawy said he believed he would go. “That is my expectation, that is my hope,” he added in an interview. The news electrified protestors in the square.

Bottom line here is that everybody who thought that Mub would leave had plenty of good reasons to think so. When a general says "All your demands will be met," and one of those demands is that Mub leave, and "The Army and the people are one," what are people to think? Even poor Leon Panetta had good reason to say what he did. Where it all went sour, who knows. Did Mub deke everybody? Were the generals and Mub cooperating to deke everybody? Right now, not knowable.

* * *

7:40PM, Andrew Simmons AJ: Everywhere all over E people glued to TV, even the grandmothers. Channel flippng. But state TV has impact too, journalists as spies is ramping up again. We can expect very large numbers today and tomorrow.

* * *

7:56PM Guardian:

Meanwhile, the military command was supposed to have made a statement this evening but it appears that has been postponed until Friday morning.

Nothing from the Egyptian military, and nothing from Obama, either.

* * *

Did Mub and Sul deke Obama? AFP:

There was no immediate comment from senior US officials on Mubarak's speech and Obama declined to answer shouted questions from reporters after he exited his Marine One helicopter and marched into the Oval Office.

But CNN quoted one unnamed official as saying the speech was "not what we were told would happen, not what we wanted to happen."

Also, Clinton? Just Googled "Clinton Egypt" and no hits at all.

8:03PM AJ, Patty D: White House as confused as everybody else. But transfer to Sul is not enough. Want to see "irreversible change." "Spell out in clear and unambigous language the steps to democracy." Still have not said that "President Mubarak needs to go." Copy of White House statement.

* * *
Transcript of Mub speech.

Transcript of Sul speech.

* * *

9:43PM Reuters:

It’s currently 3:45 a.m. in Egypt. Al Jazeera’s Arabic service is reporting that there are about 10,000 protesters surrounding the state TV building in Cairo now. CNN reported earlier that an estimated crowd of 1,000 protesters were nearing the site of Egypt’s presidential palace. Many protesters remain camped out in Tahrir Square.

11:13PM Column by Jim Hoagland in Pravda shows Versailles at its worst; the riff is "The Mub I knew then wouldn't be doing what Mub is doing now," but Mub than was exactly the same as Mub now. He's a dictator, for pity's sake!

11:19PM I still haven't heard anything about troop movements, like thousands of internal security troops in trucks. That's a good thing. And AJ had sources out by the airfields, so I'm guessing there aren't reports of helicopter gunships massing. I'm reminded of the story from World War II that German soldiers would, literally, put their ears to the ground to hear the rumble of tanks, miles away. So, like that.

* * *

And on Communique #2:

SMS from Army: Armed Forces Higher Council now meeting to study situation, will issue important communique to people. Same SMS 9 hours ago

Lordy. [9:57AM Friday. The Communique #2 seems to have been issued, but I missed it. --lambert]

* * *

Friday

9:12AM Splits:

1348The Tunisian Hend Sabry, star of the Yacoubian Building and Cairo resident, tells the BBC World Service her husband is demonstrating in Tahrir Square today but public opinion is split. "More and more people in the streets of Cairo are now saying that 'this is enough, we achieved a lot, and we now should move on with our lives'. Time is on the side of the pro-stability camp. And I think that this is what the decision makers are playing on."

No numbers, of course, in the midst of all this. Another:

evanchill There were govt supporters at the mosque who were clearly unhappy that friday prayers erupted into a protest

~9:15AM Friday Detail on the palace crowd:

1327: An interesting observation from Nadia El-Awady outside the presidential palace. She tweets: "Not a single chant at pres palace. Posh upper middle class tires easily. We NEED tahrir lot here!"

An AJ reporter describes the mixed crowd, but there's definitely more designer-wear here in Heliopolis! And:

1156: The atmosphere is not so good elsewhere, apparently. Arwa Mahmoud tweets from outside the presidential palace: "Protesters in presidential palace are very vulnerable to thug attacks. Hardly any filtering. This is dangerous. #jan25 #egypt"

[Lack of filtering is the first organizational flaw I've heard reported by the protesters. Perhaps the organizers, too, are tiring. --lambert]

~9:20AM Friday Reuters:

A small group of protesters [larger now] has gathered outside Mubarak's palace in Cairo. A witness tells Reuters the army has not tried to remove them. Razor wire and six tanks and armored vehicles separate them from the residence

9:37AM Friday AJ Live blog:

3:56pm Tens of thousands of protestors in the port city of Suez have surrounded 10 government buildings and announced that they will not leave until Mubarak steps down. This reported by Al Ahram, the largest state owned newspaper.

9:44AM AJ Live blog:

11:27am Vice-President Omar Suleiman has told Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to appoint a deputy premier from a council of "wise men" who have been in talks with the government. The state news agency says the deputy prime minister would take responsibility for "a national dialogue".

[The "wise men" aren't ElB's group, however, and at least one of them (some sort of billionaire) wants the protesters to go home because they've achieved their goals. I don't see this as outright insulting, though! --lambert]

* * *

9:50AM AJ Live Blog:

The Associated Press news agency has reported that a former Israeli Cabinet minister who has long known Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, says Mubarak is looking for an honourable way out.

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer of Israel's Labor Party says he spoke with Mubarak just hours before the president's speech yesterday in which he transferred authorities to his deputy but refused to step down.

Ben-Eliezer told Army Radio that Mubarak knew "this was the end of the road" and wanted only to "leave in an honorable fashion."

[Of course, after yesterday, cum grano salis. --lambert]

9:50AM AJ Blog:

9:51am An army officer joining protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square says 15 other middle-ranking officers have also gone over to the demonstrators.

"The armed forces' solidarity movement with the people has begun," Major Ahmed Ali Shouman tells Reuters.

~10:15AM Guardian on Communique #2:

The Egyptian military has thrown its weight behind Hosni Mubarak's decision not to resign as president and to transfer most of his powers to his vice-president.

In a statement read out on Friday morning, the military announced it would lift a 30-year-old state of emergency "as soon as current circumstances end", but gave no specific timeframe.

The statement – called "Communique No 2" – also said the military would guarantee changes to the constitution as well as a free and fair election, and it called for normal business activity to resume.

Lifting the state of emergency was a key demand of the demonstrators, but the decision to back Mubarak's process of slow transition is likely to enrage the protesters who have massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square and elsewhere every day for more than two weeks.

The army said it would protect the nation but repeated a call for protesters to go home so life could return to normal; protests and strikes have had a serious effect on the Egyptian economy.

The army "confirms the need to resume orderly work in the government installations and a return to normal life, preserve the interests and property of our great people".

The communique acknowledged the delegation of powers to Omar Suleiman, indicating that the military stood squarely behind the president's speech, and also pledged to "preserve the stability and safety of the nation".

Mubarak shocked demonstrators expecting his resignation by telling them he would not quit as president until elections in September.

The statement is the second in two days from the armed forces following a military "supreme council" meeting.

The army's role is seen as critical in shaping how the crisis will now develop in the coming days. Speaking before Communique No 2 was issued, Rosemary Hollis of City University, London, said there was "a distinct possibility" the armed forces would now split.

Hollis said there were a couple of ways this split could go. One would be a division between older, senior officers, and younger ones from the middle ranks.

"The most senior ranks are the same age as Mubarak and Suleiman," she said. "The younger men are their [the demonstrators'] generation. They will identify less with Mubarak and more with the future of the country they want to be part of."

Hollis said the other way the armed forces could split would be ideologically, between those who wanted to concentrate on "law and order" and a "managed transition under Mubarak and co" and felt this would be "preferable to the dangers of a transition to democracy", and on the other side those "embracing change with all its uncertainty".

10:28AM Response from Wael Ghonim to Communique #2 (IIRC, Ghonim is A6M):

1428: Google executive and prominent opposition figure Wael Ghonim has given Al Arabiya a response to today's army statement. "Owing to the lack of trust between the people and the current regime, we demand from [the army], as a national institution that is respected and appreciated by Egyptians, to be the guarantor of popular demands. With clarity of vision, clear details and a set timetable. First of all [you must] guarantee the seriousness of the honorary stepping down of President Mubarak for good, for good, for good."

* * *

Several cellphone broadcasts from TS.

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: Not Facebook but unions

Guardian coverage:

Perhaps the most overlooked factor in the demise of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime in Tunisia, and the weakening of Hosni Mubarak's grip on state power in Egypt, has been the trade unions in both countries.

While the media has reported on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook as revolutionary methods of mobilisation, it was the old-fashioned working class that enabled the pro-democracy movements to flourish.

As working men and women in Egypt became increasingly vulnerable to exploitation and a deteriorating quality of life, the only legal trade unions – the ones affiliated to the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) – proved worthless. The result of all of this was an unprecedented wave of strikes across the public and private sectors that began in 2004 and has continued to the present day. During the first four years of the current strike wave, more than 1,900 strikes took place and an estimated 1.7 million workers were involved.

As one worker in a fertiliser company put it, the effect of going on strike was to convince the employer "that they had a company with human beings working in it. In the past, they dealt with us as if we were not human."

Those links with the international trade union movement have proven critical in recent days as well. When the Mubarak regime tried to cut off Egypt from the internet, CTUWS activists were able to phone in their daily communiques to the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Centre in Washington. The messages were transcribed, translated from the Arabic, and passed on to the wider trade union world using websites such as LabourStart.

The pressing point is that experts misjudged the tumult in Egypt and Tunisia largely because they ignored and overlooked the democratic aspirations of working-class Tunisians and Egyptians. To understand why so many authoritarian Arab regimes remain fragile, one need to only to look through the window on to the court of labour relations.

Ding!

11:02AM Sul, not Mub:

SUL: Mub has decided to waive the office of the Pres of the Republic and instructed the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to run the affairs of the country.

Short and sweet. That was the statement in its entirety; it took about twenty seconds (transcript).

11:40AM Anch: I hate to interrupt the party atmosphere, but the Army is now in charge. What happens next? Int: The Army was noble. The Army did not fire a single bullet. It was the thugs. This is the beginning, not the end. [And that question is why I love AJ. --lambert]

* * *

LA Times on the power-players, including the military.

* * *

[I shouldn't let my penchant for NV drive me not to mention provincial violence, featured in Pravda. --lambert]

* * *

12:09PM Department of Irony and Plus Ca Change... :

Egypt's leading [semi-official] newspaper, al-Ahram has published a special issue hailing what it terms "the 25 January Revolution".

12:10PM Head of the SCAF:

A military source tells the Reuters news agency that Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the defence minister and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, is the head of the Higher Military Council that has taken control in Egypt.

* * *
Joy, pride, happiness... Now, of course, the hard work begins! Obama statement expected shortly; no doubt he'll attempt to hijack the "youth movement" for 2012. I don't think I'll hang around to listen to ugliness like that. Signing off for now. --lambert

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: Sources

1. AJ live feed

2. AJ Twitter

3. AJ live blog

4. BBC live blog

5. Guardian live blog

6. CNN This just in

7. CNN Twitter.

8. Reuters

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Comments

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

That would fit an old, established pattern, too ...

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

See here:

We stand in solidarity with the people of Egypt and the wider Middle East & North Africa in their demands for an end to repression, for their freedom, their basic human rights and immediate reforms.

via comments at A Tiny Revolution.

Submitted by jawbone on

Egypt."

Duing WNYC (NYC public radio) forum of people with knowledge, lived through revolutions/power changes/revolts -- Egyptians and seemingly white American males with government experience (?), lots of other guests not on stage (it seems).

Guests and description:

Guests today include:

Benjamin Barber, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the New York think tank Demos and Walt Whitman Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Rutgers University;
Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs magazine and former National Security Council official in the Clinton administration;
Simon Schama, University Professor of art history and history at Columbia whose work focuses on revolutions;
Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian New Yorker and columnist and public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues;
Jeff Goodwin, professor of sociology at NYU and author of No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements, 1945-1991;
Youssef M. Ibrahim, an Egyptian and a former New York Times Middle East and European correspondent who served as the paper's Tehran bureau chief in 1978-1979;
As well as Shinasi A. Rama, deputy director of the NYU Alexander Hamilton Center for Political Economy and one of the leaders of the Albanian student movement; Suketu Mehta, New York City-based journalist, professor of journalism at NYU, and author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found; Neferti Tadiar, professor and chair of women's studies at Barnard College; Anne Nelson, adjunct associate professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University who's covered revolutions as a journalist in Central America; Omar Cheta, PhD candidate in the departments of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and History at NYU; Shiva Sarram, who was eight years old during the 1979 revolution in Iran and the founder of the Blossom Hill Foundation, which works with children affected by conflict.; Gladys Carbo-Flower, recording artist and witness to Cuba's revolution; Didi Ogude, a recent NYU graduate who was ten years old during South Africa's regime change in the nineties; Hesham El-Meligy, a Muslim-American community organizer from Staten Island; and Ali Al Sayed, Egyptian New Yorker and owner of Kebab Café in Little Egypt, Astoria, Queens.

LINK -- video streamed, audio. Usually no transcripts from WNYC. (There has been a web redesign for The Brian Lehrer Show in the past few months which has resulted in making it less user friendly. There is a link to a semi-detached comment section, which doesn't seem to work today.... And they've gone to a reverse chromology comment arrangement, which I personally hate. No numbering of comments, so referring to to previous comments more difficult. I've suggested they check out several blogs which have good comment systems, but no change. Heh.)

Link to comments page (found by searching site)

Eureka Springs's picture
Submitted by Eureka Springs on

Viva La Egypt! According to Al jaz the military will maintain control... i don't know if that includes Suleiman or what?

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

Have I mentioned how much of a roller-coaster this has been?
WOW!

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Your 11:03AM entry:

Mub gone! ("Erhal!" is chant: "Leave!") Has asked Armed forces to be in *change.* Chant: "The people have brought down the regime."

[Take this comment down.]

Submitted by lambert on

It's the exact point at issue. Very nice catch. I changed it, not wanting to be Mr. Cleverboots with a strikethrough, but the real issue that the crowd chanted "Civil, civil!" and that's what is needed.

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

While there was some violence, some deaths, during these 2 weeks, there has been much less violence that I would have thought to see during this kind of revolution. It's good that the army has supported the people - at least, that's the way it appears.

Here's to hoping that the upcoming changes will go well - and they can get rid of Suleiman also.

Cool - an American puppet dictator deposed.

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

The other thing I'm looking forward to reading is an analysis of the role the internet played in the instigation of the Jan 25 protest. The viral video of the Egyptian gal exhorting her compatriots to join with the protesters has been credited with expanding participation. That's another interesting aspect of this event.

Submitted by lefttown on

I've been thinking that, too. In my opinion, the labor strikes were one of the major turning points in the revolution. When the economy was affected, that's when the officials stood up and took notice. Profit is everything to these guys. The other turning point, IMO, was when more and more people kept streaming into TS.
You said there was so much we can learn from the events in Egypt, Lambert. They are our teachers. One thing we're far from learning is that we're all in this together. During all these events, other sites kept on blogging, for example, about how stupid "Teabaggers" were, and it seems to give the bloggers themselves--who probably have a better education--great satisfaction to belittle others who don't have all the facts and to promote the left/right divide. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that we all have to find a way to quit fighting each other, come together on the issues that unite us rather than divide us, and start fighting the traitors who've sold out the country and its people for wealth and power.

Submitted by lambert on

After what you're saying, I'm thinking that the Suez workers striking on wages and working conditions might have run alarm bells a lot louder than anything else. (Making, now that I think of it, Reagan breaking the Air Traffic Controller's Union pretty strategic....)

People have commented, though, that the FOX propaganda is so intense that you can't even get agreement on facts. I suppose that one answer is that locally, you can at least agree on stuff like gardening and agriculture. But that's probably not enough.

I don't know what the answer to Big Lie technique is (right or left). What's clear is that whatever the career "progressives" have tried to do about FOX, that hasn't worked, if it was even intended to work. I like Media Matters a lot, even if they don't call out D Big Lies, but has it really had any other effect except to reinforce believers? I'm just not sure.

Submitted by Fran on

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/280e21c0-35da-...

Mubarak steps down after 30 years

By Roula Khalaf, Andrew England, and Heba Saleh in Cairo

Published: February 11 2011 13:04 | Last updated: February 11 2011 16:32

Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak announced on Friday he was stepping down and handing power to the military after his 30 years in power were ended by an 18-day youth revolt.

Crowds across the country erupted in deafening cheers and chanted “God is great” after the 82-year-old president made his statement following mounting international pressure for him to step down.

[snip]

Minutes before the increasingly isolated president spoke from his palace at the Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh, Hossam Badrawi, the recently-appointed general secretary of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party quit, saying Egypt needed new parties.

.......... also, equities rose and oil prices fell

Submitted by Hugh on

Mubarak's departure is a first step, but those who run the military are still very much part of the Mubarak regime.

Just wondering here but was the transfer of power to the military constitutional? I thought the line of succession went through the head of parliament or something. If this transfer is outside the constitution, it blows up all the Mubarak defenses about the importance of following constitutional procedure.

Along these lines, will there be speedy elections? That too was constitutionally mandated I had heard. If elections are delayed, that's a major tell that this is more a military coup than a transition from dictatorship.

Lastly, we need to see real, multiple, and concrete reforms coming immediately from the military, plus we need to see a process set up with protesters to manage a transition. If we don't see this, or only see bits and pieces of it, this is again a sign that the regime is still in place. It's just being run more overtly by the military.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

My speculation is that Mub didn't resign so much as was forced to resign by the military. It would explain why he didn't announce it himself, and also explain the weirdness yesterday when the miiltary was raising expectations that Mub was about to announce his resignation and then Mub came out and said no one can force him to leave.
(Praetorian guards?)

Submitted by lambert on

I have RL stuff to do now, so I'm very pleased that the Egyptian people overthrew Mubarak when they did.

Readers, I strongly feel that we on the left in this country need to look at people who made the Egyptian revolution as teachers. This is obvious, simply based on their performance, as compared to our performance over the last generation, and continuing until today. We must be their students. I plead guilty to proffering advice, speculating freely on future events, making military analogies, and all the rest of it. That said, I didn't decide to cover this story in the detail that I did for altruistic reasons, but because I felt that documenting the twists and turns would be a literally priceless resource, and that if I didn't capture it in real time, the story and its lessons would be lost.

Therefore, I'm asking those of you who have time to skim or read this collection of posts on the Egyptian revolution, #1 - #19, while the events are still fresh in our minds, and, rather than guess about what's going to happen in Egypt, start drawing lessons from Egypt about what we ourselves can do. Thanks, and now I must go tend to RL!

NOTE The fact that the access bloggers never bothered to throw Corrente a link, over 19 live blogs continuously updated in real time on the biggest story of the year, is an excellent metric for their massive suckitude, and any pontification they belatedly do on this topic should be viewed with extreme caution, particularly the comparisons they will doubtless start making between the youth of Egypt and the OFB.

Submitted by Fran on

I think it is very significant that the Egyptians decided that they would NO LONGER BE AFRAID.

They were determined to see it all the way through, no matter what the cost. Even if you use peaceful means, it does not mean that you cannot get hurt or killed.

We are in a weird situation where people in other places believe in democracy more than in this country - at least what is being manifest in this country. That is why it really pissed me off to hear our president saying that the will of the people mattered there, when it does not seem to matter here, where we are supposedly a democracy.

Submitted by jawbone on

large square for more than a few hours. I've been thinking about that throughout this stand the Egyptians tooks against the Mubarek regime.

Our protesters might not have the same violence (except when "resisting arrest"), but ours would most likely be in jail longer and face large fines. Money is used as a weapon here.

And, would our people take the pain inflicted?

Submitted by jawbone on

has been alerted to be prepared to put down any state worker "unrest."

One of Walker's first big legislative actions will be to deprive state workers of their bargaining rights and to cut, cut, cut everything from wages to pensions.

His first actions were to give a good fundraiser and developer buddy freedom from envitonmental requirments.

Oh, some of the state employees are probably members of the National Guard...ought to be interesting times.

I'm sure Mub would approve!

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Submitted by DCblogger on

very decently linked to our fiscal sustainability conference fundraising, even though we attack them all the time. you gotta play nicely with others if you want the links.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

I was particularly impressed by the protestors' shrewd use of personal contact with rank-and-file soldiers to win them over. That's something we can take to heart, I think- when faced with enforcers, try to reach behind the helmet and the weapon and touch the person. It's disarming in more ways than one.

Submitted by jawbone on

were chatting with us one minute, actually agreeing with our protest of the looming war, but when ordered to fence us in and move us into four corners of the block either would not make eye contact or just shrugged. Following orders. Nothing personal, but their job.

Get some of soldiers in that position? Uh oh.

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Submitted by jumpjet on

There's a problem I have with a lot of protests: when I read about them in the aftermath, it seems like there's no strategic thought put into them. It seems like groups merely show up and make their presence felt. Security forces prevail against them because the security forces are organized and coordinated, and the protestors aren't.

Protests should be treated like battles- not in the sense that there's an enemy to kill, but in the sense that there's a large amount of people attempting to take and hold territory.

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Submitted by twig on

about how this is likely to spread throughout the Mideast -- Yemen, Jordan (where the monarchy is not so bad, but the government is), Morocco, Algeria, etc. Someone just mentioned that Iran is very worried about the Green Revolution and is tightening restrictions on internet, mobile phones.

Submitted by jawbone on

If only our MCMers (members of the Mainstream Corporate Media) would understand that! And act on it.

No one should be allowed to get away with the Condi Rice "who could have known" crap. Or Jim Lehrer of NewsHour saying he didn't know about the actual known facts about Bush/Cheney lies during the run up to the Iraq Invasion. Never again would nice, but, of course, lies work. Alas.

1540: Amid the unfolding drama in Egypt and the proliferation of tweeting, live blogging and 24-hour news coverage, the New York Times has an interesting take on the new media reality, from Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel: "Because of technology, and because of the progress made in technology, especially in the field of communication, no one has any excuse anymore to say: 'I don't know; I didn't know; I wasn't aware."' (My emphasis)

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Submitted by okanogen on

Maybe that escaped the jubilant?

With Mubarek's resignation and the military directly taking control, the revolution is now effectively at the mercy of the military. A fantastic outcome? There is effectively no "constitution" or law of any kind now really. It is direct military rule. With Mubarek's resignation and the military taking direct control, the constitution is abandoned, and that edifice, as weak as it may have been, is gone as any kind of recourse or format for future change.

This round, while the focus of the people was Mubarek, the military stepped aside and let the crowd have it's way. Should the military not follow through, or the military's proposals prove unacceptable, the people will have to protest the military directly. What will happen then?

Submitted by lambert on

Mub was a chokepoint. Now Mub is gone. Now the Army is a chokepoint -- we don't know what they will do, yet. So far, the revolutionaries have done pretty well. Let's watch what they do. One very good sign would be the military coming out with an actual plan with a timetable...

Submitted by lambert on

... and no doubt the role of the SCAF will emerge. Surely there's some reaosn to think, however, that the balance of political forces in Egypt has changed, and in a good way.

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Submitted by okanogen on

I admit I'm not an expert, but I have been wary from the beginning of a "people's" revolution with no identifiable leadership. We aren't talking about Aung san suu kyi leading a people's revolt here (also non-violent), or even a Cory Aquino "People's Revolution", both with clear goals. It was an amorphous street protest.

It seems to me this has over-shot the landing (and I truly hope I'm wrong), that delivered an outcome that is now wholly dependent on the military's benevolence. What has been especially dissappointing is people's fascination (more so in the west?) with the personalities (Look! Over there! Sulieman! How dare he have administered Egyptian and American government policies of rendition and torture! spittle-flys Anderson Cooper), rather than look at what outcomes are.

Not to rain on the parade (and certainly we can be happy for the Egyptian people's happiness), but if the military wanted to be put in charge, they couldn't have staged a better, more effective, bloodless, coup d'etat.

Bravo Egyptian military! Well-played!

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Submitted by DCblogger on

I think we have not met the leaders, which seems to be a coalition of labor and its online allies. Very much like Poland, only we met Walensa.

the military take over is a bad sign, so we will have to see how the April 6 movement counters it.

Obama wants to be able to continue to send extraordinary rendition victims to Eqypt and continue the blockade of Gaza and the Eqyptian people want neither. So the Egyptian democracy movement have the work cut out for them.

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Submitted by okanogen on

That Sulieman was reviled for suggesting that a coup could be the outcome? Now we have a coup as the outcome and it is a blessed event?

Have I got that right?

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Submitted by okanogen on

The real test is what the army does next.

Whether his "context" was "wrong" is dependent on the benevolence of the military, now unrestrained by any of that pesky "rule of law" stuff. To coin a phrase, this isn't the beginning of the end, it isn't even the end of the beginning.

But to a factual point, he was correct, regardless of how impolite it is to point out, or for him as a source to mention it. It is exactly where we are now, and with no metric to measure the army's "sincerity", and that is what people like Pat Lang, who urged caution were concerned about.

Anyway, horse, barn, empty, time to move on.

Submitted by lambert on

But I think we've already seen one rather powerful metric, and that's that no Tienanman happened. No matter the Army was playing its cards, like any other player; that's one they didn't play.

Maybe I'm playing the Polyanna, but I really want to take Yes for an answer on this one...

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Submitted by jumpjet on

There were already signs of a split in the military between the high commanders and the rank-and-file- several officers actually turned in their uniforms and joined the protest. The soldiers themselves would have a good chance of siding with the people, and then the SCAF would be as doomed as Mubarak is.

The people know the power they have now and they won't soon forget it. I think liberty is in Egypt to stay.

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Submitted by okanogen on

I'm sure they wouldn't be, I'm saying that a direct challenge to the military will be an entirely different situation.

You say there was division in the military, but the military junta leaders, that now run Egypt have not neglected to notice that they need to ensure loyalty in the ranks. They aren't fools (witness recent events). If they aren't right now purging the ranks of "unreliables" in sensitive posiitons, I would be shocked.

Anyway, should it come to that, what you are describing is tantamount to civil war.

The people know the power until the first few thousand are killed.

Submitted by Hugh on

Then Wiesel has no excuse for his views on the Palestinians or his assertions that Muslims have no connection to Jerusalem.

I thought CNN's coverage of events in Egypt while maybe not up to lambert's and AJ's was reasonably good. But today I heard Anderson Cooper interviewing James Woolsey on Egypt. It was all a litany of beware the Muslims, and what a wonderful thing it was to have the military in control. Woolsey was CIA director for a couple of years at the beginning of the Clinton Administration. He succeeded Robert Gates there. Unsurprisingly, he has opposed investigations into CIA torture. He was a member of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and a signatory of the letter they sent to Clinton about Iraq. So a dyed in the wool neocon. He's a Senior Vice President at Booz Allen. So very much part of the MIC.

Anyway, Woolsey was part of the American foreign policy apparatus that backed Mubarak for 30 years. The only thing I can see that recommends him is that while running the conservative Freedom House Egypt was listed as Not Free. All in all though, if you want an objective and reasoned view of what's going on in Egypt, this is not the guy you would go to.

Submitted by lambert on

Not all are! Non-violence was a key component...

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

everyone I know in Iran says the internet is fading there. Such a great tool for organising being taken away. Their revolution's taking a lot longer and is going to be much harder without it.

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Submitted by Eureka Springs on

Reads like an activist penned it, no?

Statement From the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/world/...

First: End the state of emergency as soon as the current circumstances are over.

Decide on the appeals against elections and consequent measures.

Conduct needed legislative amendments and conduct free and fair presidential elections in light of the approved constitutional amendments.

Second: The Armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people and achieving them by following on the implementation of these procedures in the defined time frames with all accuracy and seriousness and until the peaceful transfer of authority is completed towards a free democratic community that the people aspire to.

Third: The Armed Forces emphasize on no security pursuit of the honest people who refused the corruption and demanded reforms, and warns against touching the security and safety of the nation and the people. And emphasizes the need for regular work in state facilities and regaining of life to normal to preserve the interests and possessions of our great people.

God protect the nation and the people.

Submitted by lambert on

.... and another way if he isn't.

The SCAF is old and full of Mub loyalists. But they look more like official time-servers, to me. The way not to split the Army is to put out a detailed plan with a timetable. So it is to be hoped that they do that...

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

protesters in Algeria

“They can’t kill us because we are already dead,” said Bilal Boudamous, 29, who said he was out of work. “At 30 we are unemployed, we live with our parents, and we have no future.”

sound familiar?