It worked. I traded some swamp land for posting with crawdad. He has no idea what sort of trouble a moose can get into. Watch this space for more moose droppings.
We’ve all been mesmerized by what’s going on in Egypt and spilling over elsewhere. Newsweek has an account of the scramble and difficulty in dealing with this from the administration:
Throughout the week, as the crisis gathered storm in Egypt, the administration had otherwise been slow to react, seemingly always one step behind events. This was partly because neither the U.S. intelligence community nor diplomats on the ground foresaw how swiftly the protests in Egypt would gather momentum—even if everyone realized that virtually the entire Arab world is a tinder box of pent-up frustration, with despotic regimes unable to meet the needs of, especially, their youth. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself put it last month, in a speech in Doha that now seems uncannily prescient, Arab leaders would face growing unrest, extremism, and even rebellion unless they reformed “corrupt institutions and a stagnant political order.” It was the starkest warning ever delivered by a senior American official, and a message brought home a few days later when Tunisia erupted in revolt.
Yet, when it came to Egypt, the tone was different, and as the protests in Cairo gathered momentum, Clinton’s initial public comments were a mixture of fact and hopeful fiction. “Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” she said, an assessment that didn’t take long to be overtaken by events.
Whether Mubarak indeed was committed to responding to “the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people” remained an open question. Clinton’s statement, however, had been carefully calibrated, coming after the first round of what proved to be an exhausting week of discussions by President Obama and his top officials.
They then go on, after sipping some kool-aid, to go into realms of fantasy about Obama’s role and influence:
At a meeting on Friday afternoon, Obama and his top officials, including Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon among them, concluded that the time had come for Obama to talk directly to Mubarak. And Mubarak’s address to the Egyptian people had given Obama the opening he wanted. The White House organized the call.
It was an intervention that dramatically—and publicly—escalated the American involvement in the Egyptian crisis. In an address from the White House, Obama outlined what he had told Mubarak, putting the administration unequivocally behind the demonstrators’ demands. “The people of Egypt have rights that are universal,” Obama said in his speech. “And the United States will stand up for them everywhere.” The president also warned both sides against violence but his message was clear: “When President Mubarak addressed the Egyptian people tonight, he pledged a better democracy and greater economic opportunity. I just spoke to him after his speech, and I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words, to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise.” And, said Obama, “we are committed to working with the Egyptian government and the Egyptian people—all quarters—to achieve” those goals.
Well, it is Newsweek after all. Most of what we hear from all quarters tends to be unhappy with Obama’s reaction, and instead demand that Obama push hard for Mubarak to step down immediately, if not sooner.
The Guardian has a great article:
Days of rage in Egypt signify the end of days for Hosni Mubarak’s repressive and bankrupt regime. For 30 years, the president has held his country down through fear, secret police, emergency laws, American cash subsidies and a lamentable absence of vision and imagination. His crude, Gaullist message: without me, chaos. Now the chaos has come anyway. And Mubarak must go.
Five days of rage on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and dozens of other cities have transformed the way Egypt sees itself. For years, they said it was impossible. The regime was too powerful, the masses too apathetic, the security apparatus too ubiquitous. Like eastern Europeans trapped in the Soviet Union’s cold, pre-1991 embrace, they struggled in the dark, without help, without hope. Movements for change, such as Kefaya (Enough!), were brutally suppressed. Courageous dissidents such as Ayman Nour were harassed, beaten and imprisoned.
Yet all the time, pressure for reform was rising. Every day, higher prices, economic stagnation, poverty and unemployment, political stasis, official corruption and a stifled, censored public space became less and less tolerable. Every day, impatience with the regime’s insulting insouciance bred more enemies. Hatred seeped like poison through the veins of the people. Until, at last, in five days of rage, as if as one, they cried: “Enough!” And now, Mubarak must go.
The full article is worth the read. I would say the consensus throughout the world is that Mubarak must go.
Al Jazeera has been having consistently good coverage of the days events. This includes Mubarak’s appointment of a new VP and PM:
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has appointed the country’s head of intelligence to the post of vice-president, in a move said to be a reaction to days of anti-government protests in cities across the country.
Omar Soleiman was sworn in on Saturday, the first time Mubarak appointed a vice-president during his 30-year rule. Ahmad Shafiq, a former chief of air staff, was appointed prime minister.
But Al Jazeera’s correspondents in Egypt have said that many of those taking to the streets demand a total change of guard, as opposed to a reshuffling of figures in the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
Tens of thousands of people in the capital Cairo gathered on Saturday, demanding an end to Hosni Mubarak’s presidency.
Al Jazeera talks to Mohamed Elbaradei about the oncoming anti-government protests across Egypt
The demonstrations continued in defiance of an extended curfew, which state television reported will be in place from 4pm to 8am local time.
A military presence also remains, and the army warned the crowds in Tahrir Square in Cairo that if they defy the curfew, they would be in danger.
Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Cairo, said that soldiers deployed to central Cairo are not intervening in the protests.
“Some of the soldiers here have said that the only way for peace to come to the streets of Cairo is for Mubarak to step down,” he said.
Similar crowds were gathering in the cities of Alexandria and Suez, Al Jazeera’s correspondents reported.
As you have no doubt seen, there is coverage everywhere. Here are a few more highlights:
WaPo’s coverage of the test of US-Egyption relations.
Foreign Policy’s what this does to relations in Egypt as well as the middle east in general.
Some coverage of the looting
And then part of the news has been tools of social media and how they’ve influence events. Here are a few related articles:
LATimes article on small coverage, 8%, but some workarounds
A more in depth analysis of Egyptian internet usage over the last week
And finally, here’s a BBC article regarding tough issues if a revolution does succeed:
In the past year activists have suggested that the former head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, could make a suitable, secular transitional leader for Egypt, as he is respected on the world stage.
His sharp criticisms of the Mubarak government since he returned to his home country last year roused many Egyptians who had previously given up on politics.
He has declared that the Muslim Brotherhood should be a political party and worked with them as part of his umbrella group, the National Association for Change, to collect a million signatures for a petition demanding constitutional reforms.
Now watching developments unfold, Mr ElBaradei predicts that the president and his associates will not succeed in hanging on to power.
“The only solution is to listen to the people. The solution is a political solution. The regime has failed and they need to go,” he commented.
Events throughout the day should be telling with respect to how the military reacts and handles the continued protests.
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Egypt, News, Politics, Protests | 165 Comments »