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Joined: 07 Aug 2003
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mubarak finally gave a speech. he refused to step down.

"I have requested the government to step down today, and I will designate a new government tomorrow."

good luck buddy.
Post Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:40 pm
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my girlfriend made if home safely an hour ago. whew!!!!
Post Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:06 pm
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Alan Hague

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Good to hear she's back safely, man!

Things are really heating up now. There's been widespread reports that the "looters" were actually state police connected to the Mubarak regime. Seems that the government is getting really desperate now. Their time is obviously up.

It'll be important to keep track of how the world responds to Egypt, especially the Western governments' economic responses. Will they try to saddle Egypt with debt? Or refuse to trade with them? We need to put pressure on our government to treat Egypt with respect.

'Mega protest' planned in Egypt
Opposition movement calls for one "million people demonstration" on
Tuesday in a bid to topple president Hosni Mubarak.

Last Modified: 31 Jan 2011 11:21 GMT

Egyptian protesters have called for a massive demonstration on Tuesday
in a bid to force out president Hosni Mubarak from power.

The so-called April 6 Movement said it plans to have more than a
million people on the streets of the capital Cairo, as anti-government
sentiment reaches a fever pitch.

Several hundred demonstrators remained camped out in Tahrir Square in
central Cairo overnight, defying a curfew that has been extended by
the army.

Thousands were back on the square by mid-day on Monday, chanting
anti-government slogans. This as heavy military presence was seen in
many parts of the capital.

One of Al Jazeera's correspondents said the military's attempts to
block access to the square on Monday by closing roads was not working
as more people were arriving in a steady stream.

"Protesters say they'll stay in this square for as long as Mubarak
stays in power," she said.

Protesters seem unfazed by Mubarak's pledge to institute economic and
political reforms. Our correspondent said people feel that such
pledges "are too little, too late".
Post Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:57 am
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the army's lack of action has been getting me worried. they haven't been providing security like they should. a lot of looting is still going on. police have started reappearing on the streets and i've heard of them being offered tea and food by civilians. three days ago they probably would have been attacked on the spot. people are terrified with the chaos in the streets. i'm worried that the army is enabling the chaos in order to soften the public up for the eventual news that the regime is going to stay (even if mubarak is removed).

the rank and file of the army are very sympathetic to the protesters, but the generals are tighter with the regime. maybe the elites realized that if they tried to use the army against the protesters there would be mutiny, so they decided to wait it out.

in any case, the protesters have given the army an ultimatum - the army has until thursday morning to decide whether it supports the protesters or the government:


Tahrir Square protesters say they plan to march Friday to the presidential palace in Heliopolis unless the army makes its stance clear.

Youth-led groups issued a statement calling for all Egyptians to march on the palace, the People's Assembly and the television building, in what they are calling the "Friday of Departure."

They say the army must choose which side they are on: That of the people, or the regime.

"We the people and the youth of Egypt demand that our brothers in the national armed forces clearly define their stance by either lining up with the real legitimacy provided by millions of Egyptians on strike on the streets, or standing in the camp of the regime that has killed our people, terrorized them and stole from them," read the statement.

The protesters say the army has until Thursday morning to make its position clear. A lack of response will be interpreted as support for Egypt's ruling regime.

The march will commence after Friday Muslim prayers and Christian services, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the liberal Democratic Front Party is expected to release a statement later on Monday calling on the military not to take part in cracking down on protesters.

"We believe that the president is trying to involve the army in a confrontation with the people," Ibrahim Nawar, official spokesman for the party, told Al-Masry Al-Youm. "In our statement we will remind the army that it is the shield of the people."

Nawar added that he expects military presence will be beefed up in Cairo and Giza to prevent large numbers of protesters from reaching Tahrir Square, which has become the central gathering area of tens of thousands of protesters for the last six days.

edit: breaking news from al jazeera "Egypt army says won't use violence against citizens staging protests against President Hosni Mubarak."

very good to hear.
Post Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:04 pm
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BOOM, muhfuckas!

Action in the streets! Amazing.

Next stop: USA.
After that: China.

Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:15 am
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If you have DirecTV, LinkTV (375) has preempted their programming to cover this.
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:28 am
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some background info:

A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt


The past few days I have heard so many stupid things from friends, blogs, pundits, correspondents, politicians, experts, writers that I want to pull my hair. So, I will not beat around the bush, I will be really blunt and give you a handy list to keep you from offending Egyptians, Arabs and the world when you discuss, blog or talk about Egypt. Honestly, I would think most Progressives would know these things, but let’s get to it.

“I am so impressed at how articulate Egyptians are.” Does this sound familiar? Imagine saying this about a Latino or African American? You don’t say it. So don’t say it about Egyptians. Gee, thank you oh great person who is of limited experience and human contact for recognizing that out of 80 million people some could be articulate, educated and speak many languages. Not cool. Don’t say it. You may think it, but it makes you sound like a dumb ass.
“This is so sad”: No, sad were the thirty years of oppression, repression and torture.
” I loved Sadat”: Mubarak was made of the same cloth of Sadat. Same repression, same ill-treatment of their people, yet you were all in love with Sadat. Hmm, where and when do you think the repression started? The State Of Emergency? Sadat was not loved by the Egyptian people. Why do you love Sadat?
“What they did to the Mummies is horrible”: Yes, but who did it? Think, Mubarak, for years has been playing the “I am the stabilizing force”. The one thing you know about Egypt, the stuff that was underground and from the past, you will be distraught and find the protestors to be disgusting. Yet it was not the protesters who did it. In Alexandria, the young people protected the library. Did anyone carry that story? Statement from the Director of the Alexandria Library:
The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters. I am there daily within the bounds of the curfew hours. However, the Library will be closed to the public for the next few days until the curfew is lifted and events unfold towards an end to the lawlessness and a move towards the resolution of the political issues that triggered the demonstrations.

“The Muslim Brothers are Terrorists” Maybe you should look at their English Website, or try something easy like this link Check this out:
The Muslim Brotherhood is not on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. It renounced violence in the 1970s and has no active militia (although a provocative martial arts demonstration in December 2006 raised some alarm that they may be regrouping a militia.)

Nevertheless, the Muslim Brotherhood or Ikhwan Al Muslimun in Arabic, is frequently mentioned in relation to groups such as Hamas and Al Qaeda.

“The Twitter Revolution”. No, this is the Revolution of the Egyptian people. Egyptians resisted for decades. They were tortured, jailed and repressed by the Mubarak and Sadat regimes. Twitter and Facebook are tools. They did not stand in front of the water canons, or go to jail for all these years to get the credit. There were demonstrations all summer long and for a several years through out Egypt but they are rarely covered, because we are worried about what Sarah Palin said, or some moronic Imam saying something stupid. Does it sound a bit arrogant to take credit for a people’s struggle?
“The women are so brave”: Egyptian women have always been brave. If you want to know about Sadat’s Egypt, read Nawal El Saadawi’s memoir while in jail. Memoirs from the Women’s Prison
“Al Jazeera has come to it’s own”: Al Jazeera has been on it’s own, you just only noticed. . Do you think you believed the Bush administration spin about Al Jazeera? Just maybe you believed the bullshit? They must be doing something right if all the factions on the ground want to shut them down. The tyrants, the US and the Israelis. Hmm, maybe they are speaking truth to power?
“Mubarak kept the peace treaty”: So, what do you think, if the Egyptian people choose another government, they will go to war with Israel? Maybe they will demand a few more things from Israel in how they negotiate with the Palestinians. Maybe Gazans will get better treatment? Maybe the balance of power will not be tipped over to Israel? Egypt protests: Israel fears unrest may threaten peace treaty. Hmm, so we should support the oppression of 80 million Egyptians for a false stabilization?
“If they get Democracy they will elect extremists”. Imagine if the world said that about America. The Tea Party threatens world stability, as did the Bush administration. How would you like if others used that as a threat to support an autocrat who made all opposing parties illegal? In truth, US politics threaten world stability more than Egypt does. Second, the implication is that democracy is not to be trusted in the hands of “certain” nations, people and religions is offensive, racist and ignorant. You do not claim to value human rights, democracy and freedom and then you make exclusions based on race, nationality and religion. Don’t say this shit.
“The people are so nice”: Yes they are, it’s your ignorant self that assumed they are all terrorists and fanatics. What did you think? Glad you went to Egypt and found the Egyptians nice. After all, they do have a cosmopolitan civilization of over 5,000 years, yet you reduced them to “rag heads” , “jihadists”, “ali babas”, “terrorists”, the list is endless. Imagine saying this about African Americans? Asians? Nope. Just don’t fucking say it. It’s patronizing.
It’s time Egyptians were heard. It’s time the pundits and “Egypt hands” (old recycled western diplomats) were retired. These people were as good at predicting the current events as our economists were in predicting the economic calamity. I am glad you all got to see things from Egypt outside your comfort zone. Maybe now, you can give Egyptians and Arabs some respect. The people in Egypt are struggling for human rights, dignity and freedom. Like the rest of us, they want the economic means to care for their families. Break down those closed ideas that dehumanize the Arab and Egyptian people in general. That is all I ask.

Why we shouldn't fear the Muslim Brotherhood


If you were watching Fox on Monday, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Egypt was on the verge of being taken over by a pack of terrorists. Anchor Steve Doocy characterized the Muslim Brotherhood this morning as "the godfather of al-Qaida."

And several potential Republican presidential hopefuls have cited worries about the Muslim Brotherhood as a reason for the United States to continue to support the authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak.

To get some hard facts and context about the controversial Islamic movement, we spoke with Nathan Brown, a political science professor at George Washington University and director of its Institute for Middle East Studies, who has written extensively on the Muslim Brotherhood. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity.

Can you give a rundown of the history of the group and where it came from?

The group was founded in 1928. It was a broad movement aiming at increasing religious knowledge among Egyptians, doing good works, and making society more Islamic. It gradually got more and more into politics. It was suppressed in the late 1940s and it never really fully regained legal status after that. In the 1940s, they did form sort of a paramilitary wing to combat the British troops who were still in Egypt and volunteer for the war over the creation of Israel in 1948.

Then in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Gamal Nasser regime tried to crush them, some members of the Brotherhood developed ideas that essentially legitimated armed rebellion against the government. Some leaders were executed and so on. In the 1970s, they were allowed to reemerge, but they were never given legal status. Since that time they've disavowed violence. They've said that they're willing to work within the rules of the game, that they're a reform movement, not a revolutionary one. They have found a variety of ways to run candidates for parliament and to take an active role in Egyptian public life.

What role do they play day-to-day?

Their formal title is "the Society of Muslim Brothers"; it is not "the Muslim Brotherhood political party" or anything like that. They claim they have got a broad reform agenda -- social, religious, political, educational and so on. Over the past decade they made real strides in the political realm. In the 2005 elections, they got one-fifth of the seats in parliament. After that point, the regime came down on them hard -- arrested some top leaders, tried to close down businesses that were associated with Brotherhood supporters, arrested an awful lot of the foot soldiers in the movement, and so on. The organization reacted by saying, "We have to take care of our organization first. We're in this for the long haul, we think in terms of decades and generations, not in terms of political maneuvering for the next elections."

So they basically scaled back a little bit of their political movement, and the architects of their political campaign found themselves less influential within the movement. What that means is, the movement right now is led by people who are very cautious and are really trying to preserve the organization. They are probably less skilled in politics like making alliances and speaking to the press. When the current strikes started, therefore, they really reacted in a little bit of a hesitating manner.

I've seen several people describe the Brotherhood and their agenda as "radical" -- referring to the religious aspects. Would you describe them as radical?

Well, they certainly take their Islam seriously. But in many ways this is a very conservative movement. The current general guide is a professor of veterinary medicine. He's a shy guy. These are not fire-breathing radicals at the top of the organization. And whenever somebody talks a little bit too violently and impatiently, they are told either to calm down or to leave the movement.

Their agenda is to make Egypt better. And their conception of what's good and bad has a religious basis. So that means increasing religious observance, religious knowledge. It also means probably drawing more heavily on the Islamic legal heritage for Egypt's laws. They don't want to necessarily completely convert Egypt into a traditional Islamic legal system. But if the parliaments going to pass a law, they want it to be consistent with Islamic law.

A lot of their program is just standard reform stuff -- independence of the judiciary, the end of corruption, protecting the environment. Especially when they got more political over the last 10 years or so, what they really began to push was a very general reform language that takes Islamic coloration in some areas. But an awful lot of it is consistent with other reform programs coming from reformists all over the political spectrum.

Somebody said on Fox News today that the Muslim Brotherhood is the "godfather of al-Qaida." Is there any relationship there, historically or in the present?

You shouldn't be watching Fox to learn about the Muslim Brotherhood is the lesson from that. Here's what I would say: The concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood's relationship to political violence is not based on hallucinations -- it is there. In the 1950s and '60s the Brotherhood did develop this strain of thought that said, the existing government is not Islamic and therefore some kind of armed clash is inevitable. That strain has basically been repudiated by the Brotherhood. In fact, al-Qaida openly and consistently attacks the Brotherhood as having sold out.

What happened was that the sort of ideas that were gestating in the more radical streams of the Brotherhood, those ideas essentially spawned some more radical groups. And they began attacking Arab governments, like the Egyptian government and Algeria, in the 1970s and 1980s. The Brotherhood wanted nothing to do with them. But in a sense you could see there is a common genealogy there.

When those attempts failed in the 1980s and 1990s to overthrow existing Arab governments, the current leaders of al-Qaida -- people like Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is Egyptian, and Osama bin Laden, who is Saudi -- said: "We're making a mistake. We're attacking the Egyptian government, the Saudi government, and the Algerian government. But let's go to the source, the government that is really backing them, and that's the United States."

But in its present form, the Brotherhood is not advocating political violence?

They specifically and repeatedly repudiate it. They have in the last couple days thrown in their lot with this uprising. But as far as they're concerned, it's a peaceful uprising, not a violent one.

Is it known how big the Brotherhood is?

Not really, because it's not a legal organization. The do have some firm sense of membership. If you join the Brotherhood, you are expected to attend regular meetings, go to discussion groups, that sort of thing. My guess is that it's probably much smaller than people think. But it does have a little bit of the cachet of being people who are seen as public-spirited and good, moral and upstanding. They would appeal to a much wider spectrum of Egyptian public opinion than their narrow membership base would suggest. In a total free election, they might get between 20 and 40 percent of the vote.

Is it an all male organization?

No, they do have female groups within the organization. The leadership is pretty much all male.

Let's say at some point there's a new government in Egypt in which the Brotherhood has a voice. How would they change the foreign policy of Egypt on Israel or relations with the U.S.?

They're clearly suspicious of the United States, and you'll hear some anti-American slogans from them -- but no more so than from any other place in the Egyptian political spectrum. They don't stand out there, and there are probably more anti-American people in the committee of opposition leaders.

With regard to Israel it's a little bit different. Israel is unpopular in Egypt. And the Brotherhood since the 1930s has a very strong history of backing the Palestinian cause. They are critics of the Camp David accords and the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Those are all popular stands. That said, no one in Egypt wants a war with Israel right now. So the Brotherhood tries to finesse this by saying, 'This treaty really needs to be put up for a referendum." If they were in the government, I think they would be in an embarrassing position. This is an international treaty that was ratified -- are you willing to abide by the state of Egypt's international treaty obligations or not?

If it was a broad-based coalition government in which the majority clearly favored maintaining the current peace treaty, I think the Brotherhood would say: "We don't like this, we're not in favor it. But we're willing to accept the results of a legitimate political process." That's my guess.

Is the Brotherhood something that should be a source of fear in the way it's being talked about by many people?

We've got a big headache in Egypt. The regime in its current form is toast. Our regional policy has been based on a very close working relationship with the Egyptian government since 1974, so we've got fundamental rethinking to do. The Brotherhood is part of that headache. It's not the biggest part. Is there cause for concern? Yes. Is there cause for fearful reaction? Absolutely not.

(i am actually a little scared of the muslim brotherhood. a government with a large MB presence is not going to attack israel or give al-qaida safe haven, but they might make life more difficult for liberal and christian egyptians. however, they do need to included in the egyptian political process. excluding them is a short term fix. in the long run it'll radicalize and strengthen them.)

basic over view:
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:15 pm
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is this just not that interesting to the SFR community? this is the biggest thing to happen in the middle east since the invasion of iraq, and the most exciting thing to happen since fall of the shah (even though that didn't turn out so well).

it's a peaceful, popular, secular, antifascist revolution... what more could you ask for?
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:09 pm
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Mr Jenkins

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I’m into it, id like for more interesting discussions but it seems like a post from a news agency or an expert is the final word on the matter... and rightly so they spend their carer researching it.

From what I’ve read so far, it comes down to the divisions within the army.


The Egyptian theatre now has four key players — Lt Gen Sami Annan, Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Army, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Defence Minister, Air Marshal Ahmed Shafiq, Minister for Civil Aviation [and now Prime Minister], and Lt Gen Omar Suleiman, the intelligence chief. Of the four, Lt Gen Annan commands 468,000 troops, Field Marshal Tantawi oversees 60,000 Republican Guards while Lt Gen Suleiman is rumoured to be ailing. ‘
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:26 pm
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Mr Jenkins

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Reuters said Mubarak has stepped down?
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:45 pm
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I don't think he stepped down, he just won't run for reelection. Neither he nor his son will run in the upcoming election in September.
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:24 pm
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Alan Hague

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crash wrote:
is this just not that interesting to the SFR community? this is the biggest thing to happen in the middle east since the invasion of iraq, and the most exciting thing to happen since fall of the shah (even though that didn't turn out so well).

it's a peaceful, popular, secular, antifascist revolution... what more could you ask for?

A bunch of my coworkers basically had no idea of what's going on. When I told a bunch of them about events in Egypt yesterday, they all expressed surprise and support.

This is seriously one of the most exciting political developments I've ever seen. Not just with the revolutions in Tunisia & Egypt, but also the other anti-government, largely secular, youth and/or worker-led protests in Jordan, Syria, Sudan, etc. This is going to change things A LOT not only in the Middle East but also with how the U.S. will have to change its foreign policy tactics (like how they've changed course and are backing slowly away from Mubarak & co.).

Hopefully, this will be an inspiration to social justice movements everywhere: to the anti-austerity protestors throughout Europe, to the people who live under authoritarian regimes around the world, and hopefully to the people of the U.S.
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:07 pm
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Random US Media Tool: Aren't you afraid for your property? How will you protect against looters?

Egyptian Commoner: Um, no. My family owns a business and anything we might lose is of no consequence to the social change that is needed.

Fucking 24 hour news man. John Stewart killed it last night. I think it would be interesting to compile all the global insurrections- maybe post Seattle 99. Obviously they all have different context, but when you put it all together, it becomes pretty clear to me that there is a global dissent. Moments of revolution that will be coming louder as the power networks further impose their austerity, militarization, dispossession, fraudulent "democracy," and ecological destruction.

Here's an article by Chris Hedges that confronts the narrative of a secular revolution in Egypt.

What Corruption and Force Have Wrought in Egypt

Posted on Jan 30, 2011
AP / Ben Curtis
By Chris Hedges

The uprising in Egypt, although united around the nearly universal desire to rid the country of the military dictator Hosni Mubarak, also presages the inevitable shift within the Arab world away from secular regimes toward an embrace of Islamic rule. Don’t be fooled by the glib sloganeering about democracy or the facile reporting by Western reporters—few of whom speak Arabic or have experience in the region. Egyptians are not Americans. They have their own culture, their own sets of grievances and their own history. And it is not ours. They want, as we do, to have a say in their own governance, but that say will include widespread support—especially among Egypt’s poor, who make up more than half the country and live on about two dollars a day—for the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic parties. Any real opening of the political system in the Arab world’s most populated nation will see an empowering of these Islamic movements. And any attempt to close the system further—say a replacement of Mubarak with another military dictator—will ensure a deeper radicalization in Egypt and the wider Arab world.

The only way opposition to the U.S.-backed regime of Mubarak could be expressed for the past three decades was through Islamic movements, from the Muslim Brotherhood to more radical Islamic groups, some of which embrace violence. And any replacement of Mubarak (which now seems almost certain) while it may initially be dominated by moderate, secular leaders will, once elections are held and popular will is expressed, have an Islamic coloring. A new government, to maintain credibility with the Egyptian population, will have to more actively defy demands from Washington and be more openly antagonistic to Israel. What is happening in Egypt, like what happened in Tunisia, tightens the noose that will—unless Israel and Washington radically change their policies toward the Palestinians and the Muslim world—threaten to strangle the Jewish state as well as dramatically curtail American influence in the Middle East.

The failure of the United States to halt the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel has consequences. The failure to acknowledge the collective humiliation and anger felt by most Arabs because of the presence of U.S. troops on Muslim soil, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but in the staging bases set up in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, has consequences. The failure to denounce the repression, including the widespread use of torture, censorship and rigged elections, wielded by our allies against their citizens in the Middle East has consequences. We are soaked with the stench of these regimes. Mubarak, who reportedly is suffering from cancer, is seen as our puppet, a man who betrayed his own people and the Palestinians for money and power.

The Muslim world does not see us as we see ourselves. Muslims are aware, while we are not, that we have murdered tens of thousands of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have terrorized families, villages and nations. We enable and defend the Israeli war crimes carried out against Palestinians and the Lebanese—indeed we give the Israelis the weapons and military aid to carry out the slaughter. We dismiss the thousands of dead as “collateral damage.” And when those who are fighting against occupation kill us or Israelis we condemn them, regardless of context, as terrorists. Our hypocrisy is recognized on the Arab street. Most Arabs see bloody and disturbing images every day from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, images that are censored on our television screens. They have grown sick of us. They have grown sick of the Arab regimes that pay lip service to the suffering of Palestinians but do nothing to intervene. They have grown sick of being ruled by tyrants who are funded and supported by Washington. Arabs understand that we, like the Israelis, primarily speak to the Muslim world in the crude language of power and violence. And because of our entrancement with our own power and ability to project force, we are woefully out of touch. Israeli and American intelligence services did not foresee the popular uprising in Tunisia or Egypt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Israel’s new intelligence chief, told Knesset members last Tuesday that “there is no concern at the moment about the stability of the Egyptian government.” Tuesday, it turned out, was the day hundreds of thousands of Egyptians poured into the streets to begin their nationwide protests.

What is happening in Egypt will damage and perhaps unravel the fragile peace treaty between Egypt and Jordan with Israel. It is likely to end Washington’s alliance with these Arab intelligence services, including the use of prisons to torture those we have disappeared into our vast network of black sites. The economic ties between Israel and these Arab countries will suffer. The current antagonism between Cairo and the Hamas government in Gaza will be replaced by more overt cooperation. The Egyptian government’s collaboration with Israel, which includes demolishing tunnels into Gaza, the sharing of intelligence and the passage of Israeli warship and submarines through the Suez Canal, will be in serious jeopardy. Any government—even a transition government that is headed by a pro-Western secularist such as Mohamed ElBaradei—will have to make these changes in the relationship with Israel and Washington if it wants to have any credibility and support. We are seeing the rise of a new Middle East, one that will not be as pliable to Washington or as cowed by Israel.

The secular Arab regimes, backed by the United States, are discredited and moribund. The lofty promise of a pan-Arab union, championed by the Egyptian leader Gamal Abd-al-Nasser and the original Baathists, has become a farce. Nasser’s defiance of Washington and the Western powers has been replaced by client states. The secular Arab regimes from Morocco to Yemen, for all their ties with the West, have not provided freedom, dignity, opportunity or prosperity for their people. They have failed as spectacularly as the secular Palestinian resistance movement led by Yasser Arafat. And Arabs, frustrated and enduring mounting poverty, are ready for something new. Radical Islamist groups such as the Palestinian Hamas, the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon and the jihadists fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are the new heroes, especially for the young who make up most of the Arab world. And many of those who admire these radicals are not observant Muslims. They support the Islamists because they fight back. Communism as an ideological force never took root in the Muslim world because it clashed with the tenets of Islam. The championing of the free market in countries such as Egypt has done nothing to ameliorate crushing poverty. Its only visible result has been to enrich the elite, including Mubarak’s son and designated heir, Gamal. Islamic revolutionary movements, because of these failures, are very attractive. And this is why Mubarak forbids the use of the slogan “Islam is the solution” and bans the Muslim Brotherhood. These secular Arab regimes hate and fear Hamas and the Islamic radicals as deeply as the Israelis do. And this hatred only adds to their luster.

The decision to withdraw the police from Egyptian cities and turn security over to the army means that Mubarak and his handlers in Washington face a grim choice. Either the army, as in Tunisia, refuses to interfere with the protests, meaning the removal of Mubarak, or it tries to quell the protests with force, a move that would leave hundreds if not thousands dead and wounded. The fraternization between the soldiers and the crowds, along with the presence of tanks adorned with graffiti such as “Mubarak will fall,” does not bode well for Washington, Israel and the Egyptian regime. The army has not been immune to the creeping Islamization of Egypt—where bars, nightclubs and even belly dancing have been banished to the hotels catering to Western tourists. I attended a reception for middle-ranking army officers in Cairo in the 1990s when I was based there for The New York Times and every one of the officers’ wives had a head covering. Mubarak will soon become history. So, I expect, will neighboring secular Arab regimes. The rise of powerful Islamic parties appears inevitable. It appears inevitable not because of the Quran or a backward tradition, but because we and Israel believed we could bend the aspirations of the Arab world to our will through corruption and force.

Chris Hedges, who speaks Arabic and spent seven years in the Middle East, was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. He is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a regular columnist for Truthdig. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”

Last edited by Confidential on Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:30 pm; edited 2 times in total
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:17 pm
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live on al jazeera:

clashes between anti-gov and pro-mubarak protesters in alexandria.
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:22 pm
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Charlie Foxtrot

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Can't wait for republicans to claim democracy is spreading because of what we did in Iraq
Post Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:56 pm
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