The Reign of Count Mubarak Ends

The most bizarre show on earth – opened by the support act of Obama, leader of the hegemon, gave imprimature to the proceeding freak main acts. Looking like a saturnine Count Dracula, Mubarak handed over ‘some powers’ to his selected successor, US pet and arch-torturer, ‘Egypt is not ready for democracy’ Omar Suleiman. A’sad Abukhalil commented:

This speech will go down in history as the dumbest speech ever delivered by a dictator.

The anguish of the Egyptian masses that their debased tyrants would not abdicate echoed around the planet. Egyptians marched to the state television tower and presidential palace though after his address Mubarak had swiftly fled to his holiday residence at Sharm el Sheikh on the Red Sea. And then, a few hours later Suleiman announced:

“Citizens, during these very difficult circumstances that Egypt is going through, president Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as the president of the republic and has entrusted the High Council of the Armed Forces to carry out the dealing of the country”.

The military says the cabinet will be sacked, the parliament suspended and they will work with the judges of the Supreme Court to amend the constitution to allow for fair and free elections currently scheduled for September.

So the military’s promise that the people would get what they wanted has been partially honoured – the peopleare unlikely to settle for less than complete fulfillment. According to Tariq Ali:

And so it ended badly for Mubarak and his old henchman. Having unleashed security thugs only a fortnight ago, Vice-President Suleiman’s failure to dislodge the demonstrators from the square was one more nail in the coffin. The rising tide of the Egyptian masses with workers coming out on strike , judges demonstrating on the streets, and the threat of even larger crowds next week, made it impossible for Washington to hang on to Mubarak and his cronies. The man Hillary Clinton had referred to as a loyal friend, indeed “family”, was dumped. The US decided to cut its losses and authorised the military intervention.

Omar Suleiman, an old western favourite, was selected as vice-president by Washington, endorsed by the EU, to supervise an “orderly transition”. Suleiman was always viewed by the people as a brutal and corrupt torturer, a man who not only gives orders, but participates in the process. A WikiLeaks document had a former US ambassador praising him for not being “squeamish”. The new vice president had warned the protesting crowds last Tuesday that if they did not demobilise themselves voluntarily, the army was standing by: a coup might be the only option left. It was, but against the dictator they had backed for 30 years. It was the only way to stabilise the country. There could be no return to “normality”.

The age of political reason is returning to the Arab world. The people are fed up of being colonised and bullied. Meanwhile, the political temperature is rising in Jordan, Algeria and Yemen.

This time, Obama’s speech of congratulations to the people of Egypt followed the main act.

This is the power of human dignity, and it can never be denied. Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence — not terrorism, not mindless killing — but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.

And while the sights and sounds that we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can’t help but hear the echoes of history — echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets, Gandhi leading his people down the path of justice.

As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana while trying to perfect his own, “There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom.” Those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note.

Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in.

The word Tahrir means liberation. It is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom. And forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people — of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country, and in doing so changed the world.

The reign of madness is over. 7000 years of Pharaonic rule is broken. Now, the fate of other dictatorial vampires of the region hangs in the balance. We are all Tunisians and Egyptians now – watch out Israel, liberation of Palestinians is coming!

Bye Bye Mubarak from Ramy Rizkallah on Vimeo.

Egypt Links

Zbigniew Brzezinski: US can not ignore Hamas and Hezbollah
The revolution continues after Mubarak’s fall
24 hours in Cairo
Egypt: European Council – Statement on Recent Developments in Egypt
Egypt celebrates as Mubarak era ends
Joint Chiefs chairman to reassure Jordan, Israel
Where Egypt goes the region will follow
Ben-Eliezer: Mubarak slammed US in phone call

“He gave me a lesson in democracy and said: ‘We see the democracy the US spearheaded in Iran and with Hamas, in Gaza, and that’s the fate of the Middle East,'” Ben-Eliezer said.
“‘They may be talking about democracy but they don’t know what they’re talking about and the result will be extremism and radical Islam,'” he quoted Mubarak as saying.
Ben-Eliezer said Mubarak expanded in the telephone call on “what he expects will happen in the Middle East after his fall.”
“He contended the snowball (of civil unrest) won’t stop in Egypt and it wouldn’t skip any Arab country in the Middle East and in the Gulf.
“He said ‘I won’t be surprised if in the future you see more extremism and radical Islam and more disturbances – dramatic changes and upheavals,” Ben-Eliezer added.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of an Iran-style Islamist revolution in Egypt should Mubarak’s Muslim Brotherhood rivals eventually take over.
“(Mubarak) was looking for an honorable way out,” Ben-Eliezer said.
“He repeated the sentence, ‘I have been serving my country, Egypt, for 61 years. Do they want me to run away? I won’t run away. Do they want to throw me out? I won’t leave. If need be, I will be killed here.'”

When the media leave Egypt
Tower Hamlets council backs Israel boycott
Egypt’s Military Leaders Face Power Sharing Test
The ascent of the Palestinian pharaoh
Egypt says military intervention on table
Egypt shows Washington’s industrial hypocrisy
Sitting on His Assets : How Switzerland was able to freeze Mubarak’s Swiss bank accounts.
US can celebrate Egyptian people’s triumph
Could Hosni Mubarak End Up in L.A? He Reportedly Owns Property in Beverly Hills

Someday, we’ll get the back story on how, in just 24 hours, the military went from evidently backing Mubarak to ditching him. This was crucial, and I doubt very much the US played no role in this. I’d wager that Pentagon chief Robert Gates and Mike Mullen, the heads of the joint chiefs of staff, had quite a lot to do with that.

With the Egyptian army relying on US military aid basically to exist, their words surely carried weight. Maybe all that aid over years, excessive as it has been in many ways, paid important dividends in the last two weeks. The army behaved professionally, not like some tinhorn’s personal secret security service. That was one of the most breathtaking things about this, and could stand as one of the most hopeful in terms of serving as a model for future situations like this.

There’s a long way to go from here, of course. This is a happy beginning, not a happy ending. But now, the US can and should start playing the less ambiguous role it took on, as of Thursday night. We need to be on the side of democracy and rights and freedoms, and stay on that side, and we do need to continue to be concerned with the positive aspects of regional stability to which Egypt has contributed. There are more needles to thread.

Finally: no, I will not say that Obama deserves much credit for this. At the same time, I have no doubt in my mind that if President McCain had given a speech on democracy in Cairo 20 months ago and now this happened, the neocons and Fox News and the usual suspects would be calling it “the McCain Revolution” and baying about how it proved that a bold stance by an American president had made all the difference.

I won’t parrot that kind of inanity. I’ll simply say that, from his Cairo speech until today, Obama has helped this process more than he’s hindered it. And we didn’t have to invade two countries, either. That’s the right side – for him, and for us, the people of the United States. Now, we need to stay there.

Mubarak finally takes the hint, steps aside for the Army
Meet Egypt’s New (Interim) Ruler: Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
Live report: Wave of joy sweeps across Egypt
Toppling the Autocrat
Egypt’s lessons for Palestine
Middle East: Human rights must not be cast aside amid Middle East politics
Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Hosni Mubarak
Egypt’s Mubarak resigns as leader
As Mubarak Resigns, Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner Mamdouh Habib Reminds the World that Omar Suleiman Personally Tortured Him in Egypt
The resurrection of pan-Arabism

In Ramallah, the protesters repeated a slogan calling for the end of internal Palestinian divisions (which, in Arabic, rhymes with the Egyptian call for the end to the regime), as well as demanding an end to negotiations with Israel – sending a clear message that there will be no room left for the Palestinian Authority if it continues to rely on such negotiations.

Egypt: The road to the President’s downfall
Mubarak’s speech: Deepening crisis
The vast and complex military machine will decide its nation’s future
Egyptians in Australia hail Mubarak’s fall
U.S. Intelligence Chief Defends Egypt Reports
Ahead of Hosni Mubarak’s speech and in the wake of an earlier statement by the military, word spread that he was planning to resign, leading to celebrations in Tahrir Square in Cairo and confident statements in social media
It seems that all of Cairo has come to dance and scream and shout and celebrate. ‘When people find out that Switzerland has frozen assets believed to belong to the Mubarak family that will make them really happy. ‘
Is Hosni Mubarak still president of Egypt?
Egypt 1/7: Illusions About Egyptian Military Can Damage Movement
Learning from the Arab Revolutions
Egypt’s military promises to hand power to elected government, maintain peace with Israel

Palestine / Israel Links

Tower Hamlets council backs Israel boycott
Ex-Egypt envoy: Israel in trouble : Zvi Mazel, former ambassador to Cairo, says Israel facing ‘hostile situation’ following Mubarak’s downfall. ‘The army will rule Egypt for years. It’s a whole new world, with no one left to lead the pragmatic states’
Israel’s discriminatory civil service program challenged
Queries about the provenance of conflict free diamonds leads to censorship by world’s leading online diamond retailer.
Weekly Demonstration in al Ma’asara Remains Strong in Face of Military Repression
Turkish inquiry finds Israel violated international law in attack on aid ships
Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at press conference in Jerusalem
The Palestine Papers, or How Everything You Thought You Knew About the Peace Process Was Wrong
Lieberman threatens to dissolve govt over bill
Palestinian Authority: End Violence Against Egypt Demonstrators – US, EU Should Suspend Security Assistance to PA Unless Abuses are Addressed
Anti-Israel protesters target UK water company
Professor Lawrence Davidson Discusses Egypt, the U.S., and Israel

Israel’s leadership, from the very beginning of the state, has believed that security is a function of alliances with the West and military force in the region. They have never sought any meaningful compromises with their neighbors. Their only “friends” in the region are dictators who cooperate with Israel because they fear it and because the Americans pay them to do so. This is not a good basis for long term security. Israel’s strategy of security through the application of force is now being revealed as inadequate.

Wikileaks Links

WikiLeaks, Assange, and Why There’s No Turning Back (Exclusive Excerpt)
Did Assange Play Lawyer?
The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters
Julian Assange – U.S. International Extradition and Alternatives to Extradition

Other Links

Algeria Prepares for Day of Pro-Democracy Protests
The Apostate by Lawrence Wright
‘War criminal!’: Ron Paul backers crash Cheney-Rumsfeld reunion
The complex chaos for some Afghan women
Social media and protest in Yemen
Alger en état de siège
Yemen: Protests Continue Away from International Media Eyes
My revolution betrayed – Ukraine
Algeria police try to stifle Egypt-inspired protest
Amnesty International Says Libyan Writer is Jailed for Calling for Protests for Greater Freedoms in Libya