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

Egyptians Reject the Tyrannical Status Quo

While Tahrir Square in Cairo remains the focus for pro-democracy protest, strikes to protest the Egyptian dictatorial regime are rolling across the fertile Nile Delta – even musicians are on strike.

Revolutionary rapper Lowkey comments:

“These democracy activists, as we speak that are in Liberation Square, are having their pictures taken by the State Security and State Television and by media all over the world and those activists are being targeted. They are being targeted with the full support of the United States. What the United States is trying to do at this stage is maintain the status quo, but change the face. They want a more acceptable face to the exact same status quo and the people are rejecting that status quo.”

While the US puts more stopgap suggestions to the Mubarak/Suleiman regime, Wael Ghonim expresses the wishes of the protesters. Move over, Malcolm Gladwell, here’s Wael Ghonim on the Egyptian Internet Revolution 2.0.

Egypt Links

The Palestine Cables: Egyptian VP Suleiman, Israel’s favorite, wants ‘Gaza to go ‘hungry’ but not ‘starve”
Exclusive: Mamdouh Habib interview on new US/Israeli Egyptian pet Omar Suleiman
US company helped Egypt spy on citizens
Labor Actions in Egypt Boost Protests
Egypt Revolution’s Actors: The Media (pt.1)
Obama and Egypt’s Future
Egypt takes aim at Al-Jazeera for protest coverage
Egypt: Strike! Strike! Strike!
Wael Ghonim: Negotiation days with Mubarak are over
Mubarak rumored to be planning ‘sick leave’ in Germany
Omar Suleiman warns of coup as tensions rise between Egyptian demonstrators, army
Egyptian workers take the lead
Iran refuses opposition permission to march in support of Arab uprisings
US Marines heading to Egypt?
Ben Ali and Mubarak: Brothers in arms
Meet Egypt’s Future Leaders
The Crumbling Anchors of Mubarak’s Support
Egypt’s army ‘involved in detentions and torture’
Musicians’ Union protest
US sets parameters for Egypt

Suleiman was quoted on Sunday as suggesting Egypt was not ready for democracy and a government statement said the emergency law would be lifted “according to the security conditions” — a phrase giving the authorities wide latitude.

As Egyptians staged one of their biggest anti-Mubarak protests yet, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs described Suleiman’s comments about democracy as “unhelpful.”

Mubarak, under pressure from more than two weeks of unprecedented demonstrations, has said he will not seek re-election in September but has refused to resign.

After Biden spoke to Suleiman by telephone on Tuesday, the White House issued a statement listing four steps the United States wants Egypt to take:

1. “Restraining the Ministry of Interior’s conduct by immediately ending the arrests, harassment, beating, and detention of journalists, and political and civil society activists, and by allowing freedom of assembly and expression;

2. “immediately rescinding the emergency law;

3. “broadening participation in the national dialogue to include a wide range of opposition members; and,

4. “inviting the opposition as a partner in jointly developing a roadmap and timetable for transition.”

#Jan25 Telecommunication workers on strike
Egypt and Poli-Sci US academia
Obama consults Saudi King Abdullah on Egypt

“The President emphasized the importance of taking immediate steps toward an orderly transition that is meaningful, lasting, legitimate, and responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

“The President also reaffirmed the long-term commitment of the United States to peace and security in the region.”

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is under siege after days of raging street protest is known to be close to King Abdullah, who has condemned efforts by what he said were “intruders” to interfere with Egypt’s stability.

‘We Focused Too Much on the Rulers’ – patronising EU racism about the arab revolt in Egypt
Richard Cohen: Egyptian democracy will be “a nightmare” – US racism against the arab revolt
Egypt army would intervene in case of chaos, minister says
Sheridan, faithful shill for Israel, lies and drums up fear of the MB in Murdoch gutter press
WikiLeaks: Suleiman told Israel he would ‘cleanse’ Sinai of arms runners to Gaza
The Revolt in Egypt is Coming Home – John Pilger
Hamas says Egypt ex-minister tied to church attack
The minister had tried to blame the bombing on a Palestinian group associated with AQ
Egyptian military & regime systematic discrimination against Copts
Prosecution investigates Interior Minister’s alleged involvement in church attack
Egypt says military intervention on table
J Street says it invited boycott advocate to its conference so as to pillory her

Palestine / Israel Links

The Palestine Papers, or How Everything You Thought You Knew about the Peace Process Was Wrong
Al Arakib villagers beaten and gassed as they protest the 16th demolition of their homes
Well Gideon, the poor people of Egypt may be ignorant in your view, but they are not stupid, nor ignorant of the scam that is pulled on them by their regime at the behest of imperialism.
AICafe 11.2: Practical Advocacy, BDS Actions in Europe
Israel bombs medical aid warehouse in Gaza EXCLUSIVE PICTURES
Education in East Jerusalem: A Prohibited Democratic Right
Center: Woman detained en route to brother’s cell
UK physician to TAU: Discipline pro-boycott academics
U.S. reaffirms commitment to Israel’s security
Center: Expired food at Israel prison
Temporary ban on Palestinians entering Egypt
Students protest Israeli diplomat Khaldi in Edinburgh
The glib ambassador – The Israeli envoy in Britain is wrong to condemn student protests
Israeli war criminal Barak whines about Egyptian democracy protests to Obama
Will Egypt Protests Boost Israel’s Budding Energy Market?
‘Army of Shadows’ Hillel Cohen
Wikileaks: The economic reasons behind the siege on Gaza
Personal data decision set to boost EU-Israel trade

Wikileaks Links

2011-02-09 Wikileaks responds to one of the Wikileaks tell all books

Other Links

Grassroots Support for Aristide’s Return
Turkey’s rising role in the Middle East and its foundering EU Accession – A star-crossed collision?
“All those involved in my treatment should be jailed for war crimes” Former Guantánamo Bay prisoner Mamdouh Habib speaks with WSWS
Torturing Democracy
‘Tortured’ British man in Iraq faces trial tomorrow
Young Activist Faces 10 Years in Prison After Trying to Save Public Lands From Oil and Gas Companies
Expelling journalists: a long-established FSB policy
The Iraq Briefing Book

Ultraracism == Ultrazionism

Palestine / Israel Links

Louis Theroux’s “Ultra-Zionists”: A chance to see what we’re up against

Bottom line – it’s a great watch, maybe even important. Particularly for viewers abroad. Because these nutters, who are a handful of extremists, are calling the shots in the West Bank today. And they can do whatever they want because government after government in Israel allows them to. And guess who allows those Israeli governments to do that? American president after American president.

This whole thing is worth watching, if only to get to the last minute of it. It’s when Louis interviews for the final time Daniel Luria, of the right wing movement Ateret Cohanim, which settles Jews in East Jerusalem. “There’s Jewish life in united Jerusalem”, he says to Louis as he looks him in the eye, “and there’s nothing – nothing – that you or the world can do about it. Nothing”.

That’s it in a nutshell. But if I may slightly correct Luria’s observation: the world has never tried to do anything about it to begin with. They’re enablers.

Hopefully, some viewers abroad will finally take responsibility and try to change that.

Israel Bombs Medical Supply Building — Ken O’Keefe in Gaza, Feb. 8, 2011
‘Rawabi developer says he will uproot JNF donated trees’
Rejoinder to Open Letter to JNF Leadership
Jewish Voice for Peace chief threatened over pro-Palestinian campaign
Rawabi: A national project that defeats its purpose
11 Palestinians wounded by Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip

Gaza, Feb. 9 (BNA) Eleven Palestinians were wounded in Israeli fighter jets attacks, the F 16 attacked several targets in Gaza Strip earlier today.
According to the Palestinian News Agency (WAFA) nine citizens including two women and four children were taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital after the missile attack on a workshop in north-east of Gaza. The bombing caused severe damage on a carpentry store leading it to burst into fire, as well as a pharmaceutical storehouse that belonged to the Health Ministry. The fighter jets targeted several other locations of Gaza, including a farming land east of Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, fishermen and west of Khan Younis. MYZ/E M.

Friends of Israel should thank Ronald Reagan
U.K. urges Israel to tone down ‘belligerent’ rhetoric amid Mideast uprisings – Hague refers to the fake peace process? what a joke.
BDS promises a just peace, unlike current US strategy
West Bank Streets Quiet as Palestinian Authority Suppresses Protests
Palestinian negotiator backtracks on CIA charge
Red Cross tents demolished in village
Partner of gay shooting victim to be deported

Egypt Links

Why Egypt will never be an Islamic state
Lazarus the Computer Riseth (with photos)!
Omar Suleiman, “Egypt’s Torturer-in-Chief,” Tied to False Iraq WMD Tortured “Intel”
Hasty’ reforms will lead to chaos: Egypt
Mubarak’s Fate in Military Hands
Egyptians remain stalwart in defiance
Allies Press U.S. to Go Slow on Egypt
Egypt VP: Protests must end soon
Obama’s man in Cairo
Why Egypt will never be an Islamic state
U.S. lawmakers now back Egypt aid

Influential U.S. lawmakers have eased their threats to cut aid to Egypt, reflecting a growing consensus in Washington for preserving U.S. leverage with Egypt’s powerful military amid the country’s civil upheaval.

The shift comes as Obama administration officials, the Pentagon and powerful pro-Israel groups in Washington urge continued aid to Egypt, about $1.5 billion a year, mostly in military assistance.

Although protesters in Cairo are demanding that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resign immediately, the Obama administration is urging a more gradual reform process, headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman, that would allow Mubarak to remain in office for now.

U.S. officials believe the military should play a crucial role in that process and deserves continued support. Pro-Israel groups fear that a loss of aid could jeopardize Israel’s security.

Just last week, a chorus of lawmakers backed protesters’ demands for Mubarak’s resignation, and some called for an aid freeze to force changes.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had earlier said “all options are on the table,” including aid cuts. But in an interview Tuesday, he said that now “is just not the right time to threaten that.”

McCain said he was concerned that a reduction in aid might affect Egypt’s willingness to cooperate with Israel.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, declared last week that he would not vote for aid to Egypt, adding that he knew no lawmaker who would.

This week, however, Leahy appeared to soften his position, saying through a spokesman that he would oppose any new aid “until the situation is resolved.”

White House officials said earlier in the crisis that they would review the aid if the Mubarak government didn’t move promptly toward political reform. But within a few days, officials clarified that they weren’t considering cuts to aid.

Administration officials are trying to preserve their relationship with the military, which they see as vital for carrying out political reforms.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates praised the Egyptian military Tuesday for its restraint and emphasized the need for the Egyptian government to move at a “steady pace” to enact promised reforms.

The Arab Nationalist Reawakening in Egypt and Beyond
Live blog Feb 9 – Egypt protests

Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s vice president, tells ABC news that Egypt currently lacks the necessary “culture of democracy” for the changes demanded by protesters.

The White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has called his comments “particularly unhelpful”.

Suleiman also blamed the protests for paralysing the Egyptian economy. “The big presence in Tahrir Square and some of the satellite stations which insult Egypt … make citizens hesitant to go to work,” he said.

Suleiman added: “We cannot bear this situation for a long time and we must end this crisis as soon as possible”.

The western companies propping up Mubarak’s Egypt regime
The Egyptian revolution establishes a new social contract and values by Nawal El Saadawi –

“This is such a gala for all of us, for all of us, the festival of freedom, dignity, justice, creativity and rebellion.” “A young man named Ahmed Galal said, “We are a popular revolt that establishes a new social contract, not just demands, and our slogan of this revolution is ‘equality of freedom of social justice.’ The people who made this revolution are the ones who should put the rules for the new governance, choose the transitional government, select a National Committee to change the constitution, the committee of wise men of the revolution, so as not to allow opportunists (the owners of wealth and power) to impose on us committees of wise men who did not participate with us in this revolt.”

Robert Fisk: Week 3, day 16, and with every passing hour, the regime digs in deeper
Activist’s tears may be game changer in Egypt
Egypt: Kareem Amer latest to go missing
Wael Ghonim – a new face of Egypt’s revolution
The Muslim Brotherhood uncovered
Anzalone: The Muslim Brotherhood Myth
Egypt: New accreditation rules; military obstructs media
The Egyptian Army: also known as the surrenderers
WikiLeaks: Israel’s secret hotline to the man tipped to replace Mubarak

Mr Suleiman, who is widely tipped to take over from Hosni Mubarak as president, was named as Israel’s preferred candidate for the job after discussions with American officials in 2008.

As a key figure working for Middle East peace, he once suggested that Israeli troops would be “welcome” to invade Egypt to stop weapons being smuggled to Hamas terrorists in neighbouring Gaza.

What will become of Israel if Mubarak falls? – Israeli hasbara
Israel and the Palestine Papers: An Exercise in Etymology

The Palestine papers are groundbreaking documents in more than one way. They show that Palestinian negotiators approached the negotiations with a set of serious propositions. But they not only demonstrate that Israel in fact has a partner for peace talks—they also present Israel with a choice. Indeed, Israel can either reclaim its democratic values and drop the transfer plan, or it can drop the pretenses and assert its position as the regional peace refuser.

A Friendship of Values, Not Convenience – hasbara drivel

Wikileaks Links

US air force backtracks over WikiLeaks ban

Other Links

“What Does the Future Hold for Syria?” By George Saghir
AP IMPACT: At CIA, grave mistakes, then promotions – As the empire exculpates its crooks at the top, so does it protect (and promote!) its flunkeys.
Tunisian regime seeks emergency powers against mass protests
Gillard delivers indigenous report card
US House defeats anti-terrorism powers extension
Phone hacking victim tells her story – how Murdoch ruined the life of an ordinary Australian
Statement on Aboriginal rights by leading Australians
Australian PM tells Aboriginals to help themselves
Commemorating the indigenous resistance to invasion – Tunnerminnerwait and Mauboyheenner

The Empire Dithers

Whilst the US will strive to ensure that a government friendly to imperialism and neocolonial interests will continue in Egypt, P. J. Crowley defined the stance of the US early after the beginning of the mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt.

Crowley… on the 26/1:

‘We are monitoring the situation in Egypt closely. The United States supports the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people. All parties should exercise restraint, and we call on the Egyptian authorities to handle these protests peacefully.

As Secretary Clinton said in Doha, people across the Middle East – like people everywhere – are seeking a chance to contribute and to have a role in the decisions that will shape their lives. We want to see reform occur, in Egypt and elsewhere, to create greater political, social, and economic opportunity consistent with people’s aspirations. The United States is a partner of Egypt and the Egyptian people in this process, which we believe should unfold in a peaceful atmosphere.

We have raised with governments in the region the need for reforms and greater openness and participation in order to respond to their people’s aspirations – and we will continue to do so.’

Initially the Israel FM said “We are closely monitoring the events, but we do not interfere in the internal affairs of a neighboring state.”

While in Haaretz:

‘Israel expects the Egyptian government to weather the protests roiling the country and to remain in power, an Israeli Cabinet minister said Thursday, providing Israel’s first official assessment of the crisis affecting its powerful southern neighbor.’

‘Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo, said it is in Israel’s interest for Mubarak’s regime to survive since the alternatives, ranging from an Islamic government to the secular opposition, would be far less friendly to the Jewish state.

“I am very much afraid that that they wouldn’t be as committed to peace with Israel, and that would be bad for Egypt, bad for Israel and bad for the U.S. and the West in general,” he said.’

Once Nutanyahoo determined a racist angle would be most powerful, off he went. (I really loathe quoting Judith Miller at Foxnews, but still)

‘Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Mubarak by phone early in the crisis, the Israeli press reported, assuring him of Israel’s continuing support. Netanyahu, breaking almost a week of silence about the mass protests and riots sweeping Egypt, on Monday warned Islamic extremists could well fill a political vacuum and threaten the peace between the two nations.

And we now have a divergence appearing in the US ranks, with ex-CIA special US envoy Wisner spouting a more Israel friendly line, to the annoyance of Crowley:

‘Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak must stay in power for the time being to steer changes needed for political transition, U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy for Egypt said on Saturday.

“We need to get a national consensus around the pre-conditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes,” Frank Wisner told the Munich Security Conference.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Wisner “didn’t coordinate” his comments with the administration, and he was not in officially representing the U.S. following his trip to Cairo ‘

Obama yesterday:

‘He said the United States can’t force anything on Mr. Mubarak, but said that “what we can do is we can say, the time is now for you to start making change in that country.”’

Is the US is having a bet each way? Certainly, they are certainly dithering.

If the US cut off military aid, would the army immediately side with the people whom they should be defending and not the regime?

It’s extremely dangerous imho for dissenters if either Mubarak or Suleiman or another of the NDP camp continue to lead until elections are held, as these strongmen thenwould have ample opportunity to crack down further. There would also be more potential for the forthcoming elections to remain sham or be delayed and for opposition parties to be repressed and banned once more. All for in the name of ‘stability and security’, of course.

Emboldened by concessions from the regime and admant upon Mubarak’s departure, the protestors remain in Tahrir Square for the week of resistance. Obama is realistic about the Muslim Brotherhood though does not demand Mubarak leave immediately. Hillary Clinton channels Crowley’s earlier statements about Wisner:

The US President yesterday described the Muslim Brotherhood as well organised with strains of anti-US ideology, but dismissed the group as just one faction. “They don’t have majority support in Egypt,” Mr Obama said.

Optimistic about Egypt’s future after days of turmoil, the President said he was confident the US could work with the country’s next government after elections. “What I want is a representative government in Egypt,” he told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly. “I have confidence that if Egypt moves in an orderly transition process, we will have a government in Egypt that we can work with together as a partner.”

He stopped short of saying Mr Mubarak should quit immediately, as protesters demand, but insisted transition start now.

“Egypt is not going to go back to what it was,” he said. “The Egyptian people want freedom. They want free and fair elections. They want a representative government. They want a responsive government.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rushed to distance the administration from comments by former US envoy to Egypt Frank Wisner, who delivered a message on Mr Obama’s behalf urging Mr Mubarak to step aside only a week ago.

Mr Wisner created confusion when he said Mr Mubarak’s leadership remained “utterly critical” during the transition and that he should remain in office until September. Mrs Clinton said Mr Wisner “does not speak for the American government. He does not reflect our policies, and we have been very clear from the beginning we wanted an orderly transition.”

From Israel, continued snorts of approbation bellow from the politeratti with Dore Gold comparing the US thrust to their reactions during the overthrow of the Shah.

“Massive demonstrations were being held in the streets of Tehran, calling for the ouster of the shah, who had been America’s key ally in the Persian Gulf.

“The White House did not know quite what to do: back the shah or seek his replacement,” he wrote, warning the Obama administration not to “repeat the errors” it made by failing to back an ally facing protests, in the name of democracy.

Related links

Obama envoy Wisner works for Egypt military, business lobbyists
Egypt: Tahrir Square’s Mini Utopia
Egypt’s new cabinet meets as protests continue
Report: German intelligence agents arrested in Cairo
The World Turned Upside Down
The Egyptian mirror
US special envoy to Egypt recalled due to ties with Mubarak regime

Palestine / Israel Links

Jerusalem set to approve contentious Jewish housing in Arab neighborhood
Ten Arrested in Dawn West Bank Invasions
Unlike Egyptians, Israelis support restricting expression
Faithless dedicated to BDS
Interview with Omar Barghouti and Hind Awwad from the Palestinians Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign
It will not happen to us
Palestinians want Bethlehem on UN heritage list
‘Turkey and Iran to triple bilateral trade despite nuclear sanctions’

Oracles of the New

Zizek in the Guardian:

The hypocrisy of western liberals is breathtaking: they publicly supported democracy, and now, when the people revolt against the tyrants on behalf of secular freedom and justice, not on behalf of religion, they are all deeply concerned. Why concern, why not joy that freedom is given a chance? Today, more than ever, Mao Zedong’s old motto is pertinent: “There is great chaos under heaven – the situation is excellent.”

Where, then, should Mubarak go? Here, the answer is also clear: to the Hague. If there is a leader who deserves to sit there, it is him.

Egypt Links

Mubarak is still here, but there’s been a revolution in our minds, say protesters
#Jan25 The injured in Tahrir won’t leave
U.S. Trying to Balance Israel’s Needs in the Face of Egyptian Reform – Implausible Undeniability
2 Detained Reporters Saw Secret Police’s Methods
Israel isn’t the center of the Mideast, or of the world