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

Preliminary Gaza War Crimes Investigation by Amnesty International

Since the end of Israel’s major attack on Gaza, the killer state continues its incursions and outrages.

From Steve Lendman:

For the week ending January 28th, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported continued Gaza and West Bank incursions and attacks:

— the IDF shot and killed a Gaza farmer on his land;

— 17 Gaza and West Bank Palestinians, including four children and two journalists, were wounded;

— 32 West Bank incursions were conducted;

— 64 West Bank civilians, including 15 children, were arrested;

— a private West Bank home near Bethlehem was seized as a military site;

— Gaza remains under siege and total isolation; conditions overall keep deteriorating;

— two Jerusalem homes were demolished; 53 civilians were left homeless; and Israel continues Judaizing Jerusalem through repeated land seizures.

The same pattern repeats daily, and reports indicate more American and EU complicity. The US Navy patrols the Red Sea to prevent weapons “smuggling,” and Army Corps of Engineers are on the Egyptian – Gaza border to locate tunnels and destroy them. EU nations will monitor Rafah and perhaps other Gaza – Egypt border crossings, and France, Britain and other European countries offered naval vessel patrol help in the Red Sea.

For the satraps of America and Europe, Palestinian lives are unworthy of defence compared to the need for the monster landthieving Israeli state to ‘defend itself’.

Wallowing in fascist depravity, Israel, more specifically Tipsy Livni has now sanctioned Al Jazeera’s Israeli news service.

Following the closure, the Foreign Ministry, in conjunction with the newly-formed national information directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office, considered declaring the station a hostile entity and closing its offices in Israel. After submitting the idea to legal review, however, concerns emerged it would not be permitted by the High Court of Justice.

Instead, it chose to limit the network’s activity in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. First, Israel will not renew the visas of Al Jazeera’s non-Israeli employees or grant visas to new employees. Second, station representatives will have reduced accessibility to government and military bodies, and will not be allowed into briefings or press conferences.

Third, the network will have access to only three official spokespeople – those of the Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces. The information directorate has also instructed Knesset members and ministers not to grant interviews or otherwise cooperate with Al Jazeera, but this is a non-binding instruction which lawmakers may apply at their discretion.

“Israel believes in freedom of the press and in the public’s right to know,” a Foreign Ministry official said Monday. “This is a rearrangement of relations between Israel and the Al Jazeera network in light of the present situation.”

Pardon me while I puke at the hypocrisy above.

Run, war criminals, run! Col. Geva Rapp who was involved in Operation Cast Lead flees Britain in fear of arrest for war crimes.

Col. (res.) Geva Rapp had arrived in London three days before for appearances in which he was to explain Israel’s position and refute media representations of the hostilities.

His trip had been cleared by Israeli security services.

On Thursday night, after news of his visit reached pro-Palestinian groups, some 80 protesters demonstrated outside the offices of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) in central London, where Rapp was scheduled to speak.

Calling for police to arrest him, the protesters blocked public pathways, while one scaled the building’s walls. Police made several arrests.

The event was cancelled and the decision was made for Rapp to return to Israel out of fear of a universal jurisdiction arrest warrant for alleged war crimes.

The International Herald Tribune relates the story of the people of Atatra, bombarded by Israel’s vicious and insane militia.

Palestinians describe Israeli military actions as a massacre and Israelis attribute civilian casualties to a Hamas policy of hiding behind its people.

So when disaster struck at the Abu Halima house on Sunday, many did the only thing they thought might save them: They got on the phone with their Israeli friends.

As the sun set and the bodies burned, a crowd of panicked villagers waited as two farmers made frantic phone calls to merchants on the other side of the border. “There was no one I didn’t call,” one of them said.

Forty to 50 houses were destroyed.

But when the platoon of Captain Y. took over the neighborhood where the Ghanem family lived, it blew up their house without going inside, he made clear in an interview. A search of it two weeks later by a Times correspondent joined by Chris Cobb-Smith, a 20-year veteran of the British Army and weapons consultant for Amnesty International, showed no evidence of explosive material or of a secondary blast.

So why was the house destroyed?

“We had advance intelligence that there were bombs inside the house,” said Captain Y., in the phone interview. “We looked inside from the doorway and saw things that made us suspicious. I didn’t want to risk the lives of my men. We ordered the house destroyed.”

For the Ghanem family’s 23-year-old son, Bakr, the act will not easily be forgotten.

“A house is something physical but also something in your heart,” he said, as he stood outside his collapsed home, taken over by cats and putrid odors. “The place in our heart has also been injured. There can be no peace after this.”

Many here believe that the Israelis feel the same about them and that they were treated with the suspicion and contempt of would-be fighters. That might help explain what happened, they say, when Omar Abu Halima and his two teenage cousins tried to take the burned body of his baby sister and two other badly burned girls to the hospital on Sunday.

The boys were hauling the girls and six others on a tractor, when, according to several accounts from villagers, Israeli soldiers told them to stop. According to their accounts, they got down, put their hands up, and suddenly rounds were fired, killing two of the teenagers: Matar Abu Halima, 18, and Muhamed Hekmet, 17.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that soldiers reported that the two were armed and firing. Villagers strongly deny that. The tractor that villagers say was carrying the group is riddled with 36 bullet holes.

The question of how Israel handled civilians in this war has become a matter of keen controversy. Human rights groups are crisscrossing Gaza documenting what they believe will form the basis of war crime proceedings aimed at demonstrating that Israel used disproportionate force.

Did Israel use “cancer bombs” in recent Gaza attack? – podcast exploring weaponry used by Israel against the civilian population of Gaza.

Israelis protest against their government’s attack of Gaza

Independent Australian Jewish Voices has protested against Israel’s offensive and collective punishment of the Gazan people.

We are Australian Jews who join thousands in Israel and around the world condemning ongoing Israeli military attacks on Gaza. Together with Israeli peace group Gush Shalom, we condemn the current war as “inhuman, superfluous” and “abominable”.

While Israel has the right to protect its citizens and to demand an end to the crime of Palestinian rockets that target civilians, this cannot be used as a pretext for the grossly disproportionate military assault on Gaza because it was Israel that violated the fragile truce on November 4, 2008. Furthermore, Israel ignored Hamas’ diplomatic initiatives to re-establish the cease-fire since it expired on December 19.

The war on the population of Gaza comes after the Israeli blockade that had already created a severe humanitarian crisis under which the Palestinians suffered from lack of food, electricity, medicines, hospital equipment and other basic necessities of life. The blockade was condemned by the UN as a violation of international law and, like the massive Israeli air-strikes, constitutes illegal collective punishment prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

We call for an immediate end to attacks on civilians by Palestinians and Israelis. However, since Palestinians have no means of self-defence against the most powerful military force in the Middle East, we particularly call on Israel to end its brutal assault on the vulnerable Palestinian people of Gaza and to reconsider its rejection of the UN Security Council’s call for a cease-fire.

Israel has refused to accept Hamas’ consistent offer of negotiations since its election win in 2006.

As Syd Walker points out, the IAJV highlights the facts which the Israeli hasbara machine is desperately attempting to counter.