Saturday, January 29, 2011

From The Angry Arab: Word of caution

Comrade Joseph sent me this (I cite with his permission): "I am very worried that the Americans have taken over the direction of the Egyptian revolution. Let us remember that all possible candidates to replace Mubarak that even al-Jazeera is mentioning today are all handpicked by the Americans, including Barad’i, as well as Army chief of staff Anan, or anyone else for that matter. Obama has proven once more that the biggest anti-democratic force in the Arab world remains the United States, and the biggest enemy of Arab democracy since WWII till now remains the US. This has to be constantly repeated and the Egyptian people must be very cautious in what happens next. The United States wants to mortgage the freedom of all Arabs, including 84 million Egyptians to Israeli security and American profits. This is the crucial game being played today in Egypt in preparation for the maintenance of US power and influence in Egypt. Al-Jazeera must make this the main topic of discussion today." I am not as worried;

Egypt's uprising and its implications for Palestine


By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 29 January 2011

"....If the Mubarak regime goes, the United States will lose enormous leverage over the situation in Palestine, and Abbas' PA will lose one of its main allies against Hamas.

Already discredited by the extent of its collaboration and capitulation exposed in the Palestine Papers, the PA will be weakened even further. With no credible "peace process" to justify its continued "security coordination" with Israel, or even its very existence, the countdown may well begin for the PA's implosion. Even the US and EU support for the repressive PA police-state-in-the-making may no longer be politically tenable. Hamas may be the immediate beneficiary, but not necessarily in the long term. For the first time in years we are seeing broad mass movements that, while they include Islamists, are not necessarily dominated or controlled by them.

There is also a demonstration effect for Palestinians: the endurance of the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes has been based on the perception that they were strong, as well as their ability to terrorize parts of their populations and co-opt others. The relative ease with which Tunisians threw off their dictator, and the speed with which Egypt, and perhaps Yemen, seem to be going down the same road, may well send a message to Palestinians that neither Israel's nor the PA's security forces are as indomitable as they appear. Indeed, Israel's "deterrence" already took a huge blow from its failure to defeat Hizballah in Lebanon in 2006, and Hamas in Gaza during the winter 2008-09 attacks.

As for Abbas's PA, never has so much international donor money been spent on a security force with such poor results. The open secret is that without the Israeli military occupying the West Bank and besieging Gaza (with the Mubarak regime's help), Abbas and his praetorian guard would have fallen long ago. Built on the foundations of a fraudulent peace process, the US, EU and Israel with the support of the decrepit Arab regimes now under threat by their own people, have constructed a Palestinian house of cards that is unlikely to remain standing much longer....."

Watching a New Beginning in Egypt

(Alexandria, January 28, 2011) - Egyptians in Alexandria did the unimaginable on Friday, fending off a police attack for the first time in their lives. They are walking around in shock, unable to digest the significance of what they have done. A few hours ago, everyone was saying: Now, the army will come. But it is no longer clear on whose side the army will intervene. Tomorrow is the first day of a new Egypt.

Looters found to be policemen in disguise

2 looters were just caught in Muharram Beyh neighborhood of Alexandria who had police ID cards and were members of undercover plainclothes force.

Al-Jazeera Video: In Pictures: Egypt in turmoil

Al-Jazeera Video: Egypt army pleads for calm

Al-Jazeera Video: A Nation in Waiting

Al-Jazeera Video: Hundreds mourn Egypt's dead

Al-Jazeera Video: Protesters hold funeral procession in Cairo

Al-Jazeera Video: Interview: Blogger Alaa Abdelfatah

Surprise, Surprise! The Mafia Sticks Together: Abbas Calls Mubarak, Offers Support

"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Abbas told the Egyptian leader that he is eager to see Egypt stable and secure, the agency said...."

Dozens of Israelis flee Egypt on emergency flight

The Israeli embassy in Cairo has been closed since the riots broke out, and will remain closed on Sunday; Netanyahu has not yet voiced a political stance on the protests.

"The national airline El AL has whisked some 200 Israelis, including families of Israeli diplomats, out of Egypt on board an emergency flight to escape the chaos engulfing the Arab country...."

Intel chief Omar Suleiman appointed Egypt vice-president; Mubarak's sons flee to U.K.

Embattled Egyptian president names Ahmed Shafiq as prime minister as new appointments aim to stem growing popular rage.

"Embattled Egyptian President Mubarrak appointed on Saturday a former air force commander and aviation minister, Ahmed Shafiq, as the new prime minister, in efforts to stem popular rage against his autocratic regime. The move ensures that men with military links are in the top three political jobs....."

Real News Video: The Egyptian Army and the Uprising

Mohammed Ezzeldin: The Egyptian people trust the army over the police, but Mubarak is still commander-in-chief

More at The Real News

The tweeting Sphinx

Cartoonist Patrick Blower looks back at the last few days in Egypt.

Egyptian protesters return to the streets

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Egypt protesters defy curfew as tanks roll into Cairo

• At least 25 killed on day of violent protest
• Mubarak stays but dismisses government
• Demonstrators defy nationwide curfew

Peter Beaumont, Jack Shenker in Cairo and Ian Black, Friday 28 January 2011

"Tanks moved on to the streets of Cairo and Alexandria as protesters in Egypt defied a nationwide curfew ordered by President Hosni Mubarak in an effort to quell the fourth and most violent day of demonstrations against his 30-year rule.

In a late-night TV address, Mubarak refused to relinquish power, but dismissed his government, promising a new administration to tackle unemployment and promote democracy.

But his call for stability appeared to cut little ice with many protesters, who surged on to the streets as soon as he finished speaking, defying a curfew. Protesters who had earlier been forced into nearby side streets by the military could be heard chanting "People want to change the regime" immediately after Mubarak's broadcast to the nation finished......

Mass protests were also staged in Suez, where tanks were reportedly deployed, and Alexandria. Al-Jazeera said 80,000 people were demonstrating in Port Said.

The unrest has widened to include Egyptians from all walks of life, old and young, the middle classes and the urban poor. Those who did not take to the streets waved from their balconies or threw water bottles and onions to people in the crowd below to be used against teargas. Others handed out paper facemasks."

Egypt's day of fury: Cairo in flames as cities become battlegrounds

• Hosni Mubarak regime left reeling as thousands defy curfew
• Police fire baton round volleys into crowds unwilling to retreat

Peter Beaumont and Jack Shenker in Cairo
, Friday 28 January 2011

".....Amid all the confusion, the first cracks in the 30-year-old dictatorship began to appear. A young policeman who moments earlier had been smashing protesters with a baton was forced to fall back, dropping his shield and helmet as he fled. Two protesters of the same age picked them up, ran towards him and handed them back. "We are not your enemy," they told the terrified conscript. "We are like you. Join us." Further down the road, platoons of security forces surged towards Tahrir Square. One officer took a teargas canister from his belt, held it up to the crowd and threw it harmlessly behind him. At one bridge, the Qasri Nile, the key battle of the day had earlier taken place, a vicious game of push and pull, that saw it change hands several times as the regime tried to seal the city centre from the huge crowds converging on it. "I missed my chance to revolt when I was a young man," said Dr Gihad El Nahary, a 52-year-old professor at Cairo University. "I am not going to make the same mistake now."

By 3pm local time protesters from Giza had fought their way through to Midan Dokki, less than a mile from central Tahir Square. There the riot police had also been forced to withdraw, leaving two security trucks and a handful of isolated conscripts behind. The young policemen were surrounded by a 100-strong crowd. A minority of the crowd made to attack the stranded policemen, but the majority held them back....."

مراسل الجزيرة نقلا عن مصادر بالجالية المصرية: علاء وجمال مبارك يصلان وزوجتيهما إلى العاصمة البريطانية لندن.


Egyptian security: 12 killed in Bedouin skirmish at Gaza border

Contributed by Yasmin

"SINAI PENINSULA, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Palestinian sources say 12 people including Bedouins and Egyptian police officers were killed Saturday in clashes in the Sinai Peninsula, in what appeared to be an attempt by tribes in the region to take control of the swath of land south of the Egypt-Gaza border.

Gunshots were heard in the Egyptian city of Rafah as Bedouins attempted to occupy the border with Israel and the Gaza Strip. Rocket-propelled Grenades were fired at Egyptian soldiers, witnesses said, causing the near-total destruction of one home near the border area, and damage to a sector of the Gaza-Egypt border fence.

Gaza government police were said to have fixed the breach immediately, while eyewitnesses said police forces deployed across the border area on the Gaza side, in an apparent attempt to prevent Gaza residents from entering Egypt[That is Hamas for you!].

Armed groups attacked Egyptian police in the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zweid, set fire to one police station and were behind the slaying of one officer identified as 36-year-old Jum’a Hamid after he was abducted along with two others, security sources said.

Security officials also said Bedouins were behind an earlier attack on an Egyptian security checkpoint, where four officers were killed and four others injured. All were transported to hospital in Al-Arish. Four banks and several state buildings were also reportedly set ablaze and looted."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Egypt: The youth perspective

Al-Jazeera Video: Egypt protests press on

Al-Jazeera Video: AJE Egypt picture slideshow

Al-Jazeera Video: Keeping Al Jazeera on air in Egypt

Al-Jazeera Video: Demanding change in Egypt

Egyptian youth and new dawn hopes

For young Egyptians, long-dormant patriotism and pride have been finally awakened


Firas Al-Atraqchi


"As police stations and ministry of interior installations continue to burn through the night in many of Egypt’s cities, the Arab World is waking up to a new dawn.

In more than 18 years of living in Cairo, I have never felt the sense of cautious hope that exists in Egypt now, particularly among young men and women who feel that for the first time in their lives they may actually be able to determine their own destinies.

Young Egyptians that say that despite the number of teargas canisters fired at protesters and the number of those who have been beaten and detained, long-dormant patriotism and pride have been finally awakened.

They feel emboldened by the positive changes in Tunisia and believe they share common cause and aspiration.

Many of the students I teach at the American University in Cairo have taken part in the protests, avoiding tear gas, seeking refuge in shops and alleyways. They have been reporting and participating in the protests. Some have been beaten only to return the next day and face off with riot police.

To them, they have known no other president, no other ruling party and no other political system. They have for years been groomed on the government’s realpolitik on the one hand, and the empty rhetoric of opposition groups on the other.

They have made it clear to me that these opposition parties, long defunct and impotent, have been replaced by grassroots social action. Their fears of detention and torture have been supplanted by the need for better living conditions and better wages.

The protests have drawn Egyptians from all walks of life, many of whom have never participated in demonstrations and feel that the time has come for them to voice their resentment.

What started with a few dozen protesters on January 25 quickly mushroomed as passers-by and ordinary citizens joined in.

This was the Arab Street – the silent majority which has finally found a voice to express palpable anger...."

Surprise, Surprise! The Rotten Saudi King Stands by the Pharaoh....

العاهل السعودي يؤكد لمبارك وقوف المملكة إلى جانب مصر بكل إمكانياتها

"الرياض- أعلن الملك السعودي عبد الله بن عبد العزيز وقوف المملكة مع الحكومة والشعب المصري، وقال إن الإنسان العربي والمسلم لا يتحمل أن يعبث بأمن مصر واستقرارها بعض المندسين باسم حرية التعبير.
وذكرت وكالة الأنباء السعودية الرسمية (واس) السبت أن الملك، الذي يقضي فترة نقاهة في المغرب، "أجرى السبت اتصالاً هاتفيا بالرئيس المصري حسني مبارك اطمأن خلاله على الأوضاع في مصر الشقيقة".

ونقلت الوكالة عن الملك قوله "إن مصر العروبة والإسلام لا يتحمل الإنسان العربي والمسلم أن يعبث بأمنها واستقرارها بعض المندسين باسم حرية التعبير بين جماهير مصر الشقيقة واستغلالهم لنفث أحقادهم تخريباً وترويعاً وحرقاً ونهباً ومحاولة إشعال الفتنة الخبيثة".

وأضاف الملك إن المملكة "شعباً وحكومة إذ تشجب ذلك وتدينه بقوة فإنها في نفس الوقت تقف بكل إمكاناتها مع حكومة مصر وشعبها الشقيق".

وأوضحت الوكالة الرسمية أن مبارك طمأن الملك على أن" الأوضاع مستقرة وما شاهده العالم لا يخرج عن كونه محاولات لفئات لا تريد الاستقرار والأمن لشعب مصر، بل تسعى لتحقيق أهداف غريبة ومشبوهة".

وأضاف مبارك "لكن مصر وشعبها عازمون على ردع كل من تحاول أن تسول له نفسه استغلال مساحات الحرية لأبنائها وبناتها وأنها لن تسمح لأي كان أن يغرر بهم أو أن يستخدمهم لتحقيق أجندات مشبوهة وغريبة الطعم والرائحة".

Protesters back on Egypt streets

Regional ruling party headquarters is torched amid renewed protests, as death toll from unrest crosses 90.


"The ruling party's headquarters in the Egyptian city of Luxor has been torched as tens of thousands of protesters return to the streets in several cities following overnight demonstrations staged in defience of a curfew.

Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in Tahrir Square and outside the offices of state television in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Saturday, shouting "Go away, go away!". Similar crowds were gathering in the cities of Alexandria and Suez, Al Jazeera's correspondents reported.

In Alexandria, our correspondent Rawya Rageh reported that scores of marchers were calling on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down. "They are calling for regime change, not cabinet change," Rageh said.

She said that they were blocking traffic and shouting "Illegitimate, illegitimate!"....

Rising death toll

Cities across Egypt witnessed unprecedented protests on Friday, with tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets after noon prayers calling for an end to Mubarak's 30-year rule.

The number of people killed in protests is reported to be in the scores, with at least 23 deaths confirmed in Alexandria, and at least 27 confirmed in Suez, with a further 22 deaths in Cairo.

Al Jazeera's Rageh in Alexandria said that the bodies of 23 protesters had been received at the local morgue, some of them brutally disfigured. She added that human rights activists had reported that a further 13 bodies were present at the general hospital.

ElShayyal, our correspondent in Suez confirmed 27 bodies were received at the morgue in Suez, while Dan Nolan, our correspondent in Cairo, confirmed that 22 bodies were present at a morgue in Cairo.

More than 1,000 were also wounded in Friday's violent protests, which occurred in Cairo and Suez, in addition to Alexandria......."

Israel terrified by the fall of Mubarak

A fundamental change of government in Egypt may lead to a “revolution in Israel’s security doctrine,” a defense official told Ynet Friday night, as protests against President Hosni Mubarak’s rule continued to intensify.

The security official made it clear that Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt constitutes an important strategic asset, “which enables the IDF to focus on other theaters.” The defense source said that the IDF would have to dedicate major resources in order to devote any attention to the Egyptian front as well.

Another concern voiced within Israel’s defense establishment has to do with Egypt’s advanced army, which includes thousands of tanks, hundreds of fighter jets, and dozens of vessels.
"This is a Western army in every way and it enjoys US aid,” one security official said. “There is no doubt that should we see an extremist regime over there controlling such army, this will place Israel in a wholly different position"

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thousands protest in Jordan

Thousands took to the street across Jordan demanding the prime minister step down[Reuters]

Thousands of people in Jordan have taken to the streets in protests, demanding the country's prime minister step down, and the government curb rising prices, inflation and unemployment.

In the third consecutive Friday of protests, about 3,500 opposition activists from Jordan's main Islamist opposition group, trade unions and leftist organisations gathered in the capital, waving colourful banners reading: "Send the corrupt guys to court".

The crowd denounced Samir Rifai's, the prime minister, and his unpopular policies.

Many shouted: "Rifai go away, prices are on fire and so are the Jordanians.''
Al Jazeera English

O Mubarak! O Mubarak! Saudi Arabia is waiting for you!

Paraguay recognises Palestine as a free and independent state

Asuncion (Paraguay), Jan 28 (DPA) Paraguay recognised Palestine as a 'free and independent' state Friday, within the Palestinian territorial borders prior to 1967.

Paraguay thus joined a host of other South American countries which recogbnise Palestine as an independent state dating back from 1967.

Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia have moved in recent weeks to recognise Palestine, in decisions that the US and Israel slammed as counterproductive and damaging.

Venezuela also recognises Palestine as a sovereign state, and Uruguay has announced plans to do so next year.

Video: 28th Jan. 2010 - Storyful - Egypt Clashes Police Kasr Al Nile Bridge Cairo


Contributed by Yasmin

Note: I used to go over this bridge twice daily on my way to the School of Engineering, Cairo U., in Giza.

Al-Jazeera Video: Protesters demonstrate at Egyptian embassy in Dublin

Al-Jazeera Video: Egyptian army enters the streets of Cairo

Al-Jazeera Video: Analysis: Upheaval in Egypt

Al-Jazeera Video: Egyptians renew protests after curfew

Al-Jazeera Video: Police use force to quell uprising

Al-Jazeera Video: Protesters in Suez call for regime change

Protestor run over by a police van in Egypt

A people defies its dictator, and a nation's future is in the balance

A brutal regime is fighting, bloodily, for its life. Robert Fisk reports from the streets of Cairo

"It might be the end. It is certainly the beginning of the end.

Across Egypt, tens of thousands of Arabs braved tear gas, water cannon, stun grenades and live fire yesterday to demand the removal of Hosni Mubarak after more than 30 years of dictatorship.

And as Cairo lay drenched under clouds of tear gas from thousands of canisters fired into dense crowds by riot police, it looked as if his rule was nearing its finish. None of us on the streets of Cairo yesterday even knew where Mubarak was. And I didn't find anyone who cared.... "

خلال مظاهرة أمام السّفارة المصريّة بتل أبيب: "حسني مبارك.. السّعوديّة بانتظارك"

عــ48ــرب \ ربيع عيد

"شارك العشرات من الطّلاّب العرب في جامعة تل أبيب الجمعة، بتظاهرةٍ أمام السّفارة المصريّة بتل-أبيب، تضامنا مع مظاهرات الشّعبين العربيين المصريّ والتونسي، ضدّ أنظمة الاسبتداد الحاكمة.

هذا ورفع المشاركون شعارات مختلفة مؤيدة لحق الشعوب العربية في الحرية، والعيش بكرامة مثل: "ثورة ثورة حتى النصر.. ثورة ثورة بتونس ومصر"، و"حسني مبارك حسني مبارك.. السعودية بانتظارك"، و"إذا الشعب يوما أراد الحياة، فلا بد أن يستجيب القدر" وغيرها.

وتأتي المظاهرة كتحرك عفويّ من مجموعة شباب، رفعوا خلالها أعلام جمهوريّة مصر العربيّة، وتونس، وفلسطين.

Guardian Cartoon by Phil Disley

Egyptian protesters defy Cairo crackdown – in pictures

A Selection From 33 Photos in The Guardian Gallery

An eyewitness account of the Egypt protests

We have come together to stop the looting of our country by this regime, writes Ahdaf Soueif in Cairo

Ahdaf Soueif in Cairo
, Friday 28 January 2011

"This is the scene that took place in every district of every city in Egypt today. The one I saw: we started off as about 20 activists, after Friday prayers in a small mosque in the interior of the popular Cairo district of Imbaba. "The people - demand – the fall of this regime!" Again and again the call went out. We started to walk: "Your security. Your police – killed our brothers in Suez."

The numbers grew. Every balcony was full of people: women smiling, waving, dangling babies to the tune of the chants: "Bread! Freedom! Social justice!" Old women called: "God give you victory."....."

The road to Jerusalem leads through Tunis and Cairo

Philip Weiss
"The lesson of Tunisia and Egypt for American foreign policy is that the United States is the most conservative force in the world, in this region. It didn't see democracy coming because it didn't want to see it coming to the Arab world and to the palaces we supported. And when democracy did come, the U.S. creditably reversed field in Tunisia, but has stuck by its dictator in Egypt."

Israel and its American friends want to stop the Egyptian ‘earthquake’

Alex Kane-Mondoweiss

The Israeli government and its many friends in the U.S. media are rushing to support the brutal Mubarak dictatorship as it copes with the most serious challenge to its rule.

As I noted yesterday, Israel is worried about a reliable ally being toppled next door. The Israeli government recently told journalists that there is “an earthquake in the Middle East … but we believe the Egyptian regime is strong enough and that Egypt is going to overcome the current wave of demonstrations.”

M.J. Rosenberg reports on “AIPAC’s Egypt miscalculation” at Media Matters.

مبارك: هذه التظاهرات ما كان لها أن تتم لولا مساحة حرية التعبير التي أتيحت

'Something has changed in the Egyptian psyche '

The demonstrations this week against the Mubarak regime have gripped Egypt – while the world has looked on. We asked local bloggers and photographers for their frontline reports

'Arrests did not scare people, they made them angrier'

'A long dormant pride has been awakened'

'Egypt is in the midst of true change'

يوم نهاية الديكتاتور

يوم نهاية الديكتاتور

عبد الحليم قنديل

"لن تعود مصر أبدا لما كانت عليه قبل انتفاضة 25 كانون الثاني/يناير 2011، فقد بدأ العد التصاعدي لثورة شعبية مصرية من طراز فريد، وبدأ العد التنازلي الأخير لنظام الفساد والاستبداد والتبعية، وربما لن ينتهي هذا العام مع وجود مبارك وعائلته ونظامه في قصر الحكم.
انتفاضة يناير 2011 هي أعظم وأوسع وأكبر تحرك شعبي مصري منذ انتفاضة كانون الثاني/يناير 1977، وهي انتفاضة شباب الطبقة الوسطى المصرية بامتياز، فقد بادر بالدعوة إليها شباب الفيس بوك، وانضمت إلى الدعوة حركات تغيير بارزة بينها 'كفاية' و'الجمعية الوطنية للتغيير' و'شباب العدالة والحرية' و'شباب 6 إبريل'، وتردد الإخوان المسلمون لبعض الوقت.
وإلى أن شاركت قطاعات شبابية وسياسية من الإخوان، وبدا الكل على موعد مع قدر أخذ قبسا من بركات الثورة التونسية البطلة، كان التحرك ـ ولا يزال ـ عارما فياضا، وشمل أكثر من مئة ألف مصري في المدن الكبرى، خاصة في القاهرة والإسكندرية والمنصورة والمحلة ودمياط وبلطيم والإسماعيلية والسويس، ثم عند مسقط رأس مبارك في شبين الكوم عاصمة محافظة المنوفية، بدا التحرك تلقائيا بغير تنظيم معين يدفع خطاه، لكن مبادرات الشباب المصري المخاطر صنعت ما يشبه المعجزة.
وعاد ميدان التحرير ـ أكبر ميادين القاهرة ـ ليكون في قلب الصورة، فقد اجتمع في اعتصامه ما يزيد على 30 ألف متظاهر، وفي مشهد عبقري لم يتكرر منذ 20 آذار/مارس 2003، حين تدفقت إلى الميدان الشهير جموع الغاضبين مع سقوط أول صاروخ كروز على رأس بغداد، وبين التاريخين كان القلق المصري تتدافع مشاهده، ونشأت ظاهرة كفاية وأخواتها، وتناسلت مشاهد الاحتجاج السياسي بأعلى سقف، ثم توالت مشاهد الاحتجاج الاجتماعي، والتقى الاحتجاجان في انتفاضة 6 نيسان/إبريل 2008، انتفاضة مدينة المحلة الكبرى، التي حملت إشارات بتحرك شعبي أقوى، وتحققت وعودها في الانتفاضة الشعبية الجديدة، التي مزجت في سلاسة بين كل المطالب السياسية والاجتماعية والوطنية، وبدت شعاراتها التلقائية جامعة جامحة، ومن نوع 'تغيير . حرية . عدالة اجتماعية'، ومن نوع 'عدالة . حرية . كرامة إنسانية'، لكن الشعار المركزي الجامع بدا موحيا وملحا وملهما، عبر عنه بيان كفاية بعنوانه 'خلع مبارك هو الحل'، فيما تنوعت طرق التعبير المباشر عنه من المتظاهرين التلقائيين، فقد صعد إلى الواجهة هتاف كفاية 'يسقط . يسقط . حسني مبارك'، وأضاف الشباب شعارا في صورة جملة تقريرية حاسمة تقول 'الشعب . يريد . إسقاط النظام' .
وفيما بدت انتفاضة مصر الجديدة سلمية تماما، بدا النظام المذعور في حالة فزع، حاول إبداء التماسك الشكلاني في البداية، وتسامحت قوات أمنه المليونية في صباح الانتفاضة، لكنها عادت إلى استخدام أقصى درجات العنف في المساء، وبعد أن تبين لها اتساع نطاق الانتفاضة على نحو مذهل، اتجهت إلى القمع المباشر، وإلى اعتقال ما يقارب الألف متظاهر حتى لحظة كتابة هذه السطور، وإلى استخدام الهراوات والعصي المكهربة وخراطيم المياه وقنابل الغاز والقنابل المسيلة للدموع بصورة جزافية، ثم إلى استخدام الرصاص 'البلى' والرصاص المطاطي، ثم إلى إطلاق الرصاص الحي في الهواء لتفريق المتظاهرين، كما جرى في الإسكندرية والمنصورة، وإلى الضرب في المليان كما جرى في مدينة السويس البطلة، وقد كانت عاصمة مقاومة الإسرائيليين في حرب 1973، واحتفظت بجذوة النار تحت الرماد حتى مواعيد الانتفاضة الجديدة، واكتسحت شوارعها مظاهرات عفوية، واشتبكت قوات الأمن فيها مع المتظاهرين، وسقط شهداؤها الأبرار السبعة، وزاد فزع وزير داخلية مبارك، وأعلن النظام حظر التجوال في السويس، وحظر المظاهرات في مصر كلها، لكن مشاهد الغضب العظيم ظلت تتدافع في المدن الكبرى، وفي ما يشبه حرب عصابات في الشوارع الرئيسية والحواري الجانبية، ومعارك كر وفر، وصلت في مدينة الاسكندرية إلى بث الرعب في قلوب قوات الأمن، وهروبها خوفا من حشود وجرأة المتظاهرين الشبان، الذين يعملون بنظرية لا تراجع ولا استسلام، وأبدوا صلابة وعزما فائقين على مواجهة الخطر، فقد بدا النظام المصري محشورا في مأزق لا فكاك منه، فالتسامح مع المتظاهرين يزيد الشعلة اتقادا، والتشدد الأمني يزيد الفضيحة انتشارا، وجدار النظام الديكتاتوري المملوكي تتسع الشقوق فيه، فالبورصة تنهار، وتنتشر الأنباء عن هروب مسؤولين وماليين كبار، والمعارضة المعتدلة ـ على طريقة حزب الوفد ـ تجد نفسها في حرج بالغ، وتقفز هاربة من سفينة نظام آيل للسقوط، وقد لا أكشف سرا ان قلت انني قدمت صياغة لبيان يصدر عن (البرلمان البديل) قبل اندلاع الانتفاضة بيومين، وكان المطلب المركزي فيه 'الانهاء السلمي للنظام الاستبدادي، ومنع ترشح مبارك أو نجله لرئاسة جديدة، وإفساح المجال لحكم انتقالي برئاسة محايدة وحكومة ائتلاف وطني'، كانت الصياغة كفائية تماما، وتردد البعض في قبولها، لكن الانتفاضة العبقرية اكتسحت عناصر التردد ودواعيه تماما، وظهرت الصياغة ذاتها ـ بذات الحروف ـ في بيان لاحق صدر عن الجمعية الوطنية للتغيير، وبصورة أخف في بيان دعا لحكومة انقاذ وطني صدر عن حزب الوفد، وهو ما يعني أن مطلب كفاية بالإنهاء السلمي لحكم مبارك وعائلته ونظامه صار مطلبا جامعا بإطراد، ولم يعد معلقا في هواء، أو محصورا في فئة وصفت بالتطرف قبل انتفاضة شباب الأمة، وتحرك الفيل المصري منذرا بدهس النظام غير الشرعي القائم .
وقد يدعي البعض أن الانتفاضة عابرة، وأن مصر ستعود إلى سكونها المقبض من جديد، وهؤلاء غالبا من أبواق وسدنة وخدم النظام المتداعي، ويكررون ترهاتهم في عشرات الصحف والقنوات التلفزيونية التابعة للنظام، وتلك، في الحقيقة، تمنيات إبليس، فلن يعود شيء في مصر إلى ما كان عليه أبدا، وقد بدأت وتتصل المعركة الأخيرة في الحرب المريرة الطويلة ضد نظام يملك أكبر جهاز أمن داخلي في العالم، ربما باستثناء الصين، بينما لا يمكنه ـ موضوعيا ـ إجراء أي إصلاحات ديمقراطية أو اقتصادية أو وطنية، فهو لا يملك ـ مثلا ـ فرصة في حل مجالس التشريع المزورة (الشعب ـ الشورى ـ المحليات)، ولا يملك فرصة إجراء انتخابات حرة أو شبه حرة على كرسي الرئاسة، والسبب ظاهر، فقد تلاشت القواعد الاجتماعية للنظام بالكامل، وإجراء انتخابات حرة يعني أن النظام قرر الانتحار، وهو ـ أي النظام ـ لا يملك فرصة التفكير في إجراء أي إصلاحات اجتماعية أو اقتصادية، لا يملك ـ مثلا ـ فرصة إصدار قرار بخفض الأسعار، وزيادة فاتورة الدعم المليارية، والمغامرة بتحطيم ما تبقى من اقتصاده الهش المنهوب، وانهيار موازنته فائضة العجز بالكامل، ولا يملك النظام فرصة إجراء مراجعة لعلاقاته الآثمة مع (إسرائيل)، وهو ـ إن فعل ـ يشنق نفسه، فهو نظام كامب ديفيد والتبعية المزمنة للسياسة الأمريكية، والمحصلة: ان مبارك لا يملك فرصة لاحتواء الغضب سياسيا، ولا يملك سوى عصا القمع التي تنكسر الآن بصلابة المتظاهرين الشباب، الذين يحطمون حواجز الخوف بالجملة، ويبثون الرعب في قلب النظام، وهو ما يجعل المصريين، في هذه اللحظة، بين واحد من حالين، طلائع تتحرك بعشرات الألوف، وغدا بمئات الألوف، وقواعد بعشرات الملايين تنتظر وتراقب ما يجري، وربما تخرج إلى الشارع في لحظة تقترب، خاصة بعد تكون ما يشبه ' قيادة هيكلية للانتفاضة'، وتنظيم 'جمعة الغضب' في المساجد والكنائس، بينما لا يملك مبارك سوى خيار واحد الآن، أن يتنحى طوعا هو وعائلته عن كرسي السلطان، أو أن ينتهي إلى مصير قد يكون أسوأ من نهاية زين العابدين بن علي .
وفي جملة واحدة، فقد أصبح يوم نهاية الديكتاتور المصري أقرب للعين من طرف الإصبع المرفوع كعلامة للنصر.

A Great Al-Jazeera Cartoon

Protests in Egypt - live updates

The Guardian

Protesters across Egypt defy curfew

Buildings and vehicles set alight across the country as anti-government protests continue.


"A nighttime curfew has begun in the Egyptian cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, after a day where thousands of protesters took the streets, demanding an end to Husni Mubarak's 30-year presidency.

The curfew was implemented on Friday on the orders of the president, along with an order that the military take charge of security, amid violent clashes occurred between police and protesters.

Mubarak, "as commander in chief, has declared a curfew in the governorates of Greater Cairo, Alexandria and Suez from 6pm to 7am starting on Friday until further notice," state television announced.

The president "has asked the armed forces, in cooperation with the police, to implement the decision, and maintain security and secure public establishments and private property," it said.

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Cairo said that a building belonging to the ruling National Democratic Party was set ablaze along with several police vehicles. Firefighters did not appear to be on the streets, and the buildings continue to remain torched.

Rawya Rageh, reporting from the port city of Alexandria, said that protesters were defying the curfew.

"The situation remains very tense, and many are still out here, openly defying this curfew." [The end of the Pharaoh is very near. I remember when Bin Ali also declared a curfew which the Tunisians ignored; the next day Bin Ali escaped. The Same is the fate of the Pharaoh.]

According to the Associated Press, thousands of protesters have stormed the foreign ministry, and state television building in Cairo.

At least 870 people were wounded during Friday's protests some in a serious condition with bullet wounds, medical sources said....."

Al Jazeera English: Live Stream

Watch the broadcast here


طاقم السفارة الاسرائيلية يهرب خوفا من المتظاهرين المصريين

طاقم السفارة الاسرائيلية يهرب خوفا من المتظاهرين المصريين

"القاهرة - خاص بالقدس العربي:أكدت مصادر ل"القدس االعربي" ان افراد طاقم السفارة الاسرائيلية في القاهرة قد لاذوا بالفرار، بعد ان اقتربت احدى المظاهرات منها بالقرب من جامعة القاهرة في الجيزة.
وقالت المصادر ان مروحية نقلت الموظفين الى قاعدة جوية حيث نقلتهم طائرة خاصة الى اسرائيل. يذكر ان السفير الاسرائيلي كان غادر القاهرة بعد الكشف عن شبكة تجسس للموساد.

ورغم ان السفارة الاسرائيلية تشغل الطوابق العليا في عمارة شاهقة الا ان الطاقم شعر بالتهديد،
وطالبوا مروحية لنقلهم قبل وصول المتظاهرين

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Egyptian Street and the Pharaoh.

Egypt's day of reckoning

Mubarak regime may not survive new protests as flames of anger spread through Middle East

By Robert Fisk

"A day of prayer or a day of rage? All Egypt was waiting for the Muslim Sabbath today – not to mention Egypt's fearful allies – as the country's ageing President clings to power after nights of violence that have shaken America's faith in the stability of the Mubarak regime......

Already there have been signs that those tired of Mubarak's corrupt and undemocratic rule have been trying to persuade the ill-paid policemen patrolling Cairo to join them. "Brothers! Brothers! How much do they pay you?" one of the crowds began shouting at the cops in Cairo. But no one is negotiating – there is nothing to negotiate except the departure of Mubarak, and the Egyptian government says and does nothing, which is pretty much what it has been doing for the past three decades....

There are various clues that the authorities in Cairo realised something was afoot. Several Egyptians have told me that on 24 January, security men were taking down pictures of Gamal Mubarak from the slums – lest they provoke the crowds. But the vast number of arrests, the police street beatings – of women as well as men – and the near-collapse of the Egyptian stock market bear the marks of panic rather than cunning.

And one of the problems has been created by the regime itself; it has systematically got rid of anyone with charisma, thrown them out of the country, politically emasculating any real opposition by imprisoning many of them. The Americans and the EU are telling the regime to listen to the people – but who are these people, who are their leaders? This is not an Islamic uprising – though it could become one – but, save for the usual talk of Muslim Brotherhood participation in the demonstrations, it is just one mass of Egyptians stifled by decades of failure and humiliation......"

Juan Cole: "Egypt is a Praetorian Regime"

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Hundreds of thousands of taken to the streets across Egypt today in the fourth day of unprecedented protests against the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak. We speak with University of Michigan Professor of History Juan Cole. "The last 30 years, the Arab world has seen a series of Arab nationalist regimes relatively secular, which have become increasingly sclerotic," Cole says....."

Uprising in Egypt: "This is the Biggest Political Challenge the Regime Has Yet to See From the Streets"

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Protests have erupted across Egypt again today with the largest and most widespread anti-government demonstrations seen so far. In an unprecedented display of popular protest, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are gathering in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura, Sharqiya and elsewhere. Intense confrontations are taking place with state security forces. The protests come amid a vast security clampdown. Earlier, the government blocked the Internet, mobile phone and SMS services, with the hope of disrupting demonstration planning. We go to Cairo to speak Ahmad Shokr, an editor at the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Egypt protests in Cairo with Dan Nolan

Al-Jazeera Video: Map of Egypt's 'day of wrath'

Al-Jazeera Video: Fresh protests erupt in Egypt

Al-Jazeera Video: Police and protesters clash in Cairo

Egyptian Activists' Action Plan: Translated

Thanks to W for Contributing

This Important Document

"Egyptian activists have been circulating a kind of primer to Friday's planned protest. We were sent the plan by two separate sources and have decided to publish excerpts here, with translations into English. Over Twitter, we connected with a translator, who translated the document with exceptional speed.

What follows are side-by-side translations of nine pages from the 26-page pamphlet. They were translated over the last hour and pasted up in Photoshop to give you an idea of what's in the protest plan. While the plan itself contains specifics about what protesters might do, these excerpts show how one might equip oneself for clashes with riot police. Egyptian security forces have repeatedly beaten protesters as the level of violent repression of demonstrations has ratcheted upwards. For more context on the pamphlet itself, the Guardian UK ran a summary of it earlier today......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This new poll was launched just today, but the response has been phenomenal! I have not seen anything like it before. So far, more than 11,000 responded!

It asks:

Do you expect that the Egyptian protests will succeed in achieving the people's demands?

83% said yes.



مبارك يستنجد بواشنطن

في زيارة سرية لوزير الدفاع المصري لأميركا

"بعث الرئيس المصري حسني مبارك وزير دفاعه محمد حسين طنطاوي إلى واشنطن طلبا للدعم الأميركي العاجل ضد حركة الاحتجاجات التي تشهدها البلاد بشكل متنام.

ونقل موقع "دبكافايل" -القريب من دوائر الاستخبارات الإسرائيلية- عن مصادر في واشنطن أن المسؤول المصري أطلع الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما ومسؤولين سياسيين وعسكريين ومخابراتيين كبار على ما يجري في مصر.

وحذر طنطاوي المسؤولين الأميركيين من أن تأييدهم لاستخدام اليد الناعمة ضد المتظاهرين والاستجابة لمطالبهم، يضر أكثر مما ينفع.
وقال طنطاوي إن النظام سينهار إذا لم يتم اتخاذ إجراءات صارمة بحق المتظاهرين.

كما حذر وزير الدفاع المصري من أن جماعة الإخوان المسلمين التي لم تشارك في المظاهرات، تنتظر الوقت المناسب للمشاركة والاستيلاء على البلاد.

وطلب طنطاوي من إدارة أوباما مساعدة عاجلة من معدات عسكرية حديثة لمكافحة الشغب

It's Egypt's young who are leading the protests

There is a level of organisation springing up here in Cairo that can best be described as solidarity in action

Ahdaf Soueif, Thursday 27 January 2011

".....The protest strategy since the 26th has been flash demonstrations that gather quickly and disperse when attacked. Their aim is to keep the security forces on their toes and not allow them to rest – until today. Friday, after prayers, is the classic protest time and everyone is waiting.

There is a level of organisation springing up here that can best be described as solidarity in action. At various centres round the capital young activists are manning phones, documenting injuries, setting up impromptu clinics....."

Police alone can't keep rulers in power. Egypt's battle is on

I am in awe of the young protesters I addressed: Egyptians united by injustice and an anger that won't be tamed

Alaa Al Aswany in Cairo

(Alaa Al Aswany, the Arab world's bestselling novelist, is the author of The Yacoubian Building, Chicago and Friendly Fire. By day a Cairo dentist and by night a writer, he is published in twenty-two languages worldwide.)
, Thursday 27 January 2011

".....More ordinary citizens are now defying the police. A young demonstrator told me that, when running from the police on Tuesday, he entered a building and rang an apartment bell at random. It was 4am. A 60-year-old man opened the door, fear obvious on his face. The demonstrator asked the man to hide him from the police. The man asked to see his identity card and invited him in, waking one of his three daughters to prepare some food for the young man. They ate and drank tea together and chatted like lifelong friends.

In the morning, when the danger of arrest had receded, the man accompanied the young protester into the street, stopped a taxi for him and offered him some money. The young man refused and thanked them. As they embraced the older man said: "It is I who should be thanking you for defending me, my daughters and all Egyptians."

That is how the Egyptian spring began. Tomorrow, we will see a real battle."

Egyptian protesters are not just Facebook revolutionaries

The internet has galvanised dissidents, but the key events that fuelled the uprising happened offline

Jack Shenker in Cairo
, Friday 28 January 2011

"Middle-class, urban, web-savvy – the archetypal media image of the young protesters who have shaken Egypt's dictatorship this week captures only part of the reality.

This generation of dissidents, most of whom have lived their entire lives under the three-decade rule of President Hosni Mubarak, have rejected the moribund landscape of formal politics that has ensnared many of their liberal elders since Nasser's 1952 revolution.

Not content to feed on the crumbs of free expression thrown by the Egyptian regime, they have carved out an alternative space in which to develop, swap and spread ideas which challenge the status quo.

Until the government cut off internet access this morning, the forums they organised were online, spread through a vibrant network of blogs and social media sites. Despite Egypt's limited internet penetration, Facebook has been "the main actor", says Khalid al Aman a political analyst at Durham university. "The development of these events has transcended classical movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and other political parties."

But despite the talk of a "Twitter revolution" it is worth remembering that the specific events that helped fuel this uprising happened offline ....."

Cairo Today

US Military Support of the Pharaoh.....
Actively Spreading Democracy.