Saturday, February 12, 2011
Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organisation's chief negotiator, has resigned from his post, after it emerged that the source of the Palestine Papers leak was in his own office.
The decision was announced on Saturday, at the same time as a Palestinian Authority (PA) official announced that the body would be holding presidential and legislative elections before September this year.
Erekat said his resignation came as a result of an internal investigation into the Palestine Papers, a set of leaked documents that was released by Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera English
"Yesterday evening, after it was announced that Hosni Mubarak had met the first demand of the revolution and left office, I headed toward the Egyptian embassy in Amman. The joy on the streets was something I had never experienced before.
From all directions people came, pouring out of cars stuck in gridlocked traffic on Zahran Street and into the side street where the embassy sits. They were young and old and families with children. Egyptian laborers -- the unacknowledged back bone of much of the Jordanian economy -- sang, carried each other on their shoulders and played drums. Egyptian flags waved and signs were held high.
The chants were as varied and lively as the crowd which grew to thousands: "Long Live Egypt!," "The people overthrew the regime!," "Who's next?," "Tomorrow Abbas!" ......
After the celebrations are over, the revolution too must go on, because it will not be complete until the Egyptian people rebuild their country as they wish it to be.
But standing in the streets of Amman there was no mistaking that the Egyptian revolution will have a profound impact on the whole region. Arab people everywhere now imagine themselves as Tunisians or Egyptians. And every Arab ruler imagines himself as Ben Ali or Mubarak.
The revolution has reawakened a sense of a common destiny for the Arab world many thought had been lost, that seemed naive when our mothers and fathers told us about it from their youth, and that Arab leaders had certainly tried to kill. The Arab dictators, who are as dead inside as Mubarak showed himself to be in his awful televised speeches, thought their peoples' spirits were dead too. The revolutions have restored a sense of limitless possibility and a desire that change should spread from country to country.
Whatever happens next, the Egyptian revolution will also have a profound effect on the regional balance of power. Undoubtedly the United States, Israel and their allies are already weaker as a result. First they lost Tunisia, and then suffered a severe setback with the collapse of the US-backed Lebanese government of Rafiq Hariri, and now Mubarak and Omar Suleiman, the closest and most enthusiastic collaborators with Israel except perhaps for Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies in Ramallah......
But the treaty is not really the issue. Even if democratic Egypt maintains the treaty, the treaty never required Egypt to join Israeli and American conspiracies against other Arabs. It never required Egypt to become the keystone in an American-led alliance with Israel and Saudi Arabia against an allegedly expansionist Iran. It never required Egypt to adopt and disseminate the vile "Sunni vs. Shia" sectarian rhetoric that was deliberately used to try to shore up this narrative of confrontation. It never required Egypt to participate in Israel's cruel siege of Gaza or collaborate closely with its intelligence services against Palestinians. It never required Egypt to become a world center of torture for the United States in its so-called "War on Terror." ......
Whatever break or continuity there is with Egypt's past policies, the calculations have changed for remaining members of the so-called "alliance of moderates," particularly Saudi Arabia -- which allegedly offered to prop Mubarak up financially if the US withdrew its aid -- Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.....
What the revolutions demonstrate to all Arab regimes is that the United States cannot rescue you in the end. No amount of "security assistance" (training, tear gas, weapons), financial aid, or intelligence cooperation from the United States or France can withstand a population that has decided it has had enough. These regimes' room for maneuver has shrunk even if the sorts of uprisings seen in Egypt and Tunisia are not imminent elsewhere.....
And in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas is in a more precarious situation than ever. Its loss of legitimacy is so thorough -- especially after the revelations in the Palestine Papers -- that it exists only thanks to the protection of the Israeli occupation, US and EU training of its repressive security forces, and massive EU funding to pay the salaries of its bloated bureaucracy.
The PA's leaders are as dead to the just cause and aspirations for liberation of the Palestinian people for which so much has been sacrificed, as Mubarak was to the Egyptian people's rights and hopes. No wonder the PA relies more and more on the thuggery and police state tactics so reminiscent of Mubarak and Ben Ali.....
..... Palestinians and their allies (particularly those supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement) have the power to transform reality within the next few years.
In whatever form the revolution continues, the people are saying to their rulers: our countries, our futures, don't belong to you any more. They belong to us."
Richard Wachman and Ian Black
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 February 2011
".......But exploratory discussions involving the Saudis, the US and the UAE have reportedly taken place about him moving to Dubai. One important issue is immunity from any prosecution he might face on charges of crimes against humanity after 300 deaths and documented abuses by the security forces.
According to the London-based paper al-Quds al-Arabi, revelations about the Mubarak family fortune and possible legal action over that are also a factor in planning for a post-presidential future.
Experts have estimated that the Mubaraks could be worth £43.5bn, with much of the wealth from investment deals in British and Swiss banks or tied up in upmarket real estate in London, New York, Los Angeles and expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast......"
Chris McGreal in Cairo
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 12 February 2011
".......The man who ruled for 30 years thought it would satisfy the protesters while still allowing him to go with dignity by keeping his title, if not his powers, for a few months more.
But it didn't satisfy the people, and so it didn't satisfy the army. The organisers of the protests that had rocked Egypt for nearly three weeks said from the beginning that the revolution was not about one man, but a system.
Mubarak's transfer of power to Suleiman – the former intelligence chief who played a leading role in suppressing political opposition and was America's point man in Egypt in the rendition and torture of alleged terrorists – was not an acceptable alternative.
To the protesters, Mubarak had merely rearranged the deckchairs. Far from being placated, many saw his speech as further evidence of the regime's vulnerability and their anger strengthened their determination to bring it down.....
Major General Safwat el-Zayat, a former senior official of Egypt's General Intelligence, told Ahram Online that the military leadership, like the people, had thought Mubarak would resign.
Zayat said Mubarak's speech — and one that followed by Suleiman — "was formulated against the wishes of the armed forces, and away from their oversight" and amounted to an unprecedented breach between the president and the military. In short, the army that had kept Mubarak in power had lost confidence in him....
The military's supreme council concluded that the only way to deal with the crisis was for Mubarak to go and to be seen to be gone. He and his family were packed on a plane and dispatched to his palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh....."
A GREAT PIECE
By Lamis Andoni
"The Egyptian revolution, itself influenced by the Tunisian uprising, has resurrected a new sense of pan-Arabism based on the struggle for social justice and freedom. The overwhelming support for the Egyptian revolutionaries across the Arab world reflects a sense of unity in the rejection of tyrannical, or at least authoritarian, leaders, corruption and the rule of a small financial and political elite......
But this is not an exact replica of the pan-Arab nationalism of those days. Then, pan-Arabism was a direct response to Western domination and the 1948 establishment of the state of Israel. Today, it is a reaction to the absence of democratic freedoms and the inequitable distribution of wealth across the Arab world.
We are now witnessing the emergence of a movement for democracy that transcends narrow nationalism or even pan-Arab nationalism and which embraces universal human values that echo from north to south and east to west.
This is not to say that there is no anti-imperialist element within the current movement. But the protests in Egypt and elsewhere promote a deeper understanding of human emancipation, which forms the real basis for freedom from both repression and foreign domination.
Unlike the pan-Arabism of the past, the new movement represents an intrinsic belief that it is freedom from fear and human dignity that enables people to build better societies and to create a future of hope and prosperity. The old "wisdom" of past revolutionaries that liberation from foreign domination precedes the struggle for democracy has fallen.
The revolutionaries of Egypt, and before them Tunisia, have exposed through deeds - not merely words - the leaders who are tyrants towards their own people, while humiliatingly subservient to foreign powers. They have shown the impotence of empty slogans that manipulate animosity towards Israel to justify a fake Arab unity, which in turn serves only to mask sustained oppression and the betrayal of Arab societies and the aspirations of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian pretext
The era of using the Palestinian cause as a pretext for maintaining martial laws and silencing dissent is over. The Palestinians have been betrayed, not helped, by leaders who practice repression against their own people. It is no longer sufficient for regimes in Syria and Iran to claim support for Palestinian resistance in order to stifle freedom of expression and to shamelessly tread on human rights in their own countries.
Equally, it is no longer acceptable for the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas to cite their record in resisting Israel when justifying their suppression of each other and the rest of the Palestinian people. Young Palestinians are responding to the message of the movement and embracing the idea that combatting internal injustice - whether practised by Fatah or Hamas - is a prerequisite for the struggle to end Israeli occupation and not something to be endured for the sake of that struggle.
Events in Egypt and Tunisia have revealed that Arab unity against internal repression is stronger than that against a foreign threat - neither the American occupation of Iraq nor the Israeli occupation galvanised the Arab people in the way that a single act by a young Tunisian who chose to set himself alight rather than live in humiliation and poverty has.......
The Arab failure to defend Iraq or liberate Palestine has come to symbolise an Arab impotence that has been perpetuated by the state of fear and paralysis in which the ordinary Arab citizen, marginalised by social injustice and crushed by security apparatus oppression, has existed.......
All the while, both pro-Western and anti-Western governments continued with business as usual - the first camp relying on US support to consolidate their authoritarian rule and the second on anti-Israel slogans to give legitimacy to their repression of their people.
But now people across the region - not only in Egypt and Tunisia - have lost faith in their governments. For make no mistake, when protesters have gathered in Amman or Damascus to express their solidarity with the Egyptian revolutionaries in Tahrir Square, they are actually objecting to their own rulers.
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........
The protesters in Cairo and beyond may raise photographs of Gamal Abdel Nasser, because they see him as a symbol of Arab dignity. But, unlike Nasser, the demonstrators are invoking a sense of pan-Arab nationalism that understands that national liberation cannot go hand-in-hand with the suppression of political dissent. For this is a genuine Arab unity galvanised by the common yearning for democratic freedoms."
"Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in the Yemeni capital, calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
Clashes broke out in Sanaa between groups supporting and opposing the government after men armed with knives and sticks forced around 300 anti-government protesters to end a rally, the Reuters news agency quoted witnesses as saying on Saturday.
The Associated Press news agency reported that troops beat some anti-government protesters.
Inspired by the Egyptian uprising which toppled Hosni Mubarak, protesters chanted "After Mubarak, it's Ali's turn" and "A Yemeni revolution after the Egyptian revolution."
Eyeing protests elsewhere in the Middle East, Saleh, in power since 1978, last week promised to step down when his term ends in 2013. He has also promised not to pass power to his son....."
"Algerian security forces and pro-democracy protesters are clashing, as demonstrations got underway in the capital Algiers on Saturday.
At least 2,000 protestors were able to overcome a security cordon enforced around the capital's May First Square, joining other demonstrators calling for reform.
Earlier, thousands of police in riot gear were in position to stop the demonstrations that could mimic the uprising which forced out Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Security forces have closed all entrances to the capital and already arrested hundreds of protesters, sources told Al Jazeera.....
Meanwhile, in a statement, rights group Amnesty International said "Algerians must be allowed to express themselves freely and hold peaceful protests in Algiers and elsewhere".
"We urge the Algerian authorities not to respond to these demands by using excessive force."
The government said it refused permission for the rally for public order reasons, not because it is trying to stifle dissent. It said it is working hard to create jobs, build new homes and improve public services.
Other Arab countries have also felt the ripples from the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia....."
I think that the so-called investigation of the source of the leak of the Palestine papers has nothing to do with this development.
This has everything to do with the triumph of the Egyptian revolution. We can't forget that the stooge Abbas was one of the few to openly back the Pharaoh to the end.
I think that this is the first big rat to abandon the sinking PA ship, and I am certain that others will follow.
Abbas should be looking for a falafel stand in Tel Aviv, next to that of Antoine Lahad.
"Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organisation's chief negotiator, has resigned from his post, after it emerged that the source of the Palestine Papers leak was in his own office.
The decision was announced on Saturday, at the same time as a Palestinian Authority (PA) official announced that the body would be holding presidential and legislative elections before September this year.
Erekat said his resignation came as a result of the investigation into the Palestine Papers, a set of leaked documents that was released by Al Jazeera......"
"Hezbollah on Friday congratulated Egyptians on their "historic victory" following President Hosni Mubarak's decision to step down, as car horns blared and fireworks exploded in Beirut.
In a statement it released, Hezbollah congratulated the great people of Egypt on this historic and honorable victory which is a direct result of their pioneering revolution.
"It is the unity the people showed in this revolution, women and men, children and adults, which marked the triumph of blood over the sword."
The statement said Hezbollah feels proud by the achievements of Egypt’s Revolution. “Hezbollah believes that the will of the people and its determination is the key to produce the victories for the cause and the nation.”"
Courtesy of Arabs48.com
Friday, February 11, 2011
A GOOD COMMENT
By Robert Fisk
"Everyone suddenly burst out singing.
And laughing, and crying, and shouting and praying, kneeling on the road and kissing the filthy tarmac right in front of me, and dancing and praising God for ridding them of Hosni Mubarak – a generous moment, for it was their courage rather than divine intervention which rid Egypt of its dictator – and weeping tears which splashed down their clothes. It was as if every man and woman had just got married, as if joy could smother the decades of dictatorship and pain and repression and humiliation and blood. Forever, it will be known as the Egyptian Revolution of 25 January – the day the rising began – and it will be forever the story of a risen people.....
Talk of a historic day somehow took the edge off what last night's victory really means for Egyptians. Through sheer willpower, through courage in the face of Mubarak's hateful state security police, through the realisation - yes - that sometimes you have to struggle to overthrow a dictator with more than words and facebooks, through the very act of fighting with fists and stones against cops with stun guns and tear gas and live bullets, they achieved the impossible: the end - they must plead with their God that it is permanent -- of almost 60 years of autocracy and repression, 30 of them Mubarak's. Arabs, maligned, cursed, racially abused in the West, treated as backward and uneducated by many of the Israelis who wanted to maintain Mubarak's often savage rule, had stood up, abandoned their fear, and tossed away the man whom the West loved as a 'moderate' leader who would do their bidding at the price of $1.5 billion a year. It's not only east Europeans who can stand up to brutality......
Perhaps the shadow of the army is too dark an image to invoke in the aftermath of so monumental a revolution in Egypt. Siegfried Sassoon's joy on the day of the 1918 Armistice, the end of the First World War - when everyone also suddenly burst out singing - was genuine and deserved. Yet that peace led to further immense suffering. And the Egyptians who have fought for their future in the streets of their nation over the past three weeks will have to preserve their revolution from internal as well as external enemies if they are to achieve a real democracy. The army has decided to protect the people. But who will curb the power of the army? "
A GOOD COMMENT
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 February 2011
" A joyous night in Cairo. What bliss to be alive, to be an Egyptian and an Arab. In Tahrir Square they're chanting, "Egypt is free" and "We won!"
The removal of Mubarak alone (and getting the bulk of his $40bn loot back for the national treasury), without any other reforms, would itself be experienced in the region and in Egypt as a huge political triumph. It will set new forces into motion. A nation that has witnessed miracles of mass mobilisations and a huge rise in popular political consciousness will not be easy to crush, as Tunisia demonstrates......
....one of the great Arab poets, Nizar Qabbani wrote:
Corn ears of the future,
You will break our chains.
Kill the opium in our heads,
Kill the illusions.
Don't read about our suffocated generation,
We are a hopeless case,
As worthless as a water-melon rind.
Don't read about us,
Don't ape us,
Don't accept us,
Don't accept our ideas,
We are a nation of crooks and jugglers.
Corn ears of the future,
You are the generation that will overcome defeat.
How happy he would have been to see his prophecy being fulfilled.....
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."
"As news of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation breaks, Democracy Now! broadcasts live reaction from Tahrir Square and beyond with Senior Producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Correspondent Anjali Kamat. "People are holding their hands up in victory," reports Kouddous. "This will be a day that no one will ever forget." We are also joined on the phone from Cairo by Egyptian activists Mona El Seif and Salma al-Tarzi, blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah, feminist Nawal El Saadawi, acclaimed writer Ahdaf Soueif, and Egyptian Historian Khaled Fahmy who tells Amy Goodman, "I never really thought I would see this glorious moment in my lifetime." Mohamed Abdel Dayem with the Committee to Protect Journalists, discusses the new freedom of the press. We also hear from veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk and Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi about what is next for Egypt. "Many people in Washington would love a neoliberal future for Egypt," says Khalidi. "But the two things that are essential are Egypt’s geo-political alignment with this country and its acquiescence in Israeli regional domination."
Anjali Kamat, Democracy Now! correspondent
Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! senior producer
Mona El Seif, Egyptian activist
Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Committee to Protect Journalists
Salma Tarzi, Egyptian activist
Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the Independent (UK)
Ahdaf soueif, Egyptian novelist
Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian human rights activist and feminist
........................................."مبروك لمصر.. المجرم غادر القصر".......................
"تنحى الرئيس المصري حسني مبارك وكلف الجيش بتولي السلطة في اليوم الثامن عشر لثورة غير مسبوقة طالبت منذ اليوم الاول برحيله واصرت على مطلبها واخذت تتسع يوما بعد يوم حتى بلغت ذروتها الجمعة مع نزول حشود لا حصر لها الى الشوارع، فيما انتشرت الإحتفالات الشعبية الواسعة في عموم الوطن العربي فور تأكد الخبر، وتوجه الالاف الى مقرات السفارات المصرية في بلادهم للاحتفال والتعبير عن الفرح.
واعلن نائب رئيس الجمهورية اللواء عمر سليمان في بيان مقتصب اذاعه التلفزيون انه "في هذه الظروف العصيبة التي تمر بها البلاد، قرر الرئيس محمد حسني مبارك تخليه عن منصب رئيس الجمهورية وكلف المجلس الاعلى للقوات المسلحة ادارة شؤون لبلاد".
by Justin Raimondo, February 11, 2011
"The much-anticipated speech by Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak, in which he was widely expected to step down, has had the opposite of its intended effect: instead of placating the protesters, it has enraged them. Mubarak had only gotten halfway through his speech when the crowd in Tahrir Square starting hooting and booing. They held up their shoes – a gesture that our President Bush should understand the meaning of – and the roar nearly drowned out the speech (I was listening live on Al Jazeera). What Mubarak has done is thrust his hand into the hornets’ nest – and now we can expect the hornets to fly out, angry beyond measure….
Listening to Al Jazeera’s live coverage, I heard commentator after commentator – Egyptians – all wondering if Mubarak had gone crazy. The general view among Egyptians seems to be that the dictator is living in a fantasy world, disconnected from what’s happening in the country, unaware that his time is over and so is his regime. This is madness of a peculiar sort – the kind inflicted on anyone vested with inhuman power, a kind of curse that goes with the “job” of dictator, or, indeed, any high office. The Greeks called it hubris – a pride so vast and unthinking that it offended the gods themselves. To the ancients, hubris was the worst of sins, a curse that always ended in the destruction of the sinner.
The lesson of Egypt is one that our global elites fail to learn at their peril, for they are cursed in the same way and for the same reason: hubris is their peculiar occupational hazard, and here in the West we are far from immune. Indeed, Washington, D.C. is particularly rife with this affliction, but I fear the infection is too advanced for even the strongest antibiotic to do much good."
"....Up until Mubarak's speech on Thursday, the military in Egypt were widely welcomed as partners of the popular opposition. Statements from the military brass to protesters led to chants of the partnership between the people and the military, echoing across Tahrir Square. But the military brass has also made clear that it won't force or even urge Mubarak to resign – that it would violate their military mandate. What isn't known is where they will stand if Mubarak orders them to put an end to the protests by any means necessary.
Relationship with the Pentagon
Today will be crucial.....
Now what? Will we see police and/or soldiers once again shooting U.S.-made teargas canisters at the hundreds of thousands of women, children, men, families, filling Tahrir? Expectations had been sky-high. Wael Ghonim, the Google exec whose emotional interview after his release by Mubarak loyalists a few days ago, tweeted "Mission accomplished. Thanks to all the brave young Egyptians." Those hopes have been dashed, their mission isn't accomplished. They'll have to make the hard judgments and develop the complicated strategies for the struggle that lies ahead....
The decision how to continue their revolution rests with the Egyptian people. The decision for where our government stands rests with us."
"What's a revolution to do when it expected a decrepit dictator to pack up and go, live on al-Jazeera? Especially when a few hours earlier the expectation was of a military coup?
"Go back home"? Forget it.
Eerie Pharaoh Mubarak is indeed an immovable ancient statue buried in the desert sands. "I have laid down a clear vision"? Reforms will be "implemented by our armed forces"? Article 179 - the basis for emergency law - will be amended, maybe one day? Vague powers granted to Vice President Omar "Sheikh al-Torture" Suleiman?
(Octogenarian President Hosni Mubarak's deliberate vague language meant anything from "delegating power" - not all power - to "delegating the authorities" of the president, to the point that the Egyptian ambassador to the United States had to call CNN to explain that he is now a "de jure" president, Suleiman being "de facto". Translation: he's become an official ghost. A figurehead. Or maybe not.).....
The larger-than-life ball is now in the Egyptian street's court. The fight now is to force the complete dismantling of the Egyptian police state. In the words of many a Tahrir Square protester; "Give me liberty or give me death." Egypt may burn because the regime is betting on it. So what's a revolution to do? Storm the Bastille or go on with endless passive resistance? Either way, the time for freedom or death is now. "
"The three-decade long rule of Hosni Mubarak over Egypt was crumbling last night. The old dictator, confronted by an unprecedented wave of popular protests and strikes, was not prepared to go without a struggle. First he tried to divide the protesters, announcing his intention to step down as president later in the year. When that failed to disperse the crowds, Mr Mubarak is believed to have sent state-sponsored thugs to attack the pro-democracy protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Mr Mubarak's allies abroad tried their best to prop up the Egyptian strongman too.....
It is impossible to predict the effect on the region of these events. But there will certainly be repercussions. The autocrats of Riyadh are plainly deeply rattled. The repressive rulers of Syria, Jordan, Algeria and Libya will know that if the Egyptian regime can be overturned, with all its military and financial aid from the United States, it can happen anywhere. The oppressed people of the Arab world have now watched two revolutions in three months unfold in splendid detail, in large part thanks to the Al-Jazeera news channel.
The Arab revolution looks anything but over."
Eric Lee and Benjamin Weinthal
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 10 February 2011
"Perhaps the most overlooked factor in the demise of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime in Tunisia, and the weakening of Hosni Mubarak's grip on state power in Egypt, has been the trade unions in both countries.
While the media has reported on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook as revolutionary methods of mobilisation, it was the old-fashioned working class that enabled the pro-democracy movements to flourish......"
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 February 2011
"......And what a speech. By the standards of any modern politician, it was truly dreadful: in turns vain, arrogant, patronising, condescending and defiant. Above all, it showed Mubarak totally out of touch with the mood of the country and the will of the people that he governs. The only thing to be said in its favour is that it illustrated, in just a few hundred words, all the reasons why he ought to go (even if he's still refusing to do so).
He began by addressing the people as his "sons and daughters" – a phrase that might slip past unnoticed, though in fact it encapsulates the fundamental problem with Arab leaders and how they perceive themselves and their citizens. They behave like the traditional head of an Arab household, the paterfamilias – a remote, supposedly wise and almost God-like figure who rarely speaks but, when he does, must always be obeyed because he knows what's best for his children......
According to reports, the supreme council has met only three times in its history: in 1967 and 1973 (when the country was at war) – and on Thursday. Thursday's meeting was held without its chairman, Mubarak, and apparently the meeting was adjourned without formally concluding. A second communique has failed to clarify the army's position.
Possibly, as one Egyptian commentator suggested on the BBC, the army was attempting a coup which Mubarak had fended off by threatening to unleash his Republican Guard upon them.
Whatever the truth in that, when the head of the ruling party says it's time for the president to step aside, when the government media seem increasingly uncertain about the message they are supposed to be conveying and three former ministers have been forbidden to leave the country pending possibly corruption charges, the inescapable conclusion is that the struggle on the streets is no longer the only game in town – and that key members of the regime are now fighting amongst themselves."
Jack Shenker in Cairo
The Guardian, Friday 11 February 2011
"Control of Egypt's economy appeared to be slipping out of the government's hands, as strikes multiplied across the country and leading business figures sought to disassociate themselves with the Mubarak regime.
Thousands of workers in key industries walked out from their jobs, piling pressure on a political leadership already rocked by the 17th straight day of street protests calling for the president to stand down.
In a further blow to leading NDP members, who in recent years have styled themselves as pro-business reformers, several large companies took out adverts in local newspapers putting distance between themselves and the regime....
On Thursday, hundreds of doctors in white coats marched down a street from one of the biggest state hospitals, Qasr el-Aini, to Tahrir Square, chanting "Join us, oh Egyptian," witnesses said. From another direction, crowds of lawyers in black robes marched from their union to the square, waving Egyptian flags and circling Tahrir's roundabout with chants of "Mubarak, you pilot, how did you get $70bn?" referring to the president's past as the air force commander."
Also, see this very important call for a general strike and civil disobedience throughout Egypt. Sorry, I don't have an English version:
ائتلاف الثورة يدعو للعصيان المدني
"دعا ائتلاف ثورة 25 يناير عمال مصر بجميع طوائفهم إلى الاعتصام والعصيان المدني داخل المصانع والورش بدءا من غد السبت، بما يؤدي إلى الدخول في العصيان المدني الشامل لإسقاط النظام.
وقال بيان موجه إلى العمال حصلت الجزيرة نت على نسخة منه إن المطلوب إعلان إضراب عن العمل "بالوقوف في العنابر والورش وأمام الماكينات دون تشغيلها ودون تصادم مع أي مسؤول إلا بالحسنى والكلمة السلمية".
ودعا البيان العمال إلى حماية الماكينات والمصانع ممن وصفهم بـ"مخربي الحزب الحكومي السابق، وفلول الأمن الهارب"، مشيرا إلى أن اليد الواحدة لا تصفق، وأن التاريخ سيسجل هذه الثورة الشامخة. "فلو سقط حسني مبارك سيسقط جميع الفاسدين والمفسدين"، بحسب البيان.
عضو ائتلاف ثورة 25 يناير ناصر محفوظ قال إن تفويض الرئيس حسنى مبارك أمس الخميس سلطاته لنائبه عمر سليمان، هو أمر مرفوض من ثوار 25 يناير جميعا، ومن ثم فهم يطالبون بالإضراب العام في جميع أماكن العمل بأنحاء مصر، وفي الوقت نفسه حماية الممتلكات الوطنية وعدم تعريضها لأي أذى أو عدوان، فهو "اعتصام حتى يسقط النظام".
وأوضح للجزيرة نت أن "العمال يقودون حركة الإنتاج، وعندما يتوقفون عن العمل سيصيب الركود الشامل الاقتصاد، ولن يكون هناك ناتج اقتصادي يرتكز عليه النظام، وبالتالي ستكون أركان الدولة قد توقفت، مما يجبر مبارك على ترك مقعده رئيسا للبلاد، دون إراقة دماء، ودون التعرض لممتلكاتنا".
وحمل محفوظ نظام مبارك مسؤولية النزيف الاقتصادي المستمر بمصر، مطالبا إياه بالتنحي والاستجابة لشعارات الثورة "كرامة.. حرية.. عدالة اجتماعية.. نريدها دولة مدنية"، متوقعا استجابة ملايين المصريين للدعوة إلى العصيان.
وأشار إلى أن إستراتيجية الثوار في ميدان التحرير حاليا هي البقاء في الميدان، مع التشعب إلى الأماكن والشوارع المحيطة، للسيطرة على مبنى التلفزيون، ومجلسي الشعب والوزراء، والوصول بالاعتصام إلى قصر عابدين القريب، و"كل هذه التحركات السلمية والواعية تمت بالفعل منذ أمس، وسنستمر فيها اليوم الجمعة".
وأضاف أنه "إذا كان النظام يعتمد على طول النفس، فنحن أصحاب النفس الأطول، ونحن نسبقه بخطواتنا دائما، ونحن نثق بالمؤسسة العسكرية ثقة تامة، بدليل أننا نهتف "الشعب والجيش يد واحدة"، لكننا نرفض -في الوقت نفسه- أي حكومة عسكرية"، كما أننا –نحن- من سيخرج هذا النظام من الحكم بأيدينا، بحسب قوله.
وقال إن العصيان الشامل سيتم في وجود الجيش، "فإذا توقفت عجلة الإنتاج لن يجد النظام أمامه سوى أن يخبط رأسه في الأرض، أو أن يستقيل ويرحل فورا، لأنه لن توجد حكومة حينها يديرها، ولا عجلة إنتاج تغذيه".
وكان بيان ائتلاف ثورة 25 يناير قد خاطب العمال قائلا "من ثوار التحرير إلى عمال مصر الشرفاء حقوقكم الضائعة ستعود إليكم بسقوط النظام من مرتبات هزيلة، وحوافز متآكلة، وبدلات تُعطى لكم كأنها هبة أو حسنة مذلة، إلى حقوق الإسكان والعلاج الحقيقي وحق التعليم".
وأضاف البيان "ستحصلون على حقوقكم جميعا دون وعود النقابات العمالية المزيفة، ودون استجداء، وستؤيد كل شعوب العالم خطواتكم التحريرية ضد فساد الحاكم.. فابدؤوا، وسترون نتائج مذهلة بعد سقوط النظام".
وكان خطاب مبارك أمس بتفويض نائبه عمر سليمان مهام رئيس الدولة وفقا للدستور، قد أثار سخط ملايين المتظاهرين في ميدان التحرير، والمدن المصرية، وتوقعت مصادر نزول ما لا يقل عن عشرة ملايين مصري اليوم الجمعة إلى الشوارع في مظاهرات عارمة، بميدان التحرير وجميع المحافظات؛ رفضا لنظام حسني مبارك، ومطالبة له بالتنحي فورا. "
Thursday, February 10, 2011
AN IMPORTANT COMMENT
By Robert Fisk
"To the horror of Egyptians and the world, President Hosni Mubarak – haggard and apparently disoriented – appeared on state television last night to refuse every demand of his opponents by staying in power for at least another five months. The Egyptian army, which had already initiated a virtual coup d'état, was nonplussed by the President's speech which had been widely advertised – by both his friends and his enemies – as a farewell address after 30 years of dictatorship. The vast crowds in Tahrir Square were almost insane with anger and resentment.....
History may later decide that the army's lack of faith in Mubarak effectively lost his presidency after three decades of dictatorship, secret police torture and government corruption. Confronted by even greater demonstrations on the streets of Egypt today, even the army could not guarantee the safety of the nation. Yet for Mubarak's opponents, today will not be a day of joy and rejoicing and victory but a potential bloodbath......
Even as Mubarak was still speaking, the millions in Tahrir Square roared their anger and fury and disbelief. Of course, the millions of courageous Egyptians who fought the whole apparatus of state security run by Mubarak should have been the victors. But as yesterday afternoon's events proved all too clearly, it was the senior generals – who enjoy the luxury of hotel chains, shopping malls, real estate and banking concessions from the same corrupt regime – who permitted Mubarak to survive.....
All day, the power of the people had grown as the prestige of the President and his hollow party collapsed. The vast crowds in Tahrir Square began yesterday to move out over all of central Cairo, even moving behind the steel gates of the People's Assembly, setting up their tents in front of the pseudo-Greek parliament building in a demand for new and fair elections. Today, they were planning to enter the parliament itself, taking over the symbol of Mubarak's fake "democracy". Fierce arguments among the army hierarchy – and apparently between Vice-President Omar Suleiman and Mubarak himself – continued while strikes and industrial stoppages spread across Egypt.....
Last night, a military officer guarding the tens of thousands celebrating in Cairo threw down his rifle and joined the demonstrators, yet another sign of the ordinary Egyptian soldier's growing sympathy for the democracy demonstrators. We had witnessed many similar sentiments from the army over the past two weeks....
But neither the army nor Vice-President Suleiman are likely to be able to face the far greater demonstrations planned for today, a fact that was conveyed to 83-year-old Mubarak by Tantawi himself, standing next to Suleiman. Tantawi and another general – believed to be the commander of the Cairo military area – called Washington.....
....Calls for stability and an "orderly" transition of power were, in fact, appeals for Mubarak to stay in power – as he is still trying to do – rather than a ringing endorsement of the demands of the overwhelming pro-democracy movement that should have struck him down."
"في إطلالته على قناة الجزيرة، مساء اليوم الخميس، قال المفكر د. عزمي بشارة إنه لا يستطيع أن يخفي عواطفه، وإن "الربيع حل مبكرا على الأمة العربية".
واعتبر اليوم أنه يوم عظيم للأمة العربية، مشيرا إلى أن الجيش المصري اختطف اللحظة التاريخية وقبض عليها بشكل جيد، وقام بخطوة دقيقة في ظروف دقيقة، وهو يعلم أن الشعب هو الذي قام بالثورة، وأن وكيل التاريخ هو الجماهير والشعب وهم صانعو التاريخ.
وأضاف الجيش يتحرك كمسوؤل عن سلامة الأمة وكجزء من الشعب، وأن لحظة ذهاب مبارك قد اقتربت، لافتا إلى أن هناك عدة سيناريوهات، ولكن المؤكد منها هو ذهاب مبارك. وردا على سؤال بشأن احتمال بقاء سليمان قال د. بشارة إن الجماهير لا تزال في الميدان، لافتا إلى أن فرح الجماهير هو فرح بذهاب مبارك، وبداية عهد جديد لم تتضح معالمه بعد.
وأضاف أنه من الواضح أن ما حصل هو نتيجة لتحرك الجيش، وبالتالي إذا ذهب مبارك، فيجب أن يذهب معه نائبه عمر سليمان. وأشار في هذا السياق إلى معلومات تتحدث عن عدم وجود توافق بين الجيش وبين الرئيس الذي باتت تصح تسميته بـ"المخلوع"، وأنه من المؤكد أن الجيش يتصرف بمسؤولية أكبر من المسؤولين من العهد البائد أمثال أبو الغيط.
وقال إن الجيش هو محط ثقة الشعب، وبالتالي سيكون حكيما إذا بقي مصغيا لآمال وآلام وعذابات الذين تعذبوا في السجون، مؤكدا في الوقت نفسه على أن لا أحد يريد العودة إلى الحكم العسكري أو إلى مجالس الثورة، وإنما الدخول في عهد جديد من التحول الديمقراطي.
وأكد د. بشارة على أن مطالب المتظاهرين لا تزال مشروعة وراهنة أكثر من أي وقت مضى، وأن المطلوب الآن هو تعيين رئيس المحكمة الدستورية في الرئاسة وتعيين حكومة انتقالية لتسيير البلد نحو انتخابات بموجب دستور تقره جمعية دستورية.
ووجه د. بشارة التحية للرائد أحمد شومان، مشيرا إلى أن حديث الرائد بشأن إسقاط النظام بأكمله ليس صدفة، وأنه من الواضح أن هناك تحركا على مستوى صفوف العسكريين في الجيش باتجاه حماية ثورة ديمقراطية وحماية مكتسباتها
"Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising is surging after striking workers joined in the protests nationwide. Thousands of Egyptian workers walked off the job Wednesday demanding better wages and benefits. Strikes were reported in Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and the Suez Canal. We speak to Stanford University Professor Joel Beinin, who, as the former director of Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo, has closely studied the Egyptian labor movement for years. “This is huge, because there has been for the last 10 years an enormous wave of labor protests in Egypt,” Beinin says. “In the last few days what you’ve seen is tens of thousands of workers linking their economic demands to the political demand that the Mubarak regime step aside.”...."
"Reporting from Cairo, Democracy Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous says thousands of workers, including doctors and lawyers, have joined the protests in Tahrir Square. The demonstrators continue to flood the streets despite government threats and just one day before what is expected to the largest day of protests to date..."
وقال البيان "انطلاقا من مسئولية القوات المسلحة والتزاما بحماية الشعب ورعاية مصالحه وأمنه وحرصا على سلامة الوطن والمواطنين ومكتسبات شعب مصر العظيم وممتلكاته وتأكيدا وتأييدا لمطالب الشعب المشروعة..انعقد يوم الخميس الموافق العاشر من فبراير 2011 المجلس الاعلى للقوات المسلحة لبحث تطورات الموقف حتى تاريخه. وقرر المجلس الاستمرار فى الانعقاد بشكل متواصل لبحث ما يمكن اتخاذه من اجراءات وتدابير للحفاظ على الوطن ومكتسبات وطموحات شعب مصر العظيم".
وبث التلفزيون المصري صوراً للإجتماع يترأسه وزير الدفاع المشير حسين طنطاوي، علماً ان في الأوضاع العادية يكون الرئيس المصري هو القائد الأعلى للقوات المسلحة ويتولى رئاسة المجلس.
وقال شاهد عيان من رويترز إن حسن الرويني قائد المنطقة المركزية بالجيش المصري قال للمحتجين في ميدان التحرير يوم الخميس ان "كل ما تريدونه سيتحقق". وقالت قناة سي.ان.ان. التلفزيونية الامريكية دون الاشارة الى مصدر ان الرئيس حسني مبارك سينقل سلطاته للجيش.
Ruling party officials suggest that President Hosni Mubarak may 'meet protesters demands'.
Breaking News From Al-Jazeera
"Al Jazeera speaks to Hossam El-Hamalawy, a blogger and activist from Cairo, on the strikes set to sweep Egypt."
"As a part of the mix in raising bread prices, Wall Street greed is a crucial specter in the hunger of the working-class masses now entering the battle in Egypt. And with Vice President Omar "Sheik al-Torture" Suleiman warning that the only alternative to dialogue with the opposition is "a coup", the street sees any mention of talk for what it is; a mirage. No wonder the protests are getting bigger......
And this would be only the beginning; a truly sovereign Egyptian government won't possibly behave as a subservient US satrapy. But now there's no turning back. The street knows that it simply can't pack up and go home - as the regime badly wants.
They know that in the dead of night Suleiman could order his immense "secret" goon squad to ship the hundreds of thousands of them to the torture chambers he runs on behalf of the CIA, such as Abu Zaabal, or the maximum-security dungeon Scorpion, so they can be waterboarded, or electro-shocked upside down, or forced to lie in a electrified bed frame, or be beaten by electric cattle prods, or be anally raped by specially trained dogs, or have their spines hyper-extended to the point of fracture, or be kept for days in the dreaded "tiny coffin" cage, or simply be left to rot wrapped head to toe in duct tape, like a mummy.
And Suleiman would be there to supervise it all. All in secret, of course, so the "international community" would not be disturbed in their silent praise of "stability". "
"CAIRO – Over recent years, Egypt has witnessed mounting tension between its Muslim majority and its sizeable Coptic Christian minority. But in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the site of ongoing mass protests against the ruling regime, members of both faiths chant in unison: "Muslim, Christian, doesn’t matter; We’re all in this boat together!"
Since Jan. 25, Egyptians countrywide have hit the streets in the hundreds of thousands – even millions – to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and his 30-year-old regime. The first week of demonstrations was marked by almost daily clashes between police and protesters, in which hundreds were killed and thousands injured......
Many of those now supporting the uprising – of both faiths – say they blame the regime for most if not all recent sectarian tension.
"The regime is responsible for the sectarian problems suffered by Copts," Kamel was quoted as saying. "Proof of this is that no church was attacked during the unprecedented absence of security (following the police withdrawal)."
"This corrupt government was behind 90 percent of the problems between Egypt’s Christian and Muslim communities, which had coexisted in harmony for hundreds of years," agreed Rageb.
Boutros said: "This uprising won’t only bring freedom to Egypt; it will also do much to dispel sectarian tension – of which the ruling regime was the only beneficiary.""
"Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a definition of insanity. He might have been describing the foreign policy of the United States of America. In the past week we long suffering citizens have seen our government stand by the dictator in Egypt, then call on him to go, and most recently support his staying on while at the same time publicly demanding that some transition start immediately. All of which is not doing the same thing over and over except when one considers that the US Department of State and White House have followed precisely the same dysfunctional pattern when dealing with other client states throughout the Middle East and in Central Asia.....
Well, however one spins it, it is now clear that the United States policy of propping up "stable" regimes of any stripe throughout the Middle East and elsewhere is failing, while a series of ad hoc responses to the crisis have done little more than make the White House position incoherent. Time to go to Plan B, but don’t be surprised if Plan B is not acceptance of the fact that the basic premise of interventionism was wrong. Plan B as devised in the Clinton State Department will be more of the same old stuff only with different packaging in an attempt to fool the wogs. She will say we want democracy everywhere but it has to be carefully managed to make sure that other tyrants do not emerge from the process. For tyrant substitute any group that is opposed to either US or Israeli policy....."
"The uprising in Egypt is our theater of the possible. It is what people across the world have struggled for and their thought controllers have feared. Western commentators invariably misuse the words "we" and "us" to speak on behalf of those with power who see the rest of humanity as useful or expendable. The "we" and "us" are universal now. Tunisia came first, but the spectacle always promised to be Egyptian.
As a reporter, I have felt this over the years. In Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square in 1970, the coffin of the great nationalist Gamal Abdul Nasser coffin bobbed on an ocean of people who, under him, had glimpsed freedom. One of them, a teacher, described the disgraced past as "grown men chasing cricket balls for the British at the Cairo Club." The parable was for all Arabs and much of the world.....
Fear of Lord Knows What requires that the historical truth of American and British "diplomacy" as largely responsible for the suffering in the Middle East is suppressed or reversed. Forget the Balfour Declaration that led to the imposition of expansionist Israel. Forget secret Anglo-American sponsorship of Islamic jihadists as a "bulwark" against the democratic control of oil. Forget the overthrow of democracy in Iran and the installation of the tyrant Shah, and the slaughter and destruction in Iraq. Forget the American fighter jets, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and depleted uranium that are performance-tested on children in Gaza. And now, in the cause of preventing "chaos," forget the denial of almost every basic civil liberty in Omar Suleiman’s contrite "new" regime in Cairo.
The uprising in Egypt has discredited every Western media stereotype about the Arabs. The courage, determination, eloquence, and grace of those in Liberation Square contrast with "our" specious fear-mongering with its al-Qaeda and Iran bogeys and iron-clad assumptions, bereft of irony, of the "moral leadership of the West." It is not surprising that the recent source of truth about the imperial abuse of the Middle East, WikiLeaks, is itself subjected to craven, petty abuse in those self-congratulating newspapers that set the limits of elite liberal debate on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps they are worried. Across the world, public awareness is rising and bypassing them. In Washington and London, the regimes are fragile and barely democratic. Having long burned down societies abroad, they are now doing something similar at home, with lies and without a mandate. To their victims, the resistance in Cairo’s Liberation Square must seem an inspiration. "We won’t stop," said the young Egyptian woman on TV, "we won’t go home." Try kettling a million people in the center of London, bent on civil disobedience, and try imagining it could not happen."
"في ميدان التحرير تجد بشر هنا وهناك، من جميع محافظات مصر، هنا المنياوية، والسيناوية، والشرقوة، وهنا الفيومية، والمنوفية، والطنطاوية، جاءوا ليؤكدوا أن الحق آت، من أجل مستقبل واعد لمصر، وأن الظلم له نهاية.
صحيفة «الشروق» المصرية عاشت يوم مع مناضلي التحرير، ترصد أحوالهم وأسباب انضمامهم إلى إخوانهم معتصمي الميدان
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
N Y Times
Contributed by Abed
"CAIRO — They were born roughly around the time that President Hosni Mubarak first came to power, most earned degrees from their country’s top universities and all have spent their adult lives bridling at the restrictions of the Egyptian police state — some undergoing repeated arrests and torture for the cause.
They are the young professionals, mostly doctors and lawyers, who touched off and then guided the revolt shaking Egypt, members of the Facebook generation who have remained mostly faceless — very deliberately so, given the threat of arrest or abduction by the secret police.
Now, however, as the Egyptian government has sought to splinter their movement by claiming that officials were negotiating with some of its leaders, they have stepped forward publicly for the first time to describe their hidden role.
Yet they brought a sophistication and professionalism to their cause — exploiting the anonymity of the Internet to elude the secret police, planting false rumors to fool police spies, staging “field tests” in Cairo slums before laying out their battle plans, then planning a weekly protest schedule to save their firepower — that helps explain the surprising resilience of the uprising they began.
In the process many have formed some unusual bonds that reflect the singularly nonideological character of the Egyptian youth revolt, which encompasses liberals, socialists and members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I like the Brotherhood most, and they like me,” said Sally Moore, a 32-year-old psychiatrist, a Coptic Christian and an avowed leftist and feminist of mixed Irish-Egyptian roots. “They always have a hidden agenda, we know, and you never know when power comes how they will behave. But they are very good with organizing, they are calling for a civil state just like everyone else, so let them have a political party just like everyone else — they will not win more than 10 percent, I think.”......"
"Hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators were occupying the street outside parliament and the Cabinet Office yesterday after spilling out of Cairo’s Tahrir Square as the 16-day-old protest expanded across the country.
With thousands of workers responding to their calls for strikes - and poor Egyptians launching other protests in several regions - anti-Mubarak organisers regained the initiative despite heavy hints from the regime that force might be used if the uprising was prolonged.
Four people were killed as armed police moved against around 3000 protesters in the New Valley province of Egypt’s Western desert. The casualties appeared to be the most serious of their kind since police were withdrawn after they quelled the big January 28 demonstration in Cairo with tear gas and rubber bullets......."