Saturday, November 26, 2011

Al-Jazeera Video: Bahrain's Shia reject crackdown report

Al-Jazeera Video: Scepticism ahead of Egypt's elections

Al-Jazeera Video: Free Syrian Army vows to protect civilians

"Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive video of members of the self-styled Free Syrian Army which is made up of pro-democracy protesters and military defectors.

From Homs, they explain why they took up arms against the state.

They say their priority is to protect the Syrian people, and to keep the revolution as peaceful as possible.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports from Beirut, the capital of neighbouring Lebanon."

Tides of the Arab revolutions

As calls for intervention increase, ask not who will replace dictators and when, ask what replaces the regimes and how.


By Marwan Bishara

"The ebb and flow of the Arab revolutions is revealing political storms that could flood the Arab world with chaos. The people and their organised opposition groups mustn't fall prey to the dictators' ultimatums of "me or the flood".

It is a false choice.
The Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions have shown a third way forward; one that no longer considers dictatorships as a fait accomplis, nor a spiralling descent into civil war, nor to become dependent on international protection.

This is not to say that all situations and challenges are one and the same, and revolutions must evolve like carbon copies of each other. Circumstances are, of course, different among Arab states.

But behind the specifics of each Arab society and polity there are also commonalities worth considering, without generalisation.

Three dimensions or general guidelines should, in particular, be examined....

Those Syrians asking for international intervention must consider the terrible cost paid by the Libyans.

Moreover, the oil-rich North African nation might be able to pay for reconstruction, but it won't recover the terrible "collateral damage" in human losses and injuries....Short of costly foreign military intervention with boots on the ground that would also cripple Syria's national security capabilities for decades to come, with dangerous regional and international ramifications, it's not clear how any foreign military intervention could help.....

People have every right to defend themselves - and I am in no position to ask people to suffer at the hands of their oppressors. However, those advocating the militarisation of the Arab revolutions as a strategy and asking for international intervention to support the growing insurgency have either lapsed or selective memory.

In the not so distant past, a generation of young officers between the ages of 26-36 took the reins of power and went on to rule for decades with iron fist - in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Algeria.

No domestic military answer succeeded in resolving any Arab or Middle Eastern problems in recent decades - except in terms of ridding people of colonialism. And even that has come with a very heavy price - as in the case of Algeria....

For their part, Egyptians have returned to the streets and public squares of their major cities in recent days, forcing the military to apologise for its policies, to appoint a new government with full authority and to promise to vacate its executive role after presidential elections by the middle of next year.

And even that has fallen short of peoples' demands - after tens have died in the protests at the hands of vengeful security forces. Yet the revolution has made important strides.

The week's balance sheet, like the year's in total, has been in favour of the revolution that continues to show a restless and vibrant public eager to open a new page in the history of their country.....

But as the Egyptians and the Tunisians successfully pursue their revolutionary goals peacefully - albeit slowly breaking with the past, the complications stemming from militarising the revolutions in Libya, and potentially in Yemen and Syria, would not only slow down those revolutions, but would also backfire.

Attaining their goals through peaceful means is far more productive and constructive for the Arabs in both the short and long term than pursuing military solutions with outside military help, campaigns that, in all likelihood, would take even longer and be more destructive."

In pictures: Violence follows Bahrain funeral

After Abdulnabi Kadhem's body was laid to rest, mourners' impromptu protest ended with clashes with police.

Matthew Cassel


"Early on Wednesday morning, witnesses say that Abdulnabi Kadhem was killed in his car when it was struck by a police Land Cruiser in A'ali village in Bahrain. His family told Al Jazeera that Kadhem, a 44-year-old farmer who was working in his fields that morning, usually wrapped his head in a traditional scarf to stay warm in the early morning hours and was likely mistaken for a protester by riot police.

He died only hours before the release of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. People in his home village told Al Jazeera that they were not optimistic that it would lead to major democratic reforms in the country, and, during Kadhem's funeral, they continued their calls for the toppling of the al-Khalifa monarchy.

Kadhem is the second person to be recently killed in a collision with a police vehicle. On Saturday morning, 16-year-old protester Ali al-Badah died after being struck in Juffair village.

Al Jazeera's Gregg Carlstrom and Mohamed Vall also reported from the funeral in A'ali on Thursday."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Would the presence of Arab League observers in Syria help?

With about 400 responding so far, 69% said no.

Yemen: Spate of Killings Defy UN Order

Security Council Should Freeze Top Officials’ Assets
November 25, 2011

"(New York) – Yemeni troops appear to have unlawfully killed as many as 35 civilians in the city of Taizz since a United Nations Security Council resolution demanded on October 21, 2011 that Yemen stop attacks on civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. Most of these civilians were killed in artillery shelling by the Yemeni army that indiscriminately struck homes, a hospital, and a public square filled with protesters, witnesses told Human Rights Watch.

The Security Council should work toward imposing an asset freeze and a travel ban on President Ali Abdullah Saleh and other senior officials responsible for these and previous attacks on civilians when it meets November 28 to discuss the crisis in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said. The Security Council also should dissociate itself from the portion of an agreement that Saleh signed on November 23 that offers the president and other top officials immunity for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in exchange for leaving office.

“The army’s indiscriminate shelling in Taizz shows President Saleh’s brazen disregard for the lives of Yemeni civilians right up to the time he signed a deal to transfer power,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Because President Saleh’s signature is only as good as the actions that follow, concerned governments and the UN Security Council should still impose targeted sanctions until these unlawful attacks stop and hold Yemeni authorities accountable.”......"

Al-Jazeera Video: Arab League sanctions "likely to affect Syria"

"Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut, says Arab League sanctions on Syria would likely hurt the Syrian government, especially since the economy is already under strain.

"But a Western diplomat said that the real aim for these sanctions is trying to convince the business community, the middleclass in Syria which has so far been supporting the Syrian president to switch sides," she says."

Al-Jazeera Video: Exclusive pictures from Syria's Homs

"Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive images from the frontline of the continuing violence in Syria.

They were taken about a week ago in and around the city of Homs, by a photographer, who we are calling only Mani to protect his identity.

This is his account of events on the ground. "

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nov25 VIDEO – Alaa el-Aswani in Tahrir علاء الأسواني في التحرير

"Dr. Alaa el-Aswani, prominent novelist, speaks out against SCAF in Tahrir on Friday…"

Guardian Video: Egyptian military defector: 'I saw people dying and the army gave the orders for us to stand and watch'

Speaking next to an open window that looks out on to Tahrir Square, Major Tamer Samir Badr says he now feels it is his duty to protect 'these people who are fighting for our rights'. The 37-year-old claims many officers have been attending the protests secretly in civilian clothes

John Domokos and Aliya Alwi, Friday 25 November 2011

ميدان التحرير يعلن عن حكومة إنقاذ

"أعلنت ائتلافات شباب الثورة التي تنفذ اعتصاما في ميدان التحرير وسط القاهرة عن حكومة إنقاذ وطني تتكون من كل من عبد المنعم أبو الفتوح وحمدين صباحي ومحمد البرادعي، ورفضت تكليف المجلس العسكري المصري لكمال الجنزوري برئاسة الحكومة خلفا لـعصام شرف.
وقال المستشار محمد فؤاد -نائب رئيس مجلس الدولة الذي أعلن ثوار التحرير تكليفه بمهمة التنسيق بين قوى التحرير والمجلس العسكري والقوى السياسية- للجزيرة نت إن قوى الثورة في ميدان التحرير قررت تشكيل حكومة إنقاذ لتحقيق مطالب الثورة.
ثلاث شخصيات

وأكد فؤاد أن تعيين الحكومة من الشخصيات الثلاث جاء بسبب رفض المجلس العسكري الاستجابة لمطالب الشعب بتعيين شخصية تقبلها قوى الثورة لرئاسة حكومة الإنقاذ.
وأشار فؤاد -الذي كان يسير بمظاهرة من ميدان التحرير إلى مجلس الوزراء لإعلان رفض تعيين الجنزوري رئيسا للحكومة- أن حكومة الإنقاذ ستكون بصلاحيات كاملة لتحقيق المطالب التي قامت من أجلها الثورة.

ونفى فؤاد بشدة أن يكون إعلان حكومة الإنقاذ "انقلابا"، وقال "الحكومة ستتعاون مع المجلس العسكري حتى تسليم السلطة للمدنيين".

Tahrir Square stands united after week of bloodshed and betrayal

Deaths and injuries over past week have served only to harden Egyptian demonstrators' resolve

Jack Shenker, Friday 25 November 2011

"The stages were dismantled, the microphones muted. This was not a day for squabbling voices among Egypt's growing band of protesters. Instead, the plan was for Tahrir Square to reverberate with a single, simple demand. Military rule must end, and end now, the crowd roared as one. The time for compromise was over.

But compromise is exactly what the ruling generals had in mind as they unveiled the new prime minister, Kamal el-Ganzouri, the latest weapon in their battle to shut down a crisis that has now claimed more than 40 lives and thrown the country's political landscape into turmoil. A former Mubarak-era prime minister, Ganzouri, 78, is reprising his old position at a time when the public appetite for genuine change has never been fiercer.

The supreme council of the armed forces [Scaf] will be hoping he can convince the wider public that their transition plan – including national elections that, improbably, are due to start in just two days time – remains credible.

In central Cairo, 100,000 people felt very differently......

What the generals' next action will be remains to be seen, as does the outcome of the parliamentary vote, which is scheduled to start on Monday.

It seems remarkable that Egyptians will begin queuing at polling stations even as multiple parties withdraw from the race, city centres remain occupied by protesters and bloodshed continues on the streets.

But then nothing in this country has been unremarkable over the past 10 months and, judging by the current atmosphere in Cairo's Tahrir Square, it seems that is the way things are set to stay."

"Uniting" With a Traitor

"Uniting" With a Traitor....
Opportunistic Hamas Hopes to Gain.
Palestine is Fast Disappearing....
While These Clowns Jockey for Power.

Pity The Apathetic Palestinians.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood continues to alienate itself from the people

As Egyptians lie dying, the Brotherhood's blatant self-interest and arrogance is exposing them to public scrutiny and scorn


Amira Nowaira, Friday 25 November 2011

"As the brutal crackdown against peaceful protesters in Cairo and several other Egyptian cities continued unabated for six days running, the Muslim Brotherhood stayed out of the fray, declaring clearly that it would not join the protests.

In deciding to stay away from these protests, the Brotherhood may have committed its gravest mistake to date. The footage showing a dead protester being dragged by a security officer and dumped near a rubbish heap, appearing on many satellite channels and the internet, has not only shocked and enraged Egyptians, but it has sent them out on to the streets in their thousands to protest against this outrage.

In going out they had no political calculations in mind and no gains to make. They simply wanted their voices to be heard. By staying away, the Brotherhood has sent the message that it rated its self-interest higher than Egyptian blood and its decision has angered many Egyptians, including some of its own members....

Second, by its very nature the Brotherhood is an autocratic organisation. It is based on an anachronistic, pseudo-military hierarchical structure that concentrates power within the hands of a few leaders at the top. The rank and file are expected to swear allegiance and follow strict orders....

Since the early days of the revolution the exodus of young members has not stopped and it is not likely to stop as long as the same power structures remain in place. In the past week, many young members have declared their resignation and many more are showing signs of dissatisfaction. While the group might have managed to uphold its non-democratic principles in the past, it is highly unlikely that the status quo can be maintained any longer.

Third, throughout the past 10 months the Brotherhood, along with other Islamist factions, were often seen to align themselves with the ruling military junta instead of siding with people's legitimate demands......

While a large number of parliamentary candidates and parties have suspended their election campaigns in protest at the recent violence, the Brotherhood has decided to press ahead with its campaign. At the time when the streets around Tahrir and other squares looked like a war zone, with a large number of people falling dead or injured, all the Brotherhood could think of was the elections which they feared might be postponed or cancelled.....

Without making basic and meaningful changes to its structure and without undertaking a major revision of its discourse, the Brotherhood may well be on a slow road to nothingness. It will also need to remember that Mubarak's National Democratic party won elections and secured seats in parliament. But winning seats without a real popular mandate will only alienate the Brotherhood further from the people it claims to represent."

Occupy Everywhere: Michael Moore, Naomi Klein on Next Steps for the Movement Against Corporate Power

"How does the Occupy Wall Street movement move from "the outrage phase" to the "hope phase," and imagine a new economic model? In a Democracy Now! special broadcast, we bring you excerpts from a recent event that examined this question and much more. "Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power," a panel discussion hosted by The Nation magazine and The New School in New York City, features Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore; Naomi Klein, best-selling author of the "Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"; Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines; Occupy Wall Street organizer Patrick Bruner; and veteran journalist William Greider, author of "Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country."....."

Is Britain plotting with Israel to attack Iran?

Ex-ambassador exposes government cover-up

by Jonathan Cook
Global Research

"Last February Britain’s then defense minister Liam Fox attended a dinner in Tel Aviv with a group described as senior Israelis. Alongside him sat Adam Werritty, a lobbyist whose “improper relations” with the minister would lead eight months later to Fox’s hurried resignation.

According to several reports in the British media the Israelis in attendance at the dinner were representatives of the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, while Fox and Werritty were accompanied by Matthew Gould, Britain’s ambassador to Israel. A former British diplomat has now claimed that the topic of discussion that evening was a secret plot to attack Iran.

The official inquiry castigating the UK’s former defence secretary for what has come to be known as a “cash-for-access” scandal appears to have only scratched the surface of what Fox and accomplice Adam Werritty may have been up to when they met for dinner in Tel Aviv....

The murky dealings between Fox, Werritty and Gould, and the government’s refusal to clarify what took place between them, is evidence, said Murray, that a serious matter is being hidden. His fear, and that of his contacts inside the senior civil service, is that “a neo-con cell of senior [British] ministers and officials” were secretly setting policy in coordination with Israel and the US.

Gould’s unexamined role is of particular concern, as he is still in place in his post in Israel.

Murray has noted that, in appointing Gould, a British Jew, to the ambassadorship in Israel in September last year, the foreign office broke with long-standing policy. No Jewish diplomat has held the post before because of concerns that it might lead to a conflict of interest, or at the very least create the impression of dual loyalty. Similar restrictions have been in place to avoid Catholics holding the post of ambassador to the Vatican.

Given these traditional concerns, Gould was a strange choice. He is a self-declared Zionist who has cultivated an image that led the Forward, the most prominent Jewish newspaper in the US, to describe him recently as “not just an ambassador who’s Jewish, but a Jewish ambassador.”"

Military More Repressive Than Mubarak

By Cam McGrath

"CAIRO, Nov 25, 2011 (IPS) - Egyptians hoping for greater freedoms and less police brutality after the fall of president Hosni Mubarak say the military council that has ruled in his place has carried on the ex-dictator's brutal legacy, and in some cases exceeded it.

"The military council is dealing with the Egyptian people as if it is running a military camp," says rights activist Sherif Azer. "It took decades for enough anger to build up against Mubarak for a revolution; it has only taken nine months to have another."

Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets across Egypt this week calling for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to hasten the transition to civilian rule and for its leader, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, to step down. At least 41 people have been killed and over 3,000 injured in nearly a week of clashes between protesters and the security forces they want disbanded.....

Speaking on national television last Tuesday, adopting a style and tone reminiscent of Mubarak, Field Marshall Tantawi denied that the military council was seeking to consolidate its power. He said parliamentary elections scheduled to begin on Nov. 28 would take place as planned, though presidential elections would be moved up to June 2012...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Street Voices | Mixed reactions to Egypt's new PM

"Former Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri accepts a request from Egypt's ruling generals to form a new government as protesters have mixed reactions to the appointment.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros has been among the crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square to get reactions to the appointment of Ganzouri."

Egypt protesters flock to Tahrir Square

ElBaradei joins tens of thousands heading to Tahrir Square demanding immediate end to military rule

Martin Chulov in Cairo, Friday 25 November 2011

"Protesters are gathering throughout Cairo for mass demonstrations ahead of Monday's elections, which continue to polarise the country.

The largest rally is planned for Tahrir Square, to which thousands of people are heading. However, in public spaces elsewhere in the city, pro-regime gatherings are forming. Supporters of the military regime will be kept away from Tahrir Square, where opponents of the military council have gathered over the past week to demand it cedes power to civilian control.

The Nobel peace prizewinner Mohamed ElBaradei on Friday morning tweeted that he was on his way to Tahrir to "pay respect to the martyrs", a repeat of his visit in January, which was received rapturously and another clear step in his bid for the presidency.

The interior ministry has said it cannot guarantee the safety of the election and there are fears that today's march may also test its capabilities – and resolve......"

Guardian Video: Tahrir Square protesters: 'It's a conspiracy against this country'

In Tahrir Square, protesters tell John Domokos the 30 November elections will lead to chaos, and vow to continue with demonstrations against the ruling military council. But in Abassiya, an angry crowd plans to stage a pro-army rally after Friday prayers. There are widespread fears of a violent confrontation between the two factions

John Domokos, Friday 25 November 2011

Egyptians Have Lost Their Fear. There’s No Going Back Now

by Heba Fatma Morayef
(Heba Fatma Morayef is the Egypt researcher at Human Rights Watch)

"....The growing numbers in the square confirm that there is no way back. There are no easy fixes. The military has for months pretended that the civilian government has some independence, while every Egyptian knows that the Prime Minister has no power to make decisions without SCAF approval. These protests loudly proclaim a breakdown in trust in the military. They also reflect public outrage at the continuing military repression and at economic and political paralysis.

The SCAF needs to understand that it cannot ignore the demands of Tahrir protesters and dismiss them as a non-representative minority. The time has come for a genuine transition to civilian rule, led by a broad-based national consensus government."

Yemen transition tainted by ‘immunity’ deal

"A power-transfer agreement reportedly granting Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and others immunity from prosecution in exchange for leaving office deals a serious blow to victims of human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

While only part of the agreement, which was signed yesterday, has been made public, it is widely believed to offer the President and some of those serving under him immunity from facing criminal investigations and prosecutions for a string of serious abuses. It is based on a deal originally brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and comes after negotiations facilitated by a UN envoy.

“Granting immunity as part of the transition agreement would deliver a hammer blow to accountability for human rights violations by blocking the investigation or prosecution of high-ranking officials,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Acting Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Immunity leads to impunity. It denies justice and deprives victims of the truth and full reparations.”

Under international law, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Yemen is obliged to investigate and, where there is sufficient admissible evidence, to prosecute anyone suspected of such crimes...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Egypt's potential PM falls flat in Tahrir Square

"When news hit Tahrir Square that the military was considering choosing Kamal al-Ganzouri, a former prime minister, to fill the role again, chants of "we don't want him, we don't want him" immediately rang out.

Protesters said they don't want to see another official from the old regime in power, and they lamented the lack of youth representation.

With another mass protest scheduled for Friday, it appears Tahrir Square still maintains the momentum, even as the military has repeatedly vowed to hold secure elections on Monday.

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal reports from Cairo."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Photographs from inside the besieged Syrian city of Homs - audio slideshow

Photojournalist Mani talks about his experiences documenting the beleaguered city of Homs, which is the focal point of the Syrian uprising

Ian Black, Iain Chambers and Ranjit Dhaliwal, Thursday 24 November 2011

Egypt's generals defy Tahrir protests over elections

Military junta have defied their critics and declared that national elections will begin as planned in three days' time

Jack Shenker and Martin Chulov in Cairo, Thursday 24 November 2011

"Egypt's ruling generals have defied their critics and declared that national elections will begin as planned in three days' time, even as violent unrest continued to sweep the country and preparations began for the massive rally against the junta.

In a move that seemed certain to escalate tensions between the military government and demonstrators calling for its removal, members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces declared that to step down now would be a "betrayal" of the people's trust, and insisted that they would not be dislodged by a "slogan-chanting crowd".

The announcement came as revolutionary groups called for a major protest in Tahrir Square, which has been occupied by protesters for almost a week. Deadly clashes between pro-change Egyptians and security forces have left nearly 40 dead and more than 2,000 injured, transforming parts of central Cairo and other major cities into a warzone.

Egypt's interior minister said that in the current climate he could not guarantee the security of the upcoming parliamentary vote and raised the prospect of a postponement – giving heart to many protesters who believe that the ballot will have no credibility as long it is conducted under military rule...."

Tahrir Square protesters killed by live ammunition, say doctors

Egypt's ruling generals accused by human rights group after morgue workers in Cairo contradict official claims

Jack Shenker in Cairo, Thursday 24 November 2011

"Egypt's ruling generals have been accused by a human rights organisation of having blood on their hands after medical workers confirmed that live ammunition had been used against anti-junta demonstrators in Tahrir Square.

According to morgue officials, at least 22 Egyptians have been killed by live bullets since street battles began on Saturday, directly contradicting government statements that security forces have never opened fire on protesters.

One hospital doctor told the Guardian he had personally seen 10 patients struck by live ammunition during the protests that have swept Egypt in the past six days, six of whom did not survive.

"Many of the fatalities were as a result of a single shot to the head," said Hesham Ashraf, of Qasr el-Aini hospital, one of central Cairo's largest medical facilities. Autopsies on 12 other bodies confirm live ammunition as the cause of death, including some cases where the bullet was clearly shot from a height, suggesting the possible involvement of army or police snipers....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Deadly clash hits Saudi province

"Two people have been killed and six others wounded in an exchange of gunfire between security forces and what the Saudi interior ministry called criminals serving a foreign power in the country's oil-producing Eastern Province.

Wednesday's deaths brought the toll to four people dead, with nine others wounded, since unrest erupted in in the region last week.

Al Jazeera's Khadija Magardie reports."

Back to Tahrir Square

The Tom and Jerry Show



"....When Tantawi delivered his speech that evening by promising a new government, keeping the elections date intact, and the end of military rule by next June, people in Tahrir were no longer satisfied. They kept shouting, “You leave, we’re staying,” the same chant that eventually caught up with Mubarak.

The immediate problem now is the total lack of trust between the people in the streets and the military council. The people are tired of the cat and mouse game played by SCAF, where every major demand is only conceded through much struggle. Although it is true that SCAF was instrumental in accelerating the ouster of Mubarak, it is also now quite clear to the revolutionaries that SCAF has had a different agenda that oftentimes conflicts with the objectives of their revolution.

Now the revolutionaries have vowed to stay in Tahrir until SCAF cedes effective power long before next year to a new civilian national-unity government empowered to supervise the elections, supervise the writing of the constitution, and implement all their objectives without any interference or dictation by the military."

Protests in Saudi Arabia

Death to the house of Saud is the chant

VIDEO: The Obama Syndrome, by Tariq Ali

Watch the full lecture on GRTV

Q&A: Syria's daring actress

Fadwa Soliman, an Alawite who became an icon in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad, speaks to Al Jazeera from hiding

Basma Atassi

"She rebelled against the Syrian authorities, against her community and against her own family.

Fadwa Soliman, a Syrian actress brought up as an Alawite - the sect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - shocked many Syrians when she stood on a high platform in front of hundreds of anti-government protesters in one of the most conservative Sunni districts and chanted against Assad's rule.

Following this protest in the central city of Homs, her brother appeared on Syrian government-sponsored TV channel and said he and his family disown her. He said that her actions were probably motivated by money and expressed shock at watching her on Al Jazeera Arabic TV screaming anti-regime slogans in a protest.

Knowing that her fate would be either death or prison, Soliman still wanted to participate in the demonstration to dispel what she said is a perception that all the Alawite community, which makes up around 10 per cent of the population, supports Assad's government.

She said she also wanted to dismiss the government's narrative that those who participate in protests are Islamists or armed terrorists.

Soliman is currently in hiding and is constantly on the run since she said the Syrian authorities are looking for her.

Born in Aleppo, she moved to the capital Damascus to pursue an acting career where she performed in numerous plays, including in No Comment, Dolls' House, Maria's Voice and Media, and in at least a dozen TV shows, including in The Diary of Abou Antar and Little Ladies.

Since the beginning of the uprising on March 15, she has been one of the few outspoken actresses against Assad's government.

Soliman speaks to Al Jazeera about her decision to lead a protest in Homs, the position of Alawite community on the unrest and the possibility of the country falling into a state of civil war...."

Egypt's tipping-point politics

In Egypt, the rush towards constructing a democracy is choking the country's current revolutionary ethos.

Larbi Sadiki

"Exeter, United Kingdom - Egypt is refusing to kill what I call the "revolutionary ethos". Only by grasping this dynamic, and its implication for changing politics, can we better understand the call of Tahrir Square.

In particular, the incapacity of the elites to relate and respond, much less accommodate, the revolutionary ethos is at the core of the return of Egypt's own indignés (rage-keepers) to the one site of bottom-up struggle where they fully possess the terms of the political: tipping-point politics.

From day one, the political relics that should have been swept away to history's dustbin were plotting the demise of the excluded and the containment of revolution in the Arab Middle East.

The relics from Riyadh to Damascus never looked favourably on the march of the excluded. They trembled and continue to do so at the rage, the passion, the sacrifice, the tenacity and the taking-over of public squares in many an Arab city.

In Egypt and Tunisia, containment of the Arab revolution is attempted by trying to make the revolutionary ethos submit to the democratic ethos.....

Towards an 'Arab Way'

Maybe there is a "fourth way" - re-defining the political in the post-authoritarian moment so that the revolutionary ethos and the democratic ethos work in tandem, inclusively and not through a process of mutual exclusion....

Political re-invention is the continuous exercise of people's power intended to keep competitive formal politics "honest". It is endowed with the inventiveness and mobilisational agency to produce tipping-point politics. The precedent is established in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen......

Revolution and democracy

The re-ignition of the revolutionary ethos through a return to Tahrir Square is brilliant. In the lead-up to the multi-stage elections planned for November 28, they do not disrupt the formal transition as much as erupt as an informal vox populi. What can be better in the midst of transition to hear from the people - the excluded and the protesters?

It is their brand of group, open, direct, immediate and spontaneous manifestation of political communication through protest. Had they all been absorbed by party politics, the revolutionary ethos would have died.

The dilemma today in Egypt is that while the established elites seek competition to bypass and transcend revolution, the excluded exercise revolution as their only democracy....

In both Egypt and Tunisia, formidable, durable and highly organised broad-based movements representative of the revolutionary ethos are yet to be formed. The foundations exist, but these are yet to be reified. But the revolutionary ethos is abundant.

Egypt's political elites have to re-learn politics so that they are sensitised to the dynamic of the revolutionary ethos and youth's capacity to protest endlessly, if need be....."

Norman Finkelstein: Reasoned rejection of one-state position

"A just one-state solution has not been proposed by anyone engaged in the one-state-two-state debate. I’m not sure anyone in recent memory, including Hamas, has proposed it. A just solution would essentially repair the injustice done by Zionism. This would require far more than a democratic ‘binational’ state in Palestine. It would require that the Jews who came as Zionists to Palestine leave, and with them their descendants. (This is not ethnic cleansing; the original Jewish population and their descendants would remain.) Beyond this, it would require that massive compensation, in the billions, be paid to Palestinians who lost their homes and livelihoods. This compensation would have to remedy not only dispossession, primarily a crime against property, but all the deaths and agonies the Palestinians have suffered because of the Zionist project. There would have to be criminal proceedings against thousands of Israelis who have committed human rights violations, and convictions would have to involve further compensatory payments. Israeli firms that profited from and/or supported the occupation would be subject to yet further punitive and compensatory damages."

Report: U.S. carrier sent to Syrian coast as tensions flare

"The USS George H.W. Bush, the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, has reportedly parked off the Syrian coast. The move comes as the U.S. embassy in Damascus urged Americans to “immediately” leave the country.

“The U.S. embassy continues to urge U.S. citizens in Syria to depart immediately while commercial transportation is available,” began a statement released Wednesday on the embassy website. “The number of airlines serving Syria has decreased significantly since the summer, while many of those airlines remaining have reduced their number of flights.”

In addition to urging citizens to leave the country, CBS News reports that Ambassador Robert Ford, who was recalled from Syria last month due to what the Obama administration called credible threats to his safety, will not return to the country later this month as planned......"

The Iranian threat

The US is not taking any practical steps to ensure a nuclear-free Middle East, says the author.

By Noam Chomsky

".....The Obama administration has been rapidly expanding US offensive capacity in the African island of Diego Garcia, claimed by Britain, which had expelled the population so that the US could build the massive base it uses for attacks in the Central Command area. The Navy reports sending a submarine tender to the island to service nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines with Tomahawk missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads. Each submarine is reported to have the striking power of a typical carrier battle group. According to a US Navy cargo manifest obtained by the Sunday Herald (Glasgow), the substantial military equipment Obama has dispatched includes 387 "bunker busters" used for blasting hardened underground structures. Planning for these "massive ordnance penetrators", the most powerful bombs in the arsenal short of nuclear weapons, was initiated in the Bush administration, but languished. On taking office, Obama immediately accelerated the plans, and they are to be deployed several years ahead of schedule, aiming specifically at Iran.

"They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran," according to Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London. "US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours," he said. "The firepower of US forces has quadrupled since 2003," accelerating under Obama.

The Arab press reports that an American fleet (with an Israeli vessel) passed through the Suez Canal on the way to the Persian Gulf, where its task is "to implement the sanctions against Iran and supervise the ships going to and from Iran". British and Israeli media report that Saudi Arabia is providing a corridor for Israeli bombing of Iran (denied by Saudi Arabia). On his return from Afghanistan to reassure NATO allies that the US will stay the course after the replacement of General McChrystal by his superior, General Petraeus, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen visited Israel to meet IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and senior military staff along with intelligence and planning units, continuing the annual strategic dialogue between Israel and the US The meeting focused "on the preparation by both Israel and the US for the possibility of a nuclear capable Iran", according to Haaretz, which reports further that Mullen emphasised that "I always try to see challenges from Israeli perspective". Mullen and Ashkenazi are in regular contact on a secure line......"

Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh resigns – but it changes little

The president's regime, and all it stands for, remains intact. What Yemen needs is a more effective parliament

Brian Whitaker, Thursday 24 November 2011

".....The upshot is that even without Saleh, Yemen still has a parliament in which Saleh's party, the General People's Congress, holds an overwhelming majority. It is a parliament with no real mandate and very little legitimacy, yet it is also the body charged by the constitution with the task of approving candidates for presidential elections.

Saleh may be on the way out but his regime – and everything it stands for – is still very much in place. That is basically what the GGC states were hoping for with their so-called transition plan: change at the top while preserving the status quo beneath.

There are parallels here with Egypt where the fall of Mubarak left key parts of his regime intact, as the protesters there are now discovering. For Yemenis who want real change, the struggle is far from over."

مقارنة بين خطاب مبارك الأول وخطاب طنطاوي

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Real News Video: Egyptian Protests Rage On

Egyptians say this is not a second revolution, it's a continuation of the first one

More at The Real News

Egypt has halted the drive to derail the Arab revolution

The uprisings across the Arab world have been crushed, hijacked and poisoned. But Egyptians have taken back control

Seumas Milne, Wednesday 23 November 2011

"Until the last few days pessimism about the Arab revolution had become the norm. After the euphoria of Tunisia and Egypt, the "Arab spring" had become bleak autumn. Savage repression, foreign intervention, civil war, counter-revolution and the return of the old guard had become the order of the day. To some there had been no revolution at all – and only strategically marginal Tunisia would be allowed to undergo a genuine democratic transformation.
But now the revolutionary wave has broken again in Egypt, as hundreds of thousands have defied lethal violence to reclaim authority from a military regime that had no intention of letting it go....

Since the day the Egyptian dictator was ousted there has been a determined drive by the western powers, their Gulf allies and the old regimes to buy off, crush or hijack the Arab uprisings....

The third tactic has been for the west and its autocratic Arab allies to put themselves at the head of uprisings – which is what happened in Libya, where Nato's military intervention was made possible by Qatar and other authoritarian Gulf states....

It's this return of former colonial powers to the Arab world to reclaim oil concessions in Libya, following the occupation of Iraq, that has led Gamal Abdel Nasser's former confidant Mohamed Heikal to talk recently of the threat of an effective new "Sykes-Picot agreement" – the carve-up between Britain and France after the first world war – and a redivision of spoils in the region....

What's clear is that the upheavals across the Arab world are intimately connected, and that sectarianism and foreign intervention are enemies of its fledgling revolution. A crucial factor in the persistence of authoritarian regimes has been their support by western powers determined to maintain strategic control. And any genuinely democratic Middle East will inevitably be more independent.

That's why the reignition of the revolution in Egypt, the pivot of the Arab world, has the potential not only to accelerate the democratisation of the country itself but change the dynamic across the region – and strike a blow against the hydra-headed attempts to stifle its renaissance."

Ahdaf Soueif in Cairo: 'By early evening it was clear that this was Revolution II'

The novelist writes from Tahrir Square where the advice is to wear a gas mask and write your name on your arm

Ahdaf Soueif, Wednesday 23 November 2011

"....Egypt is much more than Tahrir Square. People across the country are demanding the abdication of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf). On Tuesday night as the news cameras concentrated on Tahrir, the army and police were attacking citizens in other places: Alexandria, Assiut, Aswan, Damietta, Ismailia, Luxor, Mahalla, Mansoura, Sohag and Suez.

And yet, of course, in this age of spectacle it was the images of Tahrir that were most shocking. We could hardly believe that Scaf would allow that image which had become such an icon across the world – Tahrir Square teeming with citizens, decorated with flags – to reappear clouded with teargas. But they did.....

The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood has declared against the protests. This has been a very bad move. They're perceived to have sided with Scaf against the people. They've caused a split within their own ranks: some members of the Brotherhood have disobeyed orders and obeyed their consciences and joined the protests. But the Brotherhood can no longer claim that the numbers in the streets are due to the Islamists – the numbers we've been seeing in the streets of Egypt since Saturday night are mostly without the Brotherhood.

We're saying these are "Ayyam el-farz" – the days of sorting, if you like. The situation is very intense. On Wednesday night, at that flashpoint where a truce was brokered at 3pm and broken at 5pm, the army and police shot protesters at sunset prayers. The field hospitals in Qasr el-Doubara Church and Omar Makram Mosque are calling for neurologists; the motorbikes have brought in 50 cases in the last 10 minutes."

Al-Jazeera Video: Tahrir medic describes ordeal in field hospitals

Al-Jazeera Video: Violence ends brief truce at Egypt protest

Al-Jazeera Video: Bahrain inquiry confirms rights abuses

Egypt protesters call for postponement of elections

Demonstrators continue to call for military rulers to step down as casualties mount following police advance on Tahrir Square

Martin Chulov and Jack Shenker in Cairo, Wednesday 23 November 2011

"Protesters engaged in Egypt's renewed revolt are calling for elections scheduled for Monday to be postponed and for a council of elders to replace military rulers who again on Wednesday sent security forces to quell an increasingly combustible street.

The rebirth of the uprising is now widely been seen as a second – and decisive – phase of the revolution that began on 25 January and led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak three weeks later.

In the symbolic heart of the January revolution, Tahrir Square, demonstrators were chanting the same slogans used 11 months ago against the ousted despot, but this time directing them at interim military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi....

Protest numbers in Tahrir Square have continued to build since Saturday and by mid-evening on Wednesday night a sea of people had occupied all corners, matching the scenes of January. "The people demand the end of the field marshal," said one large banner....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Violence flares near Tahrir after tentative ceasfire

"There has been little respite in the streets around Tahrir Square since violence began on Saturday. Central Security Force riot police continue to fight running battles with groups of young men on the front lines, firing tear gas and cartridge rounds against the protesters' rocks and petrol bombs.

A brief cease fire brokered by religious scholars from al-Azhar University brought a short lull to the fighting on Wednesday afternoon, and army soldiers moved in to separate the two sides, backed by armoured personnel carriers.

But the ceasefire was shattered when riot police fired a barrage of tear gas over the soldiers' heads, throwing Mohamed Mahmoud Street - the focal point of the fighting - into chaos.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Cairo."

VIDEO – Egyptian Uprising Continues

Egyptian military using 'more dangerous' teargas on Tahrir Square protesters

Doctors report seizures and convulsions as witnesses claim different crowd control teargas being used

Peter Beaumont and John Domokos, Wednesday 23 November 2011

"Egyptian security forces are believed to be using a powerful incapacitating gas against civilian protesters in Tahrir Square following multiple cases of unconsciousness and epileptic-like convulsions among those exposed.

The Guardian has collected video footage as well as witness accounts from doctors and victims who have offered strong evidence that at least two other crowd control gases have been used on demonstrators in addition to CS gas.

Suspicion has fallen on two other agents: CN gas, also known as Mace, which was the crowd control gas used by the US before CS was brought into use; and CR gas.

Some protesters report having seen canisters marked with the letters "CR" – although the Guardian has not been able to confirm this independently.

Both gases can be more dangerous than CS and can cause unconsciousness and seizures in certain circumstances......

"People have seen three different kinds of canisters. Most are marked CS but some have seen canisters marked with the letters CR and there is a third canister that has no markings at all."

According to Salah, gas also appeared to have been pumped into the square on Tuesday evening.

In a statement put out via Twitter, Ramez Reda Moustafa, a neurologist at Cairo's Ain Shams University, described seeing cases where exposure to gas had "caused extra-pyramidal symptoms [involuntary jerks in extremities and trunk mimicking a convulsive seizure, occulogyric crisis, etc] and little respiratory distress."

He added: "The type of gas used is still uncertain but it is certainly very acidic and is not the regular teargas used in January."....."

Egypt Protesters Defy Mounting Crackdown As Military Refuses to Step Down

Democracy Now!

"Egyptian protesters continue to fill Cairo’s central Tahrir Square over the ruling military council’s refusal to immediately transfer power to a civilian government. In a televised address on Tuesday, the head of Egypt’s military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, said he has accepted the prime minister’s resignation and that the military is ready to relinquish power if Egyptians call for that in a referendum. But protests only intensified after Tantawi’s speech and security forces unleashed a barrage of tear gas. Over the past five days at least 38 people have been killed, thousands injured, and at least 15 journalists attacked as Egypt has witnessed the largest protests since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Kouddous has been on the ground reporting from in Egypt since the revolution began in January. "[Tantawi] essentially offered some minor concessions that were not demanded by any of the protesters in Tahrir," says Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous reporting from Cairo. "Many compared the speech to Mubarak’s second speech on February 1st where he made some kinds of concessions and used this kind of the tone in the hope of ending the revolution. But the response then and the response now were very similar. … But the response then and the response now were very similar. Tahrir yesterday was packed with people, really a massive, massive protest. And after the speech ended, you heard this huge reverberation from the crowd, this huge echo of Irhal, which means '‘leave.'"....."

Video: My talk in Brussels on self-determination and a ‘one-state solution’ in Palestine

By Ali Abunimah

"Last Saturday I spoke at conference titled “The One-State Solution versus The Two-State Solution,” organized by Palestina Solidaritiet, in Brussels......"

It’s January Again in Tahrir Square

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Nov 23, 2011 (IPS) - Days of clashes between protesters and security forces culminated on Tuesday evening in what was estimated to be a million-man rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand an end to military rule. The new political crisis has prompted fears that Egypt's first post-Mubarak parliamentary polls, slated to begin only five days from now, could be called off.

"There have been running street battles between police and protesters for the last four days," Ashraf Barouma, president of the centrist Kenana Party, told IPS. "How can elections be held under these circumstances?"......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you see that the supreme military council in Egypt will honor its pledge to transfer authority?

With about 400 responding so far, 55% said no.

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Egyptian military's quandary

Al-Jazeera Video: Egypt protesters reject military concessions

Al-Jazeera Video: Protests continue in Cairo's Tahrir Square

Real News Video: Meet Jihan Hafiz and Reed Lindsay

A special show with Cairo Correspondents Jihan Hafiz and Reed Lindsay speaking about covering the Egyptian Revolution and Jihan's recent detention while covering the Gaza flotilla

More at The Real News

Real News Video: Million Man March for a Civilian Led Government

“The Military Council is preserving the system which did not fall with Mubarak”

More at The Real News

Egypt: Protesters’ Blood on the Military Leadership’s Hands

Violence, Delays in Transfer of Power Fuels Protesters’ Rage

Human Rights Watch
November 22, 2011

"(New York) – Egypt’s military rulers should immediately order riot police to stop using excessive force against protesters and to reduce their presence in the areas surrounding Tahrir Square to a level that allows for the maintenance of security while permitting free assembly, Human Rights Watch said today. Riot police and military officers have shot live ammunition and rubber bullets into the crowd, beaten protesters and otherwise used excessive force in the demonstrations that began in Cairo on November 19, 2011, according to numerous accounts from witnesses.....

Doctors in the field hospital set up by protesters in Tahrir Square and hospitals in downtown Cairo reported that they started receiving cases of demonstrators wounded with live ammunition, beginning at 6 p.m. on November 20. One emergency room doctor told Human Rights Watch that Kasr Aini hospital had received six people wounded by live ammunition who subsequently died from their wounds. In three cases, the bullet had entered the top of the person’s head, indicating that it was shot from a height, the doctor said, and three others had been shot in the chest and abdomen. “The six cases arrived at the emergency room, and they were already dying, so we couldn’t do anything for them,” the doctor told Human Rights Watch.

At the Zeinhom morgue in Cairo, one man told Human Rights Watch that he had spent three days searching for his only son, 18-year-old Sayed Khaled Osman, only to find him in the morgue. The preliminary report of the forensic medical doctor who conducted the autopsy stated that Osman had been shot in the head with a live bullet. Another protester Shehab Ahmed Sayed, who was 21, was shot in the chest on Sunday November 20......"

Prominent Israeli official calls for military preparations to re-enter Sinai

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"In the midst of escalating violence between Egyptian protesters and security forces, former Deputy Chief Staff of Israeli Defense Forces Uzi Dayan is calling for the creation of an Israeli “intervention force” to fight terrorism in Sinai if necessary, the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported Wednesday.

“We must prepare for the worst-case scenario whereby the Islamists come to power,” said Dayan. In the first stage, we have to prepare for increased terror in Sinai. There are worrying signs of terrorist Islam in Sinai already.”

One way Israel must prepare, he said, is to create an Israeli intervention force “that may have no choice other than to intervene in Sinai and fight terrorism there.”

The retired general is the nephew of Moshe Dayan, a former Israeli defense minister well-remembered for his signature eye patch...."

Americans get a Shabak Education

The world enters a new phase where the students are slowly becoming the teachers, forcing bloody change says author.

By Mark LeVine

"Irvine, CA - It was a term that has stuck with me since a Palestinian friend in the Ajami neighbourhood of Jaffa first used it in response to one of my more naive questions. "Why don't you all do to protest against the on-going expropriation of land and discrimination against local residents by the Israeli government," I asked him on a typically sunny summer day, as we stood in front of yet another luxury housing development being constructed on formerly Palestinian land.

"Because we've all received a good Shabak education," he answered.

The education in question, was dispensed by the Shabak, or Shin Bet, Israel's state security services, to keep the country's Palestinian population from protesting too vigorously against the policies that have kept them second class citizens despite the official political equality granted to them by the Israeli state......

Synergy from Below

There is no need to compare campus police in California, or American police more broadly, with the far more brutal Egyptian police and security services. Americans aren't being crushed by APCs and shot by snipers. This is still a Shabak rather than mukhabarat education that Americans are receiving (of course the Iraqis, Afghans and others who are on the wrong end of the US military or CIA are getting much harsher lesson in American values).

But the distance travelled by American democracy to reach this point is far greater than the distance travelled by violent authoritarian regimes attacking their citizens with deadly violence. And when you consider the strong links between the US and Egyptian governments - and of course Israel as well - the larger pattern is clear.

But so are the similarities in the way protesters, whether in Egypt the US or even Israel are responding to the increased level of repression and marginalisation by their governments....

The thing about Shabak or mukhabarat educations is that they can't be sustained indefinitely. At some point, the people graduate, the students become the teachers, and the ruling elites are forced to learn the lesson that if removed, even the veneer of civility from the mechanisms of rule, and leave people feeling utterly betrayed by their government and with little to lose, they will lose their fear and you will lose your grip on power.

It's a long and bloody struggle, but it's clearly entered a new phase, not just in the US, Egypt or Israel/Palestine, but across the Middle East and the world.

A musician friend of mine in Cairo put it this way on his Facebook page after Saturday's violence: "25 January was the demo, now comes the album release". To put it in slightly more scholastic terms, it's a new year and class is now back in session. And if governments from Washington to Cairo, Tel Aviv or Damascus don't pay attention, they and their systems are going to fail out of school, and pass into the dustbin of history."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The New Pharaoh, by Dave Brown

The Egyptian Turkey, by Steve Bell

Al-Jazeera Video: Rawya Rageh reports on police violence in Alexandria

Al-Jazeera Video: Egyptian protesters reject military concessions

"Mass protests are continuing into the night, as part of a standoff between Egyptian protesters and the military government.

Egypt's ruling generals have said they are prepared to hold a referendum on immediately transferring power to civilian authority if people demand it and have called for presidential election before July 2012.

Tens of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square rejected the military concessions.

In Alexandria, protesters confronting police faced a heavy barrage of tear gas. The street clashes continued late into the evening.

Al Jazeera's Gerald Tan reports."

Tahrir Square crowd rejoins revolution as protesters turn out en masse

Egypt is thrown into fresh turmoil as hundreds of thousands of protesters reject the military rulers' promises of reform

Jack Shenker in Cairo, Tuesday 22 November 2011

"....Tantawi's roll of the dice was bookended by fresh volleys of birdshot and teargas by the security forces, as fires in the nearby Bab el-Louq market caused by street fighting continued to rage. "Politics has returned to the street, and that's what Tahrir has always been about," said Yasmine Nassar, a 26-year-old consultant. "My mother wanted to come down to the square today, and believe me she is not the kind of person to attend demonstrations. When you have that level of feeling, it's impossible to evaporate it until all the demands are met. And the one demand here is clear: Scaf must leave." Behind her, a conga of desperately-needed medical supplies bound up in discarded grocery boxes snaked its way through the throng, and an approving flag-seller blew cheerfully on a whistle.

Tahrir's heaven and hell, for now, is here to stay."

Egyptians withdraw their faith in generals' rule

There had seemed too much goodwill to squander, but the military council's credibility has been shredded once and for all

Jack Shenker, Tuesday 22 November 2011

"Two bizarre objects can be found in incongruous places in central Cairo. One is an eye patch, strapped carefully to a stone lion. The other is a straw doll, tied by its neck to a lamppost. Together they speak volumes about the journey Egypt's ruling generals have undertaken in the past 10 months, a journey which on Tuesday night looked like it might be nearing its end.....

How Scaf manoeuvres now to protect the military's economic and political interests will be shaped largely by the rapidly moving developments on the ground.

But with such a concrete shift in public opinion, it is impossible to see a permanent future for the coterie of army generals who arrived with so much hope and who are now staring out on an effigy of their leader swinging slowly in the wind, above a country that has rejected their rule."

Egyptian protesters reject military's timetable for elections

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gather in Tahrir Square to demand immediate exit of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi

Ian Black, Middle East editor, and Jack Shenker in Cairo, Tuesday 22 November 2011

"Egypt's revolution was plunged into fresh uncertainty after hundreds of thousands of angry demonstrators rejected a promise by the country's military council on Tuesday to accelerate the transition to civilian rule.

In an extraordinary display of people power, protesters at a mass rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square demanded the immediate departure of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), just as they had demanded President Hosni Mubarak's humiliating exit in February.

"We are not leaving, he leaves," the crowd chanted....

Opposition leaders said after talks with Scaf earlier that the military's position was inadequate. "Our demands are clear. We want the military council to step down and hand over authority to a national salvation government with full authority," said Khaled El-Sayed, a member of the Youth Revolution Coalition and a candidate in the parliamentary election.

The commander of the military police and the interior minister, who is in charge of the police, must be tried for the "horrific crimes" of the past few days, he added.

The pace of events caught western governments on the hop, unsure whether to go beyond demands for an end to the violence, to call for the imminent elections to be postponed, or, more ambitiously, for the Scaf to surrender power....."

Egypt's military government is the enemy of our revolution

The war in Tahrir Square is all about one thing – the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has no intention of giving up power

Ahdaf Soueif in Cairo, Tuesday 22 November 2011

"....And right now, Tahrir is more full of people than ever. "Irhal! Irhal!" (Go! Go!) rings out once again; this time for Scaf. The one concession Scaf has definitely made is that it will refer last month's alleged massacre at the Maspero state TV building to civilian (rather than military) courts. It's not enough: Scaf has disgraced itself comprehensively over the past three days and must step down and hand over to a civilian president to form a government of national rescue.....

Perhaps beating up the revolution's injured on Saturday was meant to bring the young people out on to the streets to get killed. The country would get so inflamed that Scaf would have a pretext to postpone elections. Perhaps. It really doesn't matter. Because as things stand it's clear that the chances are we will go through elections to emerge with a toothless parliament – like the toothless Sharaf government – that will then provide cover for Scaf to write a constitution.

So the crucial thing now is to stand firm until Scaf hands over power. To whom? To a government of national rescue headed by any one or more of our potential presidential candidates – and this government would run the elections. That is what the revolution is back on the streets of Egypt for."

Demos throughout Egypt in solidarity with Tahrir Square

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Demonstrations erupted in several governorates on Tuesday against the bloodshed in Tahrir Square. Protesters also demanded the handover of power to a civilian authority, trials for those who killed protesters, the military’s return to the barracks, and the formation of a presidential council to rule the country during the transition period.

In Alexandria, protesters demanded the immediate resignation of the government, the formation of a national salvation government with real power, and the creation of a deadline for presidential elections no later than next April.

In Gharbiya, protesters clashed with security services and pelted the police station with stones and Molotov cocktails.

In Port Said, protesters called for toppling the military council, while in Aswan, residents staged protests in solidarity with Tahrir Square.

In Suez, 100 protesters were arrested for throwing stones at the security directorate, and 22 people were injured in the clashes.

In Fayoum, residents staged demonstrations, protesting a demonstrator’s death that resulted from tear gas.

And in Minya, protesters denounced the use of violence in Tahrir Square and demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Mansour Essawy."