Tag Archives: Egypt

Gunpowder in the air? The Three Amigos are ready – again!

Messrs McCain, Lindsay and Lieberman are calling for war again. They always do – this is their act and it’s getting stale.

Mr. McCain, Mr. Lieberman and Miss Graham

Of course they’ll insist they don’t want ‘real’ war, just ‘support for the rebels’. They’re not particularly concerned that there are many different kinds of rebels – now including worrisome Islamist elements.

The three gentlemen had an op-ed in The Washington Post the other day, laying out their case. It is – thank Elvis – not tea party reasoning and it’s not all about Jeebus either. But it is classical neo-con Middle East war hawk stuff, evidenced by this, reason number-whatever:

. . . ensuring that al-Qaeda and its violent brethren are unable to secure a new foothold in the heart of the Middle East.

I heard those exact words about Iraq – in 2003, 04, 05, 06 . . . from the same war party.

The people who are doing the best job right now of keeping the Islamists in check are the countries actually in the heart of the Middle East; for them, the danger is at their own front doors. Right now, even the new Egyptian government and its Muslim Brotherhood president are themselves taking aggressive action.

Syria isn’t Egypt. And Egypt wasn’t Libya. And Libya wasn’t Tunisia.

But Syria could be Lebanon, which would be a fearsome outcome. But no matter the danger, we can’t do it from here. You can’t kill an idea with a bullet. Only politics can achieve that.

Reagan’s failure in Lebanon proved it.

MENA – odd way of saying it

A post by Orhan and the discussion in comments reminded me this morning that the denominator “Middle East North Africa”  seems to have linguistically replaced our old friend, the ever volatile “Middle East”.  And I’m reminded too that another old ‘friend’, the war in Afghanistan is happening  further to the east of that area close to Pakistan (and thus India and the slow simmering rivalry over Kashmir).

This AfPak, India, Kashmir nexus is something we no longer even mention. And yet, and yet . . . a failure of the government in Pakistan probably presents as much if not more danger to us as MENA.

So let’s remind ourselves that in the midst of all that, today is the 198th day of the tenth year of our war in Afghanistan. (And we’re now in our eighth year in Iraq.)

Admit it. The man is a giant.

Elvis save me, I did it again. Tuned into Mr. Limbaugh of Palm Beach for five minutes on my way home from a dizzying day. Looking to be entertained I guess. And here is what I heard (paraphrased somewhat):
“Those young rabble rousers on the streets of Egypt or what have you? They have no ideology. You know what they are? They’re guys who like to throw rocks, guys who want to get on television. That’s all they are – just like American Idol or MTV or the Jerry Springer show – that’s what they want, just to get on television.”

I have no idea what his point was because I simply had to turn it off.

Egyptian ‘advisors’ to Libya

Well here’s a twist:

The rebellion against the Kadaffi dictatorship in Libya has not produced any official outside help, but Egypt has apparently sent some of its commandos in to help out the largely amateur rebel force. Wearing civilian clothes, the hundred or so Egyptian commandos are officially not there, but are providing crucial skills and experience to help the rebels cope with the largely irregular, and mercenary, force still controlled by the Kadaffi clan. 

The story also mentions something of which I was unaware, that Libya was – for centuries – considered to be part of Egypt.

Half a world in revolt

Some weeks ago I posted that Egypt may be changing our world.

I have my headphones on and am listening to a report from ITN on PBS, my preferred method of watching the news without actually watching. Libya and Bahrain appear to be in genuine revolt. In Bahrain, amidst violence from the government, they’re crying ‘where are the Americans; where are the Brits?” In Libya, the reporter says they don’t care what the US or Brits want or think.  Just hearing these things is a bit jarring.

And then there’s no way of knowing the effect of the US veto in the UN today condemning the ongoing Israeli settlements. The issue is neither the UN’s attempt at condemnation nor the US veto. The issue is will it have any effect on what’s hapepning in the Arab world and if so, what?

By the way, a million showed up today in Cairo – a million – to ‘keep hope alive’.  They’re not done by any means. More clashes could come.

Egypt may be changing our world.

Freedom for some! Sometimes!

Them Mooslims ain't getting near me!

King: Obama needs to put his foot down on Muslim Brotherhood

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Friday that it’s essential that the U.S. try to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from having a part in Egypt’s new government.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on Fox’s “Hannity” that Washington has six months to work with the military leaders guiding the democratic transition in Egypt. . .  As Americans we have a strategic interest in the Middle East. We cannot just sit back and say that the Muslim Brotherhood can work itself in . . . as Americans we cannot take the risk of allowing a group that fraternizes with terrorists who talks radically to have them get any power in the Middle East,” King said.

Okeydokee Pete, let’s go with that. A question: How?

(Maybe by building on our success with Al Qaeda and the Taliban? Oops, they  blew up a great big bomb in Kandahar today – Baghdad yesterday).

Pete King is has a bit of a temper and is really really skeered of Mooslims. He says so all the time.

Egypt joke

Obama calls Mubarak and says “Hosni, it’s time. It’s time to say goodbye to the Egyptian people.”

And Mubarak asks“Where are they going?”

(just heard it on PBS)

Seems right for now

Warsaw, Berlin and Cairo

I’ve been saying (well someone has to give me some credit!) in posts and threads here and elsewhere that Egypt has felt like Poland, where they went through what was  called the Velvet Revolution – for its peaceful aspect and its success. It felt like Berlin at times; today is so reminiscent of that first night in Berlin when the wall came down.

Yes, peril still lies ahead, but this moment is epic. It is humanity at its most noble.

I hope they manage to move forward with the same spirit they’ve shown the world for the last three weeks.

And I hope they succeed in creating a free and democratic nation. Now that would be an example.

Ghandi would be proud

Those Egyptian protestors are remarkable people. The spark of anger following Mubarak’s speech has moderated itself. They seem to have pulled back from violence once again, as they gear up for the 18th day. Reader pino tells me he lived and worked in Egypt and isn’t optimistic.  But these are brave determined people, and my admiration for their restraint grows by the day.

21st century bolsheviks?

Egypt like St. Petersburg? Moscow? 1917? That popular uprising against the  Tzar was exploited by the Leninists but it was originally populist and huge and it was all over the Country.

Jordan now planning demonstrations. Bahrain too.

It’s officially frightening now

Mubarak isn’t stepping down. Whether that’s the right or wrong move, I honestly don’t know. But the crowd in Tahrir Square is already exhibiting the characteristics of an angry mob. They’ve gone from full of hope to anger in mere minutes. (This is an almost unimaginably huge mob.)

UPDATE: Richard Engle just reported that protestors have begun a march to the Presidential Palace. He does add, however, that they may be directing their main efforts and energy toward an even larger march tomorrow.

Egypt may be changing our world

Egypt. Wow. I just plugged in – been doing yard work most of today. I just brought up Al Jazeera English for the live feed and have my teevee on as well – (the crowd shots are identical right now).

We don’t get moments like this often. The entire world is watching as the oldest nation on the planet charts its future. It’s fraught with danger but there is no stopping it now. If Mubarak doesn’t firmly resign, I fear greatly for the next days. And even if – as expected – he does, there is always plenty to fear from instability, from jockeying for power – not to mention the enormity of the economic hit the country took and must now recover from.

I wish them a bright future. I wish us all a bright future. If Egypt succeeds, we’ll live in a different world.

Special Edition! We wrapped it in pretty paper this time! Sorta!

ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour and CNN’s GPS told me this morning that their shows were ‘Special Editions’ despite featuring the regular host at the regular time covering, as is the norm, the top story of the day which has in fact been top of the news since it was the top story last Sunday.

Special Edition indeed.

On Meet the Press’s own ‘Special Edition’ (yes, they did call it that), they also  covered the RR 100th birthday.

Who sends out the memo?

Pet peeve update:  CNN is still saying ‘impactful’ all the time; I don’t care if it’s a real word, it’s annoying the hell out of me.

UPDATE: CBS 60 Minutes is now on the air. It is a ‘Special Edition’, at the usual time with the usual hosts as we’ve now come to expect from anything carrying the name ‘Special Edition.‘ (This post suggests I’ve been monitoring TV all day – I haven’t. (

Who wins the weekend?

Between the Super Bowl and Egypt, this is going to be a ‘news weekend’. So much going on . . . or as Jerry Lee would put it ‘Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On’.  (I’ve got a long book myself.)

This is not the Friday oldie by the way. Because it’s Thursday.

Fingers crossed

If Mubarak survives the week, and the counter protest violence he’s unleashed escalates or even continues, Egypt’s moment could be lost.

And when the government is finally taken down, it will be replaced by something much more radical than would have been the case had he announced yesterday that he was stepping down.

Ego. The enemy of civilization.

Israel and Mubarak; still BFF

Following up on yesterday’s tantalizing suggestion from Al Jazeera that Israel might take in Mubarak, now here’s a story from Haaretz saying that Israel is urging the world to cool down the anti- Mubarak criticism. I can understand why Israel would be happier with Mubarak in power – it’s  preferable to Mubarak out of power. As commenter Alan noted a few days ago, Mubarak has contained the radicals in that country.

But the premise of the story just doesn’t ring true:  Israel can see the writing on the wall. They can’t possibly believe that toning down the rhetoric is going to keep Mubarak in charge. So it’s something else. Are they still planning to take him in?

UPDATE: Just listening to Richard Engle, one of the few reporters I trust. He’s saying a compromise is possible. He says it could be the Army taking over and pushing Mubarak out. And thru it all, the Brotherhood is gaining ground. It was Engle who said two days ago that theirs was not a big presence; he says it’s changing. He adds that if the wealthy start fleeing en masse, he thinks the Army will move in and take charge. They could rule for a while and hold elections or they could simply allow space for a government to step in. It is SO up in the air. He also says Brotherhood may be talking to the Army about being a reasonable player in this. So dynamic.

He adds “Whoever controls the mosques, the unions, the people who clean the streets – that is the grassroots and that is the place to watch.”

Is tomorrow the day?

Tomorrow, Egypt may see the biggest street marches yet. No matter the ‘if it bleeds it leads’ footage, there has been remarkably little actual violence (I’m not counting looting etc). New elements have joined the action – prisoners are out on the street (most of them political radicals, which in Egypt meant Islamists) and the Muslim Brotherhood is starting to show its head over the hedge. Combined,  they are still a small minority in the country, but are likely to be overrepresented in the crowds.

The police continue to mostly stand back and the Army hasn’t allowed itself to be pulled in so far. But the looting especially is getting out of hand and the police have said they’ll be resuming regular law enforcement duties now  but won’t be trying to block the protests.

The country – for all the noise – hasn’t imploded. El Baradai is ready to step in, as is the new VP.

I think Mubarak will leave tomorrow.

The world behind the curtain

I’m going to assume that the government of my country is not telling the level truth to the Sunday morning hosts about what we’re doing, planning, and saying in Egypt.

That’s all she said

From Al Jazeera, a brief short paragraph. Tantalizing but no more info there at present. Huh?

According to sources in the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel is making preparations to welcome Hosni Mubarak into exile after Saudi Arabia rejected overtures.

 UPDATE: Oddly, that story is still on Al Jazeera’s front page at 7pm on Monday, but there are no more details than yesterday. Just the single sentence.

In the middle of it all

via ReadWriteWeb:  Now, for [Al Jazeera]’s  coverage of the Egyptian uprising, it has released photographs via Flickr and video on a CC license.

Some remarkable stuff at the link. Like this of a TV camera and an injured but unbowed protester.

Mileposts in media

In 1981, the recently-launched 24-hour CNN had the great good fortune to instantly become the ‘go-to’ source for events of January 20, when the release of the US hostages from Tehran occurred at the exact moment that Ronald Reagan was being sworn in as president. A huge drama watched by the whole world. And they watched it on CNN.

In 1991, MSNBC hit the air just in time for Operation Dessert Storm – CNN was on air too, but perhaps because of their new kid on the block fiestiness, the opening days of that war belonged to MSNBC.

Now, that moment has arrived for Al Jazeera.  They have grown in influence over the last decade, becoming the primary news source in the Arab world. They lost reporters in Iraq. They were on the street in Iran a year ago. There is, however,  nothing in that part of the world quite like Egypt. And the story of what’s happening there this week is the global break out story for Al Jazeera. They’re all over it

WASHINGTON — As street protests raged across Egypt on Friday, with the future of the Arab world seeming to hang in the balance, rapt viewers across the region — and the globe — watched it unfold on Al Jazeera, which kept up an almost continuous live feed despite the Egyptian government’s repeated efforts to block broadcasts.

Protest in a vacuum

This is disturbing. If it works, other nations will take notice. Right now, we – and more importantly, they – are dependent on ‘old’ media.

Egypt Cuts Off Most Internet and Cell Service
Egypt has cut off nearly all Internet traffic into and out of the country in the largest blackout of its kind, according to firms that monitor international data flows. Cellphone networks were also disrupted.

Egypt erupting.

This can’t be good.