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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #50 on: February 03, 2011, 07:37:51 AM »

Well, Stratfor agrees with you GM:

The Egyptian Transition in a Quandary

Egypt’s beleaguered President Hosni Mubarak in his second address to the nation within four days announced Tuesday that he would not seek re-election in the presidential polls slated for September, but would oversee the transition of power to a more democratic system until then — a move that was immediately rejected by his opponents. Shortly thereafter, U.S. President Barack Obama called for an orderly transition that would include people from across the Egyptian political spectrum. The two leaders had talked earlier in the day.

Washington and Cairo (meaning its military establishment) realize that the Egyptian political system, which has been in place for six decades, cannot avoid change. The issue is how to manage the process of change. For those who have supported the Mubarak presidency since 1981, the goal is how to avoid regime change. For the Obama administration, which is already having a difficult time dealing with Iran and the Afghanistan-Pakistan situation, the goal is to ensure that a post-Mubarak Egypt doesn’t alter its behavior, especially on the foreign policy front.

“Washington and Cairo realize that the Egyptian political system, which has been in place for six decades, cannot avoid change.”
Both rely on the country’s military and its ability to oversee the transition. By all accounts, all sides — the military, the various opposition forces and the United States — appear to be in consensus that the way forward entails moving toward a democratic dispensation. Should that be the case, it is reasonable to assume that the country’s single largest and most organized political group, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), would emerge as a key stakeholder in a future regime.

In other words, the two key stakeholders would be the military and the Islamist movement. Of course, there are many other secular opposition forces, but none of them appear to be able to rival the prowess of the MB. Ironically, the only secular group that comes close is the ruling National Democratic Party, whose political future is in doubt.

That said, the military would likely try to encourage the creation of a broad-based alliance of secular forces to counter the MB. The goal would be to have a coalition government to make sure that there are sufficient arrestors in the path of the Islamist movement. The hope is that once the country can move beyond the current impasse, the opposition forces that are united in their desire to see the Mubarak regime fall from power will turn against one another, preferably along ideological lines.

Indeed, STRATFOR is told that the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who is also the country’s defense minister and emerged as deputy premier in the Egyptian government’s new Cabinet announced on Saturday, is looking at the Algerian model as a way to influence future politics in Cairo. The Algerian military in the 1990s was able to guide the formation of a new multi-party democratic political system, one in which all forces (centrists, Islamists and leftists) were accommodated. But the Algerian model was only made possible after a decadelong bloody Islamist insurgency, which was triggered by the army annulling elections in which the country’s then-largest Islamist movement was headed toward a landslide victory in the 1990 parliamentary elections, then the army engaging in a massive crackdown on the Islamists.

Clearly, the Egyptian army would want to avoid that scenario, especially given the state of unrest developing throughout the region. The other thing is that imposing martial law doesn’t appear to be a viable option. Not that such an outcome is inevitable, but the key question is how would the military react to a situation in which the MB would win in a free and fair election.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #51 on: February 03, 2011, 08:25:06 AM »

Hernando de Soto is someone I hold in high regard.  He has done superb work in South America (Peru especially IIRC).
===================

By HERNANDO DE SOTO
The headline that appeared on Al Jazeera on Jan. 14, a week before Egyptians took to the streets, affirmed that "[t]he real terror eating away at the Arab world is socio-economic marginalization."

The Egyptian government has long been concerned about the consequences of this marginalization. In 1997, with the financial support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government hired my organization, the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. It wanted to get the numbers on how many Egyptians were marginalized and how much of the economy operated "extralegally"—that is, without the protections of property rights or access to normal business tools, such as credit, that allow businesses to expand and prosper. The objective was to remove the legal impediments holding back people and their businesses.

After years of fieldwork and analysis—involving over 120 Egyptian and Peruvian technicians with the participation of 300 local leaders and interviews with thousands of ordinary people—we presented a 1,000-page report and a 20-point action plan to the 11-member economic cabinet in 2004. The report was championed by Minister of Finance Muhammad Medhat Hassanein, and the cabinet approved its policy recommendations.

Egypt's major newspaper, Al Ahram, declared that the reforms "would open the doors of history for Egypt." Then, as a result of a cabinet shakeup, Mr. Hassanein was ousted. Hidden forces of the status quo blocked crucial elements of the reforms.

Today, when the streets are filled with so many Egyptians calling for change, it is worth noting some of the key facts uncovered by our investigation and reported in 2004:

• Egypt's underground economy was the nation's biggest employer. The legal private sector employed 6.8 million people and the public sector employed 5.9 million, while 9.6 million people worked in the extralegal sector.

• As far as real estate is concerned, 92% of Egyptians hold their property without normal legal title.

• We estimated the value of all these extralegal businesses and property, rural as well as urban, to be $248 billion—30 times greater than the market value of the companies registered on the Cairo Stock Exchange and 55 times greater than the value of foreign direct investment in Egypt since Napoleon invaded—including the financing of the Suez Canal and the Aswan Dam. (Those same extralegal assets would be worth more than $400 billion in today's dollars.)

The entrepreneurs who operate outside the legal system are held back. They do not have access to the business organizational forms (partnerships, joint stock companies, corporations, etc.) that would enable them to grow the way legal enterprises do. Because such enterprises are not tied to standard contractual and enforcement rules, outsiders cannot trust that their owners can be held to their promises or contracts. This makes it difficult or impossible to employ the best technicians and professional managers—and the owners of these businesses cannot issue bonds or IOUs to obtain credit.

Nor can such enterprises benefit from the economies of scale available to those who can operate in the entire Egyptian market. The owners of extralegal enterprises are limited to employing their kin to produce for confined circles of customers.

Without clear legal title to their assets and real estate, in short, these entrepreneurs own what I have called "dead capital"—property that cannot be leveraged as collateral for loans, to obtain investment capital, or as security for long-term contractual deals. And so the majority of these Egyptian enterprises remain small and relatively poor. The only thing that can emancipate them is legal reform. And only the political leadership of Egypt can pull this off. Too many technocrats have been trained not to expand the rule of law, but to defend it as they find it. Emancipating people from bad law and devising strategies to overcome the inertia of the status quo is a political job.

The key question to be asked is why most Egyptians choose to remain outside the legal economy? The answer is that, as in most developing countries, Egypt's legal institutions fail the majority of the people. Due to burdensome, discriminatory and just plain bad laws, it is impossible for most people to legalize their property and businesses, no matter how well intentioned they might be.

The examples are legion. To open a small bakery, our investigators found, would take more than 500 days. To get legal title to a vacant piece of land would take more than 10 years of dealing with red tape. To do business in Egypt, an aspiring poor entrepreneur would have to deal with 56 government agencies and repetitive government inspections.

All this helps explain who so many ordinary Egyptians have been "smoldering" for decades. Despite hard work and savings, they can do little to improve their lives.

Bringing the majority of Egypt's people into an open legal system is what will break Egypt's economic apartheid. Empowering the poor begins with the legal system awarding clear property rights to the $400 billion-plus of assets that we found they had created. This would unlock an amount of capital hundreds of times greater than foreign direct investment and what Egypt receives in foreign aid.

Leaders and governments may change and more democracy might come to Egypt. But unless its existing legal institutions are reformed to allow economic growth from the bottom up, the aspirations for a better life that are motivating so many demonstrating in the streets will remain unfulfilled.

Mr. de Soto, author of "The Mystery of Capital" (Basic Books, 2000) and "The Other Path" (Harper and Row, 1989), is president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy based in Lima, Peru.

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ccp
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« Reply #52 on: February 03, 2011, 07:58:42 PM »

"I am, as a general rule, wary of revolutions"

LOL, this guy is for real?  The liberal Wall Street money man who helped put the revolutionary into the President's spot. 

His fortune has gone up several fold in the last several years during a recession.  There are not many honest people who could do that.  I read he sits on the same board as ElBaradei.  Remember I have been posting that some powerful people are pushing this guy, Elbaradei to the forefront. 

All over the radio (and I have been told in the NYT) point out the Egyptian military high command was in the US the day the revolt started.  Agreed it could not have been coicidence they were meeting people at the Pentagon the day "student's" blackberries were going off.

I wonder how much Soros with all his insider wheeling and dealings is making on this.

OK Rachel, you still want to worry about Soros?  He claims what is going on in Egypt is the fault of Israel and its leaders are too stupid and rigid to know what's best for them?  I want to know.  Who elected Soros?   I find it hard to beleive this guy is making his money honestly. 

****By George Soros
Thursday, February 3, 2011

Revolutions usually start with enthusiasm and end in tears. In the case of the Middle East, the tears could be avoided if President Obama stands firmly by the values that got him elected. Although American power and influence in the world have declined, our allies and their armies look to us for direction. These armies are strong enough to maintain law and order as long as they stay out of politics; thus the revolutions can remain peaceful. That is what the United States should insist on while encouraging corrupt and repressive rulers who are no longer tolerated by their people to step aside and allow new leaders to be elected in free and fair elections.

That is the course that the revolution in Tunisia is taking. Tunisia has a relatively well-developed middle class, women there enjoy greater rights and opportunities than in most Muslim countries, and the failed regime was secular in character. The prospects for democratic change are favorable.

Egypt is more complex and, ultimately, more influential, which is why it is so important to get it right. The protesters are very diverse, including highly educated and common people, young and old, well-to-do and desperately poor. While the slogans and crowds in Tahrir Square are not advancing a theocratic agenda at all, the best-organized political opposition that managed to survive in that country's repressive environment is the Muslim Brotherhood. In free elections, the Brotherhood is bound to emerge as a major political force, though it is far from assured of a majority.

Some have articulated fears of adverse consequences of free elections, suggesting that the Egyptian military may seek to falsify the results; that Israel may be adamantly opposed to a regime change; that the domino effect of extremist politics spreading to other countries must be avoided; and that the supply of oil from the region could be disrupted. These notions constitute the old conventional wisdom about the Middle East - and need to be changed, lest Washington incorrectly put up resistance to or hesitate in supporting transition in Egypt.

That would be regrettable. President Obama personally and the United States as a country have much to gain by moving out in front and siding with the public demand for dignity and democracy. This would help rebuild America's leadership and remove a lingering structural weakness in our alliances that comes from being associated with unpopular and repressive regimes. Most important, doing so would open the way to peaceful progress in the region. The Muslim Brotherhood's cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who is seeking to run for president, is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a constructive role in a democratic political system. As regards contagion, it is more likely to endanger the enemies of the United States - Syria and Iran - than our allies, provided that they are willing to move out ahead of the avalanche.

The main stumbling block is Israel. In reality, Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks. And some U.S. supporters of Israel are more rigid and ideological than Israelis themselves. Fortunately, Obama is not beholden to the religious right, which has carried on a veritable vendetta against him. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is no longer monolithic or the sole representative of the Jewish community. The main danger is that the Obama administration will not adjust its policies quickly enough to the suddenly changed reality.

I am, as a general rule, wary of revolutions. But in the case of Egypt, I see a good chance of success. As a committed advocate of democracy and open society, I cannot help but share in the enthusiasm that is sweeping across the Middle East. I hope President Obama will expeditiously support the people of Egypt. My foundations are prepared to contribute what they can. In practice, that means establishing resource centers for supporting the rule of law, constitutional reform, fighting corruption and strengthening democratic institutions in those countries that request help in establishing them, while staying out of those countries where such efforts are not welcome.

The writer is chairman of the Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Foundations, which support democracy and human rights in more than 70 countries.****

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ccp
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« Reply #53 on: February 05, 2011, 09:24:22 AM »

Savage's essay connects many dots.  I am not convinced by the whole argument or the connections are necessarily significant but there is a valid pattern that emerges.
I heard Brezinski being interviewed on Schieffer last night.  There is no question he (along with Soros) are totally for the revolution in Egypt and have been thinking along these lnes for some time. We know Jimmy Carter is against the "Jewish lobby".  Brezinski certainly is.  Soros has set up his own group to lobby opposed to the traditional Jewish lobby group having decided he knows what is in everyone's best interests.

I cannot conclude why Soros would admit he felt no guilt having helped send Jews to their deaths when 14 years old.  I do not blame him for saving himself.  What 14 yer old would have done different.  He may have also at the time thought they were just bing deported not murdered.  Is he just in massive denial?  Or is he some sort of personalty disorder, narcissistic, pschopathic, or other who has no conscious?  I don't know.  One cannot even say with any degree of confidence his 70 or so "philanthropic" human rights organizations are even really as much for humanitarian gain as for financial gain.  Not withstading the huge tax write offs, one can only guess how much inside information he gleans from these connections spreading his money throughout the world how much he capitalizes by exponentially increasing his net worth - which he clearly has.

What say you Rachel?  Or have you just been insulted and disappeared off the board?

http://www.michaelsavage.wnd.com/files/filesSavage/Savage-ObamaGivingMiddleEastToIslamistRadicals-Rev03.pdf
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G M
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« Reply #54 on: February 05, 2011, 10:19:40 AM »

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MB02Ak01.html

Food and failed Arab states
By Spengler

Even Islamists have to eat. It is unclear whether President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt will survive, or whether his nationalist regime will be replaced by an Islamist, democratic, or authoritarian state. What is certain is that it will be a failed state. Amid the speculation about the shape of Arab politics to come, a handful of observers, for example economist Nourel Roubini, have pointed to the obvious: Wheat prices have almost doubled in the past year.

Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer, beholden to foreign providers for nearly half its total food consumption. Half of

 
Egyptians live on less than $2 a day. Food comprises almost half the country's consumer price index, and much more than half of spending for the poorer half of the country. This will get worse, not better.

Not the destitute, to be sure, but the aspiring and frustrated young, confronted the riot police and army on the streets of Egyptian cities last week. The uprising in Egypt and Tunisia were not food riots; only in Jordan have demonstrators made food the main issue. Rather, the jump in food prices was the wheat-stalk that broke the camel's back. The regime's weakness, in turn, reflects the dysfunctional character of the country. 35% of all Egyptians, and 45% of Egyptian women can't read.

Nine out of ten Egyptian women suffer genital mutilation. US President Barack Obama said Jan. 29, "The right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny … are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere." Does Obama think that genital mutilation is a human rights violation? To expect Egypt to leap from the intimate violence of traditional society to the full rights of a modern democracy seems whimsical.

In fact, the vast majority of Egyptians has practiced civil disobedience against the Mubarak regime for years. The Mubarak government announced a "complete" ban on genital mutilation in 2007, the second time it has done so - without success, for the Egyptian population ignored the enlightened pronouncements of its government. Do Western liberals cheer at this quiet revolt against Mubarak's authority?

Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt's First Lady, continues to campaign against the practice, which she has denounced as "physical and psychological violence against children." Last May 1, she appeared at Aswan City alongside the provincial governor and other local officials to declare the province free of it. And on October 28, Mrs Mubarak inaugurated an African conference on stopping genital mutilation.

The most authoritative Egyptian Muslim scholars continue to recommend genital mutilation. Writing on the web site IslamOnline, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi - the president of the International Association of Muslim Scholars - explains:

    The most moderate opinion and the most likely one to be correct is in favor of practicing circumcision in the moderate Islamic way indicated in some of the Prophet's hadiths - even though such hadiths are not confirmed to be authentic. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to a midwife: "Reduce the size of the clitoris but do not exceed the limit, for that is better for her health and is preferred by husbands."

That is not a Muslim view (the practice is rare in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan), but an Egyptian Muslim view. In the most fundamental matters, President and Mrs Mubarak are incomparably more enlightened than the Egyptian public. Three-quarters of acts of genital mutilation in Egypt are executed by physicians.

What does that say about the character of the country's middle class? Only one news dispatch among the tens of thousands occasioned by the uprising mentions the subject; the New York Times, with its inimitable capacity to obscure content, wrote on January 27, "To the extent that Mr. Mubarak has been willing to tolerate reforms, the cable said, it has been in areas not related to public security or stability.

For example, he has given his wife latitude to campaign for women's rights and against practices like female genital mutilation and child labor, which are sanctioned by some conservative Islamic groups." The authors, Mark Landler and Andrew Lehren, do not mention that 90% or more of Egyptian women have been so mutilated. What does a country have to do to shock the New York Times? Eat babies boiled?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #55 on: February 05, 2011, 01:00:40 PM »

Reagan answered a question regarding his criticism of the Carter administration during the change of power in Iran during an Oct 1984 debate that has some parallels with Egypt today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5Ae5FRHH0k&feature=player_embedded

FWIW, I would love to see democracy in both places.  I just don't know what road leads there.
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G M
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« Reply #56 on: February 06, 2011, 09:29:02 AM »

http://ricochet.com/main-feed/A-Moving-Letter-from-Salim-Mansur

A Moving Letter from Salim Mansur
Claire Berlinski, Ed. · 12 hours ago

Salim Mansur sent me the link to his latest column about Egypt. It is excellent, but what struck me even more was the note he sent me with it. I asked his permission to publish it, which he kindly granted me.

    Dear Claire:

    Below is my column from today on Egypt. Since I do not have an opportunity to write in public more than one column per week, I am limited to what I can say. Extremely distressed by the crew in Washington, and in most European capitals. Media is so corrupted by left-leaning thinking that there is not much of an analysis to be expected in the media that is now competing with facebook, twitters, etc. The dumbing down of thinking is itself a huge problem the West is facing now as it tries pathetically to undertstand/explain politics and history of other cultures when it no longer has faith in its own civilizational values. I despair, and so I follow Samuel Pepys who confined himself to his diaries while London burned and I am trying to devote my time to reading and writing of my own (that of course I might not be able to publish, and even if published few will read).

    I am more convinced now, as I wasn't when Paul Kennedy wrote about the rise and fall of great powers, that the West has gone over the tipping point in its terminal decline. That intelligent people, or people who claim to be intelligent, (I have in mind the talking heads in the U.S. media such as Chris Matthews or Fareed Zakaria) cannot make the difference between the sham of the Muslim Brotherhood talking about freedom and democracy and the generic thirst in man to be free. These are the people who have like the Bourbons learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They are glibly about to put the Lenins of our time into trains heading for Moscows of our time, they find nothing odd that they are pushing for the Muslim Brotherhood to be taken into governing when everything needs to be done to keep the Muslim Brotherhood out even as one carefully negotiate the long historic transition of Arab societies from tribal autorcracy and military dictatorships to representative rule and constitutionally limited government. I read you when I can, and I wish that you and others like you were closer to the main media control in the West, or in government.

    Take care, and God bless.

    Salim
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G M
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« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2011, 07:39:31 AM »

http://www.euronews.net/2011/02/03/mubarak-supporters-open-fire/

Look at 1:15


Weird. I'd like to see what a forensic video analyst says.
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ccp
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« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2011, 10:48:20 AM »

GM, Very interesting letter,
"Extremely distressed by the crew in Washington, and in most European capitals. Media is so corrupted by left-leaning thinking that there is not much of an analysis to be expected in the media that is now competing with facebook, twitters, etc. The dumbing down of thinking is itself a huge problem the West"

I would like to take this cue as an opportunity to open up this:

On cable one of the Middle Eastern pundits who is mostly someone who gives a good analysis shocked me when he declared that W. Bush who is normally a modest man should be taking all the credit for what is happening in Egypt.  He emphasized that what is happening in Egypt is directly related and and a result of what the US did in Iraq.  It would not have happened if Hussain (Saddam - not Obama) was not toppled.  It is the spread of Democracy as was the promoted strategy of the "neo-cons".

To me this is quite a twist.  So what do conservatives do?  Who do we criticize?  It is not Obama's weakness that is leading to Mubaraks's ouster.  It is a Republican's policy that is leading to it!!!

Indeed I think one can actually trace this back to Bush 1.  He who led the charge for globilization, who led the charge for Un backed international coalitions.  I remember a George Will column years back that was very critical of HErbert Bush's handling of the Kuwait situation.  He pointed that he then set a precedent that establishes that the US cannot act unilaterally without the persmission and approval of the UN and the "international" community.

He was right.  George Bush the elder unilaterally set the stage for our weakness.  Or so it can be argued.

So should W be taking the credit, or the blame for this.  Republicans will try to blame Obama.  Liberals including Chris Matthews is trying to have it both ways, crediting Obama and blaming George Bush.

I am not sure.  It gets awful confusing.  I do think this can and should be traced back to Bush the Elder and in my opinion his abdication of AMerican power in 1990 to the world stage and globalization.  Indeed the far left and liberals, and major socialist progressives like Soros should be holding Bush the elder up as some sort of icon.
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G M
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« Reply #59 on: February 07, 2011, 10:58:50 AM »

**Another great bit from VDH

http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/clueless-on-egypt/?singlepage=true

My three-week victory, your seven-year mess

It is difficult trying to figure out what the left’s position is on democracy and the Middle East. Here’s a brief effort.

Once upon a time, a number of prominent liberals — among them Thomas Friedman, Fareed Zakaria, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid — thought it was a good idea to remove Saddam Hussein and supplant his Baathist rule with democracy. I say that with confidence since one can watch the speeches of the senators in question on YouTube debating the 23-writ authorizations to use force in October 2002, in addition to reading the New York Times and Newsweek editorials between 2002-3 of prominent liberal columnists. The New Republic stable of authors was particularly in favor of the Bush-Cheney “just war” to invade Iraq. Jonathan Chait (who would go on to author an infamous essay about why “I hate George Bush”) and Peter Beinhart were especially hard on the fellow left for not joining the Bush effort.

By early 2004, almost all that liberal support had entirely dissipated, predicated on two developments. First, a presidential election was just months away and Bush’s war was no longer “mission accomplished” but turning into a campaign liability. Second, a resistance had formed under hard-core Islamists that was beginning to take a heavy toll on American forces. No WMD had been found, and it was now easy to suggest that one could withdraw support for building democracy in Iraq because two of the 23 writs for going to war were no longer operative, the effort was probably lost, and George W. Bush might well deservedly not be reelected.

No matter. Bush pressed on. His polls sunk yet he was barely reelected. His ongoing “democracy” agenda got little support from those who once had enthusiastically praised the Iraqi adventure and had proclaimed their belief in universal human rights. Few came to Sec. of State Rice’s support when in 2005 she chastised Hosni Mubarak’s regime to grant fundamental rights. Fewer saw any connection between Saddam’s fate and America’s pro-democratic stance and the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the fright of Mr. Gaddafi who gave up his WMD arsenal, or the sudden willingness of Pakistan to harness Dr. Khan.

Instead, “spreading democracy” was seen by the left as a wounded George Bush’s quirky tic. His talk about “universal” freedom was ridiculed more as a manifestation of a sort of evangelical Christianity than genuine political idealism. Bush’s zeal for democracy, then, was orphaned: the right was now realist again (“they are either incapable of democracy or not worth the effort to implant it”) and the left multicultural (“who are we of all people to say what sort of government others should employ?”).

**Read it all.
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ccp
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« Reply #60 on: February 07, 2011, 11:37:27 AM »

Both sides jockying for political gain to the detriment of any consistency. 

To be fair,
one could also ask,
"what's the Right's position?"

The right is now chastizing Obama for losing Egypt and the rise of the "muslim bortherhood".

The left is now conveniently chastizing W for starting this whole thing.

I think the roots of W's spreading democracy around the middle east stems as a natural progression of globalizism his father promoted and Clinton picked up and ran away with at full speed, more than just a bunch of neo cons (who Buchanan likes to point out are all a bunch of Jews defending the interests of Israel).
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DougMacG
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« Reply #61 on: February 07, 2011, 12:44:30 PM »

I hedge to write this every time I see a riot video, but in spite of all that is posted, I say we err on the side of trying and supporting democracy in this pathetic third world country. (I think that means i support President Obama on this important question - mark that down!)  If they turn out to be anti-American - so be it.  If they begin to export terrorism, we can start planning now for an effective response to that. 

Everyone seems to agree that foreign oversight will be required to pull off free and fair elections.  Can we please learn from the failed Venezuelan experience and take democratic authentication seriously this time.
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bigdog
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« Reply #62 on: February 07, 2011, 01:50:52 PM »

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/dave_zirin/01/31/egypt.soccer/index.html
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G M
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« Reply #63 on: February 07, 2011, 02:23:23 PM »

Doug,

What of the Copts? What if other arab nations, including the Saudis and Jordan fall into the clutches of the Jihadists? The purpose of Iraq was to create a viable alternative to either the jihadis and the strongmen. Thrusting Egypt into the arms of the jihadists is not consistent with that policy.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #64 on: February 07, 2011, 04:27:28 PM »

GM,  Good questions and I don't have answers or solutions.  That's why I am in the armchair position - available for comment.  8 million Christians are at risk and 80 million Egyptians overall, and no, I don't trust the Obama administration to make sure true consent of the governed happens.  I also don't see a path backwards.  Mubarek is leaving.  We aren't going to install or control a new strong man.  Like leaving Iraq in a fragile democracy, we can have some influence but we have to hope that given the opportunity the people will rise up and keep the extremists in a minority position, busy trying to convince their countrymen that they will be peaceful and inward focused - worthy of the seats they win in the assembly.  We can try to influence that positively and we have to prepare for the other possibility.

I hear your valid concerns, but I also hear people like Ragui Assaad, professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs from Cairo that tear at the idea of freedom back home the way we do thinking about our Founders' Declaration.  He is a liberal academic with many friends and family back home including his 80 year old mother who says she would join the protest if she were able.  I don't trust his wisdom, or hers, but I trust their honesty.  Everybody deserves a shot at freedom.  I hate cliches but this toothpaste isn't going back into the tube.  Change is coming in Egypt and we have a Commander in Chief who is an expert on having opponents removed from ballots to represent us to make sure ordinary Egyptians get their say.  Pray for us.  Pray for them, and prepare for war.

From my business background  I understand that risk and uncertainty run in multiple directions.  You have been articulate and correct on the downside risk, which is quite probable and truly catastrophic.  There is upside risk here as well.  Put these people and I mean the peaceful ones in charge of making their own economy function, jobs, food, apartments affordable, and the trains (or camels) running on time.  As they experience their own landmarks and people blown up, sympathy for radicals may diminish and we could find a reasonably good, self governed partner in our own fight against the extremists.

Besides security interests, we need these horribly run third world countries to break out of oppression and poverty.  If achieved, that will have a global security benefit.

A story from my export past: my strongest area  was the Middle East mostly because of the knowledge of the owner who was of Middle East origin, secular, but with one of the those common religious first names.  I had 12 distributors in Kuwait when it fell to Saddam, many in UAE, a distributor in Bahrain that sold throughout the region, etc, even sold to Bin Laden Telecom in the Kingdom.  When Kuwait was rescued we had great successes including the supply contract for a nationwide fiber optic network.  For all the times my boss and I went over country lists and strategies to represent several American manufacturers, every time I brought up selling in Egypt he said don't waste your time.  Business-wise, I'm sure he was right: 80 million people - don't waste your time.

For a shot at freedom though, 80 million people deserve a chance.

(Sounds like Netanyahu is saying something similar.  Like it or not, this spinning ship is going to end up aimed in one of a number of directions.)
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G M
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« Reply #65 on: February 07, 2011, 04:41:46 PM »

I'd love to see Egypt become a beacon of freedom in the arab world. The dominoes could then fall in another direction. Egypt is the center of gravity, and will tend to pull surrounding nations in whatever way it moves.

I think the Egyptian military has a major hand to play here, and my hope is that they keep Egypt a friend to us and at least the cold peace with Israel when they contribute to the post-Mubarak government.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #66 on: February 07, 2011, 06:09:28 PM »

Woof,
 What needs to happen is a process to separate the wheat from the chaff. Any talks about a new Democratic free form of government needs to have all actors signing on to creating a Constitution that specifically prohibits any other form of government being laid in its place. If freedom and democracy is the true standard then there should be no objections. Right? Then why the F don't they do that?
          P.C.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 06:14:51 PM by prentice crawford » Logged

G M
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« Reply #67 on: February 07, 2011, 07:41:53 PM »

And if the majority wish to live under sharia, then what?
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #68 on: February 07, 2011, 10:28:06 PM »

Woof,
 If that's the case why do they have to hide behind the banner of freedom and democracy? And if that's what they want, is that what we support? Or does the reality of the situation make a dictator that cooporates with us better than a theocracy that wants all the free world dead? We are for the individuals right to choose for himself how he relates to God, we are not for any group (including a majority group), forcing their beliefs onto any other individual or at least the last time I checked that's how it works in a free Democratic society. Are you saying every single individual in Egypt wants a totalitarian theocracy? That might be what we end up with over there but I think it would be better if we didn't help that along.
              P.C.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 10:43:52 PM by prentice crawford » Logged

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« Reply #69 on: February 07, 2011, 11:13:30 PM »

P.C.

There are several different factors to consider here, amongst them:

1. Clever individuals/groups that understand psywar shape their message to appeal to the target audience. What words tend to resonate with us?

2. There is a bias shaped by the fact that our media has very few resources to draw upon that don't speak english. Those in Egypt that are proficient in english may well have a western philosophical orientation that is atypical of the population. Were an arab language media organization to interview arabic speakers in the US, do you think those arabic speakers here would tend to be valid representations of mainstream American opinions? If you doubt my description of Egyptian opinion, scroll back and read up on the validated polls done in years past.

3. In making strategic choices, one must choose between the real choices offered and not the theoretical best choice one might wish for. Best wishes and unrealistic hope is what keeps the lights on in the casinos in Vegas. A lack of a decisive, pragmatic leadership is why we must worry about a nuclear Iran. An Islamic Republic of Egypt is even more catastrophic in the long term.
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« Reply #70 on: February 07, 2011, 11:43:07 PM »

"Are you saying every single individual in Egypt wants a totalitarian theocracy?"

I was going to pose something similar.  The Pew research numbers are scary, but they can be read to different conclusions.  If 100% of the people want barbaric rules, what do we do, what CAN we do... but it isn't 100% and we know that. Let's say it's 40% and I think that will drop more toward 20%. Not a majority, but if it is a 51% that want to go back to the dark ages, how can we keep them from dominating the others, stoning and mutilating the women etc? 

These were questions we luckily faced recently in Iraq and in Afghanistan.  Not that we're great at steering the process, but we have some people with some knowledge and some experience.  Mistakes to learn from.

Like GM says, we need skill, agility, persuasion, Arabic mastery of language, culture, religion, thinking and subtleties. Not to fall for false statements and translations. If I am Obama, I need the smartest guy in the room on our side and on this mission, authentic Egyptian, and he doesn't need a coat full of rank and medals.

We won't get a seat at the table, but we hopefully have enough pull to get a set of eyes and ears in the room, and access to whatever parties to the discussion will give us access. 

The first part of this process up to elections in August is 6 months. How it's all structured is crucial.  Someone has to have a vision of how this all ends in order to know how it needs to start.  From what we've learned elsewhere, after the first election is where the process of writing a constitution and forming a government begins.

Some of our leverage comes from Mubarek, assuming he stays until the elections.  Too bad he is under the bus.  On that note, too bad the CIA Director is a political hack, but maybe I underestimate and maybe we have a workup already in place on each of the players and groups as thorough as the Steelers know Green Bay (bad example) - with levers and access points.

If I were Obama I would be meeting with Petreus and Crocker yesterday morning to find out who they know that knows how best to do this. Talk to Allawi,. Maliki, Karzai, whoever else might have insight.  The parties don't know how to do this either.  If you build their trust maybe you become the moderator, what is Arabic for facilitator? 

Then I would turn to the Rumsfeld doctrine and focus on what we don't know that we don't know. 
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #71 on: February 08, 2011, 12:49:09 AM »

Woof,
 That's what I'm trying to get at guys, if we don't know what it is that Egypt is going to turn into and who is going to be in charge of it, why are we throwing Mubarak under the bus and why aren't we setting up a situation where we can tell who and what we need to be backing. This "roll the dice" foreign policy strategy the President seems to be implementing and the press is championing, scares the hell out of me. Like the question I posed earlier, they might get their freedom but freedom to do what? And I'm saying we should not be backing Islamic rule. As bad as a dictator is, a dictator that isn't trying to destroy Western civilization is a better choice.
 Yes, in a perfect world it would be nice if a truly Democratic government took hold there but this ain't no perfect world. Yes, if we can identify an element that represents that movement we should back it but Egypt plays too important of a role in our strategic best interest to let it fall as did Iran.
                  P.C.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 01:03:48 AM by prentice crawford » Logged

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« Reply #72 on: February 08, 2011, 01:03:54 AM »

We should be scared. This administration is the living, breathing example of "credentialed, not educated". I think it's pretty clear that the empty suit has no clue what to do. The only thing in our favor at the moment is that the Egyptian power structure is much smarter and far more competent than ours.

Their strategy appears to be one of divide and conquer the disparate factions while outwaiting the crowds. It might just work.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #73 on: February 08, 2011, 04:59:02 AM »

Woof,
 Maybe if our press and our prez stopped cheerleading, we could get out of this mess without them chalking up another U.S. failure, oh! unless that's the plan. tongue
 
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_egypt
               
                P.C.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #74 on: February 08, 2011, 04:20:45 PM »

As best as I can tell, it would make sense to limit the democratic process to those that believe in it.  Put the MB on the spot with their words elevating theocracy above democracy.
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« Reply #75 on: February 08, 2011, 04:58:19 PM »

Egypt, Israel and a Strategic Reconsideration
February 8, 2011


By George Friedman

The events in Egypt have sent shock waves through Israel. The 1978 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel have been the bedrock of Israeli national security. In three of the four wars Israel fought before the accords, a catastrophic outcome for Israel was conceivable. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, credible scenarios existed in which the Israelis were defeated and the state of Israel ceased to exist. In 1973, it appeared for several days that one of those scenarios was unfolding.

The survival of Israel was no longer at stake after 1978. In the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the various Palestinian intifadas and the wars with Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas in Gaza in 2008, Israeli interests were involved, but not survival. There is a huge difference between the two. Israel had achieved a geopolitical ideal after 1978 in which it had divided and effectively made peace with two of the four Arab states that bordered it, and neutralized one of those states. The treaty with Egypt removed the threat to the Negev and the southern coastal approaches to Tel Aviv.

The agreement with Jordan in 1994, which formalized a long-standing relationship, secured the longest and most vulnerable border along the Jordan River. The situation in Lebanon was such that whatever threat emerged from there was limited. Only Syria remained hostile but, by itself, it could not threaten Israel. Damascus was far more focused on Lebanon anyway. As for the Palestinians, they posed a problem for Israel, but without the foreign military forces along the frontiers, the Palestinians could trouble but not destroy Israel. Israel’s existence was not at stake, nor was it an issue for 33 years.

The Historic Egyptian Threat to Israel
The center of gravity of Israel’s strategic challenge was always Egypt. The largest Arab country, with about 80 million people, Egypt could field the most substantial army. More to the point, Egypt could absorb casualties at a far higher rate than Israel. The danger that the Egyptian army posed was that it could close with the Israelis and engage in extended, high-intensity combat that would break the back of the Israel Defense Forces by imposing a rate of attrition that Israel could not sustain. If Israel were to be simultaneously engaged with Syria, dividing its forces and its logistical capabilities, it could run out of troops long before Egypt, even if Egypt were absorbing far more casualties.

The solution for the Israelis was to initiate combat at a time and place of their own choosing, preferably with surprise, as they did in 1956 and 1967. Failing that, as they did in 1973, the Israelis would be forced into a holding action they could not sustain and forced onto an offensive in which the risks of failure — and the possibility — would be substantial.

It was to the great benefit of Israel that Egyptian forces were generally poorly commanded and trained and that Egyptian war-fighting doctrine, derived from Britain and the Soviet Union, was not suited to the battle problem Israel posed. In 1967, Israel won its most complete victory over Egypt, as well as Jordan and Syria. It appeared to the Israelis that the Arabs in general and Egyptians in particular were culturally incapable of mastering modern warfare.

Thus it was an extraordinary shock when, just six years after their 1967 defeat, the Egyptians mounted a two-army assault across the Suez, coordinated with a simultaneous Syrian attack on the Golan Heights. Even more stunning than the assault was the operational security the Egyptians maintained and the degree of surprise they achieved. One of Israel’s fundamental assumptions was that Israeli intelligence would provide ample warning of an attack. And one of the fundamental assumptions of Israeli intelligence was that Egypt could not mount an attack while Israel maintained air superiority. Both assumptions were wrong. But the most important error was the assumption that Egypt could not, by itself, coordinate a massive and complex military operation. In the end, the Israelis defeated the Egyptians, but at the cost of the confidence they achieved in 1967 and a recognition that comfortable assumptions were impermissible in warfare in general and regarding Egypt in particular.

The Egyptians had also learned lessons. The most important was that the existence of the state of Israel did not represent a challenge to Egypt’s national interest. Israel existed across a fairly wide and inhospitable buffer zone — the Sinai Peninsula. The logistical problems involved in deploying a massive force to the east had resulted in three major defeats, while the single partial victory took place on much shorter lines of supply. Holding or taking the Sinai was difficult and possible only with a massive infusion of weapons and supplies from the outside, from the Soviet Union. This meant that Egypt was a hostage to Soviet interests. Egypt had a greater interest in breaking its dependency on the Soviets than in defeating Israel. It could do the former more readily than the latter.



(click here to enlarge image)
The Egyptian recognition that its interests in Israel were minimal and the Israeli recognition that eliminating the potential threat from Egypt guaranteed its national security have been the foundation of the regional balance since 1978. All other considerations — Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and the rest — were trivial in comparison. Geography — the Sinai — made this strategic distancing possible. So did American aid to Egypt. The substitution of American weapons for Soviet ones in the years after the treaty achieved two things. First, they ended Egypt’s dependency on the Soviets. Second, they further guaranteed Israel’s security by creating an Egyptian army dependent on a steady flow of spare parts and contractors from the United States. Cut the flow and the Egyptian army would be crippled.

The governments of Anwar Sadat and then Hosni Mubarak were content with this arrangement. The generation that came to power with Gamal Nasser had fought four wars with Israel and had little stomach for any more. They had proved themselves in October 1973 on the Suez and had no appetite to fight again or to send their sons to war. It is not that they created an oasis of prosperity in Egypt. But they no longer had to go to war every few years, and they were able, as military officers, to live good lives. What is now regarded as corruption was then regarded as just rewards for bleeding in four wars against the Israelis.

Mubarak and the Military
But now is 33 years later, and the world has changed. The generation that fought is very old. Today’s Egyptian military trains with the Americans, and its officers pass through the American command and staff and war colleges. This generation has close ties to the United States, but not nearly as close ties to the British-trained generation that fought the Israelis or to Egypt’s former patrons, the Russians. Mubarak has locked the younger generation, in their fifties and sixties, out of senior command positions and away from the wealth his generation has accumulated. They want him out.

For this younger generation, the idea of Gamal Mubarak being allowed to take over the presidency was the last straw. They wanted the elder Mubarak to leave not only because he had ambitions for his son but also because he didn’t want to leave after more than a quarter century of pressure. Mubarak wanted guarantees that, if he left, his possessions, in addition to his honor, would remain intact. If Gamal could not be president, then no one’s promise had value. So Mubarak locked himself into position.

The cameras love demonstrations, but they are frequently not the real story. The demonstrators who wanted democracy are a real faction, but they don’t speak for the shopkeepers and peasants more interested in prosperity than wealth. Since Egypt is a Muslim country, the West freezes when anything happens, dreading the hand of Osama bin Laden. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was once a powerful force, and it might become one again someday, but right now it is a shadow of its former self. What is going on now is a struggle within the military, between generations, for the future of the Egyptian military and therefore the heart of the Egyptian regime. Mubarak will leave, the younger officers will emerge, the constitution will make some changes and life will continue.

The Israelis will return to their complacency. They should not. The usual first warning of a heart attack is death. Among the fortunate, it is a mild coronary followed by a dramatic change of life style. The events in Egypt should be taken as a mild coronary and treated with great relief by Israel that it wasn’t worse.

Reconsidering the Israeli Position
I have laid out the reasons why the 1978 treaty is in Egypt’s national interest. I have left out two pieces. The first is ideology. The ideological tenor of the Middle East prior to 1978 was secular and socialist. Today it is increasingly Islamist. Egypt is not immune to this trend, even if the Muslim Brotherhood should not be seen as the embodiment of that threat. Second, military technology, skills and terrain have made Egypt a defensive power for the past 33 years. But military technology and skills can change, on both sides. Egyptian defensiveness is built on assumptions of Israeli military capability and interest. As Israeli ideology becomes more militant and as its capabilities grow, Egypt may be forced to reconsider its strategic posture. As new generations of officers arise, who have heard of war only from their grandfathers, the fear of war declines and the desire for glory grows. Combine that with ideology in Egypt and Israel and things change. They won’t change quickly — a generation of military transformation will be needed once regimes have changed and the decisions to prepare for war have been made — but they can change.

Two things from this should strike the Israelis. The first is how badly they need peace with Egypt. It is easy to forget what things were like 40 years back, but it is important to remember that the prosperity of Israel today depends in part on the treaty with Egypt. Iran is a distant abstraction, with a notional bomb whose completion date keeps moving. Israel can fight many wars with Egypt and win. It need lose only one. The second lesson is that Israel should do everything possible to make certain that the transfer of power in Egypt is from Mubarak to the next generation of military officers and that these officers maintain their credibility in Egypt. Whether Israel likes it or not, there is an Islamist movement in Egypt. Whether the new generation controls that movement as the previous one did or whether they succumb to it is the existential question for Israel. If the treaty with Egypt is the foundation of Israel’s national security, it is logical that the Israelis should do everything possible to preserve it.

This was not the fatal heart attack. It might not even have been more than indigestion. But recent events in Egypt point to a long-term problem with Israeli strategy. Given the strategic and ideological crosscurrents in Egypt, it is in Israel’s national interest to minimize the intensity of the ideological and make certain that Israel is not perceived as a threat. In Gaza, for example, Israel and Egypt may have shared a common interest in containing Hamas, and the next generation of Egyptian officers may share it as well. But what didn’t materialize in the streets this time could in the future: an Islamist rising. In that case, the Egyptian military might find it in its interest to preserve its power by accommodating the Islamists. At this point, Egypt becomes the problem and not part of the solution.

Keeping Egypt from coming to this is the imperative of military dispassion. If the long-term center of gravity of Israel’s national security is at least the neutrality of Egypt, then doing everything to maintain that is a military requirement. That military requirement must be carried out by political means. That requires the recognition of priorities. The future of Gaza or the precise borders of a Palestinian state are trivial compared to preserving the treaty with Egypt. If it is found that a particular political strategy undermines the strategic requirement, then that political strategy must be sacrificed.

In other words, the worst-case scenario for Israel would be a return to the pre-1978 relationship with Egypt without a settlement with the Palestinians. That would open the door for a potential two-front war with an intifada in the middle. To avoid that, the ideological pressure on Egypt must be eased, and that means a settlement with the Palestinians on less-than-optimal terms. The alternative is to stay the current course and let Israel take its chances. The question is where the greater safety lies. Israel has assumed that it lies with confrontation with the Palestinians. That’s true only if Egypt stays neutral. If the pressure on the Palestinians destabilizes Egypt, it is not the most prudent course.

There are those in Israel who would argue that any release in pressure on the Palestinians will be met with rejection. If that is true, then, in my view, that is catastrophic news for Israel. In due course, ideological shifts and recalculations of Israeli intentions will cause a change in Egyptian policy. This will take several decades to turn into effective military force, and the first conflicts may well end in Israeli victory. But, as I have said before, it must always be remembered that no matter how many times Israel wins, it need only lose once to be annihilated.

To some it means that Israel should remain as strong as possible. To me it means that Israel should avoid rolling the dice too often, regardless of how strong it thinks it is. The Mubarak affair might open a strategic reconsideration of the Israeli position.

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G M
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« Reply #76 on: February 08, 2011, 09:58:00 PM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/07/why_we_cant_rule_out_an_egyptian_reign_of_terror?page=0,0

There are, of course, many different ways of categorizing historical revolutions. But for the purposes of understanding what is happening in Egypt -- and the challenges it may pose for the United States -- one simple, rough distinction may be especially useful. This is the distinction between revolutions that look more like 1688 and revolutions that look more like 1789. The first date refers to England's "Glorious Revolution," in which the Catholic, would-be absolute monarch James II was overthrown and replaced by the Protestant William and Mary and the English Parliament claimed powerful and enduring new forms of authority. The second is, of course, the date of the French Revolution, which began as an attempt to create a constitutional monarchy but ultimately led to the execution of King Louis XVI, the proclamation of the First French Republic, and the Reign of Terror.
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G M
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« Reply #77 on: February 08, 2011, 10:08:36 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/08/u-s-handling-of-egypt-protests-now-alienating-pretty-much-everyone/

**More bowing required?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #78 on: February 09, 2011, 07:55:55 AM »



JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) greets Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in September 2010Related Special Topic Page
The Egypt Unrest: Full Coverage
A suite at a luxury hospital clinic in southwestern Germany is being prepared for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, German news website Spiegel Online reported Feb. 7. The report, dovetailing similar rumors reported by The New York Times on Feb. 5, went into more detail, alleging that talks were under way among Egyptian, U.S. and German officials for Mubarak to find exile in the Max-Grundig-Klinik Buehlerhoehe in the southwestern German town of Buhl near Baden-Baden.

The rumors have not been confirmed, but they fit an endgame scenario to the Egypt crisis that STRATFOR has long been considering. The Egyptian military may see Mubarak as an enormous liability, but it is also trying to construct a legitimate and orderly political transition. Mubarak is 82 years old, in poor health and suffering from cancer. His sickness serves as an ideal alibi to frame his exit from the political scene without the military appearing as though it had to resort to extraordinary measures to remove him or bend to the opposition’s demands. STRATFOR had earlier heard rumors of Mubarak staying at his resort home in Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula. Meanwhile, negotiations are under way over how to handle the billions of dollars worth of assets that Mubarak’s family is attempting to retain. Such negotiations take a great deal of time and energy, which may explain the repeated calls for patience by the regime elite, as well as by U.S. officials.

The subject of Mubarak’s future exile may well have been discussed at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 5, where both U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that the transition in Egypt would take time and, as Clinton said, “there are certain things that have to be done in order to prepare.” Merkel said, “There will be a change in Egypt, but clearly, the change has to be shaped in a way that it is a peaceful, a sensible way forward.” Members of Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union, as well coalition partner Free Democratic Party, have also issued similar statements calling for an orderly transition for Mubarak.

The peaceful and sensible way forward for Mubarak may well be in Germany, where Mubarak reportedly travels for annual medical visits and where he had gallbladder surgery in 2010 at Heidelberg University Hospital, roughly 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the rumored exile clinic. STRATFOR cannot help but be reminded of similar arrangements made for the embattled Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who at age 60 and suffering from an enlarged spleen and lymphatic cancer jumped from country to country, including the United States, in exile to seek medical treatment before ending up in Egypt, where he is buried today. This time, the United States appears more interested in avoiding the political complications of receiving an unpopular leader in exile while including a third party, perhaps the Germans, to help manage the transition.

The opposition’s reaction to these rumors must thus be watched closely. An implicit understanding could be in the making, in which Mubarak may remain president in exile, but as a mere figurehead until elections can be held — planned for September — or a less complicated scenario in which he hands power to his vice president, former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, while on “medical leave.” The Egyptian military, along with U.S. officials, likely hopes this will be enough to take the steam out of the street demonstrations and move Egypt beyond the current crisis. Whether that expectation holds true remains to be seen, but the political expediency of the current crisis could have an impact on the speed in which Mubarak’s health reportedly deteriorates in the coming days.



Read more: A Sign of the Endgame in Egypt? | STRATFOR
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« Reply #79 on: February 09, 2011, 01:49:03 PM »

http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/58461/jewel-of-the-nile/

Jewel of the Nile

Yussuf al-Qaradawi, the world’s most popular and authoritative Sunni cleric, is a Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Egyptian based in Qatar. A return to his home country would be dangerous for Israel and the West.

By Lee Smith | Feb 9, 2011 7:00 AM

President Barack Obama believes that lending American prestige to the Muslim Brotherhood will not pave the way for an eventual Islamist takeover of Egypt. “There are a whole bunch of secular folks in Egypt, there are a whole bunch of educators and civil society in Egypt that wants to come to the fore as well,” the president told Bill O’Reilly in a Super Bowl Sunday interview.

According to the president, the way to empower America’s friends is to “get all the groups together in Egypt for an orderly transition and the one that is a meaningful transition.” As if Egypt’s liberal current isn’t weak enough already, Obama believes that the best way to ensure the sharks don’t come out on top is to throw a whole bunch of liberal guppies into the tank as well.

While the parallels between Iran in 1979 and Egypt in 2011 can be overdrawn, it is foolish to pretend that they are not there. Cairo doesn’t have to literally become a Sunni version of Tehran to do terrible damage to U.S. interests and prestige in the Middle East—and to the hopes and dreams of its own people. And the Egyptians already have their own prospective Khomeini: Yussuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood preacher who exiled himself from Egypt in 1961.

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« Reply #80 on: February 09, 2011, 01:55:03 PM »

http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=207415

Muslim Brotherhood text reveals scope of radical creed
By OREN KESSLER
09/02/2011    
Translated by Palestinian Media Watch, book details group’s goal of global Islamic conquest.
 
One of the greatest beneficiaries of the unrest in Egypt has been the Muslim Brotherhood.

Banned but tolerated for decades by successive Egyptian regimes, the Islamist movement is now emerging as a central player in the country’s resurgent opposition.

RELATED:
Playing chess with the Muslim Brotherhood
The Region: Rulers by proxy
Analysis: Dangerously underestimating the Muslim Brotherhood

On Tuesday, two Brotherhood representatives participated in an opposition delegation that met with Vice President Omar Suleiman for the first set of talks over implementing political reforms.

Pundits have portrayed the Brotherhood as uncompromising zealots or beneficent providers of social services that long-deprived Egyptians desperately need.

But a translation released Tuesday of a 1995 book by the movement’s fifth official leader sheds light on just how Egypt’s Brotherhood views itself and its mission. Jihad is the Way is the last of a five-volume work, The Laws of Da’wa by Mustafa Mashhur, who headed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996-2002.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt

The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday saw excerpts of the text, compiled by Palestinian Media Watch founder Itamar Marcus and analyst Nan Jacques Zilberdik.

They detail the Brotherhood’s objectives of advancing the global conquest of Islam and reestablishing the Islamic Caliphate, the public and private duties of jihad and the struggle Muslims must wage against Israel.

The full text, translated by PMW, will be posted Wednesday on the organization’s website, Palwatch.org.

“The Islamic ummah,” it says, referring to the supranational community of Muslims, “can regain its power and be liberated and assume its rightful position which was intended by Allah, as the most exalted nation among men, as the leaders of humanity.”

Elsewhere, it exhorts Muslims, “Know your status, and believe firmly that you are the masters of the world, even if your enemies desire your degradation.”

Marcus spoke to the Post about what he views as the danger of downplaying the Brotherhood’s ideology, or expecting it to moderate its objectives after being allowed into the political process. The movement differs from international terror groups like Al-Qaida, he said, only in tactics, not in its goals.

Marcus cited passages in the text that urge Muslims to wage jihad only when circumstances are ripe.

“The Brotherhood is not rushed by youth’s enthusiasm into immature and unplanned action which will not alter the bad reality and may even harm the Islamic activity, and will benefit the people of falsehood,” Mashhur wrote.

“One should know that it is not necessary that the Muslims repel every attack or damage caused by the enemies of Allah immediately, but [only] when ability and the circumstances are fit to it.”

Jihad is the Way explicitly endorses the reinstatement of a worldwide Islamic regime.

“It should be known that jihad and preparation towards jihad are not only for the purpose of fending off assaults and attacks of Allah’s enemies from Muslims, but are also for the purpose of realizing the great task of establishing an Islamic state and strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world.”

“Jihad for Allah,” Mashhur wrote, “is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries, since the Muslim homeland is one and is not divided, and the banner of Jihad has already been raised in some of its parts, and shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, and the State of Islam established.”

Hassan al-Banna, the movement’s founder, “felt the grave danger overshadowing the Muslims and the urgent need and obligation which Islam places on every Muslim, man and woman, to act in order to restore the Islamic Caliphate and to reestablish the Islamic state on strong foundations.”

Despite its universal message, the book attaches particular significance to the Holy Land.

“Honorable brothers have achieved shahada [martyrdom] on the soil of beloved Palestine, during the years ’47 and ’48, in their jihad against the criminal, thieving, gangs of Zion,” it says.

“Still today, memory of them horrifies the Jews and the name of the Muslim Brotherhood terrifies them.”

Elsewhere, Mushhar wrote, “The imam and shahid Hassan Al-Banna is considered as a martyr of Palestine, even if he was not killed on its soil ... in all his writings and conversations, he always urged towards jihad and aroused the desire for seeking martyrdom ... he did not content himself only with speech and writing, and when the opportunity arrived for jihad in Palestine, he hurried and seized it.”

Wielding a broader brush, Mashhur wrote, “The problems of the Islamic world – such as in Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea or the Philippines – are not issues of territories and nations, but of faith and religion.

They are the problems of Islam and all Muslims, and their resolution cannot be negotiated and bargained by recognizing the enemy’s right to the Islamic land he stole, and therefore there is no other option but jihad for Allah, and this is why jihad is the way.”
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G M
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« Reply #81 on: February 09, 2011, 05:51:42 PM »

http://bigpeace.com/dreaboi/2011/02/09/jim-woolsey-the-importance-of-shariah-in-the-egyptian-revolution/

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #82 on: February 09, 2011, 09:22:55 PM »

GM:

Although quite relevant to Egypt, may I ask you to post pieces about the nature of the MB on the "Islam the Religion" so that they don't get lost to future reference? 

Thank you,
Marc
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« Reply #83 on: February 10, 2011, 09:01:06 AM »

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/

Exclusive: Saudis told Obama to back Mubarak
Hugh Tomlinson Riyadh
February 10 2011 12:01AM

Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up President Mubarak if the White House tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt. In a testy personal telephone call on January 29, King Abdullah told President Obama not to humiliate Mr Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the US withdrew its aid programme, worth $1.5 billion annually. America’s closest ally in the Gulf made clear that the Egyptian President must be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards peaceful democracy and then leave with dignity. “Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the King is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated,” a senior source in the Saudi capital told The Times. Two sources confirmed details of the King’s call, made four days after the people
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G M
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« Reply #84 on: February 10, 2011, 09:01:53 AM »

Know how the Saudis could afford to bankroll Egypt?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #85 on: February 10, 2011, 09:49:54 AM »

"Know how the Saudis could afford to bankroll Egypt?"

We drove up the world price of oil from $20 to $100 with our failure to produce or use our own energy?  http://www.wtrg.com/oil_graphs/oilprice1947.gif
---

Woolsey makes perfect sense, but how other than 'benevolent' military rule do you accomplish that? Parties must renounce non-democratic governance to participate, but falsely renounce is what they do. He gave examples from across the planet and across the last century, not just MB.  What then?  No freedom or real vote for others ever because no one can sort out who really supports freedom and democracy?
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G M
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« Reply #86 on: February 10, 2011, 10:02:43 AM »



"We drove up the world price of oil from $20 to $100 with our failure to produce or use our own energy?  http://www.wtrg.com/oil_graphs/oilprice1947.gif "

Yeah. Al Saud could cut production and raise the cost per bbl. We'll fund Egypt one way or the other.
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« Reply #87 on: February 10, 2011, 10:14:29 AM »

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41506482/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/

Egypt's Mubarak to step down

CAIRO — Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is to step down after 17 days of pro-democracy protests, two sources told NBC News on Thursday.

Following an all-day meeting of the country's supreme military council, the army said all the protesters' demands would be met and a further statement was expected to be made later Thursday, clarifying the situation.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #88 on: February 10, 2011, 10:17:37 AM »

Wonder what the House of Saud is going to do now , , ,
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G M
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« Reply #89 on: February 10, 2011, 10:21:49 AM »

We'll soon find out. Got money in oil futures?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #90 on: February 10, 2011, 10:28:30 AM »

I was thinking more along the line of investing in Swiss Banks, where the House of Saud will be preparing for its departure.
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G M
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« Reply #91 on: February 10, 2011, 10:38:34 AM »

If we lose Saudi, Banks will be the least of our concerns.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #92 on: February 10, 2011, 10:40:45 AM »

I was responding to your comment about investing in oil futures , , ,
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G M
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« Reply #93 on: February 10, 2011, 10:41:47 AM »

I think the House of Saud will not go easily or quietly.
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G M
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« Reply #94 on: February 10, 2011, 10:47:08 AM »



Love this pic on drudge.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #95 on: February 10, 2011, 10:53:31 AM »

CAIRO—The Egyptian opposition's takeover of the area around the parliament this week began with a trick.

First, they called for a march on the state television building a few blocks north of their encampment in Tahrir Square. Then, while the army deployed to that sensitive communications hub, they moved into the lightly defended area around the parliament to the south.

The feint gave a taste of how a dozen young activists managed to outwit Egypt's feared security forces to launch a historic uprising now in its 17th day—and hint at how the organizers hope to keep pressure on a regime that has dug in its heels.

On Jan. 25, the first day of protests, the organizers had a trick up their sleeves in the impoverished slum of Bulaq al-Dakrour, on Cairo's western edge.

There amid the maze of muddy, narrow alleyways, a seemingly spontaneous protest caught security forces on their heels and swelled in size before those forces could react to crush it.

Regional Upheaval
View Interactive
.A succession of rallies and demonstrations, in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Algeria have been inspired directly by the popular outpouring of anger that toppled Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. See how these uprisings have progressed.

Clashes in Cairo
View Interactive
.Since late January, antigovernment demonstrators have swarmed the streets of Cairo, calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down and at times clashing with the president's supporters. See where the action took place.
.That protest was anything but spontaneous. How the organizers pulled it off, when so many past efforts had failed, has had people scratching their heads ever since.

After his release from detention on Sunday, Google Inc. executive Wael Ghonim recounted his meeting with Egyptian's newly appointed interior minister. "No one understood how you did it," Mr. Ghonim said the minister told him. He said his interrogators concluded there had to have been outside forces involved.

The plotters, who now form the leadership core of the Revolutionary Youth Movement, which has stepped to the fore as representatives of protestors in Tahrir Square, have shared their secret in recent days for the first time.

Their accounts reveal a core of savvy plotters who have managed to stay a step ahead of the security forces with decoy marches and smart politicking that has sustained popular support for their protests.

In early January, when they decided they would try to replicate the accomplishments of the protesters in Tunisia who ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, their immediate concern was how to outfox the Ministry of Interior, whose legions of riot police had managed to contain and quash protests for years. The police were expert at preventing demonstrations from growing or moving through the streets, and at keeping ordinary Egyptians away.

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."We had to find a way to prevent security from making their cordon and stopping us," said Basem Kamel, a 41-year-old architect who is a member of Mohamed ElBaradei's youth wing and was one of the dozen or so plotters.

They met daily for two weeks in the cramped living room of the mother of Ziad al-Alimi, a leading organizer for the opposition group formed by Mr. ElBaradei and one of the chief plotters.

Mr. Alimi's mother, a former activist herself who served six months in prison for her role leading protests during the bread riots in 1977, lives in the middle-class neighborhood of Agouza on the west bank of the Nile.

The group of plotters included representatives from six youth movements connected to opposition political parties, groups advocating labor rights and the Muslim Brotherhood.

They chose 20 protest sites, usually connected to mosques, in densely populated working-class neighborhoods around Cairo, hoping that a large number of scattered protests would strain security forces, draw larger numbers, and increase the likelihood that some would be able to break out and link up in the city's central Tahrir Square.

The group publicly called for protests at those sites for Jan. 25, a national holiday celebrating the country's widely reviled police force. They announced the sites of the demonstrations on the Internet and called for protests to begin at each one after prayers at about 2 p.m. But that wasn't all.

"The twenty-first site, no one knew about," Mr. Kamel said.

To be sure, they weren't the only ones calling for protests that day. Other influential activist groups rallied their resources to the cause. The Facebook page for Khaled Said, the young man beaten to death for no apparent reason by police in Alexandria, had emerged months earlier as an online gathering place for activists in Egypt.

There was an Arabic page and an English page, and each had its own administrators. Mr. Ghonim, the Google executive, has now been identified as one of the administrators, but the pages' other administrators remain anonymous.

An administrator for the English language page, known only by his online moniker El-Shaheed, or The Martyr, recounted the administrators' role in the protests in an interview with The Wall Street Journal via Gmail Chat.

El-Shaheed said he was chatting online with the site's Arabic-language administrator on Jan. 14, just as news broke of Tunisian President Ben Ali's flight from the country. Mr. Kamel and his cohorts, who had already begun plotting their protest, now had another powerful recruiting force.

"I was talking with Arabic admin and we were watching Tunisia and the moment we heard Ben Ali ran away, he said, we have to do something," said El-Shaheed.

The Arabic administrator posted on the Arabic page an open question to readers: "What do you think we should give as a gift to the brutal Egyptian police on their day?"

"The answer came from everyone: Tunisia Tunisia Smiley," wrote El-Shaheed.

For the final three days before the protest, Mr. Kamel and his fellow plotters slept away from home, fearing police would come to arrest them in the middle of the night and disrupt their plan. They stopped using their own cell phones and in favor of those owned by family members or friends that were less likely to be monitored.

They sent small teams to do reconnaissance on the secret 21st site in Bulaq al-Dakrour. That site was the Hayiss Sweet Shop, whose storefront and tiled sidewalk plaza meant to accommodate outdoor tables in warmer months would make an easy-to-find rallying point in an otherwise tangled neighborhood no different from countless others around the city.

The plotters knew that the demonstrations' success would depend on the participation of ordinary Egyptians in working-class districts such as Bulaq al-Dakrour, where the Internet and Facebook aren't as widely used. They distributed flyers around the city in the days leading up to the demonstration, concentrating efforts on Bulaq al-Dakrour.

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."It gave people the idea that a revolution would start on January 25," Mr. Kamel said.

The organizers sent small teams of plotters to walk the protest route repeatedly in the days leading up to the protest, at a slow pace and at a fast pace, to get their timing down for sychronizing when the separate protests would link up.

On Jan. 25, security forces predictably deployed by the thousands at the sites of each announced demonstration. Meanwhile, four field commanders chosen from the organizers' committee began ordering their men to the secret gathering point at the sweet shop.

The organizers divided themselves into cells of 10—with only one person per cell aware of the secret destination.

In these small groups, the protesters advanced toward the Hayiss Sweet Shop, massing into a crowd of 300 demonstrators free from police control. The lack of security prompted neighborhood residents to stream by the hundreds out of the neighborhood's cramped alleyways, swelling the crowd into the thousands, according to employees at the Hayiss Sweet Shop who watched the scene unfold.

At 1:15 p.m., they began marching toward downtown Cairo. By the time police realized what was under way and redeployed a small contingent to block their path, the protesters' numbers had grown so quickly that they easily overpowered the police.

The other marches organized at mosques around the city failed to reach Tahrir Square, their efforts foiled by riot-police cordons. The Bulaq al-Dakrour marchers, the only group to reach their objective, occupied Tahrir Square for several hours until after midnight, when police attacked demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets.

It was the first time Egyptians had seen such a demonstration in their streets, and it provided an explosive tipping point credited with emboldening tens of thousands of people to come out to protest the following Friday.

That day, they seized Tahrir Square again, and they haven't given it up since.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #96 on: February 10, 2011, 01:28:35 PM »

Good news today from our intelligence, Muslim Brotherhood is secular.  Who knew?    huh

Close the thread.  We worried for no reason.
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G M
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« Reply #97 on: February 10, 2011, 01:56:48 PM »

Golly, I sure feel better!
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« Reply #98 on: February 10, 2011, 02:21:49 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/10/u-s-director-of-national-intelligence-the-muslim-brotherhood-is-largely-secular/

U.S. Director of National Intelligence: The Muslim Brotherhood is … “largely secular”; Update: Video added
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #99 on: February 10, 2011, 09:26:52 PM »

What a moron (and his aides who prepped him too)  This is the guy who didn't know about the Islamo terrorist arrests in UK a while back IIRC.
=======
The decision by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak not to resign seems to have shocked both the Egyptian military and Washington. CIA Director Leon Panetta spoke earlier as if his resignation was assured and a resolution to the crisis was guaranteed. Sources in Cairo spoke the same way. How the deal came apart, or whether Mubarak decided that transferring power to Vice President Omar Suleiman was sufficient cannot be known. What is known is that Mubarak did not do what was expected.

This now creates a massive crisis for the Egyptian military. Its goal is not to save Mubarak but to save the regime founded by Gamal Abdel Nasser. We are now less than six hours from dawn in Cairo. The military faces three choices. The first is to stand back, allow the crowds to swell and likely march to the presidential palace and perhaps enter the grounds. The second choice is to move troops and armor into position to block more demonstrators from entering Tahrir Square and keep those in the square in place. The third is to stage a coup and overthrow Mubarak.

The first strategy opens the door to regime change as the crowd, not the military, determines the course of events. The second creates the possibility of the military firing on the protesters, which have not been anti-military to this point. Clashes with the military (as opposed to the police, which have happened) would undermine the military’s desire to preserve the regime and the perception of the military as not hostile to the public.

That leaves the third option, which is a coup. Mubarak will be leaving office under any circumstances by September. The military does not want an extraconstitutional action, but Mubarak’s decision leaves the military in the position of taking one of the first two courses, which is unacceptable. That means military action to unseat Mubarak is the remaining choice.

One thing that must be borne in mind is that whatever action is taken must be taken in the next six or seven hours. As dawn breaks over Cairo, it is likely that large numbers of others will join the demonstrators and that the crowd might begin to move. The military would then be forced to stand back and let events go where they go, or fire on the demonstrators. Indeed, in order to do the latter, troops and armor must move into position now, to possibly overawe the demonstrators.

Thus far, the military has avoided confrontation with the demonstrators as much as possible, and the demonstrators have expressed affection toward the army. To continue that policy, and to deal with Mubarak, the options are removing him from office in the next few hours or possibly losing control of the situation. But if this is the choice taken, it must be taken tonight so that it can be announced before demonstrations get under way Feb. 11 after Friday prayers.

It is of course possible that the crowds, reflecting on Mubarak’s willingness to cede power to Suleiman, may end the crisis, but it does not appear that way at the moment, and therefore the Egyptian military has some choices to make.

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