Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Egypt: Update

Still very confused in Egypt of course. Twitter's been blocked and cell phone networks have been cut off. Electricity in some areas cut off too to prevent recharging. (New wars, new weapons.)

Seems demonstrators are planning an all-night vigil in Tahrir Square. But there's very limited cell phone coverage. So there have been many retweets of this:

Those with wireless network connection near Tahrir Av. in Cairo are being asked to remove passwords, so ppl can inform thru the NET #Jan25

No confirmed deaths. What was reported as live fire in Alexandria turned out to be rubber bullets. Also from Alexandria, reports that cops are taking their uniforms off and joining the protest and women are throwing dishes and pots and pans from their balconies.

It's all over the country: 50,000 in Cairo, 30,000 in Alexandria.

I wish I weren't on deadline. . . .

Checking in with #jan25 when I can.

ADDED: Amazing photos.


deBeauxOs said...

Useful piece in The Atlantic: Shadi Hamid on the US dilemma in Egypt.
Nowhere is the U.S. dilemma more urgent than in Egypt. Predictions that a Tunisia-like uprising will soon topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are premature - the Egyptian regime, with its well-paid military, is likely to be more unified and more ruthless than its Tunisian counterparts were. But whether an Egyptian revolt succeeds or fails, we can be sure that one will be attempted. The first test of opposition strength will come today, when thousands are expected to participate in what organizers are calling "day of revolution."

This raises a thorny question for the U.S.: If tens of thousands take to the streets - and stay on the streets - what will it do? The U.S. is the primary benefactor of the Egyptian regime, which, in turn, has reliably supported American regional priorities. After Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel, Egypt is the largest recipient of U.S. assistance, including $1.3 billion in annual military aid. In other words, if the army ever decides to shoot into a crowd of unarmed protestors, it will be shooting with hardware provided by the United States. As Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations points out, the Egyptian military is "not there to project power, but to protect the regime."

The Mound of Sound said...

The US is scared shitless of the Islamic Brotherhood which, virtually alone, has stood in opposition to Mubarak. Unfortunately (for us at least), any real democratic reform may begin with Islamist parties in power positions. The West has done a great deal to radicalize the Arab Street and it's unrealistic to think there won't be blowback from that. It might take a generation, perhaps more, for that region to evolve into the broad-based democracies we favour but it took us centuries to make that transition ourselves.

fern hill said...

MoS: A tweet (or more than one--I'm trying to work) said that the Ministry of the Interior (?) was claiming this is the work of the Islamic Brotherhood. Tweet continued to call BS on that.

Zorpheous said...

The huge question here is what will happen if the Egyptian government gets over thrown, what type of power is going to rise out of the ashes. An Islamic Extremist government would not be good, the USA would be shitting bricks, Israel (I don't even want to think about it). If a democratic power emerges it will be miracle.

Gene said...

Angry Arab does not think the uprising is being led by the MB either. I rather trust his judgment here. Ever since this, I've been rather wary of the MB.

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