CBS News: Bob Orr & Clemons Discuss US Options on Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Gamal Mubarak

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Yesterday had a very good chat with CBS News’ Bob Orr in a program that also featured the Washington Post‘s David Ignatius.
bob orr steve clemons cbs news.jpgThe segment also includes reports from Tahrir Square in Cairo from CBS News’ Elizabeth Palmer and Vicki Barker.
During my discussion with Orr, we got into questions about where the Egyptian “establishment” may be tilting — and what would be needed to move to real political reform.
We also discussed the Muslim Brotherhood and the importance of making the responsible members of this well-networked, organized group part of the next political order.
It is interesting and important today that the growing questions about and doubt created by Gamal Mubarak’s previous refusal to resign his position as Deputy Secretary General and Head of the Policy Committee of the ruling National Democratic Party may be dissolving now. Gamal Mubarak and other leaders have today resigned these posts. This had been one of the key issues I had been trying to raise in recent days.
It is extremely important for the Egyptian establishment to see that the Mubarak franchise may in fact really be going out of business — or at least is being politically neutered — which has not been the case through this tumult until perhaps today.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

152 comments on “CBS News: Bob Orr & Clemons Discuss US Options on Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Gamal Mubarak

  1. nadine says:

    “Nadine, your diagnosis suggests that Egypt would best be served by a parliamentary system with strong judicial and constitutional checks on both executive and legislative authority.” (Dan Kervick)
    Easier said than done in the absence of a civil society.

    Reply

  2. rc says:

    AOL Is Buying The Huffington Post
    “The two companies completed the sale Sunday evening and announced the deal just after midnight on Monday. AOL will pay $315 million, $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock. It will be the company

    Reply

  3. Dan Kervick says:

    Nadine, your diagnosis suggests that Egypt would best be served by a parliamentary system with strong judicial and constitutional checks on both executive and legislative authority.

    Reply

  4. Dan Kervick says:

    “Our source was told that “the chances they were going over there went from 70% yesterday to 100% today.”
    If true, then it sounds like someone is expecting a regime crack-down.

    Reply

  5. Dan Kervick says:

    The vision that Arianna Huffington sets out in her column on the acquisition is less than captivating. You might have expected her to say that she hopes to draw on her new source of capital to invest in some actual reporters and journalism. But instead it’s mostly about expanding geographic range and delivering more of the same-old to more eyeballs.
    Huffington Post is almost completely parasitic on the traditional media entities and agencies for its news content. I guess her long term plan is to keep Huffington Post positioned as a conveyor of content rather than a producer of content.
    I’m worried that we still haven’t evolved a viable economic model in which enough revenue flows to the producers of content to keep the system fed with quality information. All of that lauded interactivity and self-directedness the new media talks about is a highly interactive and self-directed swim through a very large, but highly dilute pool in which everyone passes around what they know, and converses about what they know, but nobody seems to know anything.

    Reply

  6. rc says:

    @7:24AM
    Praetorian Guard no doubt: just to be sure to be sure (as the Irish would say) — don’t want any lose wing-nut Egyptian Generals getting the strange idea they can have a simple quite military coup while the psychological grafting of Omar Suleiman onto the public mind is still taking hold. From one vampire squid to the next without a break in transmission.

    Reply

  7. samuelburke says:

    now we can be drawn into a conflict…beat the dums of war.
    Senior US Marine Says “Multiple Platoons” Are Headed To
    Egypt
    Nicholas Carlson | Feb. 5, 2011, 11:42 PM
    A senior member of the US Marine corps is telling people
    “multiple platoons” are deploying to Egypt, a source tells us.
    There is a system within the US Marines that alerts the
    immediate families of high-ranking marines when their
    marine will soon be deployed to an emergency situation where
    they will not be able to talk to their spouses or families.
    That alert just went out, says our source.
    This senior Marine told our source that the Pentagon will
    deploy “multiple platoons” to Egypt over the next few days
    and that the official reason will be

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    Now that Arianna has cashed in, is it safe to unbookmark HuffPo?
    Might be nice not to wade through Jenny McCarthy-ite ramblings about autism, along with all the headline mistakes they correct after an hour or two….
    Steve, if you make it to AOL, does that mean you’ve “made it”??!

    Reply

  9. rc says:

    More from down under … “information terrorist” or openness and transparency?
    “There’s been no proven crime, no one has been brought to trial, but there are death threats, diplomatic panic, and trumped up scandals. Around the globe people are aghast at how their leaders have lied and connived. Wikileaks has all the bizarre stories and cast of a Hollywood spy thriller. Reporter Wendy Carlisle.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbriefing/stories/2011/3126635.htm

    Reply

  10. rc says:

    Just another Black Swan.
    Who’s playing whom for a mug?
    <<<<
    US sceptical of Egypt VP’s peace efforts: WikiLeaks
    By London correspondent Rachael Brown
    The ability of Egypt’s new vice president, Omar Suleiman, to act as an honest broker in Middle Eastern peace talks has been questioned, with the release of more WikiLeaks cables.
    The leaked diplomatic cables show Mr Suleiman long sought to demonise the opposition Muslim Brotherhood in his contacts with US officials.
    The documents also report Mr Suleiman accused the Brotherhood of spawning armed extremists, and warned in 2008 that if Iran ever backed the Islamist group Tehran would become Egypt’s enemy.
    The cables imply the US was sceptical of Mr Suleiman’s efforts to depict the Brotherhood as “the bogey man”.
    Mr Suleiman’s private disdain will not surprise Egyptians, but it calls into question whether he is the right person to be leading the current reform negotiations in response to the mass protests.
    <<<<
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/07/3132236.htm

    Reply

  11. rc says:

    “CIA Media Operations in Chile, Jamaica, and Nicaragua”
    by Fred Landis
    Covert Action Information Bulletin, Number 16, March 1982, pp. 32 — 43.
    http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/CIA_Media_Operations_in_Chile,_Jamaica,_and_Nicaragua
    <<<<<<
    In the last decade, four American nations have chosen a socialist road to development — Chile, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and Grenada. In the first three cases the CIA responded, among other actions, by virtually taking over the major newspaper in that country and using it as an instrument of destabilization. (Grenada closed the opposition newspaper shortly after the revolution for failure to comply with local ownership laws.)
    The appropriation of newspapers by the CIA proceeds through certain discrete, identifiable stages. These include: using an international press association, firing many of the staff, modernizing the physical plant, changing the format of the front page, using subliminal propaganda, assassinating the character of government ministers, promoting a counter-elite to replace the socialist government, spreading disinformation, using divisive propaganda to create artificial conflicts within the society, dusting off stock CIA stories and themes, coordinating the propaganda effort with an economic, diplomatic, and paramilitary offensive, and generally following the blueprint for psychological warfare as outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual of Psychological Operations.
    The stages the CIA embarks upon in taking over a newspaper, combined with the drastic changes of the front page, are so specific that it is possible to identify the Agency’s hand in the effort. When the propaganda offensive is coordinated with economic sabotage, paramilitary terrorism, and other psychological activities using known CIA fronts, one can state positively that a covert operation is underway.
    The CIA has access to over 200 newspapers, advised by its World-Wide Propaganda Guidance Desk, which issues a “Bi-Weekly Propaganda Guidance” to every CIA station, for use in dealing with local media contacts. There is a continuing propaganda effort precisely to avoid crises like Chile, Jamaica, and Nicaragua. The purpose of this article is to describe what a CIA newspaper looks like during a crisis.
    I first learned about the CIA’s propaganda methodology in Chile in 1973 while I was working on a Ph.D. dissertation on changes in the mass media during the Allende period, especially the newspaper El Mercurio. About a year later, the Senate Intelligence Committee chose Chile as a case study of CIA covert action. For the first time, the U.S. government would give official status to a report on CIA covert activity. Also for the first time there were several former CIA analysts on the Congressional investigative staff familiar with CIA methods, who knew exactly the right questions to ask. With copies of my dissertation in hand, they went to CIA Headquarters to ask about Chile. Subsequent studies of CIA covert operations make frequent reference to Chile, and articles on the CIA and the media rely heavily on the case of El Mercurio.
    During subsequent years I monitored several Latin American newspapers but saw nothing like the El Mercurio of 1970 — 1973. Then in 1980, the Jamaica Daily Gleaner underwent the same metamorphosis. The Jamaican Press Association launched an investigation focusing on traditional areas of journalistic concern: the firing of journalists from the Daily Gleaner, the systematic appearance of fabricated stories, and the violation of traditional ethics of the profession. I was invited to testify before a Commission of Inquiry and explained that these changes were a by-product of the CIA taking over the newspaper. The Press Association issued a 32-page summary of my testimony in booklet form entitled “Psychological Warfare in the Media: The Case of Jamaica.” . . .
    <<<<

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  12. rc says:

    Same old, same old, … a blast from the past … rather chilling really — e.g.
    http://www.powerbase.info/images/f/f3/4489229a.pdf
    Other references
    Fred Landis, ‘Georgetown’s Ivory Tower for Old Spooks’ Inquiry, Sept. 30, 1979, p. 8.
    Fred Landis, Psychological warfare and media operations in Chile, 1970-1973, PhD dissertation, Univ. Illinois-Urbana, 1975.
    Fred Landis, “Psychological Warfare in Chile: The CIA Makes Headlines,” Liberation, 19 (March-April 1975).
    See — http://www.powerbase.infoindex.php?title=Fred_Landis
    I’ll drop another interesting link below.
    Egypt may have got ahead of the agenda but I’m sure the next 6-9 months of ‘recovery’ will see a lot of this media management strategy in operation. The question here is: is it now a Facebook and TV media strategy as much as printed media strategy?

    Reply

  13. Dirk says:

    Nadine, the envoy previously “served as US ambassador to Egypt, Zambia, the Philippines and India under eight American presidents”, which is what, I’m sure, made him attractive to Patton Boggs.
    Your second point about our administration’s crossed signals is unfortunately evinced by the self same selection of Frank Wisner.
    At least the President, Clinton, Kerry and even Wisner has stated that he did NOT speak for the administration in his public comments, not withstanding the private comments he was sent to convey.
    I’m surprised Lanny Davis didn’t get himself involved somehow. Also, great news that Bush Jr. called off his trip to Switzerland in fear of possible arrest for torture. He’s been able to travel to Canada (sadly), S. Korea, China and Japan since leaving office. Hopefully the list will shrink further in the future.

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    Dirk, wouldn’t those contacts with the Egyptian military and the Mubarak government have made Wisner an excellent envoy — that is, if the Obama White House knew exactly what kind of message it was trying to send to Mubarak and the Egyptian army?
    Put it another way, how could any envoy avoid crossed signals when the White House changes its policy stance seemingly hour by hour?

    Reply

  15. Dirk says:

    The mystery regarding the strange views of US envoy sent to Egypt appears to be solved.
    It seems Frank Wisner after leaving the diplomatic corp after 36 years took up with the law firm Patton Boggs, which coincidentally has “the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitration and litigation on the [Mubarak] government’s behalf in Europe and the US.”
    Robert Fisk has an excellent article that also touches on another interesting point: “The key problem with Wisner being sent to Cairo at the behest of Hillary,” he says, “is the conflict-of-interest aspect… More than this, the idea that the US is now subcontracting or ‘privatising’ crisis management is another problem. Do the US lack diplomats?”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/revealed-us-envoys-business-link-to-egypt-2206329.html

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    Dan, it would be nice if the Tahrir Sq crowd could organize a party that could win a majority, but it’s very doubtful. The middle class are a pretty small minority in Egypt. In any free election, the NDP and the Muslim Brotherhood would probably split the majority of the vote. If the Muslim Brotherhood won, that would be the last election.
    I just don’t think Egypt currently has the civil society that could sustain a democracy. I think most journalists are doing a lot of wishful thinking instead of evidence-based analysis. That’s why I hope the army brokers some kind of soft landing for the regime that makes some room for the Tahrir Sq crowd but keeps the MB out of power for a long time to come.

    Reply

  17. Dan Kervick says:

    “Dan, you just explained why the MB is best positioned to win elections if there is no transition period to allow other parties to organize.”
    Obviously there has to be a transition period between now and elections. But the question is whether during that transition period opposition groups will be active participants in the processes of government, or whether that transition period, once the media cameras are off and the global attention has drifted away, is going to consist only in a breathing space for the current regime, during which the regime will be able to re-rig the system, and guarantee their continued dominance and monopolization of power.
    It is simply not enough to consign opposition leaders to various advisory commissions and negotiating groups, while the current regime gets to go right on being the current regime, with no real change in institutional power arrangements *preceding* the elections.
    Ask the people in Tahrir square. For two weeks they they have been talking, and meeting, and organizing, and thinking through tactics, and improvising, and defending themselves courageously against a violent onslaught by government goons. I’m sure that they already have some very clear ideas about who are the people who have distinguished themselves as leadership material by showing courage, persistence, intelligence and grace under pressure. Within the space of about a day I imagine they could through a sequence of meetings and elections choose a slate of 20 leaders to represent them in the government – not just to be on some commission, but to assume real governing authority.
    So in other words, what is needed is something more like a provisional government, where the reform process and election preparation process is vested entirely in a new coalition of opposition figures, prominently lead by people from the Tahrir Square movement.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    “The Egyptian regime has been dealing with the Muslim Brothers for years, and has evolved an arrangement with them. It’s a tense and fraught arrangement, yes, but an arrangement. The Muslim Brothers are the only party that is granted anything close to opposition legitimacy under the Egyptian system, or that has achieved any kind of institutional foothold on power. That meager degree of legitimacy is hard won, and the MB won’t want to give it up. ” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan, you just explained why the MB is best positioned to win elections if there is no transition period to allow other parties to organize.
    It’s worth noting the “arrangement” of the regime with the MB: the MB limits the violence they do in Egypt, lest they wind up back where Nasser put them after they tried to kill him – in concentration camps. If the MB has been non-violent lately, it’s because they had no choice. This is not the same as moderation. The MB remains a radical organization.
    From last October:
    “Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide: ‘The U.S. Is Now Experiencing the Beginning of Its End’; Improvement and Change in the Muslim World ‘Can Only Be Attained Through Jihad and Sacrifice'”
    rest at http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4650.htm

    Reply

  19. Don Bacon says:

    “It is so hard to forget what it is worse than useless to remember! If I am to be a thoroughfare, I prefer that it be of the mountain brooks, the Parnassian streams, and not the town sewers. There is inspiration, that gossip which comes to the ear of the attentive mind from the courts of heaven. There is the profane and stale revelation of the bar-room and the police court. The same ear is fitted to receive both communications. Only the character of the hearer determines to which it shall be open, and to which closed. I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality.” — Thoreau, Life Without Principle
    POA, I understand what I’m missing and I choose to miss it. Garbage in, garbage out.
    “Why level downward to our dullest perception always, and praise that as common sense.?” — Walden

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Thoreau esteemed reality and the internet brings us closer to reality then network news and newspapers ever did, in my opinion”
    Don, you make a huge mistake in not availing yourself of the media of the masses. The majority do not spend their time as we do in the pursuit of real knowledge. Most derive their world view from a very limited window, the MSM. There is much to be learned by perusing the shit that is fed to the masses. You won’t find the truth about events, motives, agendas, and players, but you WILL find the truth about what people THINK is the truth.
    Know your enemy. In today’s United States, ignorance is the foe, and it is winning.

    Reply

  21. Don Bacon says:

    As an anti-war anti-interventionist, I find a lot to like about (true) conservatives. Some recent excerpts from various authors.
    Mubarak deserves a defense and we would do well to hear one, if only to temper the giddy rush to celebrate Egypt

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    I think Thoreau would deplore the internet, at length, all over his daily blog.

    Reply

  23. Don Bacon says:

    . . .or about Paul Norheim, who unlike every single American bar none actually knows the words to the US national anthem whereas none of us knows the words to “Ja, vi elsker dette landet” either.

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    Hi DonS, if you would condescend to actually read Jen Rubin, instead of the hash thinkprogress.org makes out of her posts, you would find your answer:
    “It is worth noting that conservatives in the United States have not been of one mind. …there is also a philosophical divide. On one hand you have those proponents in favor of what has become known as the Bush freedom agenda. They see repressive regimes as inherently unstable. As I have argued here at Right Turn, America for both ideological and practical reasons must be on the side of democracy, human rights and those willing to throw off the shackles of oppression, be they in Iran, Egypt or Tunisia.
    But even those on the right who are in favor of a forward-leaning foreign policy are wary of a post-Mubarak world. He’s the devil we know, and the prospect of a government, if not controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, then influenced by it, is enough to justify, in their minds, sticking with the aging despot.
    The latter group of conservatives, I would argue, has it wrong. Mubarak is going one way or the other, and unless we attempt to influence the direction and speed of the transition, we and Egypt could well end up with the worst of all words (e.g. another oppressive totalitarian, an Islamic state).”
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2011/02/there_seems_to_be_cause.html#more
    I must say, Jen Rubin is doing great for only being at the WaPo a few weeks. She’s making all the right people mad — or should that be the left people? 😉

    Reply

  25. Dan Kervick says:

    “Don, I don’t want to think about what Thoreau would have said about the internet…”
    … or about Christina Aguilera.

    Reply

  26. Don Bacon says:

    Thoreau esteemed reality and the internet brings us closer to reality then network news and newspapers ever did, in my opinion. Which is why I don’t miss a teevee, or newspapers.

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    Don, I don’t want to think about what Thoreau would have
    said about the internet…

    Reply

  28. Paul Norheim says:

    More news on the Super Bowl:
    “Christina Aguilera fluffed a line of the Star-Spangled
    banner as she belted out a version of the US national
    anthem to open Sunday’s Super Bowl in Texas.
    The singer, 30, should have sung: “O’er the ramparts we
    watched, were so gallantly streaming?” but repeated an
    earlier line with a slight variation.
    She sang: “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s
    last gleaming.”
    Aguilera’s mistake immediately set social networks abuzz
    with chatter.” (BBC)

    Reply

  29. Don Bacon says:

    TWN readers (okay, Paul) will know that some Thoreau is coming, so I won’t disappoint.
    “Hardly a man takes a half-hour’s nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, “What’s the news?” as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels. Some give directions to be waked every half-hour, doubtless for no other purpose; and then, to pay for it, they tell what they have dreamed. . .And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter

    Reply

  30. Dan Kervick says:

    “Now take the next step and throw out the teevee. Ours went into the dumpster several years ago and we don’t miss it.”
    I probably watch about 2 hours of television per week these days.
    I did see some of the MS-NBC stuff when Steve was on this week, and I couldn’t believe how insipid and juvenile it was. There is nothing more insufferable than unjustified snark from brats who aren’t 1/8th as clever as they imagine themselves to be. I watched Lawrence O’Donnell behave like a half-baked 17 yr old for about 15 minutes, and then saw a commercial where O’Donnell was lionized as the serious and rational voice among the politicos. It made me laugh out loud. And I’ve already mentioned how Rachel Maddow makes me want to hang myself.

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  31. Dan Kervick says:

    Interesting video of the conflict at the Egyptian Interior Ministry on 1/29:
    http://vimeo.com/19599346

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    Now take the next step and throw out the teevee. Ours went into the dumpster several years ago and we don’t miss it.

    Reply

  33. Dan Kervick says:

    “Dan, 14-3 Packers. Don’t make yourself nuts. Its not like the average Egyptian wouldn’t be watching the world cup if the situation was reversed.”
    I’m not making myself nuts. I feel pleasantly free of the Republic of Dumb for one day. And it’s nice, though pathetic, to indulge my millimicron’s worth of human power by depriving the corporations who run our lives of at least one pair of lusty eyeballs for their commercials.

    Reply

  34. Bill Pearlman says:

    Actually it does.

    Reply

  35. Carroll says:

    “Gee, if Carroll tried out on gays the attitudes she has addressed to Jews on TWN, think Steve would notice? I do”…(nadine)
    What does it tell you nadine, that I and most others here support gay rights, abhor discrimination against anyone, support political freedom…and yet …are against zionist and the zionism practiced in Israel and against the influence of zionist Jews in US policies?
    See if you can figure out what that makes us.
    Hint…it isn’t anti semites.

    Reply

  36. DonS says:

    The good, the bad and the ‘say whaaa?’ of wingnut land:
    Kristol slams Beck (what will Jen Rubin possibly say about that). Palin discovers a new word, or her toes, whichever comes first, but manages to slander dem muslims anyway — can’t see ’em from her house.
    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/06/kristol-beck-egypt/

    Reply

  37. Bill Pearlman says:

    Dan, 14-3 Packers. Don’t make yourself nuts. Its not like the average Egyptian wouldn’t be watchng the world cup if the situation was reversed.

    Reply

  38. DonS says:

    Michelle Dunne, one of Clemon’s working group partners:
    “We should be realistic about who Sulaiman is,” the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Michele Dunne warned. “He is no white knight, he has no record of being in favor of democratization, and he is associated with widespread human rights abuses. Putting him in charge of a transition to democracy is like leaving your wallet in the hands of a convicted thief.”
    “For this to be credible at all, Sulaiman will need to be hemmed in by as many commitments as possible and will need to be watched very closely, Dunne told me. “It is critical that the U.S. administration support the Egyptian opposition now in getting those commitments from Sulaiman.”
    This is not what we are seeing. Suleiman has virtual carte blanche power in his hands.
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0211/Egypt_VP_Muslim_Brotherhood_hold_landmark_talks.html?showall

    Reply

  39. nadine says:

    The Muslim Brotherhood was allowed to take 20% of the seats in the Egyptian parliament in the 2005 election, but the NDP took the Parliament back in the 2010 elections, which were rigged:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/1201/Egypt-election-routs-popular-Muslim-Brotherhood-from-parliament
    The Muslim Brotherhood has long been de jure banned but de facto allowed, because Mubarak allowed more political freedom in the mosques than he did for secular parties. The idea was to use the MB as a safety valve for the regime and point its hostility outwards, toward Israel, to protect Mubarak. (This is also why anti-Israel incitement has been continual in the government papers.) Liberal dissents who wanted internal reforms were suppressed. Cf. the harsh treatment of liberal dissidents like Ayman Nour, Ibrahim Eissa, and Saad Eddin Ibrahim.

    Reply

  40. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick, Feb 06 2011, 6:36PM – Link
    ‘The Egyptian regime has been dealing with the Muslim Brothers for years, and has evolved an arrangement with them.
    It’s a tense and fraught arrangement, yes, but an arrangement.
    The Muslim Brothers are the only party that is granted anything close to opposition legitimacy under the Egyptian system, or that has achieved any kind of institutional foothold on power.
    That meager degree of legitimacy is hard won, and the MB won’t want to give it up.’
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Where are you getting that from?
    According to all available information from US and Egyptian official sources, the MB is offically banned in Egypt.
    They aren’t one of the ‘approved’ opposition parties in Egypt.
    When the MB candidates ran in the 2005 election they had to run as “independents”–non affiliated with MB and non approved candidates.
    When Mubarak changed the election rules in 2007 that put the skids to the MB running for office at all for all practical purposes.
    So what legitimacy or power have they been granted as a party by the Egyptian government that they could possibility want to hang onto–as oppposed to working for some changes that would allow them to participate in elections as a legitmate party?
    That doesn’t make sense to me.

    Reply

  41. DonS says:

    Another voice, suspicious of the management coordination strategies of Obama and Suleiman:
    “America

    Reply

  42. nadine says:

    “By failing to throw their weight behind a revolutionary and immediate change of Egyptian power arrangements and empowerment of democratic forces” (Dan Kervick)
    But who are those Democratic forces, besides a bunch of middle class Egyptian young men organizing on Facebook? There is a big difference between organizing to mount a demonstration and organizing to rule a country. It will take more than demonstrators to keep the MB from hijacking the new government, and turning Egypt into a theocracy.

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    By the way, the mighty Kervick Super Bowl boycott rolls on. Probably the first one I have missed since I was a kid. I’m in a bookstore now, reading and typing. Hardly anybody else is here.

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    “Or tactics: demanding that Mubarak shall step down is a simple message that attracts the masses.”
    Correct Paul. Achieving any kind of real change in Egypt requires affirming and empowering the protest movement and helping them achieve results that are tangible and significant. That is the best way to sustain their will to struggle, take risks and persist. Deposing a ruler is a manifest and real victory that the whole world can understand. It will hearten the Tahrir Square movement. Helping that ruler hold on in the face of the challenge is a tactic aimed at crushing the spirit and will of the opposition.
    It’s amazing isn’t it, how strong are the emotional bonds connecting the powerful in one country with the powerful in others? The leadership class everywhere seems to sympathize instinctively with the humiliation and shame that would be experienced by a thug and torturer who is required to step down. Their hearts goes out to poor old Mubarak – our “friend” – in his moment of extremity and defeat. The everyday humiliations and miseries of the people under his thumb – not so moving to them. And the powerful grasp immediately that a challenge to power anywhere is a challenge to their own power. Their first instinct is to rally around the bosses.

    Reply

  45. Carroll says:

    Paul,
    I would guess that any split is a disagreement in ‘tactics’, not objectives.
    If we believe the experts, the MB was a very ‘organized’ group and when they did finally join in they likely put some different or additional stragaties on the table.
    It could even be a two pronged approach by the MB and the protesters, a push and pull.
    Also a guess is that the MB doesn’t want to be seen as ‘taking over’ the popular revolt so maintaining some differences and/or offering a degree of compromise would work to their benefit. Since the usual suspects are trying to slow things down in Egypt because of the scary MB maybe this is a small tactic to help defuse that.
    But who knows?– I am just guessing based on what I might do in their place all things considered.

    Reply

  46. Dan Kervick says:

    As I said earlier, the longer the crisis goes on without a transition to provisional coalition governing arrangement including an assortment of pro-reform and pro-democracy elements, the more likely it is that either a retrenched dictatorship or the more radical elements of the Islamist movements will emerge victorious. By failing to throw their weight behind a revolutionary and immediate change of Egyptian power arrangements and empowerment of democratic forces, the Obama administration and its milquetoast “pragmatists” and gradualists, with their dyed-in-the-wool bureaucratic conservatism and institutionalism, has opened the door to enhanced power for everyone *but* the most genuinely pro-democracy forces.
    Sometimes dramatic and dangerous and risky events occur, and it is the role of intelligent leadership to respond to them with creativity and alacrity. But “no drama” Obama seems to wish he were president of an easy and reasonable and instinctively conservative world in which no genies ever escaped from their bottles. Unfortunately, you can’t just *wish* all the forces of Chaos and drama back into comfortable predictability of Order. Obama made the same mistakes in response to the financial chaos unleashed by the Great Recession – viewing real change as too scary and dangerous and risky – and as a result he has helped entrench and buttress the forces of concentrated financial power and extreme wealth, probably setting back the cause of real progressive change for at least a generation.
    The Egyptian regime has been dealing with the Muslim Brothers for years, and has evolved an arrangement with them. It’s a tense and fraught arrangement, yes, but an arrangement. The Muslim Brothers are the only party that is granted anything close to opposition legitimacy under the Egyptian system, or that has achieved any kind of institutional foothold on power. That meager degree of legitimacy is hard won, and the MB won’t want to give it up. The regime and the MB thus both represent old school Egyptian politics. What the Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood both have in common, despite their many profound differences, is a mutual desire that no other parties and movements emerge from this revolutionary uprising to threaten their current dominance of the Egyptian political scene. But it is evident that there are many such forces represented in the Tahrir Square movement, and the Obama administration, it appears, is stupidly following a safe, short-sighted and pathetically risk averse course that is going to lead to the MB emerging more powerful than before as it temporarily colludes with the regime to out-maneuver upstart democratic forces.
    questions says:
    “Seriously, within the constitutional system they have, Mubarak can do a bunch of useful stuff very efficiently and quickly without power’s devolving to others whom, perhaps, one might wish to avoid.”
    He could have done these things for 30 years, questions. He had no incentive to do them in the past, and will continue to find absolutely no incentive to do them in the future. Nor will fellow regime cronies like Suleiman find any incentive to carry out real democratic reform. Authoritarian governments don’t just decide to hand over power out of a sudden spasm of moralism, compassion and public-spiritedness. Only revolutionary change forces changes to an authoritarian system.
    The dim-witted and corrupt US strategic and policy class, both liberal and right, have just sent the Egyptian regime a loud and clear message: “We are so terrified, so hysterically a-tremble and a-quiver, over any changes in the politics of Arab world that would involve Muslims – who happen to be just about everyone in the Arab world – achieving any greater power to determine their own future or govern themselves, that we are willing to work with you to make sure this revolution fails in all but the must insignificantly symbolic ways.”
    So they basically just wrote a blank check to the Egyptian regime. The regime now knows without any doubt that they own our asses and have us right where they want us. They know that we have bought their argument that they are the only thing standing between security and order, on the one hand, and chaos and Islamo-whatever, on the other; and they will now feel completely confident in doubling down on their power and control. The US government has revealed its terror-stricken face from behind its cards, and has lost any pro-reform influence it might once have possessed. So the regime will not see any reason whatsoever to make good on any promises they make in the present crisis just to get the protesters and foreign governments off their back. There *might* have been some sense that they had better advance reforms, lest they lose the support of the US. But now they *know* that there is absolutely no need for that. All they have to do is jump up and down and yell, “Islamists!, Islamists!” whenever any pressure builds, and they will have us by the nuts.
    As for Mubarak, the Brotherhood might have decided that it is better to live with the declining and ossified Mubarak franchise – to use one of Steve’s favorite terms – than to allow the more vigorous Suleiman to establish control over the Egyptian state during the coming period of phony “negotiations” and “commissions”.

    Reply

  47. DonS says:

    Added to which, regarding Suleiman’s recernt statement, Marcy Wheeler (@FDL), who is usually very good at unpacking a lot of legalisms, sees the unfolding of more “process” but not entirely of the sort the opposition has been demonstrating for.
    “The key to understanding Omar Suleiman

    Reply

  48. nadine says:

    “What hate mongering campaign. The media treats them with kid gloves. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing the boys from cair. And the networks, the NY times.” (Bill Pearlman)
    Yes, the Left echoes CAIR, and calls any attention given to the Muslim Brotherhood’s stated intentions “Islamophia”. There is no Islamophia to speak of, as documented by the FBI’s hate-crime statistics. But the Left’s alliance with the Islamists is producing an upsurge of attacks on Jewish institutions. Carroll is just trying on another version of her favorite line, “You have it coming this time.”
    Naturally, anybody who takes exception to this sentiment is just imagining things.
    Gee, if Carroll tried out on gays the attitudes she has addressed to Jews on TWN, think Steve would notice? I do. But Steve’s attitude to offense seems to be strictly lese majest

    Reply

  49. DonS says:

    Legalisms.
    So, say, if somebody pumped a bunch of rounds into Mubarak, the ‘process’ would still have to go on.
    Who is oh so worried about following the ‘constitution’ of a corrupt dictator designed to meet his ends? It stinks.

    Reply

  50. Paul Norheim says:

    What you say makes perfect sense, Carroll. But if what
    Bloomberg reports is correct, then there is currently a split
    between the Muslim Brotherhood and the protestors in
    Tahrir Square – the latter still demand that Mubarak should
    step down immediately. Maybe this is just to keep up the
    pressure, or perhaps it signalizes a serious disagreement.
    Or tactics: demanding that Mubarak shall step down is a
    simple message that attracts the masses.

    Reply

  51. Carroll says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim, Feb 06 2011, 3:53PM – Link
    What’s going on?

    Reply

  52. Cee says:

    What’s going on?
    “Muslim Brotherhood Says

    Reply

  53. Cee says:

    JohnH,
    I found it. My feelings on Israel started to change when I learned this. As a result some people in my family and some friends didn’t want to talk with me on this subject. The truth hurts.
    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Ronald_Reagan/Israel_Contras_TICC.html

    Reply

  54. Don Bacon says:

    The vast majority of the hate crimes were assaults on property not persons. There were more aggravated assaults on Muslims (11) than on Jews (9) in 2009.

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    Paul, clearly AIPAC has gotten to the MB, too! (snark alert)
    Seriously, within the constitutional system they have, Mubarak can do a bunch of useful stuff very efficiently and quickly without power’s devolving to others whom, perhaps, one might wish to avoid. Carroll’s post above somewhere actually has some useful stuff in it for a change regarding the people involved and the people to avoid.
    My guess is that everyone pretty much wants a wide range of constitutional changes, the end of emergency rule, and some other useful things done, done quickly, done effectively, and done legally. Mubarak is key to all of this.
    Transitional governments and a year of transition are fine in times of calm, and are something I really like, in a way, but the transition needs to happen within the legal system and Mubarak is the legal system.
    Let a thousand committees bloom, but for now, get rid of the emergency rules, guard capital from flight, alter the constitution to allow multiple parties and open elections, and hope.

    Reply

  56. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It doesn’t matter what’s on Fox News. It doesn’t matter who wins the Super Bowl. There is a world outside the USA. It’s in the hands of Egyptians and the dissidents are apparently not accepting cosmetic responses”
    Thats idiotic. Thats like saying that “Iraq is in the hands of the Iraqis”, or whats happening in Gaza “is in the hands of the Gazans”.
    RW radio, and Fox News, is a DIRECT WINDOW into the propagandized justifications and rationales that are used to market policy. These shameless sales pitches and the corporate entities used to distribute them are made with no small expenditure, and if not successful, Fox woulda dissappeared a long time ago. If you aren’t watching the sales pitches, you haven’t got a fuckin’ clue what direction policy is going to take.
    All you gotta do is listen, and you find a common theme, repetitive talking points, about any given issue, adsvanced by politicians, pundits, media mouthpieces, and RW radio talk show hosts. On Egypt, the stage is being set to rebrand Egypt with a prettier image, while maintaining the status quo in regards to our relationship with Egypt’s leaders, the continued oppression of the Egyptian people, and the continued complicity of the Egyptian government in Israel’s crimes and attrocities.

    Reply

  57. Bill Pearlman says:

    What hate mongering campaign. The media treats them with kid gloves. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing the boys from cair. And the networks, the NY times. Come on, I’d rather have al-jazeera. At least they are honest in their bias.

    Reply

  58. Carroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Feb 06 2011, 1:48PM – Link
    According to the FBI in 2009, there were 931 hate crimes against Jews in America, compared to only 107 against Muslims.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The fact that in spite of all the zionist managed hate mongering campaigns and propagandizing against Muslims in US more Jews were attacked than Muslims should worry you.

    Reply

  59. Paul Norheim says:

    What’s going on?
    “Muslim Brotherhood Says

    Reply

  60. Bill Pearlman says:

    If anything ever happened in Syria you wouldn’t see it on the media anyway. They don’t mess around

    Reply

  61. JohnH says:

    Correction–did anyone notice the NON-EVENT of democracy protests in Syria? Reasons for the lack of response to calls for protests are unknown–effectiveness of the mukhabarat or lack of interest.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0206/How-Syria-dodged-an-Egypt-style-day-of-rage
    Also, has anyone noticed that Nouri al-Maliki has agreed not to seek reelection after protests in Iraq? This seems to be in response to protests across Iraq, which I picked up in the Arab press (which downplayed them). The corrupt, corporate Western media barely covered this.
    Also, has anyone noticed that the corrupt, sclerotic Palestinian Authority has jumped on the elections bandwagon?
    Isn’t it strange how the Arab protests are limited almost exclusively to corrupt, sclerotic US allies that work with Israel.

    Reply

  62. nadine says:

    “I think he intended to make statements that, for the sake of American public diplomacy, offered ostensible support for the pro-democracy protesters while authorizing his diplomats, intelligence services and corporate intermediaries to work to engineer some outcome that would give the protesters a partial victory while avoiding a cataclysmic power shift. But I think he then developed another case of cold feet – a recurring syndrome with Obama – and decided regime continuity and stability were more important than anything else.” (Dan Kervick)
    You say “cold feet”, I say amateur hour. Obama shot his mouth off over a policy he had not thought through, which he then had to backtrack on, also in public.
    This is what happens when events catch you by surprise and you don’t even have the background information that would allow you to make some sense of what’s going on. Add in Obama’s habitual love of moral preening via public statements, plus an ideological bent learned from Rashid Khalidi that serves him very ill for understanding facts on the ground in the Mideast, and you get a real mess.
    I mention Rashid Khalidi because I think he is the one who taught Obama to look at the whole Mideast via an ill-fitting neo-colonialist metaphor, which practically makes it impossible for him to notice the threat of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover.
    We keep hearing from Obama and the left that the MB have moderated (they have NOT), we must “engage” them, they are authentic, they are a minority (so what, so were Khomeneists in Iran and Hamas in Gaza), they are weak (again untrue, they are much stronger than any other opposition group). Everything to poo-poo the idea that there might be a catastrophic downside to including the Muslim Brotherhood in the government.
    If Obama is getting cold feet now, it may be because enough seasoned diplomats have got at him to shout DO NOT PUT LENIN ON THAT TRAIN!

    Reply

  63. nadine says:

    “Juan Cole in a reflective mood this morning:
    “Why would authorities in a European county like Switzerland entertain the idea of trying George W. Bush for torture if he came to give a talk in that country;
    “But, European countries are supporting Omar Suleiman for interim president of Egypt, even though he was the one who undertook the torture for Bush?” (DonS)
    Did Cole himself ever notice it before now? Aside from slamming George Bush over torture, that is. Has Cole ever criticized Egypt per se, without using Egypt as a club to hit America with? If he never has, then I submit that Omar Suleiman is merely the prop, not the object. Cole does not find him interesting in himself, but only when America is obviously involved.
    Periods of US involvement=insupportable.
    Periods of non-US involvement=uninteresting.
    Nobody expects civilized behavior of Arab regimes, except perhaps the neocons.
    Syria just suppressed its own democracy protests. Anybody notice?

    Reply

  64. Dan Kervick says:

    “You really think Obama intended to make himself look stupid?”
    I think he intended to make statements that, for the sake of American public diplomacy, offered ostensible support for the pro-democracy protesters while authorizing his diplomats, intelligence services and corporate intermediaries to work to engineer some outcome that would give the protesters a partial victory while avoiding a cataclysmic power shift. But I think he then developed another case of cold feet – a recurring syndrome with Obama – and decided regime continuity and stability were more important than anything else.
    So yes, I agree he only succeeded in making himself look stupid – and duplicitous – accidentally, not intentionally.

    Reply

  65. JohnH says:

    Cee-I expect that Colombia was most likely the country that used Israeli “services” to help the government round people up. My understanding is that Mossad is active throughout Latin America, probably contracted by the US, to fly under the radar and perform “services” that the US did not wish to do itself, for whatever reason. It’s why Mossad promptly gets shown the door in places like Venezuela. Of course, the democracy-haters here view the eviction of Mossad as being anti-Semitic.

    Reply

  66. DonS says:

    Interesting, too, the US Embassy, Public Affairs Office in Tel Aviv is a “Principal Supporter” of the Herzliya Conference. Must be good for bidness; not sure who’s.

    Reply

  67. DonS says:

    The nation that cried wolf:
    “Peres: Israeli-Palestinian peace urgent in light of Egypt crisis
    “President Shimon Peres urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to move quickly toward a solution in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in light of the crisis that has wracked Egypt over the last two weeks.
    “The dramatic events of the recent period make it necessary for us to take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict off the regional agenda,” Peres said in his remarks to the 11th annual Israeli security conference, which opened Sunday in Herzliya. “We must do this as soon as possible because the conflict is being exploited to the detriment of all sides.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/peres-israeli-palestinian-peace-urgent-in-light-of-egypt-crisis-1.341633
    Tell it to Jennie Rubin (on Kristol’s expense account) if you run into her. And you might mention it to Haley Barbour who, believe it or not, is giving the closing remarks in the session related to sanctions on Iran. Who knew?.

    Reply

  68. nadine says:

    What’s the matter, “nadine 2” (do you lack the imagination to create your own handle?), can’t you Google
    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2009/data/table_01.html

    Reply

  69. nadine says:

    “The Obama administration and the European governments are helping the Egyptian regime outmaneuver the protesters, in the name of stability” (Dan Kervick)
    It’s possible they may wind up doing this. But if Obama had intended to do this, don’t you think he would have refrained from making public statements ordering Mubarak out the door, yesterday (like Gibbs did the other day)? You really think Obama intended to make himself look stupid?

    Reply

  70. hypocrite says:

    “According to the FBI in 2009, there were 931 hate crimes against Jews in America, compared to only 107 against Muslims.”
    So of course nadine is a paid up member of both the ACLU and SPLC. Oh wait, they’re demonized by the right wingnuts as ‘liberal’.. Nevermind.

    Reply

  71. Cee says:

    And with all that Israeli security software that the US will provide,
    JohnH,
    Your comment just gave me a chill. Remember the book IBM and the Holocaust?
    I also think that Israel provided the same to a Latin American country who in turn used it to round up and execute people.
    Anyone know which country?

    Reply

  72. nadine says:

    According to the FBI in 2009, there were 931 hate crimes against Jews in America, compared to only 107 against Muslims.

    Reply

  73. nadine says:

    “I find it really disturbing that no one posting on this item finds it unacceptable that the US government gives itself permission to attempt the outcome of this movement. When is that last time that US government officials gave advice to a foreign government that turned out to work? Never is my answer.
    I suggest the following, “keep your hands off, and let the Egyptian people determine their own destiny”. (Warren Metzler)
    Warren, you make a good point, inasmuch as what you say is internally consistent. Obama’s behavior in first announcing ostentatiously that “no country can tell another what to do” at the UN then pushing hard in public on Mubarak is very inconsistent.
    I think the distinction here is between “giving advice” in public vs. private pressure, which has worked in the past. E.g. the US pressured Marcos to leave the Philippines without making an open break. From a simple realist perspective, when we sided with the demonstrators in public, we threw away our leverage with Mubarak.
    Obama has a bad habit of doing this. He announces to the foreign leader “You MUST go commit political suicide”. When the foreign leader says (usually not in public, since he doesn’t want to make matters worse, but through his actions) “Like Hell I must” Obama looks weak and stupid, since he never had any plan to enforce his dictum.
    What makes it even worse, is that Obama only does this to American allies. If you are an enemy of America, then you get kid glove treatment. Nice set of incentives he’s setting up, yes?

    Reply

  74. Don Bacon says:

    It doesn’t matter what’s on Fox News. It doesn’t matter who wins the Super Bowl. There is a world outside the USA. It’s in the hands of Egyptians and the dissidents are apparently not accepting cosmetic responses.

    Reply

  75. Dan Kervick says:

    If the democracy movement in Tahrir Square accepts promises and commissions and study groups and statements of highly contingent future intentions in exchange for standing down, they will get absolutely nothing from this effort. They will only get results if they demand concrete actions, immediate changes in the governing order and power arrangements, that are not as easily reversible or ignorable as promises, commissions, study groups and statements of intention.
    Right now, what is on the table is, “If you guys go home and return the country to stability, we promise to look into ideas for a better system of government.” Yeah, right. I’m sure the Egyptian one-party military dictatorship is going to hand over its control of the country on the advice of some commission of notables, a commission they can shut down at any time once the demonstrators go home and their leadership is rounded up and quashed.
    The Obama administration and the European governments are helping the Egyptian regime outmaneuver the protesters, in the name of stability, and a “gradualism” that will quickly be revealed as no more than an evanescent dream bridge to nowhere. So far these governments, in the name of non-interference, have refused to articulate a single credible and concrete measure that will compel the Egyptian government to keep any of its phony-baloney promises to its people.
    Someone should have taught Barack Obama that it is idiotic for a world leader to use the word “must” if these fragments of deontic speech are not backed up by a credible disposition to turn normative pronouncements into actual behavior. Every time he indulges in one of these and superficially firm pronouncements without brandishing any sticks and punishing violations of his ostensible requirements, he weakens himself further and looks even more foolish.

    Reply

  76. Bill Pearlman says:

    Islamaphobia in United States is a myth. they are the most coddled minority we ever had. Hate crimes against Jews far outstrip anything involving Moslems in this country. On another note nobody really has a clue about what the end result of this is going to be. Except POA. Everything is obvious to him. Its a wonder.

    Reply

  77. questions says:

    From the same link:
    “The Saudi campaign, launched Jan. 29 on Facebook, calls for a constitutional monarchy, an end to corruption, an even distribution of wealth and a serious solution for unemployment, among other demands. ”
    Constitutional monarchy is the right phrase. Eventual irrelevance is the goal. Even distribution of wealth is a pipe dream — as in what the fuck are they smoking. THAT will never happen, even if it should for a country built entirely on sucking up the underbelly of its land.

    Reply

  78. questions says:

    And this:
    “RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – About 40 women staged a rare demonstration in the Saudi capital Saturday, demanding the release of prisoners being held without trial as part of the kingdom’s efforts to fight al-Qaeda insurgents, activists said.
    The black-clad women gathered in front of the Interior Ministry in central Riyadh amid a heavy police presence. One held up a poster reading, “God, free our prisoners.” ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/05/AR2011020503346.html?hpid=topnews

    Reply

  79. questions says:

    From WaPo:
    “According to the agreement announced on state television, Suleiman and the opposition groups will establish a committee to recommend constitutional amendments that would widen the field on who can run for president, among other changes. In response to the protests, Mubarak said last week that he would not run again in September

    Reply

  80. questions says:

    I don’t pay attention to Huckabee. I don’t listen to RW radio. And I don’t really think that Egypt’s constitutional reforms or the means by which they happen will have anything at all to do with Huckabee.
    Huckabee is positioning, too. The dude wants to be president, he has some serious fuck ups regarding clemency/paroling and he has to look tough somehow despite his merciful side.
    His positioning will not shape whether or not the Egyptian constitution opens up to other parties, whether or not the emergency laws are lifted, and so on.
    What’s happening in Egypt is really, well, Egyptian, not Huckabean.
    As for disappearances and other nasty actions — the fact is that all of this happens now, revolutions are notorious for contributing to such behavior anyway, AND demographics really suggest that that kind of behavior will pass eventually. The ME as a whole is young, hooked in, and that will be satisfied eventually. Not in your time frame, but eventually.

    Reply

  81. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “To say, at this moment, that Obama has sold out, or that Mubrak won, or that the army won, or whatever, is profoundly premature”
    Bullshit. The handwriting is on the wall. Listen to RW talk radio, or tune in to Fox News. If you missed Huckabee’s show last night on Fox, you have no idea how strident the propaganda is becoming.
    Do not make the mistake of failing to note that the new political majority is writing the narrative on what is occurring, while the Dems, most of them, are muzzled by Israel, obediently staying out of the media spotlight lest their Israel-centric subservience and disdain for true democracy becomes exposed.
    Its obvious what is occurring, and a break from the status quo IS NOT on the agenda. We are going to rebrand Egypt, put some fresh puppets in place, and see to it the the internal covert CIA operatives, in league with the “new” Egyptian leadership, start “dissappearing” those that make too loud a noise.

    Reply

  82. Don Bacon says:

    One thing Egyptians seem to be united on is avoiding external interference by other countries (read, U.S.) recognizing that their present conditions are largely due to such interference and financial support.

    Reply

  83. questions says:

    ElBaradei:
    ” What I’m calling for, Fareed, is a presidential council of three people, with Suleiman or somebody from the army would be one member; the others should be civilian. A year of transition of a government of national unity, of a caretaker government that prepares properly for free and fair elections. I think any election in the next coming months, before the right people establish parties and engage, it will be again a fake, a fake democracy.
    So we need a year of transition. We need a government — a transitional government. We need a presidential council. We need to abolish the present constitution. We need to dissolve the current parliament. These are all instruments of the dictatorship regime, and…I don’t think we will go to democracy through the dictatorial constitution.
    My experts on constitutional law said that the easiest way, Fareed, is to start a new era with an interim constitution, set aside the present parliament which is rigged, set aside the present constitution which has nothing to do with democracy, and give ourselves a year for a peaceful and safe transition, and then we will get a proper president, a proper parliament, and then work again on a full-fledged democratic constitution.

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/latest-updates-on-day-13-of-egypt-protests/?hp
    Everyone is positioning. EVERYone.
    ElBaradei refuses to negotiate with Mubarak still in power. That’s a position.
    The MB is listening in. That’s a position.
    Other groups are making demands. Those are also positions.
    The only really clear thing is that everyone is making claims, staking out positions, and feeling the whole system out.
    Everyone seems to know that some things have to give, but no one is sure quite what or how.
    To say, at this moment, that Obama has sold out, or that Mubrak won, or that the army won, or whatever, is profoundly premature.
    They’re all watchful, waiting, trying out stances, looking for supporters, watching the money. The slow opening of the banking system is a huge stress test. Twitter and Facebook and 21 year olds are a long term feature of the system at this point. Some things will give.

    Reply

  84. Don Bacon says:

    Islamaphobia in America
    Obama has fed Islamophobia — enmity between Americans and Muslims — by talking about an issue between the US and Muslims which needs to be clarified. It is not really an issue between Americans and Muslims but between the U.S. government and Muslims, caused by US support of totalitarian regimes in Muslim countries.
    Obama in Cairo, 2009:
    “We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world

    Reply

  85. Don Bacon says:

    It may be hard to ignore Suleiman’s bloody history but we regularly do it with US government personnel (and many US politicians) so I guess we can do it with Suleiman. His time will pass also, aided by the US endorsement of him. Would that we were so fortunate.

    Reply

  86. DonS says:

    Frank Rick notices Ilamaphobia in America and the corporate blackout of Al Jezeera:
    “Al Jazeera English, run by a 35-year veteran of the Canadian Broadcasting Company, is routinely available in Israel and Canada. It provided coverage of the 2009 Gaza war and this year

    Reply

  87. DonS says:

    Suleiman (and the “West”?) wants to appoint a committee, apparently to report to him. Baradei apparently favors a council form.
    Any way you look at it, it’s hard to ignore Suleiman’s bloody history. Embedded embarrasing quote of the day: “Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called him a

    Reply

  88. questions says:

    There seems to be some vague normalization of work and financial life starting today.
    That, coupled with agreements to liberalize social and political structures, really sounds good.
    Here’s hoping they keep to the promises, and they keep each other honest.

    Reply

  89. questions says:

    Screaming HuffPo headline….
    “CAIRO

    Reply

  90. DonS says:

    Steve Clemons, Feb 3,
    “One of the dirty truths of America’s strategic relationship is that despite oil and energy interests, and of course the Suez Canal, the aid that the US has given Egypt and the large many decades of support to Mubarak are part of the package of what the US has carved off for Israel”
    Anyone besides me old enough to remember the time when aid to Egypt was controversial, and was always sold in the Congress as an adjunct to aid to Israel? Steve also mentions the ‘blackmail’ (my word) factor of why, even where and if it were appropriate and capable, the US will tilt toward the army’s version of the regime, not the peoples.
    ” . . . lurking in Egypt’s police and intelligence files are mountains of materials on significant human rights abuses — disappearances, political detentions, torture, and summary executions. In some of these cases, the United States government knew what was going on or had agents in the room. This will come out, and America’s historical complicity in Egypt’s nightmares will become clear.”
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2011/02/soros_on_egypt/
    One thing that has happened during this period is things have been said that have opened up areas of discussion, contradictions exposed, hypocrisies revealed. It may be difficult to put it all back in a tidy box, particularly, reading from the Israeli script looks increasingly ludicrous. Though I do not doubt our noble politicians will be able to contort themselves into new knots in this respect. The media will comply.

    Reply

  91. DonS says:

    Juan Cole in a reflective mood this morning:
    “Why would authorities in a European county like Switzerland entertain the idea of trying George W. Bush for torture if he came to give a talk in that country;
    “But, European countries are supporting Omar Suleiman for interim president of Egypt, even though he was the one who undertook the torture for Bush?”
    et seq . . .
    http://www.juancole.com/2011/02/egypt-i-ask-myself-why.html

    Reply

  92. rc says:

    “Mubarak was in the air force before he was in politics, and spent the better part of seven years on assignments in the Soviet Union. Protesters like Amr Birmawi, a journalist who spent three years in prison on terrorism charges, today say that Egypt’s president absorbed a Russian military mentality – attack from the front, and keep attacking….
    But if he’s a realist, he’s stuck in the 20th century. Nearly half of Egypt’s population is between ages 15 and 32. They’re spending their formative years on Facebook. He spent his at an air base in what was then Soviet Kyrgyzia.” (WP @ 8:49am)

    Reply

  93. questions says:

    “CAIRO – Nearly two weeks of political turmoil has taken a toll on Egypt’s infrastructure and economy, with most businesses shuttered, banks closed and tourists avoiding the country as the crisis drags on. ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/05/AR2011020503786.html?hpid=topnews

    Reply

  94. questions says:

    Fascinating:
    “Under this structure, what doesn’t flow back up to the top is reliable information. Mubarak’s Egypt is a nation with a huge and pervading police structure, but critics say its spies and torturers were incapable of presenting a reliable picture of the country to the people at the apex, because they rejected anything that didn’t fit their own view. “We live in a triangle society,” said Abd Al Rahman, an English teacher. The subordinate’s duty is to obey, not to discuss and never to question.
    This is a weakness of any hierarchical structure, but in Egypt’s case it became nearly absolute.
    “He has merged his own ego with the state,” said Dina Guirguis, of a Washington-based group called Voices for a Democratic Egypt. “He views himself as Egypt’s hero.” ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/05/AR2011020503867.html?hpid=topnews
    Long piece on Mubarak’s governing habits.

    Reply

  95. samuelburke says:

    Nadines problem is the problem of all jews who adopted israel as
    their golden calf, to worship and defend, using anti semitism as
    the whipping stick, they conflate their identity with israel. The
    old Rabbis who stood up to the creation of the state were correct
    when they resisted that idea a century ago when it was
    presented to them.
    Now the united states has been laden with the burden of
    supporting that project, congratulations to the u.s state dept and
    the pentagon for being the dupes of these people, never mind
    the craven american press who dares not speak for fear of losing
    their jobs.
    you truly are a nation within a nation.

    Reply

  96. cheneyourself says:

    “They are the values which invented the idea that humans have rights, the values which originally powered the idea that every civilization needs to respect those human rights, and those that do are better than those that don’t…they are the values you no longer understand, if you ever did.
    Nadine’s been ingesting too much Sarah Palin ™

    Reply

  97. samuelburke says:

    Emergency Committee For Israel Sends Jennifer Rubin To
    Herzliya Conference
    February 5th, 2011 |
    Eli Clifton
    “I have a post up on ThinkProgress about Jennifer Rubin

    Reply

  98. rc says:

    Interesting analysis of Turkey vs. Egypt over last 30 years.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/world/middleeast/06turkey.html

    Reply

  99. Warren Metzler says:

    I find it really disturbing that no one posting on this item finds it unacceptable that the US government gives itself permission to attempt the outcome of this movement. When is that last time that US government officials gave advice to a foreign government that turned out to work? Never is my answer.
    I suggest the following, “keep your hands off, and let the Egyptian people determine their own destiny”. How many times do you have to experience Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan to know that nothing a US government official or think tank consultant thinks or suggests has the slightest possibility of being valid, and good for the future of US citizens. Truly amazing intelligent readers of TWN are willing to accept US involvement. This is classical imperialistic meddling.

    Reply

  100. rc says:

    Up your medication nadine, the cracks are showing.
    (1:57)
    1. “They are the values which invented the idea that humans have rights, the values which originally powered the idea that every civilization needs to respect those human rights, and those that do are better than those that don’t…” — I can agree with that. And I’m sure there are a few million Palestinians who would as well.
    2. I don’t self-identify with the left or right. Republicanism before the lobotomy even has some appeal at times.
    (2:08)
    3.”It’s always about the Jews…we wouldn’t have this trouble without the Jews” — well I’m not sure who you are quoting here but I do not agree with the view. Smacks of self importance to me. What is being discussed here is the social transformation of 80 million Egyptians out of the Soviet ‘dark ages’ and into the modern world and digital economy.
    What is clear is Israel’s intransigence has come back to bite it. Seems Obama’s God has just dealt him a beautiful hand if he cares to play it.
    If Obama should ‘invite’ the retiring Governor of the Egyptian Province to head up his forthcoming 2011 ‘Camp David’ for a 6-month workshop on a new comprehensive ME Peace Plan, with say Old Man Carter, and a few friends from the Region drop in from time-to-time (like Benni), then he may well have earned his Nobel Peace Prize.
    I could even see a deal being done that could close down Gitmo Bay through lack of need.
    With a peace deal that recognized all humans in the region having equal rights, and all governments practicing these “values which originally powered the idea that every civilization needs to respect those human rights” (and that Palestinians are humans) — then he’ll go down in world history as a good man. What more could a US President wish for? 😉
    What the Israelis have to learn now is, how to ‘come to heel’.
    Mubarak might even get a 2012 Nobel Peace Prize nomination if he pulled it off with ‘Team Obama’ — after all Kissinger set the low-time standard for it.
    Come on Obama: blow your whistle for some serious time-out with the dudes B4 the falafel goes stale!

    Reply

  101. Paul Norheim says:

    Steve, why don’t you just ban Nadine once and for all? She’ll
    never stop accusing you and 90% of the commenters here of
    anti-Semitism anyway. She’s poisoning the threads whenever she
    starts typing.

    Reply

  102. nadine says:

    “What “civilizational values” are these nadine? ” (rc)
    They are the values which invented the idea that humans have rights, the values which originally powered the idea that every civilization needs to respect those human rights, and those that do are better than those that don’t…they are the values you no longer understand, if you ever did.
    Like the rest of the hard-left, you no longer care about humans, but only about approved victim-groups and unapproved oppressor-groups. When the human rights of one of the former are violated by one of the latter, you are all over it, with or without evidence. In all other cases, you could care less, no matter the evidence.
    The hard-left loves its ideas. But they don’t like people much.

    Reply

  103. rc says:

    “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.” (Salim Mansur, see link at 12:01AM)
    What “civilizational values” are these nadine?
    The ‘West’ is an abstract concept that is largely meaningless unless you are trying to say ‘Washington and London’ in one word.
    Of course, if you mean espoused values then, yes, the peaceful followers of the teachings of Jesus (the Nazarene) are all very high and mighty and recommending peace.
    But I assume the “Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario in Canada” (wikipedia) is talking about the praxis as evidenced in Gitmo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chile etc, etc, … and especially the systems of state repression and torture that Mubarak’s Egypt have perfected over the last 30 years.
    I’m reminded of Gandhi’s comment about western civilization — i.e. it being a good idea! (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/1038.html)
    Israel has become an apartheid state that has pissed off its neighbors from Istanbul to Cairo, Damascus to Baghdad, Riyadh to Tehran, Beirut to Amman. Does not sound like Washington DC is all that happy either.
    So, nardine: what is wrong with us all? Is it that special missing gene that we all lost when parting from the common ancestor?
    Steve Clemons is talking common sense! Something that would be a good idea in Israel imo.
    If it means anything at all, the ‘tearing up’ simply is an opportunity to write a new one — one that might start with 1967 borders and the millions of Palestinians that have a legitimate political and economic rights to their lands and assets.
    This is the dawn of a new age in the ME it seems — one which is a much more level playing field, and facilitated by the American democratic values embodied in the social media technology now catalyzing Egypt out of a 30-year time wrap.
    Israel has the bombs, the war machinery, the US’s commitment to a form of survival, a UN mandate for 1967 borders — what do they fear from Western democratic values actually being practiced in the ME? Fair competition from 100s of millions of young energized modern Muslims across the ME?

    Reply

  104. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Who knows what secrets lurk in the Israeli file cabinets marked “Top Secret”?
    When I see such subservience to the Israeli agenda, it is not unreasonable to think that they are blackmailing the highest levels of our government.
    BTW, this fuckin’ wackjob Huckabee is doing a one hour Fox News propaganda extravaganza on Israel’s behalf, right now. Hundreds of thousands of ignoranus Fox News viewers are lapping this shit up like it is the gospel. If this piece of shit ascends to the Presidency, be afraid, be very afraid.

    Reply

  105. JohnH says:

    Nadine is obviously into conspiracy theories: the MB is all one movement! Yeah, right! She obviously doesn’t understand how human organizations work, particularly ones that are highly fragmented as a result of constant persecution, something that makes consensus all but impossible.
    More signs of her hysterical paranoia–Amalek behind every critic of Israeli policy.

    Reply

  106. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Obama and Clinton are preparing to sell the Tahrir square protesters down the river”
    You ready for the “I told you so” yet, Dan?

    Reply

  107. nadine says:

    I notice Steve Clemons is talking about how respectable the Muslim Brotherhood has become these days. Not tied to al Qaeda anymore, “Engagement”, “phobia” yada, yada, etc. Let’s not mention the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, who said only yesterday that his top priority was ripping up the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. No, taking statements like that seriously – heck, even noticing them, which Steve did not – would be “phobic.”
    We gotta figure out how to separate the better parts of these movements from the worse parts of these movements, says Steve Clemons.
    Until you show me some evidence that some parts of these movements have developed a different ideology from the rest of the movement, THEN IT IS ALL ONE MOVEMENT. With one goal: turning Egypt into a fundamentalist Sharia-state theocracy.
    How do supposedly smart people talk themselves into spouting such dangerous idiocy?
    From a letter from Salim Mansur:
    “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.”
    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/A-Moving-Letter-from-Salim-Mansur

    Reply

  108. JohnH says:

    “American officials are also unsure about the thinking of the midlevel military leadership.” Generational change (midlevel leadership) is inevitable–and soon. Mubarak is really old (82) and Soleiman is old (74). In that regard Egypt resembles the Soviet Union at the end of the Brezhnev era, before Andropov, Chernenko and Gorbachev.
    It may take 6 years, as it did in the USSR. And it may not be pretty. But change will happen. The current status quo is untenable.
    Israel needs to deal with it. This moment represents their last chance to become a good neighbor and ensure their long term survival. I expect them to blow it, because they’re too pig headed and too wedded to failed strategies.

    Reply

  109. DonS says:

    Powerful prose (via the Independent):
    “Robert Fisk: Mubarak is going. He is on the cusp of final departure
    “Protesters in Tahrir Square are right to be sceptical despite the apparent shake-up in Egypt’s ruling party
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-mubarak-is-going-he-is-on-the-cusp-of-final-departure-2205852.html

    Reply

  110. samuelburke says:

    So lets dig down to the root of the problem. You really have to give
    Lawrence Wilkerson credit.
    it’s mythtifying.
    http://www.consortiumnews.com/2011/020511b.html
    The RealNews.com interviews Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of
    staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, and journalist Robert Parry
    about Ronald Reagan’s legacy:

    Reply

  111. rc says:

    @8:28PM
    “American officials are also unsure about the thinking of the midlevel military leadership, which is considered sympathetic to the protesters, and whether it could split with the generals tied to Mr. Mubarak. Specialists think that for now, the chances of a split are slim.” (NYT)
    That would be right, although I’d judge the chances as higher than “slim”. They will all be sniffing the breeze to see what’s rotting where and which ways the winds of change are likely to blow.
    And the later comment about the smart young moving into business rather than a military career would also signify a generational shift from the old Soviet value system.

    Reply

  112. JohnH says:

    NY Times article: For US, Egypt is about Israel.
    http://www.lobelog.com/nytimes-for-u-s-egypt-is-about-israel/
    Daniel Levy: “the core of what is the American interest in this [Egypt]. It

    Reply

  113. Don Bacon says:

    The Egypt Constitution has language designed to keep the people in power, in power, including:
    GENUINELY INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES FACE AN ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE BAR TO ENTER THE RACE. TO COMPETE IN THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, ARTICLE 76 STATES THAT AN “INDEPENDENT” MUST OBTAIN ENDORSEMENTS FROM 250 ELECTED MEMBERS OF EGYPT’S NATIONAL AND LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE BODIES, OF WHICH THERE MUST BE A MINIMUM OF 65 ENDORSEMENTS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLES ASSEMBLY, 25 FROM THE SHURA COUNCIL, AND 10 FROM LOCAL COUNCILS IN AT LEAST 14 GOVERNORATES. — wikileaks
    http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2007/05/07CAIRO1417.html

    Reply

  114. rc says:

    Looks like the poor will get their voice into the change process.
    <<<<<
    Egypt’s most influential opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, says it will enter talks with officials on ending the country’s political crisis.
    The group told Reuters the talks would begin on Sunday and would aim to assess how far the government was “ready to accept the demands of the people”. …
    <<<<
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12375426

    Reply

  115. Don Bacon says:

    from Jonathan Schwarz:
    The Iron Law Of Institutions
    The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

    Reply

  116. Carroll says:

    Posted by DonS, Feb 05 2011, 6:53PM – Link
    Since Suleiman is essentially an army approved representative, that means the army is in charge. Where’s the court? Where’s anyone else?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Where indeed.
    Today is the first day I have had the time to actually try and anaylaze exactly what is going on in relation to the US movements on this and not just react to nonsense.
    If you look at what the Egyptian constitution calls for–look at what the protesters called for—look at what the US is saying or appearing to be arranging–it becomes clearer.
    The protesters wanted the (entire) regime to fall to their Supreme Court Chief Justice and a council of citizens as a way to begin reform for elections.
    The US wants it to fall to VP Sulieman and the military for the sake of ‘stability” and probably not too much change.
    The protesters are actually more in accord with their constitution on how regime change and reform could take place after deposing the entire Mubarak regime then the US machinations
    around Sulieman and the military are. I would not be surprised if the appointment of Sulieman as VP was a US inspired act by Mubarak to circumvent anything ever reaching the Court. Perhaps as the lesser evil to the Speaker of the People’s Assmebly and to put the military in the drivers seat as it has some respect that no other parts of the Mubarak regime has.
    But it is obvious the US didn’t encourage what it could have encouraged in getting Murbarak to dismiss his government and let it fall to Egypt’s Supreme Court and a citizens council as the protesters wanted so they could reform the election rules Mubarak inserted to insure his continued rule.
    Typical US crap,– rah rah democracy, but say you aren’t going to interfer ‘in another country’, then interfer for your own interest for the sake of the old fossilized ‘stability’ concept instead of letting democratic revolt produce too much change.
    What we see Sulieman do will confirm what the US plan was from the begining…cause we know damn well they started making plans for all possible outcomes the minute the revolt started…they didn’t just ‘watch”.

    Reply

  117. rc says:

    Al Jazeera has just tried to interview executives at a US firm called Narus which sells its internet router software called “Deep Packet Inspection” which is used in Egypt and Saudi Arabia to spy on users — including GPS data of mobile phone users.
    The implication from the news report was this software was involved in the Egyptian internet blackout.
    The company refused to comment.
    With the head of Egyptian intelligence now 2IC and likely to run the country in the interim, this data can only give the state apparatus an almost complete picture of dissent behavior. Who would be left to vote for the opposition by September elections? The demonstrators have no choice but to keep going for deep systemic and cultural change.
    Apparently its use in the US is technically illegal but who’s believing that would stop them?

    Reply

  118. questions says:

    No problems w/ HuffPo Egypt article links from here.

    Reply

  119. susan says:

    Last night I read a comment on Firedoglake, and I wondered about its significance. After all, if only a small fraction of Egypt’s population is clamoring for change, how much impact can these protesters have?
    Here is the comment:
    “…Unless and until a very large proportion of the 50 to 60 million (call that around two thirds of Egypt

    Reply

  120. Paul Norheim says:

    Yes – and I just got the same “Internal Server Error” message.

    Reply

  121. Dan Kervick says:

    Have any other people here experienced difficulty in accessing the Huffington Post’s Egypt coverage? For the past few days, whenever I click on the front page links to the running update on Egypt I get:
    “An error (500 Internal Server Error) has occured in response to this request.”

    Reply

  122. samuelburke says:

    the establishment is ossified.
    Site Information for thewashingtonnote.com
    Alexa Traffic Rank: 129,779 Traffic Rank in US: 111,960 Sites
    Linking In: 1,271
    mondoweiss.net
    Alexa Traffic Rank: 62,268 Traffic Rank in US: 18,799 Sites Linking
    In: 629

    Reply

  123. Paul Norheim says:

    But why on earth did Wisner say that Mubarak should “show the
    way forward” etc? It’s the most stupid thing to say right now,
    and will certainly backfire in the whole region, no matter how
    much the White House tries to “distance” itself from his
    statements. I think this will harden the opposition in Egypt.

    Reply

  124. DonS says:

    Dan, I do believe, as I suggested a couple of days ago, that the Eqyptian military’s files are just chock full of incriminating ‘evidence’ that a potent tools in the negotiation of conditions and potential leverage that the US may have (for whatever goals the US and it’s surrogates may wish to achieve). Where the US might act responsibly, because it has helped make and nurture this mess on Israel’s behalf, for decades, it may be blackmailed into compromising even a facsimile of integrity.
    Carroll quotes “Even though Mr. Mubarak has balked, so far, at leaving now, officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which Mr. Suleiman, backed by Lt. Gen. Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the defense minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform.”
    Since Suleiman is essentially an army approved representative, that means the army is in charge. Where’s the court? Where’s anyone else?
    I go back to what Clemons said on the Newshour Thursday night; what comes out of the regime is a strategy for holding onto power, roughly translated.
    Again: legalisms or ad hoc arrangements with a stacked decked in favor of the regime seem to betray the spirit of this uprising. But what do I know; I wish the US had butted out of this charade decades ago.

    Reply

  125. Carroll says:

    Posted by DonS, Feb 05 2011, 5:49PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Everything you read about what the adm or it’s officials say will be contridicted on the same day by something another WH official says or what one of them says about what Obama said.
    Today Obama said the MB must be included in discussion about Egypt..at the same time his Jewish outreach spokesperson told the JP that Obama said the US would not recongize the MB.
    Sometimes I think they deliberately do this so people will get so tired of being ping ponged around and trying to chase down the truth, that they will throw up their hands in fustration and quit paying attention. And also throwing out so many contridictions gives them a way later to pick and chose what to claim they said and didn’t say.

    Reply

  126. Paul Norheim says:

    “…something happened between yesterday and today…”
    Perhaps the army showed it’s unity and it’s muscle behind the
    scenes – after much speculation that it was split between the
    older guard and the younger, anti-Mubarak officers?
    One result of that could be the sudden resignation of the NDP
    leaders today. Perhaps they’ve also told the Americans that
    kicking out Hosni Mubarak is out of question.

    Reply

  127. Carroll says:

    According to WP..
    ‘Even though Mr. Mubarak has balked, so far, at leaving now, officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which Mr. Suleiman, backed by Lt. Gen. Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the defense minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform.
    The proposal also calls for the transitional government to invite members from a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to begin work to open up the country

    Reply

  128. Dan Kervick says:

    It’s pretty clear that something happened between yesterday and today to cause the White House to lose whatever filaments of nerve they were beginning to sprout. All of a sudden, it’s all about “stability” and “perfect storms” and keeping Mubarak in power.
    They appear to have concluded that an Egyptian revolution must not succeed, because if Arabs can succeed in changing their oppressive government in Egypt, they can succeed in changing oppressive governments elsewhere.
    Another possibility: Mubarak and his Mukhabarrat have all the dirt on every US official who has been involved in shipping prisoners to Egypt to be tortured. Maybe he threatened to release it. Maybe the current administration is still involved.

    Reply

  129. DonS says:

    Don, the disconnect between law and justice was one of the first, and disheartening , things I learned in law school, though many of my brethren didn’t seem to concerned about that technicality. It’s the primary reason, I believe, that I didn’t wind up practicing for very long.
    In this evolving mess, it is the height of cynicism to fall back on “the law” as a corrective for the legalism of the Mubarak regime. We need some grown ups who are also statesmen.

    Reply

  130. Don Bacon says:

    Gerry Spence, the famous trial lawyer, spoke to the function of law in the USA:

    Reply

  131. Don Bacon says:

    Five Year Old Child Heads Million Strong Demo in Alexandria Egypt
    http://tinyurl.com/kidpower
    h/t Prof. Juan Cole

    Reply

  132. DonS says:

    I appreciate your perspective, some of it anyway, Questions. I’m a lawyer (at least legally : ) , so I have an appreciation for law. Legalistic is a way to use the law to achieve ends that someone wants, usually those holding the power.
    Somebody’s lawyer is selling the stability and order consumers a bill of goods, IMO.

    Reply

  133. sanitychecker says:

    Obama is only being consistent. After all, we all know that, if the Green Revolution had worked out, Obama would have insisted on Ahmadinejad staying around to secure an orderly transition…

    Reply

  134. Don Bacon says:

    Obama as Mr. Change on Egypt
    concrete steps to democracy –> orderly transition starting now –> resign immediately and turn over power –> more rapid turnover of power
    January 28, 2011
    When President Mubarak addressed the Egyptian people tonight, he pledged a better democracy and greater economic opportunity. I just spoke to him after his speech and I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words, to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise.
    February 01, 2011
    “We have spoken out on behalf of the need for change. After his speech tonight, I spoke directly to President Mubarak. He recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place.. .an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now.”
    February 2, 2011
    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did not say Wednesday whether that was the case, only that Obama wants Egypt to start the transition process immediately.
    February 3, 2011
    The Obama administration is discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately and turn over power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman.
    February 4, 2011
    The Obama administration continues to press the Egyptian government for a more rapid turnover of power.
    ————-
    Perhaps Obama should follow Bolton’s advice and just shut up.

    Reply

  135. DonS says:

    Now this, via Laura Rozen,
    “U.S. moves to distance itself from envoy’s remarks on Mubarak”
    [via BC Tweet (weird enough)] ” An unnamed U.S. official, however, later told the AFP that Wisner was speaking in his capacity as a private citizen about Mubarak’s future role — and not for the administration which sent him to Cairo last week at Hillary Clinton’s suggestion. ”
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0211/Reports_Mubarak_resigns_as_head_of_ruling_NDP_party.html?showall
    Clarification please? Since mis- and disinformation can zoom around the globe in nanoseconds, so can clarifications, one would think.

    Reply

  136. questions says:

    DonS,
    The problem is that the legalistic bind IS what a nation is — nation of laws and all.
    There are a host of really interesting constitutional issues coming to light as we move a couple of steps outside of Tahrir Sq. and it’s become quite clear that none of this is as easy as hanging out and chanting.
    The authority to create a super council has to come from somewhere. The authority to change the Constitution in some limited way, to undo emergency laws, electoral laws, and party-governing laws — all of this has to come from somewhere. And it kind of half looks like “somewhere” is Mubarak or a super council.
    The lawyers could be at it for years, and they would be right to argue it out. Wholesale change of a constitutional order should be pretty damned hard to do.
    I think the protesters should arrange a day of massive irritation, a day of pissiness, a day of what the fuck, a day of OK, we have to deal with some shit… and then should outline systems of change within the existing legal framework.
    Whatever comes after Mubarak, one might like it to be legally sound, to have its laws legally binding. One might also want some currency left in the country. Maybe some engineers, too. I saw an AJ piece interviewing Iraqi scientists who are headed back to Iraq as the SAFER bet.
    Stability, order, change. They are all necessary parts.
    If Egypt is going to build on its current constitution, call for a new constitutional convention, or keep what they have now, they need enough stability and order to do it the right way.
    ***
    Mubarak is “gone”. He’s not really coming back, but he does seem to have within his person some special constitutional heft that might be kind of useful.
    And seriously, if we want the world to be able to get rid of dictators pretty handily as needed, we should be careful how we kick their fucking asses to the curb. Or they will cling to their religion, guns, and security guards.

    Reply

  137. DonS says:

    Clemons, Kagen, and Satloff weigh in at Foreign Policy
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/04/obama_administration_contemplates_legal_nightmare_in_egypt_after_mubarak
    I’m not following much of that, but maybe the plan is that no one can really follow it, and meaningful reform gets dropped between the cracks. What is needed is change and good faith, neither of which can be assumed. To get wrapped up in a legalistic bind instead works to the benefit of the establishment I believe. IF the will for significant change based on removal of Mubarak existed, emergency procedures could be devised one would think that incorporated the very basics. We’re not talking about the nuts and bolts of running government but the transition of power.
    I’ll just say it: if there is to be meaningful transition to a new order, it is illogical to say that the transition must be based on the old, existing order, down to the letter. Emergency measures can be taken one would think.
    Meanwhile, this doesn’t bode well:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/05/AR2011020501707.html?hpid=topnews
    Egypt’s Opposition Parties Fracture as Talks with Government Begin”.
    Remember the main demand: no talks until Mubarak is ‘gone’.

    Reply

  138. Dan Kervick says:

    Obama and Clinton are preparing to sell the Tahrir square protesters down the river.
    For what it’s worth, I am boycotting the Super Bowl tomorrow as a gesture of solidarity with the January 25th movement.

    Reply

  139. Carroll says:

    One explanation.
    Hossam Bahgat and Soha Abdelaty, the executive director and deputy director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, writes:
    (I inserted the numbers to make the points)
    1)
    ‘Egypt

    Reply

  140. questions says:

    Don Bacon, 3:14 — regarding the advertising….
    No, not Israel. Your clicks.
    Your clicks largely determine the ads you see wherever you go.
    The internet is amazing that way.
    I don’t see any ads at all for Israel, but I googled pizza delivery the other day, and that’s appearing.
    And it’s not even kosher pizza.
    You should try sneakers and jeans and see what happens. Oh, wait, Nikestein.Israel and Levis — well, need I say more?!
    Be paranoid only when it’s rational.

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  141. JamesL says:

    Don Bacon’s quote by El Baradei at 3:08 is the working reality here. America by the hand of the Obama administration is losing US credibility by the day. Obama’s limpwristed decision to defer to a myopic Israel, rather than strongly support Egypt’s widespread, unified, peaceful demonstrations against an oppressive dictator whose thirty year legacy of success is an overwhelming call for his ouster will have serious negative consequences for the US for the next fifty years. Which by the way is the only transition time the US will be allowed to make a successful transition to a non-oil based national energy supply. If it is not successful, you can place your bets as to who the new landlord will be. Exactly how much oil does Israel possess?

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  142. Don Bacon says:

    The US identification with Turkey is perhaps a bit presumptuous. But then, the US is grasping at straws.
    “I have a very sincere piece of advice for … Hosni Mubarak,” Erdogan told deputies and party supporters in Ankara, at the same time hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Cairo to demand political change in Egypt. “No government can survive against the will of its people. The era of governments persisting on pressure and repression is over … All of us are mortals, transient things. All of us will die and will be judged on what we have done. Our resting place as Muslims is two square meters of earth.”

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  143. sanitychecker says:

    Obama wants Mubarak-without-Mubarak, the regime but not the man. That’s what Gates and Clinton have been trying to engineer behind the scenes.
    Sadly, it might work.
    Clemons was good. Ignatius was, as usual, the unctuous creep.

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  144. Don Bacon says:

    I note that Israel has pumped up its advertising on TWN, even as (or because of) Senator Rand Paul calls for an end to foreign aid, including Israel. (I told you some good might come from the Tea Party.)

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  145. DonS says:

    NYT spin: “West Backs Gradual Egyptian Transition”
    “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to a security conference in Munich, said it was important to support Mr. Suleiman, a pillar of the Egyptian establishment and Mr. Mubarak

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  146. JamesL says:

    >”US envoy says Mubarak ‘must stay'”
    It is impossible to find any adjective to describe the extreme degree of short sightedness in this. The long term national security ramifications for the US are simply enormous.

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  147. Don Bacon says:

    Wisner is a dinosaur from the old American Empire days, the sort of manipulator which is now obsolete and irrelevant.
    “You [i.e. Americans] are losing credibility by the day. On one hand you’re talking about democracy, rule of law and human rights, and on the other hand you’re lending still your support to a dictator that continues to oppress his people,” ElBaradei told CBS from Cairo.

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