Clemons & Rachel Maddow Discuss Latest on Egypt

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Tonight, I discussed the ongoing drama in Egypt with Rachel Maddow in the clip above.
One of the issues I raised was my sense that many American analysts and the media have too easily discounted the corrosive role that Gamal Mubarak, seen by many as heir to the Hosni Mubarak franchise, is playing in the current political standoff and growing street clashes.
I mentioned Gamal’s key role as Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Policy in the National Democratic Party (NDP), from which he refuses to step down, in a piece earlier today posted at The Palestine Note.
I also believe that the NDP-commissioned thugs fighting the anti-Mubarak protesters are a clear violation of the “understanding” that Obama and Hosni Mubarak had.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

33 comments on “Clemons & Rachel Maddow Discuss Latest on Egypt

  1. JohnH says:

    The journalistic crackdown in Egypt: Al Jazeera got kicked out.
    The journalistic crackdown in the US: Al Jazeera never got let in…

    Reply

  2. Kathleen says:

    Wednesday
    Some observatios from watching CNN, MSNBC, Fox, Cspan for four days.
    Jamie Rubin seems to the appointed spokesperson for Israel. Everytime he speaks he brings up bad bad bad Iran. Also keeps repeatig that El Baradei does not have the name on the Egyptian streets. Undermining El Baradei.
    Richard Engel also seems to be undermining El Baradei.
    Zbiniew Bryzinski (sp?) was on Morning Joe the other day. As is almost always the case he made so much sense. Talked about Mubarak

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    This morning on MSNBC Chuck Todd and Savanah Guthrie were addressing the

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    “…so public opinion in Egypt is shifting, and it’s not all
    located in Tahrir Sq. We get a distorted view of what “Egypt”
    wants……” (Questions)
    This is indeed true, and although it seems to matter very
    little now, it may matter more at a later stage. I would
    assume that many many poor egyptians, especially in the
    provinces, care much more about the prices of bread and
    other basic goods than about political freedoms. And their
    voices may count heavily even in free and fair elections in
    the future. The ruling forces will also know how to play on
    their sympathies in the campaign.

    Reply

  5. Kathleen says:

    Steve as is always the case you were clear and concise when you share your views.
    Although next time you are on Rachel Maddow’s show wish you or someone else would challenge her endless warmongering on Iran. She has often repeated the neo cons debunked (by Professor Juan Cole) chant “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” She has also chooses to strongly infer that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.
    Last night she repeated again that Irans elections were fraudulant. Which she and Richard Engel (clearly buddies on banging on the Iran war drum) have repeatedly said.
    Rachel is too chicken shit to have former Bush administration official and CIA analyst Flynt Leverett or Professor Juan Cole on her program who would challenge her rigid and inaccurate thinking on Iran. Will not even get close to having someone on who would challenge her right wing thinking on Iran, Israel, Palestinians.
    Rachel and the rest of the MSNBC talking heads will not go near the Palestinian protesters. She is truly a hyporcrite

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  6. Paul Norheim says:

    I don’t know if this has been said here already, but here it is:
    “State TV quoted Vice-President Omar Suleiman as saying
    Gamal Mubarak would also not now run for the job.
    Mr Suleiman also called for the release of detained
    demonstrators “not involved in criminal acts”, but he said
    those responsible for the clashes and the “general
    deterioriation in security” would be held accountable.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12357891

    Reply

  7. Mark says:

    Steve,
    I rarely offer links in my comments. However, I’m going to make an exception.
    In an Internet laden with sophistry, punditry, false punditry (which is sometimes better than actual punditry), opinions, uninformed opinions, bought-and-paid-for opinions, bar stool opinions, and little use for factual accuracy, one can find a few gems amidst all of this slop.
    Not many, mind you, but a few.
    I believe that Gregory Djerejian’s The Belgravia Dispatch is, with all due respect, the finest blog I have ever read on the Internet. While Mr. Djerejian no longer posts on a frequent basis, I have kept The Belgravia Dispatch on my favorites’ list and check it periodically for new entries. Mr. Djerejian, no violet he, posted an entry on Feb. 2 entitled “Egypt’s Popular Uprising”. I suggest that you and everyone on your fine site read the Mr. Djerejian’s entry. The man, quite simply, knows about that which he blogs and, most important, he blogs with a refreshing sense of both humility and professionalism.
    http://www.belgraviadispatch.com/2011/02/egypts_incipient_revolution.html#comments
    Note: No, for the record, I have no financial, personal, or familial ties to Mr. Djerejian. I wouldn’t know the man if I sat down next to him at The Daily Grind for a cup of iced coffee. I am not his publisher, his editor, his agent, his lawyer, or his mommy. For all I know, the man is a complete horse’s backside – but, in my opinion, Mr. Djerejian writes (all too infrequently these days) the finest material on the web. Read it, I suggest, and then rip me, if you must. (For nadine, Wiggy, and Wild Bill, each gets the bends if they’ve failed to attack someone with an anti-Semitic slur every 20 minutes.) Just read Mr. Djerejian. Then tell me how wrong I am, was, and always will be.

    Reply

  8. DonS says:

    All of the press briefing per 9:59 is not quite the same thing as “we have lost confidence in the President and his regime.
    Marc Lynch’ position, quoted at 9:29 [and at http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/03/the_closing_egyptian_window ] tracks very closely with Steve’s analysis which I transcribed at 8:16 above; particularly the direct pressure on the Egyptian military which will be the transitional institution. This seems a drama of days, not weeks, or it will collapse into chaos and exactly the instability that everyone so vauntedly bows to.

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  9. DonS says:

    As was noted in the NYT article I linked to yesterday, per question asked by member of ad hoc working group to member of the administration concerning “plans” . . . there are no [US] plans extant for a transition.

    Reply

  10. Don Bacon says:

    Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 2/2/2011
    excerpts:
    [Clinton] also said later in that answer that we certainly review our assistance posture,
    these [Mybarak stepping down] obviously are decisions that are going to be — as you heard the President say, need to be made in concert with a whole host of and full range of voices in the ground in Egypt. I am not going to get into a greater level of specificity as to the direct nature of the conversation that was had except to reiterate what the President said in terms of that transition beginning now.
    Ambassador Wisner is — remains in the country. I do not know of plans as I walked out here to speak with President Mubarak today.
    President Obama would feel free to call at any time if he needed to speak directly with President Mubarak.
    I don

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  11. questions says:

    Shafiq’s speech is being re-broadcast — now Mubarak is deputizing others in a few months — this is a concession – IF it’s a concession.
    It’s not over.

    Reply

  12. rc says:

    Generally a smooth delivery of the prime minister’s speech and following questions.
    However, I note a certain puffed up patriarchal pretense and the word ‘civil’ was used several times. They are very sensitive to being seen as uncivilized. (This weakness was used with Iran as well.)
    Key points for me ‘decoded’.
    1. We are a family == this is a cult & I am the boss, or at least his sock puppet.
    2. There are foreign media here == tow the line.
    3. Concern with safety of ‘our sons’ == nothing about daughters and wives etc, they don’t exist in the 18th century Cairo of today.
    4. Some of the latter omission in respect to females is Arab culture (which needs to change) but he then clearly shows his contempt when after making a big deal about answering ‘all questions’ a female reporter (about the 3rd person) puts a very direct question to him about this new dialogue process and the Moslem Brotherhood.
    5. She is dismissed and put down with a obvious ‘know your place’ response and disdain. The tone changes and he is exposed. He is no different, just playing the ‘good cop’. She did well to flush him out.
    6. Based on that small demonstration it seems dialogue may have a long way to go before it is what the modern world would recognize as such. These guys are in a time warp, but that is no excuse.
    7. They have a log way to go imo. But if they don’t start the walk now, then when?
    I dropped the link soon after that.

    Reply

  13. Don Bacon says:

    Marc Lynch, at The Middle East Channel:
    “The administration has already condemned and deplored yesterday’s violence. It must now make clear that an Egyptian regime headed by Hosni Mubarak is no longer one with which the United States can do business, and that a military which sanctions such internal violence is not one with which the United States can continue to partner.
    “The Egyptian military must receive the message loudly, directly and clearly that the price of a continuing relationship with America is Mubarak’s departure and a meaningful transition to a more democratic and inclusive political system. It must understand that if it doesn’t do this, then the price will not just be words or public shaming but rather financial and political. If Mubarak remains in place, Egypt faces a future as an international pariah without an international patron and with no place in international organizations or forums. If he departs, and a meaningful transition begins, then Egypt can avoid that fate.”
    My comment:
    Of course Obama won’t do this because Israel wouldn’t like it. The Egyptian government, a major recipient of tens of billions of dollars, has been a major ally of Israel, selling it natural gas at discount and helping suppress Gazans. So Obama is acting like a weakling, not wanting to take responsibility for whatever might happen due to the effort of others. It’s his style.

    Reply

  14. questions says:

    Prof up on AJ — the non-Tahrir Sq. view — sympathetic to the protesters before Mubarak’s speech, but then less sympathy for demonstrators after.
    “What does it matter if he steps down now or in 6 months” — and then another shift because of the attacks on the protesters —
    so public opinion in Egypt is shifting, and it’s not all located in Tahrir Sq. We get a distorted view of what “Egypt” wants……
    So they’ll be playing for this — Shafiq’s apology is aimed at this…..

    Reply

  15. Mark says:

    Steve,
    Went directly to MSNBC’s Maddow site and found you. Again, the link on your end seems a bit awry. Please check it.
    Also, as expected, nice job on Egypt. And a suggestion. My favorite blog, by a mile, remains the all-too-infrequently written Belgravia Dispatch. I highly recommended the Feb. 2 post of its author, Gregory Djerejian, regarding the current situation in Egypt.
    I also find it hilarious, and rather pathetic, that the U.S. media (and, yes, that would include Roger Ailes’s Chop Shop) doesn’t know where to get a decent order of hummus, much less have even the slightest clue about Egyptian domestic politics, basic governmental operations, and/or the Middle East – Non-Bibi Division. So glad our network bosses and Sam Zellian figures chose to invest all that money in nationalizing local murders of young blonds, endless human cockfights between paid pundits on the same three issues, Sarah Palin, and Snooky (and if that name is spelled with an “ie” rather than a “y”, I really could don’t give a damn).
    Keep it up, network bosses and now foreign-bureau-free newspapers. Give us the drivel about “death panels”, communist/socialist/fascist/Marxist/Leninist (sic), the suburban young blond who buys it on the Latin American island during spring break, the latest Charlie Sheen arrest, and every belch from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Make yourselves more worthless with each passing commercial break and Twitter feed.

    Reply

  16. DonS says:

    bbc –
    “Egypt’s prime minister apologizes; military steps in between sides:
    “Egypt’s prime minister apologized Thursday for the violent attacks on protesters yesterday and said the country’s president has asked him to investigate the security chaos.
    “This is a fatal error, and when investigations reveal who is behind this crime and who allowed it to happen, I promise they will be held accountable and will be punished for what they did,”
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/03/egypt.protests/index.html?hpt=T1
    meanwhile the disinformation continues:
    “Suleiman reiterated that the people have been heard, and they should go home and stop demonstrating. ”
    ————–
    “Shafiq and newly-appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman are meeting with the opposition — including protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, state media said Thursday.
    Gallery: Opposing factions clash in Cairo streets
    Mubarak ‘borrowing from book of Saddam’?
    Egyptian military fights fires
    Heavy gunfire heard in Cairo
    CNN reporter’s narrow escape
    “Some opposition groups have rejected meeting invitations.
    “Mounir Abdel-Nour, secretary-general of the secular liberal Wafd Party, said Thursday that his party will not participate.
    “Ayman Nour, leader of the Al-Ghad party, said his group won’t be part of the dialogue, either.
    “And Essam El-Erian of the Muslim Brotherhood said his group was invited, but will not participate in the talks.
    Seems like the only thing to really talk about is that Mubarak needs to go ASAP, and that message is already out there. Th el-Gindy interview highlighted that a concerted group of opposition would meet with the military, not the regime. Splitting the opposition?

    Reply

  17. Mark says:

    Steve,
    You’re link to Maddow don’t (sic) link. Please check it.
    The Maddow I last saw featured lots of Richard Engel and even a surprisingly courageous Brian “NASCAR” Williams, but no you.
    Earlier I complimented your commentary on Egypt. That still stands, of course. However, there’s a strong stench in the air. One gets the feeling Avigdor Lieberman is just itching for his own personal Ariel-Sharon-Visits-The-Temple-Mount Moment, Egyptian style.
    Of course, the foul odor could be Jenny “Poo” Rubin or John P. Normanson. Both are so predictable – and typical.
    Again, check you Maddow link. Thanks.
    P.S. Hi nadine dear, Wiggy, and Wild Bill.

    Reply

  18. Don Bacon says:

    Of course there are all sorts of leverage that any US government can use to influence the behavior of foreign national leaders that have been long-term US puppets, which means that by definition they depend on the US for financial, commercial, military and political support.
    In the financial area there are many opportunities to threaten a recalcitrant leader like Mubarak, from withholding/delaying part of the $1.5bn, actions through the World Bank and other banks, as well as the US Commerce Department, affecting commercial transactions vital to the country, etc.
    Egypt has been a major military recipient of US aid, and the Pentagon has express programs to foster the allegiance of foreign military leaders via military training courses in the US, military liaisons, etc. Promoting foreign military coups has been a specialty of the house.
    The US State Department has leverage via diplomatic pressure, access to personal operatives in the foreign government, curtailment of US AID programs, etc. Any politician can be bought.
    The CIA specializes in fostering foreign agents who can do US bidding as well as the application of threats and “ultimate sanctions” to promote US policy objectives.
    There is also the personal efforts of the president and vice president to apply political leverage not only in the target country but with that country’s important allies. When “the leader of the free world” people may not respond immediately but they do listen. Even Bush-43 verbally (not otherwise) promoted democracy better than Obama.
    The US National Security Policy includes language requiring US world leadership, particularly in the area of human rights and democracy. Leadership of any kind must be earned every day by positive action. Where is it?

    Reply

  19. rc says:

    Looks like the Egyptian army is trying to find a way to transition power without being tarnished.
    This is looking more and more like Turkey as the civilian government emerged slowly with grudging submission by the generals there.
    My guess, Egypt is looking for a way forward along these lines — at least in regard to the tipping of power from a historic military culture to a democracy government taking the lead.

    Reply

  20. rc says:

    #1327: An Egyptian army tank has moved against supporters of President Mubarak as they hurled rocks at anti-Muburak protesters in Tahrir Square, prompting cheers from anti-Mubarak demonstrators, reports Reuters. (BBC)

    Reply

  21. Bill Pearlman says:

    Obama has had the wheels greased for him his entire life. Mubarak is the son of a peasant who was sitting three seats away from Sadat when the peaceful happy go lucky lads of the muslim brotherhood ventilated him with machine guns. Why does anybody think he is going to dry up and blow away just because the community organizer says something or Clinton.

    Reply

  22. DonS says:

    (Steve Clemons)
    “The deeper issue is that the violence you see is a violaton of the social contact between Obama and Mubarak. Obama said no violence . . . absolutely no violence . . . Mubarak has broken the deal . . I don’t know what our real leverage is . . . people in the WH are scrambling . . . see a ratcheting up of the rhetoric”.
    ” The mistake the analysts and media made is to think Gamal Mubarak would not stick around . . From sources I have Gamal Mubarak is the one running the show . . . the NDP, which has hired these thugs is the equivalent of the state in this case”
    “if there is a large scale of violence will the military do the right thing and start rounding up the police and the thugs . . . and put an end to the Mubarak franchise, if you will . . . the US and others will create very harsh condition for militaries who have great relations with us and they know they will not enjoy those relations in the future”
    Tienamen or Prague???
    Military has to take on thugs and police run by the NDP. Don’t know it will have. Obama “hope” for this to happen

    Reply

  23. rc says:

    Try BBC — it is ok as well although they cut in & out with other stories.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698
    Looks like troops are moving in (not just tanks), and it seems the tanks have symbolically moved their turrets away from pointing inwards at the democracy demonstrators to now pointing towards the government ‘supporters’.

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    From JPost:
    Egyptian army starts rounding up journalists — ?? protective custody??
    Jordan talking to MB about electoral reforms
    Egypt PM thinks the violence was a mistake and calls for investigations
    And Gaza finances:
    http://www.jpost.com/ArtsAndCulture/Entertainment/Article.aspx?id=205326

    Reply

  25. Dan Kervick says:

    I can’t access Al Jazeera English right now, but you can watch them on You Tube.
    Reports today of several Al Jazeera and New York Times journalists being detained.

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    Is A J streaming working for anyone?
    Lots of news stories on NYT site and WaPo….
    And Dan, I’d add that it was probably a fantasy at any time that the US could make a demand and it would be fulfilled. Demands are fulfilled when they square with all parties involved. That’s been my AIPAC take all along, as well.
    What Mubarak wants it seems is to hand Egypt over to his son, or if Steve is right, what Jr. wants is to get that country to be his in deed and not just in word. If the US agreed to this, then it would look like the US was getting what it wanted, but in reality, Mubarak Jr would be the one getting what he wanted.
    Mr. Mondo isn’t a great analyst, in my view at any rate.

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m surprised that so many people, including Philip Weiss, still entertain illusions of US omnipotence, and assume that whatever either the US president or the “American establishment” wants automatically happens with just a snap of their fingers. The clear message that we are in a new era of diminished American power doesn’t seem to have gotten through to everyone. But the days of White House puppet masters pulling all the strings of world governments and dictating global political outcomes from inside the beltway are long gone.
    We have just gone through a decade in which all manner of things that have been supported by the the US government and the New York York Times editorial page DIDN’T HAPPEN. Remember the cakewalk in Iraq that was going to nudge the Saddam Hussein regime aside in a couple of weeks to bring down the cascade of flowers from the Iraqi people just waiting to be liberated? No – because it didn’t happen. Remember the easy three week win in Afghanistan that ushered in the new liberal democratic era in that country? Fail. Remember how easy it was for Washington to get rid of Chavez, and Morales, and Correa? What’s that you say? They’re still there?
    We don’t live in the 1960’s any more.

    Reply

  28. Warren Metzler says:

    I disagree with Steve’s analysis. The Pentagon has no scruples regarding democracy at all. After all, almost every despotic and tyrannical South American military person was trained by the US military in Panama or at Fort Benning, Georgia.
    Secondly, I suggest the police disappeared because the Mubarak regime, like all dictators, are inherent cowards. And the same will be true of these latest thugs.
    But something amazing has just occurred; the Prime Minister of Egypt just appeared on television apologizing for the thugs, claiming it is unacceptable, and will be thoroughly investigated. And that the Army will separate and deal vigorously all such people. I think Steve’s wish for a Prague spring is about to happen. It is hard to believe that once the military moves against an administration, that administration can last for much longer. And I think Mubarak made a serious mistake when he claimed he will not leave, because most such statements become “famous last words”.
    I suggest that Bill Pearlman, Nadine and Wigwag go out and by some medicine for severe tremors in ones footwear. Because Egypt as a democracy will not tolerate the evil, totally immoral, oppressive actions of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people. And maybe now the PLO will exist the scene, and real leadership arise that will force Israel to move into reality.
    Oh my, what a lovely time to live: watching the Arab equivalent of the USSR collapse into an irrelevant heap. And to savor the fate of all those government and Washington types who spend all their time trying to force the rest of the world to do its bidding.
    Long live democracy and people exercising their rights to live as they each wish.

    Reply

  29. rc says:

    It is not about the galaxy — it is about Washington DC where your statement clearly fails.

    Reply

  30. samuelburke says:

    How About a Clean Break

    Reply

  31. samuelburke says:

    Neocons have abandoned Mubarak. Why?
    by PHILIP WEISS on FEBRUARY 2, 2011
    Tomorrow’s New York Times reflects clearly what was evident on
    television tonight: the American establishment and the Obama
    administration too have turned harshly on Mubarak. This is great
    news. It means that he will be gone soon with surprisingly little
    bloodshed (I have my fingers crossed); and Egypt has carved out
    a heroic chapter in history. Events never feel so good as this
    one, shattering and positive.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/02/neocons-have-abandoned-
    mubarak-why.html

    Reply

  32. Keith says:

    I keep wondering how the 78 million or so Egyptians who are not demonstrating in the major cities feel about Mubarak. No doubt some legitimately support him or have no serious complaints, perhaps owing their jobs or status to his regime, while many others are too poor and marginalized to care who happens to head the government. I suppose in a polite world the Egyptians could have held a referendum on Mubarak conducted by an international team to ensure credibility and acceptance of the outcome.

    Reply

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