Mubarak goes

February 12th, 2011 at 9:42 am by David Farrar

Yesterday on Twitter, an amusing tweet said “Uninstallation of Egyption dictator is 99.9% complete” and today it made 100%.

AP report:

Fireworks burst over Tahrir Square and exploded with joy and tears of relief after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak with a momentous march on his palaces and state TV.

Mubarak, who until the end seemed unable to grasp the depth of resentment over his three decades of authoritarian rule, finally resigned Friday and handed power to the military. …

Thousands from around the capital converged on the celebrating crowd in Tahrir, or Liberation, Square, the epicenter of the stunning protest movement that was started by a small core of secular, liberal youth activists on the Internet and turned into the biggest popular uprising in the Arab world.

The House of Saud may be having a nervous night tonight.

The people of Egypt have been freed. There is no justification for one man to rule as dictator for 30 years, and few should regret Mubarak going. Yes, he provided surface stability, but dictatorships almost always cause resentment and radicalism.

It is too early to know how the military will introduce democratic rule, and what risks this carries of an Islamist (not Islamic) Government being elected. But from what I could tell the Muslim Brotherhood was not the main organiser of the protests, and a vote against Mubarak does not mean it will be a vote for them.

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77 Responses to “Mubarak goes”

  1. Caleb (467 comments) says:

    Obama seems quite happy..

    Quite a gamble, considering the stakes.

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  2. kowtow (7,634 comments) says:

    Obama is a fraud. He made a speech the other day (more soaring rhetoric!) to university students in Minnesota telling them it was their generation that brought this about,WTF.
    Their generation weren’t in Cairo. He gets away with so much shite.

    Egypt,
    I don’t care who started this. Islamism is sweeping the Middle East and that’s where this will end.

    Do we have room for 8 million Egyptian Coptics, the indigenous people of Egypt.?

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  3. iMP (2,245 comments) says:

    Fantastic Mubarak has stepped down (or was pushed – more likely). Now we have to watch if the Egyptian army can manage a successful transition. Democracy is too far a leap I think, but a more benevolent leadership might be achievable as long as militant Islamists (like the Muslim Brotherhood) can’t get a dominant hold. It is euphoric today, but this is only a beginning… and the political lessons in Iran, Iraq, Zimbabwae and South Africa don’t bode well.

    The current situation in Egypt is an important opportunity for the US to strengthen its relationship there, militarily and politically as Egyptians look to establish some sort of EG democracy and stability. The EG military likes the US and is US-trained. EG sits on the border between East & West and the secular/Islamic interface culturally and politically. US allies (like Saudi Arabia and Jordan) will be looking for this from the US. However, open elections create space for dark forces to use democracy as an opening (like the National Socialists in Germany in the 1930s who were ‘democratically elected’).

    My prediction is we will see de-stablising influences grow (like car bombings in EG) as Sharia Islamists seek to destabilise EG. Either EG will then fall into a protracted era of factional chaos OR the military will crack down and become a tighter military junta from which will emerge a new EG politics.

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  4. iMP (2,245 comments) says:

    Re Elections in Egypt in September beyond platitudes and generalisations like “Freedom”: think…Winston, Greens, Dunne, Progressives wagging the tail, except with political entities that believe in killing, destabilising and motivated by divinely-sanctioned political agendas (like Sharia). It is an enormous ask of the EG military or any electoral system to ‘manage’ these competing aspirations and differing agendas for the power, resources and position of Egypt in the MEast.

    Democracy -if attempted – will be incredibly messy and fraught with struggle. But the people of EG are entitled to it and to fight it forth (as both Britain, France, and America have all done).

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  5. s.russell (1,563 comments) says:

    This looks a lot like a military coup to me. Which may or may not be a good thing. It may have been the only way Egypt could move forward, but a lot now depends on the military having the wisdom to sweep the stables clean and turn things over to civilians as quickly as possible.

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  6. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    http://whoar.co.nz/2011/mubarak-tortured-for-americaand-the-fbi-trained-his-torturers/

    “..Egypt’s secret police, long accused of torturing suspects and intimidating political opponents of President Hosni Mubarak -

    - received training at the FBI’s facility in Quantico, Virginia -

    - even as US diplomats compiled allegations of brutality against them – according to US State Department cables released by WikiLeaks.

    One cable, dated November 2007 and published by the Telegraph, describes a meeting between the head of the SSIS, Egypt’s secret police, and FBI deputy director John Pistole -

    - in which the secret police chief praises Pistole for the “excellent and strong” cooperation between the two agencies. (Pistole has since been appointed head of the TSA.)

    SSIS chief Abdul Rahman said the FBI’s training sessions at Quantico were of “great benefit” to his agency.

    The cables did not address what sort of training Egyptian secret police received at Quantico – or how many officers were trained there.

    In another cable, dated October 2009, a US diplomat reported on allegations from “credible human rights lawyers” that the SSIS was behind the torture of terrorism suspects held in Egyptian jails.

    Members of a Hezbollah cell arrested in 2008 were tortured “with electric shocks and sleep deprivation to reduce them to a ‘zombie state’,” the cable stated.

    The lawyers “asserted that ‘this kind of torture’ is different from what [name redacted] normally sees -

    - and speculated that a special branch of Interior Ministry State Security (SSIS) could be directing the torture.”

    The history of torture allegations against the SSIS reaches back decades -

    - but allegations have grown since the war on terror was launched after 9/11.

    In a 2007 report, Amnesty International accused the Egyptian government of turning the country into a “torture center” for war on terror suspects.

    “We are now uncovering evidence of Egypt being a destination of choice for third-party or contracted-out torture in the ‘war on terror’,” Amnesty’s Kate Allen said at the time.

    The Egyptian government acknowledged in 2005 that the US had transferred 60 to 70 detainees to Egypt since 2001….” (cont..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  7. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    And Bradley Manning is being held at…guess where…Quantico!

    Poor bugger.

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  8. markm (98 comments) says:

    gee PhilU how shocking terrorists being tortured , to gain information on their future murderous intentions.
    i mean , keeping people who have no compunction to murder innocent men , women and children, up late at night is shocking.

    These terrorist mates of yours Phil Ure are the same ones trying to bring democracy down in israel and elsewhere.
    but of course to you democracy is only acceptable if its not western (read USA ) supporting.

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  9. tvb (4,208 comments) says:

    The US could not continue to place all their hopes on an 80 year old man surviving in power for too much longer. So they facilitated a transfer of power mainly through the armed forces where American influence runs deep. There will be a transition to a secular modern state probably a bit like Turkey. But at least this transition by the US did not involve the huge costs that Iraq did. The US literally cannot afford a transfer in power the Iraq way.

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  10. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    a big torture supporter…are you..there…markm

    “..These terrorist mates of yours Phil Ure ..”

    don’t know any of them..personally…

    you do know..that egypt is perhaps the most secular of arab states…eh..?

    so i’d hold those islamic-phobia-fears at bay for a while…

    ..and democracy..surely…is the will of the people…making a free choice…

    …and this is what the army chiefs are promising…

    ..and all within a set time-frame…

    …so whatever the outcome..

    …the people would have chosen it…eh..?

    ..and that’s called democracy..

    ..(‘american-supporting’…or not…)

    so..suck it up..!

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  11. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    http://whoar.co.nz/2011/how-the-mubarak-family-made-its-billions/

    …In his first speech to the country, the new president of Egypt promised “not to commit myself to what I cannot implement, hide the truth from the people, or be lenient with corruption and disorder.”

    That was Hosni Mubarak in 1981, taking the reins of his proud country in the wake of Anwar Sadat’s assassination and expressing a determination to steer Egypt in a new direction.

    During a crackdown on profiteering by politically-connected wealthy businessmen, Sadat’s half-brother and his sons were jailed and handed steep fines.

    Several dozen prominent members of Sadat’s circle were slapped with criminal charges for misusing their power and other corrupt practices.

    Mubarak was known for his “rigid personal probity,” according to a 1990 New York Times profile – which noted that “his family has not profited from his office.”

    But over the last 20 years, Mubarak, his family and his close circle of advisers have enriched themselves through partnerships in powerful Egyptian companies -

    - profiting from their political power – according to numerous reports.

    The 82-year-old leader and his two sons also wield the levers of the government – including the military and the country’s preeminent political party -

    - to reward friends and punish enemies…” (cont..)

    (for thirty long years…)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  12. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    I guess NZ will ban any contact with the interim Egyptian Government seeing we are so against the military running countries even when they do a good job of it. :)

    No worries though the Chinese will be only to happy to assist.

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  13. RRM (9,467 comments) says:

    I can’t follow that link to the AP report, though I see stuff has it.

    Here is the Al Jazeera report, it is a lot less breathless!
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201121125158705862.html

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  14. KevinH (1,131 comments) says:

    As alluded to in Philus’ posts, Mubaraks’ Secret Police were hated by the rank and file Eygptian citizen who basically lived in fear that even a minor indiscretion could have life threatening consequences.
    Most certainly with Mubaraks’ departure a power vacuum will develope until the Army and remaining politicians come to grips with the changed regime, therefore the potential for an Iraq type disorder is possible.
    An Islamic government will be an almost certainty in Eygpt on demographics alone and it will remain to seen how that developes in the near future.

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  15. snice1 (28 comments) says:

    @Philu,

    Interesting post ref torture, but I’m not convinced torture is the MO for the FBI. My guess is that theses are more “home grown” skills.

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  16. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    I fear this will be another case of starry eyed leftists dancing in the streets patting each other on the back for bringing down the evil dictator. Ask any of these idealistic halfwits about what comes next & they’ll stare at you like a possum in the headlights before mumbling crap about free elections, peace & democracy. They are so full of shit that they ignore the 90% possibility of Egypt becoming a theocracy, reemerging as a dictatorship or turning into a corrupt basket case similar to most other recently “liberated” nations.

    Will the last Westerner leaving Egypt turn out the lights. May as well take the bulbs too…… it’s doubtful that the Brotherhood will let the Egyptians use them for another hundred years or so.

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  17. RRM (9,467 comments) says:

    nasska Says:

    I fear this will be another case of starry eyed leftists dancing in the streets

    You’re a dick!

    Yes you are!

    It just beggars belief that somehow you can make this about “the left”…

    http://facepwn.com/posters/stfu+gtfo.jpg

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  18. reid (15,954 comments) says:

    at least this transition by the US did not involve the huge costs that Iraq did. The US literally cannot afford a transfer in power the Iraq way.

    As I said when all this started, I’m wondering what price the US (and Israel) is extracting for this coup.

    Is it an adjusted attitude toward Iran?

    The fact the main “democratic” candidate is a strong Israel-firster, is interesting to me.

    I’m also wondering why it is that even some of the more astute people on this blog appear to imagine it’s got anything at all to do with spontaneous grassroots uprising. I mean come on people. Can’t you recognise one of Brezezhinsky’s trademark colour revolutions when they happen? I’m not saying he in particular did it, necessarily. All I’m saying is it’s his model they’ve used.

    Another interesting thing to me is that Brzezhinsky was a very strong behind the scenes senior advisor on Obama’s campaign. Isn’t that interesting.

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  19. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..My guess is that theses are more “home grown” skills…”

    agreed that thirty years of torture wd have developed ‘home-grown skills’..

    the key point around that..in the report..is the noting of the new means of torture..

    ..the actual physical reality of the fbi training them..
    .
    ..and of course the transfer by america..of prisoners to be tortured…

    and that nasska is a total ‘richard’…eh..?

    ..the old ‘turn out the lights’ claim too..!

    ..really scaremongering-retro that one..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  20. iMP (2,245 comments) says:

    Reid: Israel or America have nothing to do with this uprising, as it severely threatens both their interests in the region, and frankly, Israel must be wetting its pants. To attribute their manipulations to this is silly.

    It is obviously a grassroots uprising (throwing off poverty, joblessness and oppression): a dictatorial regime as out of touch as Mubarak’s cannot organise that many people onto the streets; and just listen to their sentiments on camera in the streets, on twitter, facebook etc. It’s obviously a people-led revolution and intl. govt.s are as confused as everyone watching it unfold.

    Betcha boots Muslim Brotherhood have already met to discuss logistics for the Sept. elections.

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  21. reid (15,954 comments) says:

    iMP, if you really think that it’s a grassroots uprising then you don’t really understand how the great game is played and if you think there isn’t one, you’re mistaken.

    But until you realise there is and it’s happening right now, I can’t do much about it. Fact is iMP, hardly anything of regional significance in the ME happens “spontaneously.” It just doesn’t.

    In addition, if you don’t read any significance into the fact the front running candidate is a strong Israel-firster and we happen to be in the ME then crikey.

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  22. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    utter horseshit..reid…

    ..as lenin said…(no..not the beatle..)

    ..’sometines nothing happens for decades…

    ..then decades happen in a week..’..

    (i think..!..don’t torture me if i slightly mis-quoted..!..)

    but you get the drift…

    ..but this has all come as a huge surprise to the powers-that-be…..

    ..and is but the start of a rolling revolutionary earthquake in that part of the world…

    …do you really think the other oppressed peoples in that region aren’t going to rise up…?

    (does ‘great game’ fit with yr paranoid rightwing fantasies..there..reid..?)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  23. reid (15,954 comments) says:

    phil I’m not surprised you don’t get it. I am surprised about iMP however.

    …do you really think the other oppressed peoples in that region aren’t going to rise up…?

    No I think the Kurds will be the next phil. You see, the Isrealis have been busily making friends with them since 2003 and their homelands are on most of the Iraqi oilfields. Isn’t that convenient. So they’re coming up, as well. Why?

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  24. kowtow (7,634 comments) says:

    Just watched Jeremy al Bowens (BBC) coverage from the square.

    For “secularists” there sure was a lot of Allahu akbars being bandied about.

    re Turkey some here call it a modern secular state. It is none of those things and is currently undergoing a creeping Islamisation. Open your eyes and stop the wishful thinking.

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  25. reid (15,954 comments) says:

    BTW, to phil and iMP and other like-minded people, I can’t prove I’m right and you can’t prove I’m wrong, barring a fortuitous wikileak covering this very event.

    That being the case, we’ll just have to wait and see what Egypt does, vis-a-vis its attitude toward Iran, won’t we. That’s about it really. I’m simply predicting what’s going to happen, and we’ll just have to wait and see.

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  26. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Good to see that you progressives never change your arguments or ideals. Even as you are gently spoonfed with the truth you continue to attack the man rather than address the facts.

    In case my prophesies seem a little reactionary have a quick run through the events leading up to the 1979 Iranian Revolution. That turned out well for the Iranians didn’t it? There a monarchy similarly accused of brutality & corruption yet supported by the military was overthrown. In it’s place the Iranians received an Islamic Theocracy, accused of brutality & corrupt elections yet still supported by the military. As an added bonus instead of fearing torture by the military they can be tortured by the religious police as well.

    Not too much different to the current situation in Egypt is it?

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  27. Ruth (178 comments) says:

    DPF said There is no justification for one man to rule as dictator for 30 years

    Absolutely correct. And as another commenter said, it is bizarre to try and promote his removal as a ‘leftist’ cause.

    Anyone who sees themselves as remotely classically liberal cannot support dictatorships. The reaction of a few ‘libertarians’ in NZ has been somewhat strange. In this instance DPF has shown he has more libertarian credentials than most.

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  28. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    as has been pointed out by those knowing the region..

    egypt is not iraq…(and comparisons are false/flawed…)

    in yr colour-schemed-skin view of the world…i am sure ‘they are all the same’…eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  29. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Ruth said…
    The reaction of a few ‘libertarians’ in NZ has been somewhat strange.

    I think that Libertarianz Congressman Ron Paul has a valid point. The US shouldn’t take sides in the mid-east. If the people there want a repressive Islamic state then so be it. Let them decide their own fate. If it is a system that fucks everyone up, then it is their decision. There should not be any hard feeling about it from his point of view. However if a mid-east hostile country, fucks with the security of the US, then that country should pay the price with the full might of the US military coming after them, since it is constitutional to do so. The US should just get in, do the job , then get out and there shouldn’t be any nation building afterward.

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  30. Ruth (178 comments) says:

    I agree Fisi. The thing is many libertarians here think *everything* Islamic is bad by default. That is not the case.

    I have been optimistic about the Middle East for about 4 years now. I do believe we are on the verge of an Islamic Renaissance. And if we are not, the West can deal with it as you say. But let’s give them a chance.

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  31. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    No I think the Kurds will be the next phil. You see, the Isrealis have been busily making friends with them since 2003 and their homelands are on most of the Iraqi oilfields.

    Oil’s in the south, Kurds in the north.

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  32. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    Anyone who sees themselves as remotely classically liberal cannot support dictatorships.

    No one’s supporting dictatorships, it’s just that some people don’t see “Western Style Democracy” as one of the options listed. At the moment, it’s one military dictator gone, but the country is still run by the military. Potentially, the only difference is that we don’t know the name of the new military dictator.

    It remains to be seen what government eventually gets setup, I would consider this “out of the fry-pan into the fire” at the moment.

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  33. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    reid said:..

    “..No I think the Kurds will be the next phil. You see, the Isrealis have been busily making friends with them since 2003 and their homelands are on most of the Iraqi oilfields. Isn’t that convenient. So they’re coming up, as well. Why?..”

    scrubone said:..

    “..Oil’s in the south, Kurds in the north…”

    heh..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  34. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    Not quite correct chaps.

    http://www.rigzone.com/news/image_detail.asp?img_id=6090&a_id=83440

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  35. reid (15,954 comments) says:

    “..Oil’s in the south, Kurds in the north…”

    heh..!

    Er…

    http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2010/04/09/Iraq-stability-hinges-on-fate-of-oil-city/UPI-10321270836055/

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  36. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    Stop being a party pooper reid. :)

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  37. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Ruth @ 2.55pm

    “I have been optimistic about the Middle East for about 4 years now. I do believe we are on the verge of an Islamic Renaissance.”

    I have the exact polar opposite opinion but I’d appreciate reading what you base your belief on. Could you elaborate?

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  38. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    How long before the ” disappearances ” start.?

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  39. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    that’s what you get for believing scrubone…

    so..reid…is it the illuminati…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  40. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    Mubarak won’t get to “disappear” his ill gotten gains too easily at least.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/4650153/Switzerland-freezes-Mubarak-assets

    Pity the Swiss weren’t quite so quick off the mark with freezing assets in 1945.

    Wonderful race of people the Swiss. :)

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  41. mudrunner (88 comments) says:

    I find this American “direction” that there next be democracy in Egypt something I’m very uncomfortable with. Same for its demands for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Political and commercial stability for the area is critical.

    Democracy has yet to be proven as the best system for the future for the world and a hasty to an Egypt with democracy may not be the correct next step along the path to whatever its final and best political state.

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  42. Ruth (178 comments) says:

    Ruth @ 2.55pm

    “I have been optimistic about the Middle East for about 4 years now. I do believe we are on the verge of an Islamic Renaissance.”

    I have the exact polar opposite opinion but I’d appreciate reading what you base your belief on. Could you elaborate?

    Because this overthrow has happened. I was , and am, optimistic because of the knowledge economy. Because of the internet amongst other things.

    When people have knowledge you can only oppress them for so long.

    I expect contagion into the House of Saud and others.

    In spite of the “I love freedom’ rhetoric, many on the libertarian right seem to be hiding under their beds, scared that Middle Eastern folk may get the freedoms they take for granted.

    Bit of a litmus test, I think.

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  43. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    mudrunner @ 4.23pm

    There seems to be little support for military backed dictatorships & you are unconvinced that western style democracy will provide the answer to Egypt’s problems.

    What do you see as an acceptable alternative?

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  44. gnadsmasher (47 comments) says:

    An interesting and objective analysis of what is really happening: http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2011/02/why-a-putsch-is-not-a-revolution/

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  45. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Ruth @ 4.35pm

    The internet & the knowledge economy are tools that can be used to improve the lives of most of the world’s population. Trouble is the people have to have the freedom to use the internet & this can be withheld. Witness the recent Egyptian attempt to shut down the internet, heavy censorship in China & the brutal way people in Iran were banned from sharing their pain with the world during the last unrest. Germany did the same with radio in WW2.

    The point is that the internet can only be used for good when political regimes allow it. Army dictatorships & Islamic theocracies need to keep their subjects ignorant & fearful.

    Agree that the House of Saud will be counting down it’s last days. As an aside my views would place me as a right leaning libertarian but I would be exceedingly happy for the ME to have the same freedoms we enjoy.

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  46. mudrunner (88 comments) says:

    nasska
    Feb 12 at 4:39 pm

    … “There seems to be little support for military backed dictatorships & you are unconvinced that western style democracy will provide the answer to Egypt’s problems.

    What do you see as an acceptable alternative?”

    Fair question and I don’t know the best interim solution. As I said, democracy may not be the “correct next step”.

    How can countries that have never known a democratic government leap straight into electing one in a very few months and be stable, better for the people and the region etc?

    My best choice would be an interim UN or Army backed phase to ensure continuity and prepare the people of Egypt for a democratic process. Time up to two years.

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  47. reid (15,954 comments) says:

    so..reid…is it the illuminati…?

    No why would you think that phil unless you think they really do control the world via their stranglehold on every economy except for Iran, Cuba and North Korea’s, which are the only ones left without a central banking system (Iraq used to not have one as well but now it does). I don’t know if that’s what you think phil but are you suggesting Egypt is part of their plan? Well of course it is. Don’t you know anything at all? Crikey.

    It’s however the details of this particular move in the great game that we’re currently discussing.

    Do you really think it was a spontaneous uprising? What did you study in your Masters degree in Political Studies? Did you ever do any international work at all? Ever? It’s just that you seem to understand nothing whatsoever about how it works. Not in any way. It’s ridiculous to suggest a Brzezhinsky-inspired revolution is beyond the pale, if you know anything about who Brzezhinsky is. He’s not some conspiracy figure you mental fuckhead. He was the architect behind the colour revolutions in Eastern Europe and a few others besides. He was a highly placed advisor in Obama’s campaign team. It is his modus operandi that is all over this Egyptian thing and I’m simply putting those facts forward.

    If you don’t know who he is phil do some basic research in the junior big-print geopolitical series with the big words taken out. That’s a start anyway. Try not to poke your tongue out of the side of your mouth as you grapple with the strange and unusual concepts explained therein, it just makes you look as if you don’t know what you’re doing.

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  48. iMP (2,245 comments) says:

    My electrician is an illuminati.

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  49. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    My electrician is an Irish Illuminati. His name is Sean Dillear.

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  50. reid (15,954 comments) says:

    Agree that the House of Saud will be counting down it’s last days.

    Why do you both think the House of Saud is under threat. From where?

    My electrician is an illuminati.

    You should ask him for the special lightbulbs that never burn out iMP. They’re really good. It’s quite a complicated recognition signal however, so you should practice. Give us an email offline and I’ll talk you through it.

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  51. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Reid @ 5.48

    If the House of Saud falls it will be from within SA & because of the domino effect. The monarchy in Saudi Arabia would be seen as too pro USA by the religious zealots & they may see the Egyptian crisis as an opportunity. From their point of view little would change if the monarchy was abolished as the country is already a hardline Muslim state.

    Jordan could go the same way.

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  52. ISeeRed (244 comments) says:

    More link-whoring from philu. When you gonna flush this turd, DF?

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  53. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    So a socialist dictator gets overthrown, dickhead journalists are finally able to credit this to Ebola’s crappy Cairo speech and Communists get to hijack revolutionary celebrations (even if it is here and not in Egypt – nice one Unite!). Wins all around, I think. I like that.

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  54. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    I’d recommend you all temper your optimism about Egyptian democracy as well. Not only is Egypt now a military dictatorship until at least September, there’s also the amount of control the military has on the Egyptian economy. To whit:

    The practical demands of the protesters seem fairly simple: end the state of emergency, hold new elections, and grant the freedom to form parties without state interference. But these demands would amount to opening up the political space to everyone across Egypt’s social and political structure. That would involve constitutional and statutory changes, such as reforming Egypt as a parliamentary rather than a presidential system, in which a freely elected majority selects the prime minister (who is now appointed by the president). These changes would wipe away the power structure the army created in 1952 and has backed since.

    A freely elected parliament and a reconstituted government would weaken the role of the presidency, a position the military is likely to try to keep in its portfolio. Moreover, open elections could hand the new business elites power in parliament where they could work to limit the role of the army in the economy. This would put the army’s vast economic holdings — from the ubiquitous propane cylinders that provide all Egyptian homes with cooking gas to clothing, food, and hotels — in jeopardy. Moreover, the army has always preferred that the country be orderly and hierarchical. It is uncomfortable with the growing participatory festival on the streets and, even if the officers were to tolerate more contestation than their grandfathers did in the 1950s, they would likely try to limit participation in politics to those whose lives have been spent in the military by retaining the system of presidential appointment for government ministers.

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  55. reid (15,954 comments) says:

    The monarchy in Saudi Arabia would be seen as too pro USA by the religious zealots & they may see the Egyptian crisis as an opportunity.

    I’m sure the zealots see every sliver of opportunity nasska they always do but I’m just curious cause I haven’t noticed any particular sentiment beyond normal against the Fahds. When the oil revenues drop enough to cause cutbacks and quelle horreur, taxes, there will be, but so far I haven’t noticed an uptick and was just asking if you had and if so where.

    It’s a volatile time in the region I agree. Anything could happen.

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  56. big bruv (13,311 comments) says:

    Hurf

    I gotta admit that I have not taken a lot of notice about the events in Egypt, to me it is just a bunch of arabs going nuts again.

    So, can you tell me why the pinkos like Bomber and co are so happy about all this?

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  57. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    It’s due in part to their irrational love of revolutions (they have wet dreams of hanging rich establishment types; a chaotic revolution would be the best time to accomplish this, even if they’d be the first to be chewed up if one happened here) and partly to anti-Americanism: for the last thirty years, Egypt under Mubarak has been a pretty solid ally in so far that he doesn’t scream about intifada and doesn’t pledge to start another war to destroy Israel. As pinkos like Bomber and co are fans of the aforementioned concepts, they jump into bed with the people who preach them. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

    Mentions about people being free are afterthoughts to their ulterior motives.

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  58. adze (1,869 comments) says:

    “So, can you tell me why the pinkos like Bomber and co are so happy about all this?”

    Because “revolution is the opiate of the intellectuals”. – from O Lucky Man! (1973)

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  59. Viking2 (11,138 comments) says:

    So the Egyptians now have democracy while being ruled by the ARMY. Well excuse me can someone with more knowledge than I explain how the Army running a country is a democracy?

    And could you also name some states that this has been successful in.

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  60. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    None Viking2 (which means some of the hype about Egyptians “now being free” is pretty funny), though there have been a few successful military dictatorship to democracy transitions. Some that spring to mind are Spain, Chile and Japan.

    What is it with countries that have five letters in their name and military dictatorships?

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  61. adze (1,869 comments) says:

    Fiji would like to know in particular :)

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  62. Viking2 (11,138 comments) says:

    True a few have made the transition. None that you could name that are run by Islamic Fanaticism.

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  63. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Aye. Even the Turks are falling into the same trap, now the military’s been emasculated from preventing it happen. Sad.

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  64. adze (1,869 comments) says:

    I think Iran has the potential to become a democracy. They have a history of popular uprising and they voted out Ah-my-dinner-jacket in the previous election (the ‘Green Revolution’). Some commentators called this the end of the Islamic Republic and the beginning of a new regime. Maybe Egypt’s example will hearten them to persevere and press for regime change.

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  65. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t surprise me, Adze. They jammed BBC’s Persian broadcasts yesterday to prevent people watching Mubarak’s overthrow. And then Dinner Jacket crawls out and hails “a new Middle East!” Cheeky bastard. An uprising in Jordan or Algeria will be more likely though, I think.

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  66. kowtow (7,634 comments) says:

    NZ TV news reporting local “Egyptians” celebrating. Footage shows lots of red “Unite” flags. News story doesn’t mention who they are. What’s going on?

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  67. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    It’s Communists doing what Communists do best: having wet dreams of what they can’t have and hijacking what’s not theirs.

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  68. emmess (1,371 comments) says:

    So, can you tell me why the pinkos like Bomber and co are so happy about all this?

    Because Bomber and the like are almost certain that Egypt will turn in Anti-American Islamist Iran like state
    I say if the transition is handled properly it probably won’t

    Off the top of my head here is a list of of western backed dictatorships in the last few decades which have succesfully transitioned or transitioning to democracy and are on the whole still friendly to the west or at least not troublesome.

    Portugal
    Spain
    Greece
    Turkey
    Argentina
    Chile
    Uruguay
    Brazil
    Peru
    Mexico
    Phillipines
    South Korea
    Thailand
    Indonesia
    Georgia
    South Africa

    On the other side are only Iran and Venezuela

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  69. Pete George (22,851 comments) says:

    Comparing the risks in Egypt to what happened in Iran thirty two years ago is far too simplistic, and ignores one major change – information exchange. The Internet and cellphones were major means of communication in Egypt, and TV stations are more varied and widespread. All can be shut down, but they make it much harder to control the messages and control the population.

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  70. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    What the Hosni Fan Club here don’t factor in when wailing and gnashing their teeth about Iran is that there is one overriding reason why Iran turned to the Ayotallah – we drove them there. They had nowhere else to go after we removed their democraticallyelected Prime Minister (and Time Man of the Year) Mossadeq and installed the vain and villainous Shah in his place. (Why the coup? The prick actually wanted ownership rights over OUR oil that just happened to be under his feet).

    Like rational people everywhere, Iranians went where they were wanted. It turned out to be a dud hand, but never fear: as the saying goes, we are here to help.

    What do we plan to do to help the ordinary bloke in Iran? Why, bomb the bastard, of course, and entrench a despotic theocracy even more!

    As usual, though, the racism here is palpable. We are good enough for democracy, but not the wogs!

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  71. Manolo (13,375 comments) says:

    Good article by Mark Steyn:

    THE SUPERPOWER AS SPECTATOR

    This is not a happy ending but the beginning of something potentially very dark. The end of the Mubarak regime is the biggest shift in the region in 60 years, since Nasser overthrew King Farouk’s dissolute monarchy and diminished London’s influence in Cairo.

    We are witnessing the unraveling of the American Middle East – that’s to say, of the regimes supported by Washington in the waning of British and French imperial power after the Second World War. The American Middle East was an unlovely place, and perhaps the most obviously repellent illustration of the limitations of “He may be an SOB but he’s our SOB” thinking. It’s “our” SOBs who are in trouble: After the fall of Mubarak, what remains to hold up the Hashemites in Amman? Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood is more radical than Egypt’s, the regime is less ruthless, King Abdullah’s Arabic is worse than his English, and pretty westernized Queen Rania, who seems so cute when CNN interviewers are fawning all over her, is openly despised outside the palace gates.

    Iran is nuclearizing, Turkey is Islamizing, Egypt is …what exactly? Well, we’ll find out.

    But, given that only the army and/or the Muslim Brotherhood are sufficiently organised to govern the nation, the notion that we’re witnessing the youthful buds of any meaningful democracy is deluded. So who’ll come out on top? The generals or the Brothers?

    http://www.steynonline.com/content/view/3716/28

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  72. Manolo (13,375 comments) says:

    An angry dictator and criminal vented his rage before going:

    Mubarak slammed U.S. in phone call with Israeli MK before resignation

    Hosni Mubarak had harsh words for the United States and what he described as its misguided quest for democracy in the Middle East in a telephone call with an Israeli lawmaker a day before he quit as Egypt’s president.

    The legislator, former cabinet minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said on TV Friday that he came away from the 20-minute conversation on Thursday with the feeling the 82-year-old leader realized “it was the end of the Mubarak era”.

    “He had very tough things to say about the United States,” said Ben-Eliezer, a member of the Labor Party who has held talks with Mubarak on numerous occasions while serving in various Israeli coalition governments.

    “He gave me a lesson in democracy and said: ‘We see the democracy the United States spearheaded in Iran and with Hamas, in Gaza, and that’s the fate of the Middle East,’” Ben-Eliezer said.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/mubarak-slammed-u-s-in-phone-call-with-israeli-mk-before-resignation-1.342831

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  73. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Steyn is wrong. Those are not the only choices and I personally think Egypt’s Muslims will note carefully what happened to Hamas, who won a perfectly free election only to be rejected (just who are the rejectionists in the ME is made plain by the Palestine Papers leak) and cast out into the cold at precisely the time it could have forged a peace. That, of course, is why Israel led the charge against democracy in Palestine.

    And as for this:

    We see the democracy the United States spearheaded in Iran and with Hamas, in Gaza, and that’s the fate of the Middle East,’” Ben-Eliezer said.

    how deluded can you get. To say the US spearheaded Iran’s democracy is just truly disconnected with reality. The US fought tooth and nail to keep the Shah in power.

    What the US should have done after the hostage crisis was to turn a new page with Iran and hold out the hand of friendship.

    Trouble is, with the US, the hand of friendship is actually a clenched fist.

    Manolo, you need to widen your reading. Try the list on my blog. Which reminds me: I must update it.

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  74. kowtow (7,634 comments) says:

    Algeria next and the Islamists there are ,like everywhere else ,a very ugly band. Our kebab merchant may even go home to take up his seat in the new parliament there.

    Democracy Algerian style. One man, one vote ,one time.

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  75. tom hunter (4,422 comments) says:

    The US fought tooth and nail to keep the Shah in power…

    It might help if you defined the time period you’re talking about. In the last months of the Shah’s rule then US President Jimmy Carter did nothing to help the Shah. In fact, the Shah and his minions explicitly asked the US if they would support using the Iranian military to crack down, and got a no, After which, things spiraled into an abyss.

    For far-lefters like Luc it’s always 1953, never 1956, when the US used it’s diplomatic and economic muscle to get Israel, Britain and France out of the Suez canal after their attack. No thanks from Nassar for saving his butt of course, and no thanks from the Western Left.

    What the US should have done after the hostage crisis was to turn a new page with Iran and hold out the hand of friendship.

    This may come as a surprise to Luc (I imagine many things do), but attacking and taking over an embassy is actually a violation of one of the oldest pieces of international law (supposedly the same laws the left constantly demand that the West abide by). Moreover, this is not some contentious, recent construction, but a law that every nation has agreed to, and for a long time. Such places are regarded, in law, as the territory of the country in question. The Iranians violated that, not to mention all the people they held as ransom, as they have since violated numerous other such conventions. They’ve made it quite clear that they could not give a damn for international law, normal diplomacy, global opinion, or anything outside themselves and their theological system.

    Even the hardest of hardline communists were never quite that impossible to deal with, which is why the US could negotiate with them, even as it opposed them, in a way they have never been able to with Iran. Iran’s government wants the US as a permanent enemy to aid their own survival. It’s a tactic that the passage of time will erode (the attitudes of Iranian youth to the US being the classic marker) – except for the Western left who will never let go of 1953. In a way it’s quite self-defeating because eventually the targets of the guilt-attack realise that there is nothing they can practically do to obviate the original sin and they walk away from the guilters.

    As far as wider reading is concerned I think everyone should read Among The Believers by V.S Niapaul. It covers a number of Islamic countries, including Iran during the revolution. The latter is quite instructive, especially with the comments of sad, Luc-like figures who found themselves overwhelmed by the Islamists. Possibly a pointer to the future of Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and co., although their militaries have probably absorbed one part of the lesson, even though that won’t make things much better.

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  76. emmess (1,371 comments) says:

    1953 – Let see what else happened in 1953 in world politics
    Well it was the year that one of the worst dictators in human history carked it (Josef Stalin? – ring any bells Luc)
    So, in the context of the times using a bit of covert action to depose someone aligning his country with Stalin’s USSR doesn’t seem so bad does it?
    Maybe if Jimmy Carter had had the balls to pre-empt Khomenei’s return, things in Iran may have turned out much better.

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  77. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Happily providing case studies for my point here: Puke Hansen and Martyn “Dickhead” Bradbury.

    No, no, no – the ‘problem’ is that you have a ‘problem’ Scott. It’s not up to you OR America OR Israel who runs bloody Egypt – it’s the people of Egypt who get to decide that. Perhaps your American and Israeli mates shouldn’t have put a people under oppression for 3 decades? Maybe the military Aid that acts as corporate welfare for the American Military Industrial complex should have gone on fresh water, sanitation, schools and hospitals Scott?

    The problem is that your mindset and the mindset of America and Israel is the problem – you and they don’t have the right or moral authority to dictate who the Egyptians put in power – that is for them to decide.

    The ramifications are that America and Israel will be shitting themselves, and quite frankly, I find that as deeply entertaining as the utter silence from the right wing watching their constructs of hypocrisy fail.

    Don’t cha love how ‘realpolitik’ was castrated in Egypt by something as innocuous as twitter and facebook? I’m glad America and Israel are shitting themselves now that their dictatorship has been overthrown.

    Got to admit though, isn’t it wonderful watching Israel squirm? They need to learn the lesson that oppressive occupation can’t work, I think that lesson is slowly dawning, am looking forward to the concessions for peace they will be forced to adopt once a civilian Government opens up the Egypt Palestine border.

    Twats.

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