Posts tagged ‘Egypt’

2011/03/03

Analysis: Revolutions, Regime Change, and State Collapse in the Arab World

[Ed. Note: The commentary below, abridged from the original available at the Carnegie Middle East Center, provides an important overview of events unfolding throughout the Middle East and North Africa and should serve to temper those swept up in the emotional exuberance of the Arab Awakening and its potential to reorder the lives of millions. The link to the full article is available at the end.]

Of Revolutions, Regime Change, and State Collapse in the Arab World by Marina Ottaway and David Ottaway

With breathtaking speed, massive popular protests across the Arab world have swept away two Arab strongmen and shaken half a dozen monarchies and republics to their core. But the Arab world has yet to witness any fundamental change in ruling elites and even less in the nature of governance.

Libya now seems poised to be the first country to see a true change in governance, thanks to Muammar Qaddafi’s megalomania and his amorphous jamahiriya (state of the masses). But such change may not have a happy ending. The damage Gaddafi has inflicted on his country is likely to extend well past his demise because he leaves behind a weak state without functioning institutions.

The uprisings sweeping across the Middle East have similar causes and share certain conditions: authoritarian and ossified regimes, economic hardship, and a growing contrast between great wealth and dire poverty, all worsened by the extraordinarily large number of young people who demand a better future. But the consequences will not be the same everywhere.

read more »

2011/02/26

Obama Seeking New Mideast Approach

President Obama is challenging his administration to formulate a new Middle East policy that emphasizes political and economic reforms to bolster US allies now threatened by the protest movements sweeping the region.

Administration officials say Obama is urging beleaguered governments to enact reforms that would satisfy the popular craving for change while preserving valuable partnerships on crucial US interests, from oil security to counter-terrorism and containing Iran.

With those allied governments under pressure from their citizens, the US is confronting the likelihood of having diminished influence over whatever political order emerges. But a greater risk is that Washington could be seen as trying to prop up crumbling regimes and could alienate the rising pro-democracy leaders.

Diplomats say it would be difficult for the president to openly call for sweeping political change in such key countries as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, which are run by royal families allied with the West. Direct criticism of longstanding, friendly monarchs could be seen as an abandonment and encourage even more protests.

read more »

2011/02/26

In Egypt, Army Starts To Get Tougher


A rally that brought over 100,000 demonstrators to Egypt’s Tahrir Square was dispersed this morning by Egyptian soldiers firing in the air and using batons and tasers against demonstrators who were demanding that the Hosni Mubarak cabinet be purged by the country’s new military leaders.

Egyptians had gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the two week mark since Mubarak’s removal and to remind the military rulers now in charge of its commitments to the people at the time of Mubarak’s ouster.

One of the commitments was to install a team of technocrats to replace the Mubarak-appointed cabinet. Activists are using the demonstrations to guard against “counter-revolution” of the people’s power.

But after midnight, demonstrators said the military fired in the air, shut off the light from lamp posts, and moved in on protesters to force them to leave the square, in an unusual use of military force against protesters since Mubarak’s fall.

read more »

2011/02/23

Revolution and the Muslim World


Revolution and the Muslim World by George Friedman

The Muslim world, from North Africa to Iran, has experienced a wave of instability in the last few weeks. No regimes have been overthrown yet, although as of this writing, Libya was teetering on the brink.

There have been moments in history where revolution spread in a region or around the world as if it were a wildfire. These moments do not come often. Those that come to mind include 1848, where a rising in France engulfed Europe. There was also 1968, where the demonstrations of what we might call the New Left swept the world: Mexico City, Paris, New York and hundreds of other towns saw anti-war revolutions staged by Marxists and other radicals. Prague saw the Soviets smash a New Leftist government. Even China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution could, by a stretch, be included. In 1989, a wave of unrest, triggered by East Germans wanting to get to the West, generated an uprising in Eastern Europe that overthrew Soviet rule.

read more »

2011/02/21

Egypt’s Prosecutor Seeks Mubarak Loot

Egypt’s public prosecutor on Monday told the foreign ministry to seek a freeze on the foreign assets of Hosni Mubarak and his family, the first sign that the former president would be held to account by the military leadership to whom he handed power.

The prosecutor said in a statement he had asked the foreign ministry to use diplomatic channels to request a freeze on foreign assets and accounts held by Mubarak, his wife Suzanne and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, together with their wives.

A legal representative for Mubarak denied media reports that the former president had amassed enormous wealth in office, the official MENA news agency reported Sunday.

Additional posts on this site regarding Mubarak’s wealth are here and here.

Complete article via Reuters

2011/02/19

Rage, Rap and Revolution

Bobby Ghosh, the author of the below analysis, which focuses on the connections of the younger generation that has just toppled two tyrants, just gave an excellent interview on the Charlie Rose show. One important point he made on the show that is not included in the article is the military’s role in each of the countries experiencing protests.

In Egypt, the Army has traditionally seen its role as the protector of the country. In other states, however, the military’s role is the protection of the regime.

read more »

2011/02/18

Obama’s Choice For Palestine


Obama’s Choice by Henry Siegman, President of the U.S./Middle East Project. This article is based on a study he prepared for the Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre (Noref) in Oslo.

Virtually overnight, the Arab Middle East has been irrevocably transformed. The implications for America’s vital interests in the region and for Israel-Palestine peacemaking will be far-reaching. Most observers seem to agree that Israeli fears of the growing political influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and of a resurgence of Hamas in the West Bank end what little prospect for an Israeli-Palestinian accord might have survived the latest deadlock in the US-brokered peace talks. But in reality there was never the slightest possibility of the parties reaching agreement. Benjamin Netanyahu and his government were convinced they had bested Obama in their confrontation over continued settlement construction, and could now continue gobbling up the West Bank with impunity, disregarding not only American interests but international law and all previous agreements committing Israel to halting the construction of settlements and dismantling all its illegal outposts. (Despite repeated promises, not only were the illegal outposts not removed, many were converted into full-blown settlements.) The long-planned goal of Israel’s colonial enterprise – establishing irreversible control over Palestine through its settlements – was clearly in sight, if not already an accomplished fact.

read more »

2011/02/18

Egypt Military May Block Free Economy

The Egyptian military defends the country, but it also runs day care centers and beach resorts. Its divisions make television sets, jeeps, washing machines, wooden furniture and olive oil, as well as bottled water under a brand reportedly named after a general’s daughter, Safi.

From this vast web of businesses, the military pays no taxes, employs conscripted labor, buys public land on favorable terms and discloses nothing to Parliament or the public.

Since the ouster last week of President Hosni Mubarak, of course, the military also runs the government. And some scholars, economists and business groups say it has already begun taking steps to protect the privileges of its gated economy, discouraging changes that some argue are crucial if Egypt is to emerge as a more stable, prosperous country.

read more »

2011/02/18

How Many Foes?

2011/02/18

Battle Lines Harden Across Mideast, Africa


Security forces and government supporters employed a growing panoply of violent force — from tear gas and batons to shotguns and grenades — in pitched street battles with anti-government protesters in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen on Friday.

The clashes followed a week of deepening unrest as protesters, emboldened by the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, have called for swift revolutions in their own countries. The battle lines between protesters and authoritarian rulers across the Arab world appeared to be hardening, with governments turning to an increasingly brutal script in trying to quash the protests that have swept the region.

read more »

2011/02/18

Egypt’s Missing Raise Doubts About Army

Ramadan Aboul Hassan left his house one night about three weeks ago to join a neighborhood watch group with two friends and did not return. The next time their relatives saw the three men they were emerging Wednesday night from a maximum security prison, 400 miles from home, run by Egypt’s military. Some family members said they bore signs of torture, though others denied it.

While many here have cheered the military for taking over after last week’s ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and for pledging to oversee a transition to democracy, human rights groups say that in the past three weeks the military has also played a documented role in dozens of disappearances and at least 12 cases of torture — trademark practices of the Mubarak government’s notorious security police that most here hoped would end with his exit.

Some, like Mr. Aboul Hassan and his two friends, were not released until several days after the revolution removed Mr. Mubarak.

Now human rights groups say the military’s continuing role in such abuses raises new questions about its ability to midwife Egyptian democracy.

read more »

2011/02/17

Justice Begins: Egypt Arrests Ex-Ministers

An Egyptian prosecutor on Thursday ordered the detention of three ex-ministers and a prominent businessman pending trial on suspicion of wasting public funds.

The prosecutor dealing with financial crimes said former Interior Minister Habib el-Adli, former Tourism Minister Zuhair Garana, former Housing Minister Ahmed el-Maghrabi and steel magnate Ahmed Ezz must be held for 15 days. All four have denied any wrongdoing.

read more »

2011/02/17

Lebanon’s Rivals See What They Want

by Michael Young, author of The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle

Although Hizbollah and Iran hailed the ouster of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak as a political defeat for their enemies, it is not at all certain that Sunnis in some parts of the Arab world, particularly in Lebanon, were distressed by the transformations in Cairo.

Iran’s satisfaction, and that of its Arab followers, derived from a short-term appraisal that Mr Mubarak’s departure was a setback for the United States. However, nothing yet indicates that Washington has “lost” Egypt. In fact, America’s regional role may be strengthened if its Arab friends become more democratic, or just more pluralistic. After all, the protests in Tunisia and Egypt confirmed the deep detestation for – and therefore the fragility of – an American-led network of regional alliances resting on a foundation of despotism.

read more »

2011/02/17

Barbie: We’re All Egyptians Now


For more Barbie – at least the stressed-out, westernized version of Barbie – go here and here

2011/02/16

Egypt: Some Protesters Still Unaccounted

Ed. Note: Not everyone has returned from Tahrir Square. This website is making an urgent personal plea to the Egyptians that come here every hour: Please demand an accounting of your comrades. It is up to you to protect the honor of your Revolution by demanding and receiving a complete accounting of those who stood with you.

“Perhaps he has been killed, he has been injured, he has been detained,” says his father, Mohammed Bakir, at home in the neighborhood of Mohandiseen.

Mohammed says he visited all the hospitals and morgues of Cairo, looking for his son, Ziad Bakir, but found nothing.

Ziad, a 37-year-old father of three, is a graphic designer who was not much interested in politics. But conscious, in late January, that something hugely important was happening.

read more »

2011/02/16

Israeli FM Says Iran Warships To Transit Suez Canal – Is ‘Provocation,’ ‘Insolence’


Israel’s foreign minister claimed Wednesday that Iran is about to send two warships through the Suez Canal for the first time in years, calling it a “provocation,” but he offered no evidence. The Egyptian authority that runs the canal denied it but pointed out that all ships were free to do so as long as they did not come from a country at war with Egypt.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the ships would cross later Wednesday, en route to Syria. He did not say how he knew it.

“This is a provocation that proves that Iranian audacity and insolence are increasing,” he said in a statement.

read more »

2011/02/16

How Egypt Found Internet’s ‘Off’ Button

In the Egyptian Revolution, the mobilizing power of the Internet was one of the opposition’s most potent weapons. But quickly lost in the swirl of revolution was the government’s ferocious counterattack, a dark achievement that many had thought impossible in the age of global connectedness. Just after midnight on Jan. 28, a technologically advanced country with more than 20 million people online was essentially severed from the global Internet.

The blackout was lifted after just five days, and it did not save Hosni Mubarak. But it has mesmerized the worldwide technical community and raised concerns that with unrest coursing through the Middle East, other autocratic governments – many of them already known to interfere with and filter specific Web sites and e-mails — may also possess what is essentially a kill switch for the Internet.

read more »

2011/02/16

US Reporter Was Sexually Attacked In Egypt During Tahrir Square Celebration


CBS News’ Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Lara Logan, was subjected to “a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating” while covering the Egyptian protests, according to a statement released by CBS News today.

The CBS statement said “on the day Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a ’60 Minutes’ story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration.

Complete article via World Scene Today

%d bloggers like this: