Posts tagged ‘Revolution’

2011/03/04

Gaddafi Jr.: Bombs Are ‘Just To Frighten’


In an interview with Sky News, Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi’s son, Saif, said that Libyan Air Force bombing runs conducted against civilians in Brega weren’t intended to cause any injuries.

“The bombs [are] just to frighten them to go away. Not to kill them,” he told Sky News.

The younger Gaddafi said western media reports and videos had created a “big misunderstanding.”

2011/03/04

US To Begin Airlifting Libya’s Refugees


US President Barack Obama today ordered military airlifts to transport refugees, mostly from Egypt, who have massed across the Libyan border in Tunisia. The president also ordered the US Agency for International Development to charter civilian planes to transport refugees from several countries.

“There is a danger of a stalemate that over time could be bloody,” Obama said today. “And that is something that we’re obviously considering. So what I want to make sure of is, is that the United States has full capacity to act – potentially rapidly – if the situation deteriorates in such a way that you had a humanitarian crisis.”

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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.

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2011/03/03

Three Dutch Marines Captured In Libya

[Ed. Note: An update to this post has been added to the end and can be seen after the jump.]

Three Dutch marines are being held by authorities in Libya after they were captured by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi while trying to rescue Dutch workers, a Defense Ministry spokesman said today.

The three, crew members of a Dutch naval helicopter from the HMS Tromp, were “surrounded by armed Libyan forces late on Sunday afternoon” after landing near the Gaddafi hometown of Sirte. The Tromp has been anchored off Libya’s coast to assist with evacuations from the conflict torn country, spokesman Otto Beeksma told the Associated Press.

Asked if the Dutch government considered the marines hostages, Beeksma said, “they are being held by Libyan authorities.”

Government officials had kept word of the capture a secret until the Dutch daily De Telegraaf broke the story.

“These are situations that benefit from total secrecy because then you can carry out discussions in peace to ensure these people get home safely,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

The Netherlands is now engaged in “intensive negotiations” with Gaddafi’s government to secure the marines’ release, Beeksma said.

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2011/03/02

Shared Bonds Boost Anti-Gaddafi Forces

The people of Libya are closer than ever to freedom from the 42-year-long rule of the world’s longest serving leader in the Arab world, Muammar Gaddafi. Though notorious for severely repressing opposition movements, Libyans no longer fear their government and are now closer than ever to changing it. The Libyan people’s direct confrontation with the Gaddafi dictatorship highlights the many factors that have brought them closer than ever to their long-awaited goal.

One of the main contributors to unrest in the country lies in Libya’s economic sector. Libya is one of the richest Arab nations in terms of its natural resources particularly oil. The country exports approximately 1.5 million barrels per day, yet approximately one-third of Libyans live at or below the poverty line.

Aside from facing economic challenges, Libya also enjoys the unique position of being “sandwiched” between the Arab world’s two successful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. This provides not only inspiration but also logistical support to popular revolt in Libya. It is therefore no surprise that the Libyan revolution began and has been most robust in the easternmost part of the country where people enjoy close relationships with their Egyptian neighbors.

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2011/02/26

Gaddafi’s Grip On Tripoli Slipping Away


Poor neighborhoods in the Libyan capital of Tripoli openly defied Muammar Gaddafi on Saturday as his grip on power after 41 years of rule looked increasingly tenuous in the face of nationwide revolt.

Security forces had abandoned the working-class Tajoura district after five days of anti-government demonstrations, residents told foreign correspondents who visited the area.

Foreign journalists allowed into Tripoli for the first time since protests engulfed Libya saw the scars of rebellion during a closely-monitored guided press tour arranged by government officials: a burned police station with piles of ashes outside, walls covered with anti-Gaddafi graffiti and shattered glass and rocks in the streets.

The New York Times called the day’s events as “a bold play by Qaddafi to prove that he was firmly in control of Libya [that] appeared to backfire Saturday as foreign journalists he invited to the capital discovered blocks of the city in open revolt.”

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2011/02/21

Time For West To See The Distinctions

There has been a tendency among western commentators during the past few weeks of popular uprising in the Middle East and north Africa to interpret the events as occurring along starkly defined fault lines.

There are the people versus the regime; Islamists versus the secular; and autocratic, corrupt rulers pitted against a popular desire for democracy, human rights and economic inclusion. All of which contains some truths, but it remains a partial picture.

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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.

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2011/02/11

World Leaders Comment On Eygpt


 
US President Barack Obama: The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential.

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2011/02/11

THE REVOLUTION IN EGYPT – Live Updates

MUBARAK IS FORCED OUT – ARMY IN CHARGE FOR NOW


 
UPDATE 18:29 GMT: On state TV, Egypt’s Supreme Military Council makes very brief statement thanking both Mubarak for his 30 year’s of service and appreciation to the martyrs of Tahrir Square. Suleiman seems to be out of the picture.

UPDATE 16:19 GMT: Jubilant reaction in Cairo’s Tahrir Square (via Al Jazeera English, CNN and CBS, respectively):
 
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UPDATE 16:06 GMT: Suleiman’s complete statement: “In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country. May God help everybody.”

UPDATE 16:02 GMT: Military council to run affairs of the country, Suleiman says.

UPDATE 16:02 GMT: Suleiman, on state TV, announces that Mubarak has stepped down. Crowds in Tahrir Square and elsewhere jubilant.

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2011/02/10

THE REVOLUTION IN EGYPT – Live Updates

Note: More recent updates are available here.

UPDATE 24:03 GMT: Tweet from “Fake_Dispatch” is making the rounds: “BREAKING: New Facebook upgrade option is called Mubarak. You click on quit and nothing happens.”

UPDATE 23:52 GMT: On the plus side, Egyptians now have a chance to recapture the $70 billion Mubarak family has looted. Works out to USD $84,337.97 per Egyptian.

UPDATE 23:35 GMT: White House statement expected soon. WH was obviously blindsided. Double-crossing, false signals rampant in this episode. Mubarak made references to “foreign” pressure in the open and in the close of his speech.

UPDATE 23:22 GMT: Under Egyptian Constitution, three powers Mubarak did NOT transfer to Suleiman: 1. Power to fire Cabinet, 2. Power to disband Parliament, 3. Power to change Constitution. (My thought, and I’m sure the thoughts of millions of Egyptians): These are BIG loopholes.

UPDATE 23:17 GMT: BBC’s Paul Adams in Tahrir Square says the army seems more nervous than it had been before: “People are talking about the possibility of marches tomorrow, of going to the presidential palace, and that they know that could be a gauntlet to the army. But a number of people were insisting that the army remained neutral, even though there was a slight suspicion they were lied to earlier in the day when they were told ‘tonight you will get all your demands.’ They still believe the army is neutral.”

UPDATE 23:12 GMT: CNN’s Ben Wederman tweet: “It’s amazing how far and how fast relations between the governments of the US and #Egypt have deteriorated.”

UPDATE 22:59 GMT: Obama to meet with national security team to discuss Egypt situation.

UPDATE 22:57 GMT: ElBaradei on CNN, asked if transfer to Suleiman is supportable: “Absolutely not.” Says there’s no difference between Suleiman and Mubarak. Says it’s unclear if army is with Mubarak or with the people.

UPDATE 22:41 GMT: ElBaradei via Twitter: “Egypt will explode. Army must save the country now.”

UPDATE 22:40 GMT: Egyptian Ambassador Sameh Shoukry to US is telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Mubarak has transferred “all power” to Suleiman and that Mubarak retains title but is “president in name only.”

UPDATE 22:34 GMT: French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s first comment on the Mubarak speech: “I hope Egypt gets a democracy, not an Iran-style religious dictatorship.”

UPDATE 22:27 GMT: Comments compiled by Reuters…

Stephen Grand, Brookings Institution: “It was quite surreal. He’s a stubborn old man who refused to see the writing on the wall. I happen to believe the demonstrations will continue, people will continue to push for his ouster and eventually will succeed.”

Robert Springborg, US Naval Postgraduate School: “The speeches tonight are not intended to bring an end to the crisis in a peaceful way but to inflame the situation so there is justification for the imposition of direct military rule. They are risking not only the coherence of the military but even indeed, and I use this term with advisement here, civil war. I think it needs to be made perfectly clear (by outside powers) that Mubarak and his regime are forfeiting Egypt’s future. Egypt is in an economic crisis. It is going to have to be bailed out and the short answer to what they are doing now is that it will not be bailed out with anything like a military regime in place that is associated with Mubarak, Omar Suleiman and these people who are part of this regime.”

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2011/02/10

Egypt Army To Mubarak: Time To Go – Announcement May Come Tonight


Update from The New York Times:
Egypt’s armed forces on Thursday announced that they had begun to take “necessary measures to protect the nation and support the legitimate demands of the people,” a step that suggested the military intends to take a commanding role in administering the strife-torn nation.

The announcement of an enhanced role for the military came as officials in President Hosni Mubarak’s government suggested a momentous shift in power was underway, including a possible transfer of power from Mubarak to his Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Hossan Badrawi, secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP), told Egyptian state news outlets and the BBC that Mubarak would “most probably” speak to the nation soon, and that he would likely step down from his post.



Earlier update from the BBC:
A senior member of Egypt’s governing party has told the BBC he “hopes” that President Hosni Mubarak will transfer power to Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Hossan Badrawi, secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP), said Mubarak would “most probably” speak to the nation on Thursday evening.

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2011/02/01

Letter from Cairo

By Eric Trager
Eric Trager is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Cairo in 2006-7.

For a moment on Saturday afternoon, it seemed as though Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had been ousted in a military coup. At approximately 1:30 PM, Al-Arabiya reported that a rift was developing between Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and Mubarak, and many speculated that Tantawi had refused the president’s orders for the military to fire at protesters in downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

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