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Old 02-05-2011, 03:58 AM   #166
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Received word yesterday that my 2nd aunt's husband had to shoot a man who was trying to break into their home.

Horrific what's going on. Half of my family is from Egypt, although most lives here now. As disconnect as I am from family affairs at the moment, I do believe that my father is making an attempt at getting his cousin out (we're Christian, they worked in the tourist industry, and therefore any outcome from now on out is absolutely useless to our family).
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:53 AM   #167
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I hope your family is safe.
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:22 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by The_Pac_Mule View Post
Look at the protests in Iran, and how badly those ended. The people won't be able to change how that country is run, at least not for a very long time.
Well, maybe if we take our lessons from Iran, things could perhaps end differently this time. 'Cause if the people won't be in control, who will? I just really don't like the idea of us going in and doing the exact same thing we just did with Mubarak. We supported this government, and look how well it turned out for them and us. And now we think we should do it again?

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Originally Posted by The_Pac_Mule View Post
At the same time, a lot of the time the people don't choose very wisely. The Palestinians elected Hamas for example, as I think was previosuly mentioned. Even Hitler; he wasn't exactly elected, but the majority of the people decided they wanted him to run the country.
One could argue that we've made horrible decisions in our history as to who should run our country, too *Shrugs*. No country is perfect in that regard.

And Hitler, well, anyone who dared oppose him would've been in serious trouble, so we don't know for sure exactly just how popular he truly was with the people during his entire reign. Oh, he had his supporters, certainly, but how much of that was sincere and how much of that was simply out of fear?

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That said I'm remaining very hopeful that the people of Egypt will be able to create a new stable government, one which isn't controlled by Marxist Muslim radicals, much to Glenn Becks suprise.
Heh, fully agreed on that .

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Maybe most surprising to an American used to poetry’s increasing confinement to college campuses, poetry is a tool for galvanizing people to political action.
Seems Americans would be surprised by a lot of the ways people decide to protest nowadays. That's pretty interesting, certainly better to get one's point across with poetry than with weapons.

Will be interesting to see how this debate over cutting off aid goes, too. Hm.

(ETA: comment sections are always so hilarious and embarrassingly sad to read. Some of the responses to the Leahy article...oh, brother )

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Old 02-05-2011, 01:39 PM   #169
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I hope your family is safe.
Thank you,

I hope all of this would get over and done with sooner.
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Old 02-05-2011, 06:30 PM   #170
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Well, maybe if we take our lessons from Iran, things could perhaps end differently this time. 'Cause if the people won't be in control, who will? I just really don't like the idea of us going in and doing the exact same thing we just did with Mubarak. We supported this government, and look how well it turned out for them and us. And now we think we should do it again?
Oh I know, what was saying is that not every country can say that they've had enough and effect a (peaceful) change in government, without being violently and systematically cracked down upon. In Iran, oppose the government and you're fucked.


Fortunately Mubarek (at least currently) isn't being as nasty as the likes of Saddam Hussein or Ahmadinejad. But I think that's largely because, A) The global spotlight is on him, B) His police force isn't large enough to silence the protesters, and the army refuses to fire at the protesters as well, and lastly C) He's letting it happen to create the chaos, thus giving him a reason to need to stay in power.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:21 AM   #171
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New York Times, Feb. 5
Quote:
...As a 12-day-old revolution rocks the foundations of Egypt, the Obama administration is now embracing a transition process backed by Field Marshal Tantawi and other top military leaders that would ease their longtime benefactor, President Hosni Mubarak, from power. But whoever becomes the new president after elections in September, American officials say that the rich and secretive Egyptian military holds the key to the governing of Egypt, the country’s future and by extension to the stability of the Arab world.

Administration officials nonetheless concede there is much they do not know about an institution that is hardly a monolith and that operates as a parallel economy, a kind of “Military Inc.,” involved in the production of electronics, household appliances, clothing and food. Although the Pentagon has long promoted its close ties to the Egyptian military, which receives $1.3 billion annually in United States aid, top officials concede that neither Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates nor Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have especially deep relationships with their Egyptian counterparts.


...American officials are also unsure about the thinking of the midlevel military leadership, which is considered sympathetic to the protesters, and whether it could split with the generals tied to Mr. Mubarak. Specialists think that for now, the chances of a split are slim. But a September 2008 cable from the United States Embassy in Cairo to officials at the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon recounts a midlevel officer corps disaffected by what it considered an encrusted military leadership. The cable reports on conversations with Egyptian academics and civilian analysts who describe midlevel officers as “harshly critical of a defense minister they perceive as incompetent and valuing loyalty above skill in his subordinates.” ...The cable says that the military nonetheless remains powerful through its wide commercial network, and that military-owned companies, often run by retired generals, are active in the water, olive oil, cement, construction, hotel and gasoline industries. The military also produces televisions—and milk and bread. In a move that made the military ever more popular, during food shortages in 2008, Mr. Mubarak called on the army to use its bakeries to bake bread for the civilian population.

Robert Springborg, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and an expert on the Egyptian military, said that the army had continued to cultivate its image as protector of the nation since the protests began in Egypt, as it held back from cracking down on hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Tahrir Square in Cairo who called for Mr. Mubarak’s ouster. But Mr. Springborg said that he believed that the military’s leadership was orchestrating events, and had been involved in allowing attacks against the protesters by pro-Mubarak forces on horseback and camels—but not by the army, so as not to taint it in the public eye. “Behind the scenes, the military is making possible the various forms of assault on the protesters,” Mr. Springborg said. “It’s trying to secure a transition for itself. There’s lots of evidence that the military is complicit, but for the most part Egyptians don’t even want to admit that to themselves.”

...As of this weekend, it appeared clear that Field Marshal Tantawi and the small circle of military men had weighed their personal loyalty to Mr. Mubarak against the threat to the military from the crisis—and chosen their own survival. The Egyptian government announced that the most important member of the circle, Omar Suleiman, the new vice president and a former military officer, would lead the military-backed transition to the elections in September. Political analysts on Friday said that he already appeared to be governing in Mr. Mubarak’s place.


...But Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, a retired head of Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, said that the senior military leadership would treat Mr. Mubarak, who once led the air force, with more respect. “I think they want him to go with dignity,” he said. “There’s a realization this isn’t going to work. As that becomes more evident, they’re going to insist that it be done in a dignified way.”
Some Egypt analysts think what we're watching unfold now is more a slow-motion military coup than a people's revolution; at the very least, there's an imminent risk of the former hijacking the latter. Mubarak may no longer be effectively in charge, but it's still divide-and-conquer tactics all the way, this time of a political sort. Suleiman's meetings with a small handful of opposition representatives this weekend failed to impress them as to the earnestness of his promises of reform. "It is all managed by the military and that is part of the problem," El Baradei told NBC--though interestingly, he wasn't invited to the talks, whereas Muslim Brotherhood representatives were; then again, they've cooperated with Mubarak's party in parliament for years, whereas he hasn't. Still, Washington clearly prefers Suleiman to the less predictable El Baradei (as Earnie mentioned, Suleiman coordinated our "extraordinary rendition" operations in Egypt in his capacity as intelligence director--which among other things yielded Ibn Sheikh al-Libi's false confession of Saddam-AQ ties that Colin Powell cited in making the case for war to the UN).

There have been some op-eds about possible constitutional problems involved in enacting the sweeping reforms under demand without an acting president (assuming they wouldn't elect to suspend the constitution instead), but there are legal ways around those, and in any case it's a moot point unless and until Suleiman shows more will to undertake major reforms than he has thus far.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:54 AM   #172
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Some painfully unintentional funnies:

Sarah Palin Criticizes Obama on Egypt - New York Times, Feb. 5
Quote:
“And nobody yet has, nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and no, not, not real enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from D.C. in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And, in these areas that are so volatile right now, because obviously it’s not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House. We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with. And, we do not have all that information yet.”
The Independent (UK), Feb. 6
Quote:
Frank Wisner, President Barack Obama's envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a New York and Washington law firm which works for the dictator's own Egyptian government.

...The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a "personal capacity". But there is nothing "personal" about Mr Wisner's connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises "the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government's behalf in Europe and the US". Oddly, not a single journalist raised this extraordinary connection with US government officials--nor the blatant conflict of interest it appears to represent.

...A spokesman for the State Department said he "presumed" Mrs Clinton knew of Mr Wisner's employment by Patton Boggs and the firm's links with the Mubarak government, but refused to comment on any conflict of interest for the envoy. A spokesman for Patton Boggs could not be reached yesterday.
New York Times, Feb. 5
Quote:
The United States and leading European nations on Saturday threw their weight behind Egypt’s vice president, Omar Suleiman, backing his attempt to defuse a popular uprising without immediately removing President Hosni Mubarak from power.

...[Hillary Clinton's] emphasis on a deliberate process was repeated by Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Cameron. Mrs. Merkel mentioned her past as a democracy activist in East Germany, recalling the impatience of protesters after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, to immediately join democratic West Germany. But the process took a year, and it was time well spent, she said. “There will be a change in Egypt,” Mrs. Merkel said, “but clearly, the change has to be shaped in a way that it is a peaceful, a sensible way forward.”
(^ And was the head of the Stasi placed in charge of East Germany's "process"? No.)

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 4
Quote:
President Barack Obama's attempt to abruptly push aside Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in favor of a transition government has sparked a rift with key Arab allies Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, which fear the US is opening the door for Islamist groups to gain influence and destabilize the region. Vying to influence the outcome of events, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have sent public and private messages of solidarity to Mr. Mubarak and his vice president, longtime intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, diplomats said. The messages amount to support for the president and Mr. Suleiman to oversee the transition and to ensure that Islamists can't fill any possible power vacuum.

...Egypt and Saudi Arabia are major trading partners, and experts say Saudi and Egyptian intelligence services have especially close ties. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has harshly criticized Egyptian protesters in a statement carried by the Saudi state news agency, describing them as "infiltrators" bent on destabilizing Egypt and the region, accusing them of "malicious sedition."
( ^ You can count on King Abdullah to stand against the spread of fundamentalism! Oh, wait...)
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:09 PM   #173
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Dunno if anyone else here is still following this, but...today (Feb. 8) saw the largest protests yet in Cairo, around a quarter million people by BBC's estimate. The release yesterday of Google executive Wael Ghonim--who'd been detained, blindfolded and isolated from all outside news for 12 days, in retaliation for his having created a couple of the websites initially crucial to organizing the protests--seems to have reinvigorated the movement for the time being. Within hours of being released, Ghonim gave a highly emotional interview to Mona El-Shazly (a popular telejournalist for one of the privately-owned networks), which culminated with his breaking down in tears and walking off the set when she began airing photos of some of the hundreds of protesters killed thus far. Many have felt the movement badly needed a nonpartisan figure for people to rally around (the latest Tahrir chant: "No Muslim Brotherhood/No political parties/This is a revolt of the youth!"--which rhymes in Arabic), and for now at least, it looks like Ghonim may be it.

UK Channel 4 - Egypt: Biggest Protests Yet


The El-Shazly interview is very long; this is the portion which seems to be getting the most replay:
El-Shazly - Ghonim interview (subtitled)



I'd been going to ask if people in here thought all the coverage of these events might perhaps effect some changes in American public opinion towards Washington's Middle East policies...then I read stuff like this, and am reminded that most Americans all but ignore foreign policy:

Pew Surveys - Impact of Egypt Protests on US
Quote:
...The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Feb. 2-7, 2011 among 1,385 adults, finds that nearly half (48%) say they have heard a lot about the anti-government protests in Egypt; about the same proportion (52%) reports hearing little or nothing.

The survey finds that majorities of Democrats (69%) and independents (57%) say the Obama administration is handling the situation in Egypt about right; fewer Republicans (43%) give the administration positive ratings. Roughly equal numbers of Republicans say the administration is showing too much support (19%) and too little support (15%) for the protesters.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:01 AM   #174
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yep still following the news... caught Wael Ghonim's release on the news this morning... so good to see the huge numbers yesterday...
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:01 AM   #175
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things seem to be happening this afternoon...

Egypt protests - Thursday 10 February | World news | guardian.co.uk

Quote:
To sum up: Hosni Mubarak will meet the demands of protesters, officials from the military and the ruling NDP party have told various news organisations. The protesters' key demand is that Mubarak stand down as president.

The military's supreme council has been meeting today, without Mubarak, who is the commander in chief, and announced on state TV its "support of the legitimate demands of the people".

A spokesman said the council was in permanent session "to explore what measures and arrangements could be made to safeguard the nation, its achievements and the ambitions of its great people".

General Hassan al-Roueini, the military commander for the Cairo area, told thousands of protesters in central Tahrir Square: "All your demands will be met today."

3.40pm: AFP is reporting an army source as saying: "We are awaiting orders that will make the people happy."

3.34pm: The crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square is now cheering loudly, and is now calling again for the fall of the Mubarak regime. The crowd are heading towards a giant screen in the square.

3.32pm: The crowd in Tahrir Square has been chanting "the army and the people stand together, the army and the people stand united".

3.31pm: Mubarak is not present at the military supreme council meeting, according to footage the military has released – something al-Jazeera claims is significant.

3.30pm: Egyptian state TV has just been playing a statement from the supreme council of the armed forces. The army says it is going to convene regularly to safeguard the interests of the people.

3.21pm: My colleague Jack Shenker in Cairo says he has been told by one protester that if Omar Suleiman takes over from Mubarak, "all that will happen is that everyone in Tahrir will rewrite their signs, and then carry on demonstrating".

3.19pm: Here is what the Associated Press has been hearing:

CAIRO (AP) A senior army commander has told Egypt protesters that all their demands will be met.

CAIRO (AP) Security official says Egypt's supreme military council has been meeting all day.

CAIRO (AP) Military officials say army will issue communique shortly that will meet protesters' demands.

3.17pm: Al-Jazeera is reporting that the "supreme council" of the Egyptian armed forces are meeting to discuss the situation and an army source has said that "all the protesters' demands will be met". Of course, one of their key demands is that Hosni Mubarak resign as president. According to the TV channel the army is expected to make a statement today. Euphoria has gripped the crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square, al-Jazeera's correspondent says.

3.15pm: The BBC is reporting that Mubarak "may be stepping down". It reports:


A senior member of Egypt's ruling party has told the BBC he is "hoping" that President Hosni Mubarak will transfer power to Vice-President Omar Suleiman.

Hossan Badrawi, the secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP), said Mr Mubarak would "probably" speak to the nation tonight.

His comments came after Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told BBC Arabic that the scenario of President Mubarak stepping down was being discussed.

3.08pm: Lindsey Hilsum of Channel 4 News is reporting that Hosni Mubarak is going to transfer his powers to Omar Suleiman, his vice-president, tonight. More as soon as I get it.

Hilsum reports that Hossam Badrawi, the secretary general of Mubarak's NDP party, has told her in that over three meetings yesterday and a phone call today he convinced Mubarak to stand down and hand his powers to Suleiman. He will do this in a broadcast tonight, she says.

I am also hearing conflicting rumours that Mubarak will use a speech on TV tonight to hand his powers to the army. It is unclear if this will mean martial law to clear the protests, or a permanent exit for the president. Badrawi has told BBC Arabic that Mubarak will "answer the people's demands" in the coming hours. My colleague Jack Shenker told me: "Protesters aren't certain whether they should be preparing themselves for a celebration party or a massacre."
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:28 AM   #176
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This is good news but if suleiman is the person to take over the people will not be happy. And it looks like he is going to be the one to be in charge during the next 7 months.
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:54 PM   #177
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watching Mubarak struggling and pleading

he does pose a somewhat sympathetic figure
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:03 PM   #178
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That shithead won't step down.. jeez..
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:11 PM   #179
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my god... i just saw that... unreal!!!

the crowd are going nuts on the live stream...
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:47 PM   #180
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John McCain is on Fox News saying Mubarak should step down now.


Huckabee is saying the U S should not be calling for him to step down.
Now Huckabee is ranting about the Muslim Brotherhood.
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