53
   

Tunesia, Egyt and now Yemen: a domino effect in the Middle East?

 
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 07:31 am
@msolga,
Quote:
At the scene
Wyre Davies BBC News, Alexandria

It's getting increasingly difficult to work as a foreign journalist here - there's anger and tension from all sides, not just with the political crisis but also because of the worsening economic situation here. Twice in the last couple of days we have been attacked and driven off by angry locals while trying to film in the streets.

In many areas law and order has completely broken down. One of the country's biggest shopping malls on the city's outskirts has been completely ransacked by looters. Several tanks are now parked in front of the mall, with soldiers allowing no-one in.

I've also heard second-hand accounts of horrific violence between vigilante groups and looters. In one case a captured man is reported to have been beaten up, wrapped in a blanket and thrown from the top of a tall building - his body then handed over to the army.

There don't appear to be enough pro-government supporters on the ground here to create the same sort of confrontations we've seen in Cairo. But, more violence is expected here tomorrow as thousands of anti-government demonstrators say they again intend to march on the city centre.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 07:50 am
@msolga,
Maybe I'm clutching at straws, after the doom & gloom & violence of the past couple of days, but I'm feeling quite heartened by the information in the BBC video (which I posted above).

If Jon Leyne's (BBC journalist) assessment of the situation is correct, it is sounding as though Mubarak has lost the support of senior military leaders & they now want him gone. Also that the military are prepared to open fire on pro-Mubarak supporters if they attempt further violent confrontations at today's mass rallies.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12351831
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 07:54 am
Is anyone else having trouble accessing Al Jazeera online?
I've been timed out repeatedly.
0 Replies
 
revelette
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:04 am
Lash, I don't want to further derail this thread into another Iraq thread. Suffice it to say, one event does not prove another; and even if you are right it matters little. Moreover, most of the ones who planned the Iraq invasion are not in favor of this protest as can be found just by googling all the relevant facts.





0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:05 am
@msolga,
From the Guardian's LIVE UPDATE blog:

Quote:
More details of the apology by Egypt's prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, for the violence (9.27am), which he has repeated in a press conference. He told State TV:

I offer my apology for everything that happened yesterday because it's neither logical nor rational. Everything that happened yesterday will be investigated so everyone knows who was behind it."

He repeated the apology at a press conference at which he also said:

•the attacks "seemed to have been organised" but "no one had prior knowledge" of them; •he was "surprised" to see camels but they must have come from the Pyramids complex and it could have been camel owners upset about the effect of the protests on tourism

•the banks will reopend on Sunday;

•Suez canal would not be threatened;

• no one will be excluded from the dialogue, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

He said: "I promise that what happened yesterday in Meydan Tahrir will not happen again. I'll investigate and promise to publish the results"



http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/feb/03/egypt-protests-live-updates
0 Replies
 
revelette
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:06 am
@msolga,
I hope you are right too.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:15 am
@revelette,
Well, it is sounding considerably more positive than the situation was this morning, revelette!
I hope the BBC's assessment of the military leaders' position regarding Mubarak is right & I'm also thinking the prime minister's apology sounds very conciliatory towards those who are struggling for change.
Dare we hope? Smile

revelette
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:18 am
@msolga,
Quote:
Dare we hope?


If you're willing to take the risk, I am.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:19 am
@revelette,
You're on! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:25 am
Latest live update from the Guardian:

Quote:
2.15pm: Pro-Mubarak forces are being pushed further and further back, Peter Beaumont reports from Cairo. He says forces loyal to the president haven't come out in the numbers that they did yesterday. Some of the groups are only a few hundred strong. ...<cont>:


http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/feb/03/egypt-protests-live-updates
0 Replies
 
revelette
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:30 am
From the live update on BBC

Quote:
1407: Dr Ibrahim Kamel, a member of the General Secretariat of President Mubarak's National Democratic Party and a prominent Egyptian businessman, denies that Mr Shafiq's apology was an admission of any government role in encouraging the violence. He told the BBC's World at One programme that it would be a mistake if Mr Mubarak stood down sooner than he has already promised to: "For Egypt, this is going to be a very big mistake. We do not accept that our president would jump the ship because the overwhelming majority of Egyptians are against it. You cannot permit the minority to run the scene for the majority."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698

Also from the top

Quote:
1423: Amnesty International calls on Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman to protect protesters, journalists and rights activists in Egypt. "The lack of police on the ground responding to the violence is a blatant sign of the complicity of the Egyptian government in the violence, or at best the total abdication of responsibility for law and order at a moment of national crisis," Secretary-General Salil Shetty says in a statement.


Agreed
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:33 am
Update from the Guardian:

Quote:
And here, from the comments, is protester marwaa, who has had
difficulties getting into Tahrir Square today.


Quote:
Today I am unable to go down to Tahrir to join my colleagues in this struggle because the NDP thugs who are supposedly "pro-Mubarak" supporters have blocked any entrances. I decided then, to communicate with my friends in Tahrir who are suffering and to keep their experiences posted. At the moment, the thugs have blocked any FOOD SUPPLIES, MEDICAL SUPPLIES, and even BLOOD DONATIONS to people in Tahrir. It has reached the point where they would capture the supplies, empty, and urinate on them on the pavement right in front of the people who need it. Now, all the people in Tahrir have been blocked from medical and food supplies and are very much insisting not to leave (at some points they are not even ALLOWED to leave). "We will stay till we starve if that's what it takes."
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 08:42 am
@revelette,
Quote:
We do not accept that our president would jump the ship because the overwhelming majority of Egyptians are against it.


Interesting, revelette, but Dr Ibrahim Kamel is a member of the secretariat of Mubarak's party, you'd expect someone in that position to hold that view.

Sounds like the president & the prime minister aren't exactly seeing things the same way, to me.



0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 09:01 am
@Ceili,
You can repeat it a million times if you'd, like but your posts prove otherwise.

As George ably pointed out, no one was making the arguments you are criticizing.

George originally indicated that fomenting democracy in the Middle East was one of the reasons for the Iraqi invasion, and it was.

Lash indicated that what is happening in North Africa right now is an outcome contemplated by George Bush's professed strategy for the region, and it is.

Neither of these comments credit America or Bush with the movement in Egypt for democratic reform, although since you believe the internet has opened the eyes of ordinary Egyptians to the rest of the world, isn't it possible that some of them have seen that Iraq is an admittedly imperfect democracy, but no longer a dictatorship?

Your insistence that America has had nothing to do with these events is almost as ridiculous as any claim that it is the sole cause.

I can tell it chaps your butt that America keeps coming up in this thread but there are a few simple reasons why:

1) Many if not most of the A2k membership is American

2) America and Egypt have been close allies for decades and the US has paid almost $3billion a year for that relationship. The Egyptian military is the main player in the Egyptian drama and if you think they couldn't care less about $3B a year, you're ignorant.

3) As much as it galls you, America is a Big Dog, if not the Big Dog, in the world, and as you have been quick to point out, has helped to created the situation that exists in Egypt. Whatever government emerges after the drama plays out, you can bet your life that it will be thinking about America, either as a source of continued aid or as a possible threat. Will it be their prime concern, no, but it will be on the list, just as what China is thinking is on the list of South Korean concerns, or what Russia is thinking is on the list of Ukrainian concerns. The difference of course is that there is a good chance the new government will be allied with America.

Your conclusion that I do "not believe in other nations or their people rising up and fighting for what they want," is simply another one you've leaped to in order to support your spurious arguments.

The fact that I am pessimistic about the current reform movement in Egypt is evidence not of American jingoism, but of an intention to consider all the facts and not become intoxicated by what appears to be quite a noble effort.

If you wish to cheer the Egyptians on, be my guest. I hope they prove me wrong. It's childish though to get irritated with anyone who doesn't join in your cheerleading, and quite telling when you convert your irritation into yet another anti-American rant.

One last comment on Iraq, of course no one can prove that without the US invasion the people of Iraq would not have risen up and overthrown Saddam, but your argument was that it was likely to have happened without the invasion. You made this argument not so much to declare your confidence in the human spirit of freedom, but of an intense desire to deny any credit at all to America.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 09:05 am
Heard an interesting take this morning: The Egyptian army didn't do anything about the clashes between anti and pro Mubarak forces because they've promised not to fire on the "anti" forces and they didn't want to fire on their "friends" in the "pro" forces.

I tend not to buy this but it's evidence that the news media is growing less and less tentative about calling the pro-Mubarak forces, paid thugs or operatives.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 09:05 am
Phew.
So much happening, so fast, it's hard to keep up:

Quote:
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/2/3/1296743469236/-Anti-Mubarak-protesters--007.jpg
Anti-Mubarak protesters in Alexandria, Egypt, on 3 February 2011.

2.50pm: In the comments, hszmnedz sends this from her husband in Tahrir Square:

Quote:
About 50,000-100,000 peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators are still in Tahrir Square, made up of all walks of life: popular rock singers, lawyers, engineers, youth, religious figures, university professors. There is unity between secular and religious, liberal and conservatives.

All are saying we are not anarchists, we are calling for democracy and the rule of law.

About 400 members of the foreign community in Cairo are participating with the peaceful demonstrators calling for freedom for Egypt, chanting "hurreya", which translates to "freedom". For their safety, we are not saying what they are wearing.

Thank you for every one of them.

A nearby mosque has been transformed to a makeshift hospital.

Army still not engaging.




2.44pm: The writer Ahdaf Soueif reports arrests at a law centre:

Quote:
A good friend just saw eight to 12 people being dragged out of 1 Souq el-Tawfikiyyah Street and bundled into a civilian micro-bus while a military police vehicle waited nearby.

The people were being beaten and the street had been told they were "Iranian and Hamas agents come to destabilise Egypt" so the street was chanting against them.

Number 1 Souq el-Tawfikiyyah Street is the home of the offices of the Hisham Mubarak Legal Aid Centre, The Centre for Social and Economic Rights and The 6th April Youth.

My brother-in-law, the lawyer Ahmad Seif, works at the centre.


2.41pm: More on the arrest of journalists:

Al-Jazeera's Gregg Carlstrom tweets that three of his colleagues have been arrested:
Three Al Jazeera journalists were arrested today by Egyptian secret police.

Blogger Wael Abbasn tweets:

Swedish TV has lost contact with correspondent Bert Sundström. He was on foot close to Marriot. Seems to be abducted.

2.33pm: My colleagues Peter Beaumont and Jack Shenker in Cairo send the following about the role of the army in Tahrir Square today:

Quote:
They were barely visible at first, a glimmer of tan clothing among the ranks of pro-Mubarak fighters lined on a low overpass above the entrance to Tahrir Square. It was from here that rocks, petrol bombs and bullets had been raining down on the anti-regime opposition defending their barricades below.

At 9am first one, then a second, and then dozens of Egyptian army soldiers – the same military forces who had stood back and watched as last night's bloodshed unfolded – finally appeared at this key strategic flashpoint and began driving back those on the bridge. Before them lay a no man's land carpeted with broken bricks and burnt out vehicles that spoke of the extraordinary violence that had played out in the darkness. This was the morning after the night before.

It was the beginning of a day of to-and-fro street clashes in the densely-populated neighbourhoods surrounding the square, as anti-Mubarak protesters fought close-quarter battles to hold Tahrir and, in a hail of warning shots and automatic gunfire, the army sporadically attempted to establish buffer zones.

One thing was clear after a night of fighting that left over 1,000 injured and several dead from gunshot wounds. That is that despite the denials of Egypt's government and interior ministry who claimed these events were not state-orchestrated, all the evidence strongly suggested otherwise.




2.33pm: Omar Suleiman has confirmed that Gamal Mubarak won't be running for president, according to Reuters citing State TV.


#Egypt vice president says leader Hosni Mubarak's son will not run for president - State TV

2.32pm: The former minister of the interior, Habib al-Adly, is being questioned for his role in the unrest last Friday, al-Jazeera reports, citing state TV. The minister was responsible for ordering police off the streets, it was reported.

Other ministers in the former government are also being investigated. Their assets have been frozen and travel documents removed, the BBC tweets. ...


http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/feb/03/egypt-protests-live-updates
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 09:11 am
@msolga,
Quote:
3.06pm: "We are seeing live fire, we are seeing bullets ricocheting off the bridge," Peter Beaumont reports in another update on the battle for flyover.

The gunfire appears to have been directed at pro-Mubarak forces on the flyover, he said. "These are pro-Mubarak demonstrators who are trying to throw petrol bombs at the people bellow them," he said. "We can see someone being carried away who we think has been shot."

It is unclear who is firing the live rounds, Peter said.
0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 09:17 am
Apparently Al Jazeera's getting a 2000 % increase in hits. 60 % of that is out of the United States.
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/02/201121121041735816.html

Maybe because of this

Media Advisory from FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting)
U.S. media gloss over Washington's role in Egyptian repression
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4245

As for the military in Egypt -

I read this yesterday

In Solidarity With the Egyptian People and the Soldiers Refusing to Repress Them

by U.S. Military Veterans and Allies
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02/02-6

The above article recognises that there is a Connecticut National Guard unit currently being deployed to the Sinai Peninsula.

here is an article I think worth a read

The west's itch to meddle is no help. Leave Egypt alone
Our sole contribution to Muslim states wrestling with self-determination is plunging their neighbours into bloodbath and chaos

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/01/west-itch-meddle-leave-egypt-alone
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 09:18 am
@msolga,
Quote:
The people were being beaten and the street had been told they were "Iranian and Hamas agents come to destabilise Egypt" so the street was chanting against them.


Very interesting.

I have no doubt that security forces would be willing to lie about who their targets were, but would leaders of the pro-reform movement be inside when all the action is on the streets?

At the same time, it's somewhat surprising that amidst all of what is going on, that security forces are keeping an eye out for foreign agents. Maybe they had been watching them since before the uprising and decided to bring them in.

0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 09:24 am
@msolga,
Quote:
3.16pm: Sky News reports that Egyptian vice-president Omar Suleiman is about to make an "important announcement". That's all we know at this stage.
 

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