Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Foreign Affairs

An Egyptian's Words on Egypt

A former classmate of mine, a native Egyptian named Ahmed who studied abroad at Ashland, is now a journalist in Cairo. His newspaper has joined with the protestors against the Mubarak government. This became a problem today when, for the first time in this crisis, pro-Mubarak demonstrators clashed violently with anti-government protestors. The linked article mentions that, during a violent clash in Tahrir Square today, the military just stood by and remained idle, claiming that they had no orders to take one side or the other-- for now, it seems, the Egyptian military is continuing to remain neutral and letting this play out on its own. Below I will be copying and pasting Ahmed's Facebook posting for the day, with his permission (the permission being the first quote given). These are his accounts and views on what is going on, not mine, to give some insight on what some of these protestors are thinking:

 "February 2 at 11:16am
sure..go ahead. 
My hands are tied now. I am inside the newspaper and I am trapped. waves of thugs are attacking us!"
"For All my friends...
I am safe and fine. 
I have seen death with my own eyes. I have seen a protester getting killed by life ammunition 2 meters away from me. 
we are not going to stop till Mubarak leaves. 
12 hours ago "
"300 Martyrs. Their blood shall not be in vain. 
We shall not stop till the terrorist flee the country.
12 hours ago "
"More than a 100 thug were attacking the headquarters of our newspaper 2 hours ago. We created barricades around our newspaper and we are armored with guns, sticks, and knives
We received threatening phone calls from powerful business men of the ruling party.
7 hours ago "
"Tahrir Square is now being bombarded with rocks and bombs made of benzine and gas. The military is just standing their. Watching!
7 hours ago 
"My dear American friends. 
All the tear gas bombs that I have swallowed during the last week while I was covering the revolution...
They were all made in USA....
Send petitions 2ur congressmen...stop sending anti riot weapons to the Egyptian police
4 hours ago"
"Bad News: At least 500 injuries, tens dead, in today's clash with Mubarak Thugs
Good News: a news presenter in the State run TV quits her job in protest of falsifying news..
3 hours ago 
"off to Tahrir Square...
Praying that I would get their safe...
3 hours ago
The president has agreed to not run for reelection, hoping that it would quell the demonstrations against him. However, protestors are demanding that he resign immediately. The military will likely be the deciding factor in all this.
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Discussions - 4 Comments

Thanks for posting this.

For a possibly correct and chilling analysis of today's development, see the FP (Foreign Policy) Middle East News blog for a post by a guy named Springbrock, or something like that. He thinks the Mubarak plan has been this:

A) let the protests create fear of anarchy and economic (food) hardship

B) have the army present itself as sympathetic to the protesters, and everyone' s guarantor of personal safety

C) get the protesters threatened/attacked by pro-Mubarak goons (many rented, but quite a few sincere), but keep the army aside.

Result: everyone looks to the army--the goons, the poor, President Obama, even the protesters themselves.

Conclusion: a "transition" that concentrates/maintains power with the army, perhaps with M. stepping down(I say this, not Springbrock), but getting the transition he wants. For M., second-best scenario compared to his son inheriting, but still good. For protesters, little way to oppose the army's power, and shocked realization that it is not really with them.

It's plausible...Martin Kramer agrees, for one.

The correct name is Robert Springborg. And 20 minutes after I hipped you to it...Instapundit links it. G. Reynolds still has it, that's for sure.

Everyone I'm reading who is there (including folks you pointed me to, Carl) is appalled that the army is doing nothing; watching grandmothers get knocked down in the street. That creates sympathy?

Mubarak is letting everyone know what chaos there is in Egypt without him. El Baradei calls for his ouster. Big deal. El Baradei cannot ensure anyone's safety. He's nor the Muslim Brotherhood is keeping anyone from being knocked on the head, either. Mubarak is waiting until everyone is tired of being knocked on the head, then he will step in and create order out of chaos and the people will be grateful. It's not a bad strategy.

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