The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Egyptian Uprising: Latest Updates

Posted on | January 29, 2011 | 15 Comments

An Associated Press video report on Saturday’s developments:

The New York Times:

As street battles between protesters and the security police flared for a fifth day, Mr. Mubarak named a new government filled with military figures, signaling the pivotal role the military might play in shaping the outcome of the unrest. He appointed Omar Suleiman, his right-hand man and the country’s intelligence chief, as vice president and a retired general as prime minister.

Reuters thumbnail biography of Suleiman:

* He has been the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS) since 1993, a role in which he has played a prominent public role in diplomacy, including in Egypt’s relations with Israel and with key aid donor the United States.
* He was born on July 2, 1936 in Qena, in southern Egypt. He later enrolled in Egypt’s premier Military Academy in 1954, after which he received additional military training in the then Soviet Union at Moscow’s Frunze Military Academy.
* He also studied political science at Cairo University and Ain Shams University. In 1992 he headed the General Operations Authority in the Armed Forces and then became the director of the military intelligence unit before taking over EGIS.
* Suleiman took part in the war in Yemen in 1962 and the 1967 and 1973 wars against Israel.
* As Egypt’s intelligence chief, Suleiman was in charge of the country’s most important political security files, and was the mastermind behind the fragmentation of Islamist groups who led the uprising against the state in the 1990s.

Obama met Saturday afternoon with his top advisers and issued a statement repeating what he said Friday about “opposing violence and calling for restraint, supporting universal rights,” et cetera.

Protesters outside the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C.:

Allapundit compiled a massive aggregation today, his latest update being a report that a “senior administration official” says the U.S. wants “managed change.” Don’t expect that to pacify the protesters.

UPDATE: Stanley Kurtz sees tribalism asserting itself in the streets of Cairo. On a more encouraging note — indeed, the only encouraging thing about Egypt I’ve seen all day — John Guardiano of the American Spectator predicts the Egyptian army will prevent an Islamic revolution:

[W]hile Islamist elements may well try to take advantage of the Egyptian revolution, they face one almost insurmountable obstacle: the Egyptian military, a professional force and a nationally respected institution which views itself as the guardians of greater Egypt.
Indeed, the Egyptian military is not dominated by Islamists; and it will not allow Egypt to descend into total anarchy.
In fact, the Egyptian military will play a major role in Egypt’s next government, just as it has ever since the Mamluks of the Middle Ages. . . .

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE II: Ed Driscoll rounds up the optimists-vs.-pessimists debate among conservative pundits, with Max Boot in a mood of neocon triumphalism and Stanley Kurtz the realpolitik pessimist. Of course, I lean toward pessimism, if only because optimism is an invitation to disappointment. I can’t help but wonder if Kurtz’s pessimism is a tribute to his literary namesake: “Exterminate all the brutes!”

UPDATE III: The European powers call for “free and fair elections”:

“It is essential that the further political, economic and social reforms President Mubarak has promised are implemented fully and quickly, and meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” said a joint statement issued by British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“The Egyptian people have … a longing for a just and better future,” the statement continued. “We urge President Mubarak to embark on a process of transformation, which should be reflected in a broad-based government and in free and fair elections.”

UPDATE IV: Donald Douglas is clearly in the neocon optimist camp and cites a Wall Street Journal editorial that I’m not sure makes his point:

Our stake in Egypt is not in any one ruler but in a transition from dictatorship to a more stable representative government that can better meet the aspirations of Egyptians.

See, my concern is that the “aspirations of Egyptians” might include such agenda items as “Death to the Zionist entity!” and “Down with the Great Satan!” Perhaps I remember 1979 too well.



Comments are closed.