The Other McCain

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EGYPT: Today’s Latest News Updates: Mubarak Warns of ‘Chaos’ (Video) UPDATE: Five-Day Internet Shutdown Cost Egyptian Economy $90 Million UPDATE: Blogger ‘Sandmonkey’ Free UPDATE: Tanks Fire on Protesters?

Posted on | February 3, 2011 | 8 Comments

Christiane Amanpour interviews Hosni Mubarak:

He said he’s fed up with being president and would like to leave office now, but cannot, he says, for fear that the country would sink into chaos. . . .
When I asked him what he thought seeing the people shouting insults about him and wanting him gone, he said, “I don’t care what people say about me. Right now I care about my country, I care about Egypt.” . . .
When I asked him how he responded to the United States’ veiled calls for him to step aside sooner rather than later, he said he told President Obama, “You don’t understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now.”

Here’s a video news report featuring an interview with Ibrahim Kamel, a member of the ruling National Democratic Party:

UPDATE: The Egyptian NDP is crucial to answering the big question about the violence that began Wednesday: “Who let the thugs out?”

Foreign journalists were beaten with sticks and fists by pro-government mobs on Thursday, and dozens were detained by security forces. The U.S. condemned what it called the “systematic targeting” of the reporters, photographers and film crews who have brought searing images of Egyptian protests to the world.
Foreign photographers reported attacks by supporters of President Hosni Mubarak near Tahrir Square, the scene of vicious battles between Mubarak supporters and protesters demanding he step down after nearly 30 years in power

Who ordered Wednesday’s brutal raid — featuring pro-Mubarak goons riding horses and camels — on Tahrir Square? Who was responsible for the crackdown on the press that resulted in an ABC News producer being threatened with beheading? Permit me suggest that this might be a big clue:

(Via National Journal.) Could it be that the thugs (many of whom carried NDP identification) were doing the bidding of the president’s son, Gamal Mubarak? And could it be that Gamal’s otherwise unexplained ouster from the NDP is related to Wednesday’s hooliganism?

UPDATE II: The latest Associated Press video report:

Also from the Associated Press:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has issued a sharp criticism of attacks on journalists, peaceful demonstrators, human rights activists and diplomats in Egypt.
Clinton said the attacks violated international norms on freedom of the press.
Without directly blaming President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, she said, “It is especially in times of crisis that governments must demonstrate their adherence to these universal values.”

UPDATE III: Wow, this is some amazing news:

Preliminary figures released Thursday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that Egypt’s decision to block Internet services for five days cost the country an estimated $90 million. The OECD said the blocked telecommunications and Internet services accounted for about 3 percent to 4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, which accounted for about $18 million a day.

The Internet amounts to as much as 4% of the economy in Egypt?

Considering that the Internet provides about 100% of my own personal economy (hint, hint), I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised.

UPDATE IV: Egyptian blogger “Sandmonkey” — who was beaten and detained in Cairo — Tweets about his experience:

Suggestion for Pajamas Media CEO Roger Simon: Bring “Sandmonkey” to Washington next week for CPAC, so I can buy him a beer.

UPDATE V: Time magazine reports:

On Thursday night, an ambulance driver told TIME that he witnessed a tank open fire on anti-government demonstrators near the Egyptian Museum, where pro-Mubarak forces had launched attacks the previous day. “The army has started to cooperate with the pro-Mubarak people. I saw this with my own eyes,” he told TIME. “I saw a tank open fire from the bridge onto the demonstrators below the bridge so that they would be scared and run.”

When I first saw that Tweeted — “Tanks open fire on protesters” — my immediate reaction was two words: Ruh-roh.

But the report seems to indicate that, if the ambulance driver’s account is correct, these were basically just warning shots. I reckon warning shots with a .50-caliber machine gun are pretty serious business, though.

It’s now a little past 7 p.m. ET Thursday, three hours until dawn of Friday in Cairo. We’ll see how the situation develops. Meanwhile, more scary news:

Get Ready for the Muslim Brotherhood

That’s the headline on Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s column in (of all places) the New York Times.

UPDATE V: Headline on story by Graeme Wood of the Atlantic:

Why I Was Dragged Through
the Street by an Egyptian Mob

And no, the answer is not, “They thought I was Sully.”


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