Re: Rock the riddle that will make your Mubarak!

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Also, while I guess Egypt could do a lot worse than El Baradei as a potential transitional leader, nobody is yet mentioning my preferred dark horse candidate. I don't know why nobody from CNN has called me yet. I'm just full of good ideas.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:02 PM
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Man, do I hope this works out okay. Not that I'm sure what 'okay' means, but I see a popular revolution not obviously led by evil people, and the army not slaughtering them, and I start getting hopeful. And I know that's a mistake -- as soon as I get hopeful, something terrible will happen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:05 PM
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I love that one of the announcers asks, "how are we not hypnotized?".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:07 PM
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2: don't worry, pro wrestling's all scripted.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:10 PM
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Yeah, silliness aside, here's a much-too-short interview about the situation with an old and dear friend from college who teaches poetry in New Orleans and publishes an English/Arabic literary journal with her Egyptian husband.

Rm220: Khaled, was the political situation in Egypt part of your decision to leave?

KH: It was part. I lost faith, basically. I am part of a generation that has had no faith in change. And that's what makes us feel really bad, that the new generation is now forcing change. I feel bad that I'm not there to be part of that change. I'm ashamed that I'm not there. I'm ashamed that I wasn't part of it. I'm ashamed for the whole generation that couldn't save this generation from these massacres ten or fifteen years ago.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:11 PM
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Does someone have the number at hand for members of the security forces versus members of the army? Because one of my colleagues earlier today claimed that it was a 3:1 disparity in favor of the security forces, which I took to mean that the army's decision to stay on the sidelines/help the protesters may not portend the Ponies for All resolution that I had hoped.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:12 PM
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Well, Wikipedia says the Egyptian Armed Forces has 468,500 active and 479,000 reserve personnel, and the paramilitaries together (Central Security Forces, Border Guard Forces, maybe others) were 397,000 in 2007. I guess that makes the question whether the paramilitaries are included in the total Armed Forces count.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:17 PM
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There's more courage, determination, discipline and sacrifice in ten square feet of Tahrir Square than in the entire US Democratic leadership. I'm less worried about Mubarak's thugs than I am about how the US is going to manage to fuck the protesters over. And the War Nerd is right: they've been brilliant.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:18 PM
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than in the entire US Democratic leadership

Way to set the bar high there, McJesus.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:21 PM
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I'm allowing for the odd ten-square-foot section without any people in it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:23 PM
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as soon as I get hopeful, something terrible will happen.

I have that cross stitched in a sampler in my hall.

And you guys are making fun of the wrestlers, but you might need to visit the previous Old Egypt thread. So powerful was the pictograph for Neh&bkaw that it could be drawn by blind artists (I certainly won't write it completely). If below-the-belly snake is performed as a living sculpture-dance, well, zombie apocalypse.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:24 PM
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But nothing can top this trenchant analysis from America's favorite cancer wife leaver:

VAN SUSTEREN: How is President Obama doing on Egypt?
NEWT GINGRICH: I don't think they have a clue. I think it is very frightening to watch this administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: Would anybody?
NEWT GINGRICH: Reagan would have. Reagan would have had -- Reagan would have thought about and studied radical Islam and Reagan would have had a strategy and would have pursued it. He didn't do that in the 80s some are going to want to complain for a practical reason. Reagan had one foreign policy goal in the 1980s, defeat the Soviet Union. He didn't divert himself because he wanted to defeat the Soviet Union.
Don't forget Grenada!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:25 PM
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Not sure if the US can really do much here. Yes, the aid matters, but one percent of GDP is not life or death for the regime. So what are the options for the US? The administration has been steadily upping their rhetoric, but in the end if the current group stays in power the US has to deal with it.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:27 PM
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Dear God,

Please make it so that the next time I tune into Al Jazeera I see Newt Gingrich being air-dropped naked into Tahrir Square. I know it's a lot to ask, but I'd give anything.

Love,
Jesus


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:30 PM
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WELL HOW ABOUT THE NEXT TIME I TUNE INTO YOUR ROOM IT'S NOT A PIGSTY, EH SONNY?


Posted by: OPINIONATED GOD | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:32 PM
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I would also need to google this before having confidence, but I think I read today that military or ex-military personnel own 30% of all the hotels in Egypt. Now saying that, remember Mubarek is military, and worth 40 billion dollars, and I doubt that that is uncut diamonds. And the conscripts aren't rich. But it should give you an idea of the ways the high ossifer corps is embedded in Egypt.

But like Pakistan, changing from a military dictatorship to
civilian democracy really has to mean a total economic revolution that would be unacceptable to thousands of exogenous interests. Say Suleiman owns 30% of the Cairo Hilton, maybe a Saudi owns a third, and perhaps some investment group representing an American political leader in a very high place owns the rest through a Bahrain cutout corporation. That kind of thing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:33 PM
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So, what you're saying, bob, is that Mubarak owns hotels and therefore can't be dislodged?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 3:53 PM
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17:It is the part-ownership that is the key, the new neo-liberal global capitalism.

If 100% Mubarek, send him packing
If 100% foreign, kick them out, invite them back in later
But what they learned is the if it is 1/3 Mubarek and 1/3 Goldman Sachs, and 1/3 Carlyle group. since everything runs on credit now, it is much more difficult to kick the local oligarchy. I mean there is a contract, and probably several interlocking corporations, and int'l law, even for Mubarek's share.

And this crisis has broken Egypt's economy. They will need billions in immediate loans to feed the people. Don't want to piss off int'l finance.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 4:17 PM
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Not sure if the US can really do much here.

The US is holding a $1.3 billion carrot/stick, which for the military is a BFD, and the military are key power brokers. The US can also do a great deal of good in how it approaches relations during the transition. The US can royally fuck things up by, for example, asking for advice from Elliott fucking Abrams.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 4:24 PM
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"they" is "what they learned" above refers to the int'l interlocking oligarchy.

Starting Here is a discussion about whether the Japanese economy can be called capitalist. The interlocking non-public ownership model has long been the way to go for oligarchy.

Egypt is the largest wheat importing country in the world.
After one week, much of the country is approaching starvation.

America and Canada have plenty of wheat, but the futures (it is owned) have been bought by speculators on Wall Street. The same ones that will loan Egypt the money to buy wheat.

World revolution or none. Or to put it another way, our economy depends on blood in Tahrir Square.

It's called Empire.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 4:28 PM
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19:Christ, the $1.3 billion goes to American arms merchants, and has little to do with Egypt. The tanks and jets it buys are fucking toys for a conscript ultimate internal security force.

Yes, it is 1/3 of the military budget, in a 252 billion dollar annual economy. Think about it, a military dictatorship that spends 2% of GDP on the military?

Toys.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 4:33 PM
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Going back to Wiki, PPP GDP is 496 billion, nominal is 215

Military budget 5.85 USD


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 4:36 PM
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Boy, it's a good thing I wasn't just trying to make a dumb joke in 17!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 4:56 PM
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Inn your ear, Stanley.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 4:59 PM
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Everybody say hotel! motel! Holiday Inn!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 5:43 PM
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I'm not a student of pre-modern urban warfare like some people,

Hrmm. I'm glad someone linked to Brecher or I'd have not seen it. (Something else to add to the RSS feed.) At any rate, I think he's giving them a bit too much credit (he has a column to write, after all) in the reinventing ancient warfare. What's going on there mostly resembles something like very ancient (like prehistorical) tribal warfare of the kind where no one much dies. If they were really doing classical warfare, I'd think the protesters would have reinvented the sling and the pike by now. (Then again, maybe they'll do that tonight.) Slings are very easy to make and pike is pretty easy to, if you can get your hands on material of the appropriate length.

Otherwise, Brecher's mind and mine are running along the same track: all that matters is what the army decides to do.

I'm clearly far less optimistic than you lot; regardless of whether Muburak leaves tomorrow or not (or the next day or the day after), the Egyptian governing structure clearly has no intention of folding up their tents any time soon. Which means the army will eventually act (absent success by the paramilitaries), even if they don't particularly want to gun down civilians. Given that they're clearly prepping the ground to act (clearing out reporters, shutting down the nets, sealing off the square) and given that the army has definitively not come in on the side of the protesters, that pretty much means things will come to a violent climax real soon. My bet would be Saturday or Sunday. They can spend tomorrow weeding out the less determined protesters from the hardcore and then somebody will come in with machine guns and kill the rest. (Everyone keeps talking about parallels - this one sure looks like a close replay of Tiananmen Square. After all, the Egyptian forces are doing almost exactly what the Chinese forces did, back in the day.)

(I was going to write a guest post about related issues but maybe there's not much call now.)

max
['Gleen Beck is going to be all happy happy joy joy.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 5:59 PM
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Is this where I get to comment on events about which I know very little? If so, then I think it's really unfortunate that the elections are so far off (scheduled for the fall, right?). Given all the insidious ways a state can break down resistance out of public view, that's a long time to keep up the opposition without having any share in power.

Also, what did Reagan do during Solidarity? Carefully plan, in his brilliant way, for 1989?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:10 PM
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26:I am believe it or not, less pessimistic than Max, though not optimistic. What Max says about the preparations is true. But the army ( but not the air force or internal security) has consistently come out for the protesters, and acted that way, if with as much caution as possible. I see the army as giving the pro-democracy movement just enough space to do it on their own, if they can. There are some brilliant tacticians in Egypt

Here great discussion at FDL. Poster starts out by calling the Egyptian movement "non-violent" and gets slapped down hard in comments. The Egyptians in Tahrir Square are not following the "passive resistance" methods of Ghandi or MLK, for very good reasons and with very good effect. There is also a description of the Russian Revolution as mostly strikes and protest demonstrations until they started to be getting shot at.

Anyway, that is a great thread. There is also the latest about the Egyptian Army there.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:11 PM
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"tarheeldem" comment on thread in 28

And we have glimpses from time to time that similar leadership is not quite as in charge of events in Alexandria (although the response to the first pro-Mubarak attacks there was disciplined) and Suez. And hidden from view have been al-Mansur, which surfaced today in a report of having a million people in the streets on Tuesday, Tanta, Aswan, and even Sharm al-Shaik. And nothing at all from Port Said or Luxor, which apparently were involved in the Day of Rage.

There is a lot we don't know. Suez and Port Said might be the St Pete's to Cairo's Moscow, I consider them much more important. Logistics, you know.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:20 PM
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I'm no expert, but every report I've heard has the army as having acted as a break on Mubarak's thugs today: not removing them from the streets, but keeping them from visiting too much violence against the protesters, and the journalists and others that got caught in the middle. To me this suggests that either the military is staking out a different position from Mubarak and his circle, or the army is acting independently of military leadership. Either way, this seems like a much more favorable set of conditions than what max is seeing.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:25 PM
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If they were really doing classical warfare, I'd think the protesters would have reinvented the sling and the pike by now.

Is this good enough for you, max?

You missed on Al Jazeera a interview with Omar Ashour, who knows quite a bit about the situation and who thinks that the scenario you describe is highly unlikely.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:26 PM
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Also the video in 1 is made of pure awesome.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:27 PM
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23: If you want people to notice you are making a pun, you need to make more of them. That way, people will get used to the idea that if a comment comes from Stanley, it might be a pun.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:43 PM
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"Everybody say hotel! motel! Holiday Inn!"

This book is excellent:

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Payback-History-Business-Hip-Hop/dp/0451229290/ref=pd_sim_b_3


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:53 PM
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Looking around a little, doesn't appear to much happening elsewhere, and there are only about 10k in Tahrir Sq. Not enough. It's petering out. They needed to keep moving. And burning shit down.

Ian Welsh

It's really up to Egyptians. Either they have what it takes to finish the job (I'd suggest Mubarak needs a Ceau┼čescu moment), or they don't. If they don't, those who protested can expect to have a lot of intimate time with Mubarak's thugs in which to mull over their inability to drive the spear home.

In between screams, of course. Contrary to what you might think, I've found those lingering moments between screams is a good time to realize how you fucked up.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:56 PM
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Ian is having a busy bitter day.

As the sociopaths on Wall Street like to say, they eat what they kill. What they don't say is that what they kill, is you. If you've lost your house, if you can't afford your medicine, if your interest rates or the cost of your food has gone up, if someone you know has died due to poor or not health care, odds are high that's because they made that choice, because that suffering pays for their bonuses, for their foie gras, vacations in the Hamptoms and so on.

It's you or them, baby, and they're determined it's going to be you. So keep acting like slaves, so they can dine off your suffering, misery and death.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 6:59 PM
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Also, what did Reagan do during Solidarity? Carefully plan, in his brilliant way, for 1989?

Encourage funding and equipment supplies through various non-governmental organizations, make strong statements, and thus set himself up to be a hero in Poland well before the consensus Reagan hagiography took hold in the US. On the other hand the SPD and the CDU made clear their dislike for Solidarity (destabilizing) and sympathy for Jaruzelski (strong guy to keep those crazy Poles in line). A similar dynamic played out in France, though it led to serious tensions within the ruling PS at the time. However, unlike in Germany, the left leaning intellectual elites were unanimously supportive, e.g. a dying Michel Foucault driving a truck full of supplies to Poland and generally coordinating both legal (food, clothing) and illegal (printing supplies) aid for the Polish opposition. Solidarity failed, but the opposition elites remembered this very clearly and it made them rather hostile to France and Germany while supportive of the US after they took power. At this point the legacy has mostly faded, but it was still very much in play in the run up to the Iraq war.

Amusingly enough, the one German political party that was unstinting in its support for Solidarity were the (then) deeply anti-American Greens, which helped greatly under Schroeder (outspokenly anti-Solidarity in th eearly eighties) who was able to use Fischer to keep relations from getting too bad.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 7:04 PM
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Thanks. I figured you would know the details. That actually sounds fairly decent. Chalk one up for cold war clarity.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 7:26 PM
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['Gleen Beck is going to be all happy happy joy joy.']

Oh yes he is.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 7:36 PM
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19: The US can royally fuck things up by, for example, asking for advice from Elliott fucking Abrams.

I'm also imagining the screams of outrage from Bushco and the right, and sternly-worded columns from David Broder that would have been the result if the Dem House had tried to hold hearings during the early stages of an active international crisis in say 2007.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 8:41 PM
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The thought of having written 40 is suddenly boring me to death. The 10 zillionth piece of evidence that current Repubs are hypocrites not interested in true governance and the media don't report it posted to a blog in a snarky/condescending/outraged tone. Good job me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 9:02 PM
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Don't give up, Stormcrow! Think of how all those Iran-Contra motherfuckers skated, and comment away!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 9:06 PM
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41 should get out of my head circa 2007 to present.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 9:12 PM
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42: I will admit seeing that fuckpig of multiple iniquities Elliot Abrams still around is hard to let pass in silence. Maybe we could have just a few simple standards like, "If you've been found guilty of lying to Congress you don't get to be part of the public dialogue anymore."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 9:23 PM
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orange font: http://tl.gd/8j58hj


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 3-11 9:58 PM
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Can someone gently introduce Bob to the concept of a time zone?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 2:33 AM
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Three questions:

(1) If Mubarak leaves immediately, will the replacement - likely Suleiman - have the motivation, and strength, to institute the economic and legal reforms that will allow a stable ground to be prepared for an eventual transition to democracy?

(2) If Egypt were to eventually transition to a democracy, how powerful would the Muslim Brotherhood be?

(3) To what extent are the protests supported by the tens of millions of Egyptians who AREN'T at the protests?

My hope is that Egypt, and other countries, see the importance of instituting economic, legal, and educational reforms, and that as these are implemented we could witness a transition to democracy in such countries that does not involve chaos, theocratic regression, and economic depression.

I can't say that I'm a strong supporter of Mubarak stepping down immediately and instituting elections forthwith. I simply do not know enough about what happens next.


Posted by: Andrew | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 5:27 AM
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Can someone gently introduce Bob to the concept of a time zonenot being a ghoul who eggs on people risking their lives? No. There's no stopping him. Like every other armchair revolutionary, he's much braver than those lackadaisical weenies. Why, what the street really needs is to run with blood! Wolverines!


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 5:34 AM
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Mubarak stepping down immediately and instituting elections forthwith. I simply do not know enough about what happens next.

What happens next:

1. People would vote for the candidates of their choice;
2. Assuming the military permitted the process to continue (which seems probable from their current stance), either:
2a. A party/faction/grouping would emerge with the support of a majority, reflected in the makeup of the Egyptian parliament, or:
2b. The candidates elected would negotiate until such a majority coalition emerged;
3. They would proceed to form a government and govern Egypt until the next election or, if they refused to call one, the next revolution;
4. Neither they nor any person in Egypt would give a shit whether you approved the outcome or not.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 5:36 AM
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I think the proper answer to 47.2 is, 'about as powerful as their electoral representation, and what that is should be up to the Egyptians and basically fuck all of our business.'

And, on preview, pwned by chris y in 49.4


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 5:38 AM
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(1) If Mubarak leaves immediately, will the replacement - likely Suleiman - have the motivation, and strength, to institute the economic and legal reforms that will allow a stable ground to be prepared for an eventual transition to democracy?

This is the $64k question. Suleiman is evidently a repellent dogfucker. It wouldn't be the first time that the old regime's hitman gets the job of handing over the keys in an orderly fashion, of course. But he (going by his comical TV appearance yesterday in which he called for the youth to respect their parents and demanded that escaped prisoners go back to jail) doesn't seem to have any more idea how much they hate him than Mubarak.

(2) If Egypt were to eventually transition to a democracy, how powerful would the Muslim Brotherhood be?

Significant, but there is a big question as to what extent it's really a franchise of the regime. Note that Suleiman has offered it direct talks - he seems keener on it than on the rest of the opposition. Teraz will probably recognise the Polish acronym PRON in this context.

It didn't take part in the original 25th Jan movement, although no doubt individual Brothers did. Since then it's been desperately trying to catch up. The number everyone uses is 30% of the putative vote, but that's very much ex ano analysis. Its role as the Egyptian opposition everyone knows is partly because the government protected its monopoly by squashing everyone else.

(3) To what extent are the protests supported by the tens of millions of Egyptians who AREN'T at the protests?

Mubarak has tried to play the silent majority card, but it's not been a big success - they just aren't getting the numbers. Also, a hell of a lot of people are supporting the protests in the simplest possible way: they're on strike. This is a seriously underreported aspect of the whole issue (except, I note, by one Robert McManus of this parish). Labour activists have played a huge role in the protests, and one analysis of the movement is that the secular left succeeded in turning out the working class suburbs of Cairo, Alexandria, and the rest.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 6:09 AM
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"What's interesting about our country, if you study history, is that there are some 'isms' that occasionally pop up. One is isolationism and its evil twin protectionism and its evil triplet nativism. So if you study the '20s, for example, there was an American-first policy that said, 'Who cares what happens in Europe?' And there was an immigration policy that I think during this period argued we had too many Jews and too many Italians, therefore we should have no immigrants. And my point is that we've been through this kind of period of isolationism, protectionism and nativism. I'm a little concerned that we may be going through the same period. I hope that these 'isms' pass."


Posted by: George W Bush | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 6:15 AM
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48:I doubt that any particular protester has jumped the barricades on my urging, so I, like everyone else here, am engaged in armchair analysis, empathy, enthusiasm.
I am perhaps different than some in enjoying, actually taking pleasure, in the broken heads of the pigs and torturers than the students and workers. This is not to say that those who differ from me necessarily take the other side of the fight, although it can be hard to be sure. It is just that some get blissful studying sacrifices of their own like a dying Christ on the Cross and some of us like our people, or ones we identify with, inflicting the pain rather than enduring it.

"Peoples do not judge in the same way as courts of law; they do not hand down sentences, they throw thunderbolts; they do not condemn kings, they drop them back into the void; and this justice is worth just as much as that of the courts."
...Robespierre

People Who Walk away from mortgages

Melissa Mia Hall


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 6:37 AM
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Your "enthusiasm" for any heads being broken is disgusting.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 6:50 AM
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The attack of the Mubarak supporters seems to have had a radicalizing effect on the protestors. If the attack hadn't happened, I bet Mubarak could have negotiated something short of immediate departure. Now they'll only settle for victory or death.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 6:51 AM
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Significant, but there is a big question as to what extent it's really a franchise of the regime. Note that Suleiman has offered it direct talks - he seems keener on it than on the rest of the opposition. Teraz will probably recognise the Polish acronym PRON in this context.

Amusingly enough, they tended to be ultra nationalist religious right types who identified with the pre WWII fascist movement. The Polish communists were generally quite happy to take on those fascists who were willing to work as fronts in return for cash, privileges, and ideological influence. The ex PRON types later clustered around the hard right wing of the Catholic Church led by Father Rydzyk and his media empire.

NB When I say 'fascist' I am not using it as an epithet, but rather referring to those who quite openly tout their adherence to the National Democrat (endek) tradition. The endecja started out as a more or less democratic movement in the 1890's with some proto-fascist which became increasingly prominent until by the late twenties it was plain old fascism.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 12:19 PM
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Richard Estes Egypt Erupts Pt 8. This one struck me as particularly good, with lots of links, including to pictures

The US government is strangely silent today, perhaps an indication that the state sanctioned violence of Operation Ajax has failed. Unable to achieve its objectives through an orchestrated destabilization subcontracted through Mubarak and Suleiman, the Obama administration is now seeking to dictate the outcome through communications with the military:

"The Obama administration today resisted calls to cut its massive military aid to Egypt and is instead working behind the scenes with the commanders of the country's armed forces on how to oust President Hosni Mubarak.

The White House sees the Egyptian military as the key to removing Mubarak, regarded as a necessary first step towards implementing substantive political and economic reforms. Cutting aid would risk alienating them.

The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and other senior Pentagon figures have been in regular contact with their Egyptian counterparts all week."

Erupts 7.5 is immediately below the linked post, and discusses in detail the labor origins of this revolution

No doubt they have, and one of the most urgent topics of conversation has been the refusal of the troops in the street to discipline the movement so that that the populace will accept the members of the the junta as their new leaders.

Well, a fail, but the middle three paragraphs are supposed to be indented.

Erupts 7.5 is right below this linked post, and discusses the labor origins of this revolution.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 2:25 PM
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Analysis from Paul Amar on AJE website fucking fantastic if scary

Since 1977, the military has not been allowed to fight anyone. Instead, the generals have been given huge aid payoffs by the US. They have been granted concessions to run shopping malls in Egypt, develop gated cities in the desert and beach resorts on the coasts. And they are encouraged to sit around in cheap social clubs.

These buy-offs have shaped them into an incredibly organised interest group of nationalist businessmen

As good as I have seen


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 4-11 8:26 PM
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The Mubarak strategy is to become Muboring again and continue his business. The last anybody needs is bravery, so I fully second the idea of going for a full-out mockery. What I have seen up to now from Egypt gives me confidence.


Posted by: Guido Nius | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 4:16 AM
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@51: I suppose I find the lack of good evidence we have to support any of our answers or predictions to be striking. I simply can't tell what the majority in Egypt would prefer, at this point, nor can I tell how well the Muslim Brotherhood would do, nor what Suleiman will do. I think we can conclude with a lot of confidence that Mubarak is unpopular, but beyond that...

Let me ask another question:

(4) To what extent is the unrest less about democracy and more about high unemployment among the youth, rising food and fuel prices, and the high price of corruption that exacerbates both of those problems?

@49 and 50: So let elections be had, regardless of how bad the outcome might ultimately be for Egypt and the region? I agree that, ultimately, democracy is the preferred form of government, but that doesn't imply that at every point in time an immediate shift to democracy is best for a society, no?


Posted by: Andrew | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 4:53 AM
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Maybe not but a prolonged stay in a police state is, I guess, not better. And one would probably be not too far off when concluding that the end to a police state is what Mubarak's going symbolizes.


Posted by: Guido Nius | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 5:14 AM
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I agree that, ultimately, democracy is the preferred form of government, but that doesn't imply that at every point in time an immediate shift to democracy is best for a society, no?

This is the classic imperialist/racist/patriarchal argument. "We want the colonies to achieve independence, but they're not ready yet." "We want the negroes to have full civil rights but they're not ready yet." "We want women to have the vote, but they're not educated enough yet."

Take a good look in a mirror and repeat the above.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 5:22 AM
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Also, how many people get simultaneously freaked out by the human rights in China and 'the threat of democracy' in Egypt?


Posted by: Guido Nius | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 5:26 AM
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nor can I tell how well the Muslim Brotherhood would do

I thought the conventional wisdom I saw kicking around was "about 17%", but now I can't think where I read/heard that figure.

And 62 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 7:11 AM
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The Paul Amar article in 58 continues to fascinate me, even though it feels too optimistic. Amar is claiming that at least in Egypt there is a strong anti-Globalization/Empire counterforce with at least two foci:

1) Part of the New Businessman military that is nationalistic, in that they want to keep the ownership of domestic assets local rather than Global;capital controls. According to Amar, Suleiman is in this group

2) An Internationalist faction based in the UN also resistant to Empire; think El Baradei and WMD's; Human Rights Orgs;Greens? Identity Groups?

(Yes, these two would be in opposition in some ways)

(With the IMF/WTO thralls of Empire, I hadn't much hope for Internationalism)

This is not very much in terms of working power, but is the glimmer of an idea of a plan of resistance


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 7:44 AM
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Per usual, El Rorschach rings truest.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 7:52 AM
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Other nations/areas that might fit in 65, Internationalist/UN types with economies resistant to capital flows:Scandanavia; Japan/East Asia; Brazil?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 7:54 AM
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66:You are useless


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 8:10 AM
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68: Don't be so quick to judge. Unlikely, but I might yet manage to be a victim of some manner of political violence.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 9:05 AM
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69:Violence!

A Taste of Tea is strongly recommended. A spoiler

Bossman is told by female employee that she is taking the day off tomorrow.
"I need you"
"I'm off"
"No"
"Yes. And don't call me at home like you did last time."
(Silence)
"Are you listening? Don't call me at home."
(Woman leaves)
Bossman picks up phone, dials, is answered by male voice"
Bossman:"Your wife is having an affair." Hangs up.
A little time passes
Woman comes back (I am not 100% sure it is the same woman, her girlfriend, or a friend) into the office, and gracefully and skillfully proceeds to beat the shit out of bossman. A major stomping (literally) with broken bones. Cleverly filmed so that most of the contact is hidden by furniture.

Hilarious and beautiful.

Otherwise, AToT is a warm, gentle comedy about a very functional family, each member with challenges overcome. Beautifully and imaginatively filmed. Major and minor characters (there are many) revealed with subtle gestures. Feminist messaging.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 9:27 AM
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@62 of course. I had forgotten that elections everywhere always end with more stable democratic governments, which better secure the rights of everyone. How silly of me. Excuse me a moment while I self-flagellate for justifying colonialism, oppression, patriarchy, and cruelty to kittens.

Let's be real: democracy in its full sense isn't only about having an election or two; and sometimes those who win, or come close to winning, an election end up cancelling future elections, or use their newfound power to restrict rights further.

That "stability" has been used wrongly in some arguments in an attempt to justify a lack of democracy in countries that could actually sustain it, does not mean that "stability" is a concern that we can always toss aside as irrelevant or specious.

Whether it is a good or bad concern here depends heavily on what we would predict the consequences to be of different sequences of actions. I don't think this is as simple as "hey people should have rights and be able to choose their government; therefore Egypt should have elections immediately, and we needn't bother thinking about consequences."

@64 I think 17% was the number their unofficial members won in the Parliament, but it's tough to say how predictive that will be of future results in more open elections.


Posted by: Andrew | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 9:39 AM
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71:...therefore Egypt should have elections immediately, and we needn't bother thinking about consequences.

Obama and Suleiman want the elections in September, understanding that the institutions, infrastructure, media, parties have been suppressed for decades

El Baradei wants at least a year.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 10:08 AM
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I don't think this is as simple as "hey people should have rights and be able to choose their government; therefore Egypt should have elections immediately, and we needn't bother thinking about consequences.">/i>

So what's your answer? That the G8 nations take a decision on who is worthy of democracy and who isn't, and act to prevent the unworthy from holding elections? Think about the consequences as much as you like, but if you want to enable dictatorships or prevent elections because the outcome may hypothetically be inconvenient to you, you're an imperialist. I don't know any other word for it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 10:15 AM
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I don't think this is as simple as "hey people should have rights and be able to choose their government; therefore Egypt should have elections immediately, and we needn't bother thinking about consequences."

Beyond a certain point, yes, it's exactly as simple as that. Ultimately, the governance of Egypt is a problem for Egyptians. At best the international community can offer support and advice, and some level of material help if that's what the Egyptians want, but other than that, 'we' should leave well alone. It's the height of arrogance to believe it's _our_ problem.

and sometimes those who win ... use their newfound power to restrict rights further.

That certainly applies to the US, and the UK, and several other first world nations besides.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 10:20 AM
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73,74:Liberal Mystification of Democracy and nation-states, as if there is any democracy or free elections anymore. It is all Empire, there is little outside of it, and we don't get to so easily escape our responsibility for Others experience and autonomy.

Mubarek Suleiman call for elections tomorrow or September, they win in a landslide. This will not be the free choice of Egyptians, the Americans are determined to see that they don't have one. I wonder if CY and MM know this, it's fairly obvious.

Free assembly & movement first, followed by free press. Stall on elections

Multitude


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 10:36 AM
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re: 75

What makes you think I'm i) a 'liberal' in the sense you think I am, or ii) engaged in mystification of democracy? I'm neither. My politics are strongly of the 'left' rather than some species of milquetoast liberalism; I'm just not given to romantic posturing about revolutionary violence. I also don't get how you distinguish between 'our responsibility for others experience and autonomy' and imperialism, frankly.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 10:44 AM
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74

Beyond a certain point, yes, it's exactly as simple as that. Ultimately, the governance of Egypt is a problem for Egyptians. At best the international community can offer support and advice, and some level of material help if that's what the Egyptians want, but other than that, 'we' should leave well alone. It's the height of arrogance to believe it's _our_ problem.

Leaving them alone would mean totally ignoring what is going on. But if we are being asked to cheer (much less give more tangible support) for one side or the other it is reasonable to ask what exactly we are cheering for. Anybody cheering for Mugabe back in the day might be feeling a bit embarrassed at this point.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 10:45 AM
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The point about multitude is that

a) it is unmediated by archaic repressive liberal forms and structures
b) it is bottom up rather than top down

Maybe Egyptians want to bring back the Pharoah. Whatever. Elections, constitutions, and the other controlling mechanisms of liberalism will limit, are designed to limit their options, and are anymore the primary tools of inverted totalitarianism and Empire.

Let them gather and talk.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 10:46 AM
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Bob, you know as well as I do that it isn't practically possible to organise elections in Egypt tomorrow, so don't be silly. Freedom of movement and assembly is best guaranteed as part of the pre-electoral process, since unless a date is fixed the dictatorship will simply reimpose restrictions as soon as the journalists fuck off.

It's unlikely that Suleiman would be able to engineer a landslide victory at this stage, the Americans couldn't even engineer a landslide victory for their anointed candidate in Iraq with umpteen divisions on the ground. The Egyptian bourgeoisie presumably have a Plan B, and all the indications are that they're ready to go with it. This will likely involve a multi-party state with the comprador class unaffected in most respects, as in, for example, Honduras.

Of course it's all Empire, do you think you're talking to an audience of ignoramuses? However, your brand of naive anarcho-Maoism won't fly in Egypt for several reasons, not least of which is, oddly enough, that it's too rich and developed.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 10:52 AM
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Of course it's all Empire, do you think you're talking to an audience of ignoramuses?

Quite.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 10:54 AM
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79

It's unlikely that Suleiman would be able to engineer a landslide victory at this stage, ...

It's not so difficult, just goad the opposition into boycotting the election.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 11:01 AM
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We now have actual quotes from what US envoy Wisner has been saying: "We need to get a national consensus around the pre-conditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes."
Obama? mcmanus? It's all Empire.

James, you're right that this is a measurable possibility, which is why I said 'unlikely' rather than 'inconceivable'. It's also a good reason to hold elections sooner than September, assuming that can be organised.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 11:06 AM
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...the dictatorship will simply reimpose restrictions as soon as the journalists fuck off.

People on the ground in Egypt say that that is no longer possible, a bridge has been crossed, and restrictions on assembly cannot be enforced.

However, your brand of naive anarcho-Maoism won't fly in Egypt for several reasons, not least of which is, oddly enough, that it's too rich and developed.

Now who is being patronizing, and dare I say it, no I wont. From what I have seen recently, the Egyptians are more politically advanced and sophisticated by far than Americans. al Jazeera is certainly better media than the US can dream of, and I suspect that the oligarchy must keep a tight rein on local media because any loosening will allow a discourse that makes ours look like the pablum it is.

The Egyptian bourgeoisie presumably have a Plan B, and all the indications are that they're ready to go with it.

Oh, I bet they do. El Baradei wants a year. I say give it to him, and in the meantime we foreigners press hard on the oligarchy to allow assembly and free press. Every day, relentlessly.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 11:10 AM
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It's also a good reason to hold elections sooner than September, assuming that can be organised.

Jesus. This how inverted totalitarianism wins. With Liberals.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 11:13 AM
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Wisner?

Pre-condition for negotiations is Mubarek and Suleiman gone.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 11:15 AM
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OK, bob, you're rambling again. Why do you think there are no political parties in Egypt right now? Why do you think the political debate hasn't started already? At a random guess I should think it would take about four months to hold elections from where they are right now - plenty of time for full debate. It doesn't matter if it takes longer, even a year - people in Egypt can judge for themselves, but the principle is to follow the dynamic established by the mobilised masses, not to deliberately put a brake on it so that the men in suits can re-establish control of the situation.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 11:30 AM
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This thread is distressingly free of any mention of squirrels.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 11:47 AM
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Q: Do squirrels live in Egypt? A: they live in my gluteos maximus


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 12:07 PM
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Markfromireland Global Gorilla, got in trouble at firedoglake yesterday for negativity

Have you noticed how what's happening in Tahrir Square (Midan al-Tahrir) looks remarkably like what happened in Tehran during the "Green Revolution"? At the time of the "Green Revolution" people like me, (you know people who actually live in the Middle East, regularly visit Iran, studied there, people like that) were excoriated by those were absolutely certain that Ahmadinejad and the molten mullahs of Qom had had been caught stealing an election and were now about to lose power. What was in fact a North Tehran Middle Class revolt never managed to get the working poor involved and so it went down in the dust.

The similarity to what's going on in Egypt is striking. I have yet to see or hear either in Arabic or any other language a credible report about large numbers of the working poor taking part in the protests. Those who earn the equivalent of US$2 per day have thus far not become involved.

I hope the slum dwellers and the fellahin (the fellahin are the rural peasantry) rise up and help throw off the tyranny, but so far there have been no credible reports of that happening. Unless and until a very large proportion of the 50 to 60 million (call that around two thirds of Egypt's population) who make up the slum dwellers and the fellahin decide to shake off ("intifada") the load of oppression from their shoulders, that the "revolution" is in their interests then this this "Revolution" does not have the depth of support needed to make anything other than very superficial change

The "masses" aren't mobilized yet, and I don't understand why chris y says they are.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 12:12 PM
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Oh fuck, I can't be bothered. 1.5 - 2% of the entire population on the street is about as mobilised as it gets. Anywhere. Anytime. Especially where 30% of the people are under 15.

Go and google 'lumpenproletariat'. I've come to the conclusion you really are a bloody Stalinist hack.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 12:29 PM
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That thread, the comments, is worth reading. Mark gets a lot of pushback and uses his knowledge of Arabic accents to prove who the people in Tahrir Square really are. Mark has lived the last ten years in Iraq and says he worked as a humanitarian bomb disarmer in Lebanon etc. Who knows?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 12:31 PM
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1.5 - 2% of the entire population on the street is about as mobilised as it gets.

And yet you expect this to gain power in quick elections?

"Leninist hack", if you please.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 12:33 PM
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@72: So far as giving tangible support to one path forward or another is concerned, I do not think it's a question of who is "worthy" of democracy. I think it's a question of what path holds the best hope for progress in Egypt towards economic reform, legal reform, and, in its full sense, democracy. The best path may mean elections in September; or it may mean elections in a year or two.

@73: "The governance of Egypt is a problem for the Egyptians." Except that whatever the US does will have an effect; the choice is inescapable. If you want the US to consider only the interests of the Egyptian people, then I understand, but the US cannot escape doing the consideration.

I don't have the confidence to make any predictions as to who would win if a election were held on any date, or what would happen to the governance of Egypt. Is anyone here really able to do that?

What would be a good ordering of preferences for different possible paths in Egypt?

For instance:

1. Full elections leading to a government committed to stable democracy, and necessary economic and legal reform.
2. Partial elections, in conjunction with unelected elements of government, which lead to a government committed to the same as 1, and which is likely to make progress towards 1.
3. A continuation of the current structure, but with commitment to all the reforms in 1, including expanded civil rights.
4. Elections that lead to an authoritarian Islamist government which sets Egypt back further.
5. Elections that lead to complete internal chaos with no central government.


Posted by: Andrew | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 1:09 PM
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Is anyone here really able to do that?

Best evidence would be the last election, or last several elections.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 1:19 PM
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Best evidence would be the last election, or last several elections.

In that case the NDP is a shoo-in. Let's all go home.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 1:23 PM
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Legal Nightmare After Mubarek

But it will be a Herculean task untangling the Egyptian constitution and legal framework, seeing as so much is weighted toward the regime. For example, Article 5 would need to be amended to allow religiously based political parties to participate. Article 76 must be amended if independent candidates are to be allowed. Law No. 40 for 1977 needs to be changed to ensure that the committee that vets political parties is independent and not filled with government ministers. Law No. 174 for 2005 would have to be amended to allow monitors at election stations.

Voter registration in Egypt is also plagued with problems. The emergency law in place since 1981 significantly constrains political activity that could impact any future elections. Laws and regulations on campaign finance have to be enforced. And the list goes on and on.

The Brookings Institution's Robert Kagan said that basing the next round of elections on exiting Egyptian law is a recipe for disaster. "You wouldn't expect to have elections in Russia after communism based on Soviet laws, would you?" he said in an interview with The Cable.

The Egyptian government can't be left to its own devices to decide what those changes might be, Kagan said.

I can't understand why people are calling for quick elections under that system.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 1:29 PM
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Entertaining article from an unlikely source.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 1:57 PM
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97:Okay, yeah, better.

Someone asked me a while ago what I had learned about modern Japan. There it is, the most recent cohort and a half. I just don't really understand it. Assume usual qualifiers.

The cohort (Japan) before were into the NGO's. This cohort (20s) doesn't merely not have careers, they barely have jobs. Or homes or families. What they do have is frightening marketable skills, and pick new ones up very quickly.

Uncle in A Taste of Tea last night, thirtyish, would go into Tokyo and mix a song in two days on a contract basis, and then go back to a tent in the country. A point was made about the woman he lost to his rootlessness. Other points were made about women controlling creative workplaces.

The article talks too much about power. This creative cohort might get some freedom, but I have yet to see them controlling much rather than breaking things. And they are very alienated from the 60% service wage-labor.

Like the experimentalism of the early Soviet, I just see them getting stomped, or brushed aside. It may not be that new.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 2:23 PM
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Someone made fun of my watching movies (I read books with charts and numbers), but old movies are windows into social myth, and recent ones in current society. Better than novels because movies are cross-class collaborations, Ishii not only works with actors writers set designers but also electricians boom operators caterers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 2:32 PM
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Christ, novels. They used to be bad enough, but now it is all academic hermeticism.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 2:38 PM
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Better than novels because movies are cross-class collaborations, Ishii not only works with actors writers set designers but also electricians boom operators caterers.

I confess I had never really pondered the caterer's role in the artistic product. Perhaps we could bring greatness to the literary market if we required writers to get more takeout.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 2:46 PM
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My desire to eat crappy pizza once got me to read more books. (Book-It! Woo!) I guess the reverse could work for writing books?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 2:54 PM
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Ahh, but the great novelist buried in the English Dept at SUNY doesn't think he needs the Pizza deliverer to write his book, but the director (or the line producer or unit manager, usually female, who has to be kept happy) understands that without the honeywagon all you get is a pile of shit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 2:55 PM
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88: The Egyptian busboy at the restaurant where I waitressed long ago was horrified by the large number of squirrels in the nearby park. "Are those rats?" he asked. So I would guess no. No squirrels in Egypt.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:07 PM
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I confess I had never really pondered the caterer's role in the artistic product.

It may be vital. A single scene of Traffic was filmed outside my office. They were there for four or five hours and somebody set-up the snack table three times. All this for maybe a minute of screen time. Michael Douglas spent maybe a half hour there and probably had his own snacks where ever he was for the rest of the time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:08 PM
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104: Hey, wait a second.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:17 PM
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Omigod I'm starting to tell the same stories over again. Somebody shoot me.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:18 PM
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Everytime I get some chips and settle in the recliner, somebody wants to make me move.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:24 PM
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108: If you had gotten some Bellagio chips like this guy you could probably expect to stay put for quite some time.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:27 PM
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Wait, so now you're leaning on Robert fucking Kagan, bob?

Sometimes you remind me of Concrete:

Those with the very basest of souls keep dogs, allowing themselves to be tyrannized and finally ruined by their dogs. They give the dog pride of place in their hypocrisy, which in the end becomes a public menace. They would rather save their dog from the guillotine than Voltaire...It isn't as absurd as it may at first appear when I say that the world owes its most terrible wars to its ruler's love of animals. It's all documented, and one ought to be clear about it for once. These people--politicians, dictators--are ruled by a dog, and as a result they plunge millions of human beings into misery and ruin. They love a dog and foment a world war in which, because of this one dog, millions of people are killed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:33 PM
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110:Jesus, I knew that would happen here. I almost left him out of the cut-and-paste.

You could look at the actual words and say what you think is offensive or mistaken about them.

Or not.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:39 PM
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106: I thought that sounded familiar.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:42 PM
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You could look at the actual words and say what you think is offensive or mistaken about them.

Or I could look at Kagan's odious opinions and reasonably assume he's arguing in bad faith, and point to your own stated positions concerning neoconservatives and assume the same about you.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 3:59 PM
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113:reasonably assume he's arguing in bad faith

So what?

The Egyptian government can't be left to its own devices to decide what those changes might be

I am not taking the opposite position, to let Mubarek and Suleiman set the terms for the election, just because it was Kagan that said the above. That would be really sick. Diseased. Psychotically callous tribalism.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 4:07 PM
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Sometimes you remind me of Concrete

And hey, right now both Deutschlandfunk and dradioKultur are playing programs on Thomas Bernhard. Crazy!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 4:14 PM
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Sometimes you remind me of Cement

"Your case is too petty. There's a terrible whirlpool, and we're all in it. We're going to be subjected to a dreadful trail, worse than civil war, ruin, famine and blockade. We're in the presence of a hidden foe who is not going to shoot us, but will spread before us all the charms and temptations of capitalist business. We control the whole of the economic system. That's certain enough. But the petty trader is crawling out of his hole. He's beginning to get fat and re-incarnates in various forms. For instance, he's trying to instal* himself in our own ranks, behind a solid barricade of revolutionary phrases"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 6:07 PM
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More on improvised creativity during popular insurrection. Helmets of Egypt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 8:23 PM
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My favorite's the cement-slab one on the bottom left, but I suspect he was just joking around. Bottom right, though, is serious business. For those about to rock, we salute you.

102- Wooo, Book-It!

Following the link in 106 and scrolling up, one immediately notices that squirrel stories are not the only things being rehashed endlessly.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 02- 5-11 8:41 PM
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118.3:Jeez, why do you think they link it, squirrels?

Weimar in Japan:

The government's response to the depression was also found wanting by the middling farmers. When Hara Takashi became prime minister in 1918, he did not do anything to maintain rice prices or to aid rural communities, despite heading a political party, the Seiyukai, that was widely regarded as a "farmers' party." Instead, his policies appeared to favor industry and commerce. Similarly, the forty-sixth session of the Diet, in 1922-3, although heralded as "the session on rural problems," merely collected petitions from farmers but took no action on the issues-the need for reductions in the land tax, tenancy legislation, aid to small farmers-that those petitions raised.
...Cambridge, section on the rise of the nihonshugi, one political base for the 30s militarism

Urban elites never learn from history, as we are seeing again in Egypt. Ignore the Red States/rural conservatives/lumpenproletariat, and they will eat you. I know it's hard, I don't like them either. Muslim Brotherhood looks to be gaining a favored status in the negotiations.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 8:41 AM
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Bob, your argument now seems to be that:

Barack Obama is an impossibly evil force for even countenancing the idea that either Hosni Mubarak or Omar Suleiman should remain in office between here and September.

Instead - by construction - they must go. Otherwise, the longer either of 'em sticks around, the more they'll use their remaining police and propaganda apparatus to try to pick who follows them.

(comment: fair enough)

Instead, you now say (scroll up) that they or some other government figure should stay in charge for a year to give the opposition time to get ready.

(like, eh...)

Somehow, given a whole year's propagandising and repressing rather than another week or another month, this is meant to be better...? (comment: this is completely, berserkly insane)

Also, the figure of 12 months comes (you say - I've not seen it from him) from El-Baradei, who you described recently as a fascist, a clown, an ineffectual liberal...

(El B is a saint now?)

Further, for a revolutionary, you seem to have very little faith in the people's self-activity. They're doing it, right now. Why give the other guy more time?

Even further, in not having elections or anything else any time soon, you appear to be entirely in line with the policy recommendations of Frank G. Wisner, the Israeli Government, and a whole bunch of other stuff you probably don't want to be seen with. As very often, you come up with a lot of analysis based on [pick one from deep ecologist/peakie/Maoist/gun-nut libertarian/Leninist/suburban conservative/hard money Austrian depending on week] but then end up with recommendations for action remarkably similar to Grover Norquist's.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 2:06 PM
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Oh, for god's sake will people cut-and-paste?

"Instead, you now say (scroll up) that they or some other government figure should stay in charge for a year to give the opposition time to get ready.

Go check what El Baradei says and get back to me. The interim gov't or oversight panel is being negotiated as we speak. It will have military reps, prob two of seven, awww etc etc

I don't have time for this. You want to talk, cut-and-paste. Otherwise, I, and the people who are reading, may assume you are lying your ass off.

Barack Obama is an impossibly evil force

Not "impossibly".


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 2:42 PM
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Oh, for god's sake will people cut-and-paste?

Oh, for god's sake will people maintain even minimal internal consistency?

BTW, El B has just disavowed the guy who claimed to be his representative.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 3:02 PM
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Cairo Protesters Hold Firm ...AJE 23:30 GMT

Opposition Demands

Hosni Mubarak must go
Dissolve parliament
Lift state of emergency
Transitional unity cabinet
Constitutional amendments
Fair and transparent trials

Simple enough. And nothing about elections until after the Constitution is changed, for excellent and important reasons. Suleiman says he and the current Parliament can do it in three months. Uhh, no.

Yes, they have a problem, just as we would in the US, with Constitutional changes made outside of Parliament or Congress, and before new elections.

That's why they call it REVOLUTION.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 3:06 PM
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I don't have time for this. You want to talk, cut-and-paste. Otherwise, I, and the people who are reading, may assume you are lying your ass off.

Fuck off.

Barack Obama is an impossibly evil force

You need to pay attention. Bob had established that to everyone's satisfaction by spring of 2008.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 3:06 PM
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As far as ElBaradei goes, I have a problem, a blind spot, and have trouble seeing uncorrupted power figures like U Thant or Sergio Vieira de Mello even when they exist.

Been in America too long.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 3:14 PM
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123: That poem doesn't even rhyme. Let me give it a try:

Opposition Demands, a Poem

Hosni Mubarak must go
Dissolve the parliament
We can't afford to forego
A unity cabinet

The state of emergency must
Be lifted right away
Amendments that are just
Can be added later today

Fair and transparent trials
Constitute our final demand
Give the accused his day in court
Before putting him on remand


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 3:23 PM
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Also, regarding this little beauty:

1) Part of the New Businessman military that is nationalistic, in that they want to keep the ownership of domestic assets local rather than Global;capital controls. According to Amar, Suleiman is in this group

you have asked Hossam about this? (Actually don't bother, he's busy)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 3:35 PM
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127:Finally, something I can respond to. Here is the relevant paragraphs from the Paul Amar piece at AJE

But the military has been marginalised since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accords with Israel and the United States. Since 1977, the military has not been allowed to fight anyone. Instead, the generals have been given huge aid payoffs by the US. They have been granted concessions to run shopping malls in Egypt, develop gated cities in the desert and beach resorts on the coasts. And they are encouraged to sit around in cheap social clubs.

These buy-offs have shaped them into an incredibly organised interest group of nationalist businessmen. They are attracted to foreign investment, but their loyalties are economically and symbolically embedded in national territory. As we can see when examining any other case in the region (Pakistan, Iraq, the Gulf), US military-aid money does not buy loyalty to America; it just buys resentment. In recent years, the Egyptian military has felt collectively a growing sense of national duty, and has developed a sense of embittered shame for what it considers its "neutered masculinity": its sense that it was not standing up for the nation's people.

The nationalistic Armed Forces want to restore their honour and they are disgusted by police corruption and baltagiya brutality. And it seems that the military, now as "national capitalists", have seen themselves as the blood rivals of the neoliberal "crony capitalists" associated with Hosni Mubarak's son Gamal who have privatised anything they can get their hands on and sold the country's assets off to China, the US, and Persian Gulf capital.

Now Suleiman was not always a spook, but a career combat arms officer that Pat Lang considers a friend. IOW, Suleiman is Army. TBC


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 3:50 PM
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128:So why Suleiman? Aside from being Obama's Bush's torturer and a confidant of Mubarek? Why, internal to Egyptian politics?

Well, look at 127 and understand that part of this revolution is nationalist economics vs globalism, and the Army vs AF & Internal Security/Police and Suleiman looks like a smart tactical choice, one that might have kept the Army from going all the way to the side of the insurgents. Being from the Army, but now a spook, is even better. On the economic side, someone from the ant-globalist side of the economic elite might calm workers.

I am not happy with the guy, but by now I know that whatever Obama wants, I'm agin it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 4:02 PM
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So can we now have a reconsideration of your past statements with regard to him?

He's still a world torture exporter to me. Also, afaik, he's been running the Mukhabarat for 30 odd years.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 4:04 PM
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part of this revolution is nationalist economics vs globalism

But you think he's:

Obama's Bush's torturer and a confidant of Mubarek

and

whatever Obama wants, I'm agin it

and

why Suleiman?

indeed. why, indeed, identical answer to not just Obama but Netanyahu, Blair, Cheney...?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 4:08 PM
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130:Not really. I want him hung, although after some others.

I am looking at Suli mostly to try to understand the Army, officers, which is deeply embedded in the Egyptian economy

Also, afaik, he's been running the Mukhabarat for 30 odd years.

Wiki on Suli looks like 1960-91 regular army, and then Military Intelligence from 1991

Mukhabaret is not the Mahabith and Egyptians know the difference.

But like I said, again, in a Revolution sparked by a bad economy, I have been trying to sort out the political economics.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 4:16 PM
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131:Alex, everybody wears multiple hats and has multiple interests.

For example, if the Army Officer Corps, Majors and Colonels, owns 30% of the Hotels in Cairo*, how long, however sympathetic to the protesters they might be, will they tolerate the tourist industry being shut down?

*No good source, just something I heard in passing. They own stuff, something. They are not just soldiers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 4:23 PM
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US Warships, Troops to Egypt

h/t Richard Estes


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-11 4:49 PM
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"This stratum of workers-turned-bourgeois, or the labour aristocracy, who are quite philistine in their mode of life, in the size of their earnings and in their entire outlook, is the principal prop of the Second International, and in our days, the principal social (not military) prop of the bourgeoisie. For they are the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class, real vehicles of reformism and chauvinism. In the civil war between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie they inevitably...take the side of the bourgeoisie.
...Lenin

If the Tahrir Square movement remains a bourgeois revolution I think we can expect a more aggressive and expansionist Egypt as a consequence, and perhaps war. Not at all Islamic, not Muslim Brotherhood, but Matt & Ezra (Max fucking Weber;Bernstein) types seeking to reaffirm their nationalism and patriotism in the face of accusations of internationalism etc.

Tahrir Square yesterday was divided into smoking and non-smoking sections. They love the Army.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-11 7:06 AM
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Note:Read today that there are factory strikes and sit-downs in industrial cities, but these are obviously not getting the media attention. With the Internet and phones back up, there should be coordination between workers and T Square, if the workers care to bother with them.

The average Egyptian spends 48% of her wages on food, 6th worse in the world.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-11 7:31 PM
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