(2011-01-29) Egypt Uprising

Egypt is facing a big uprising as well.

Mubarak's support of peace negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has made him an ally of the West, with Egypt receiving over US$1.3 billion in annual Foreign Aid from the UnitedStates. His government is also noted for its crackdown on Islamic militants. As a result, the initial reactions to Hosni Mubarak's abuses by the U.S. were muted. Joe Biden said that Hosni Mubarak should not step down: "I would not refer to him as a dictator." I foresee a clintoneque "what is the definition of dictator" interview... (Potential for future Blow Back?)

The involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood makes it harder to root for the rebs.

  • heh, of course we've had a long relationship with them. Eisenhower officials knew what they were doing. In the battle against communism, they figured that religion was a force that US could make use of—the Soviet Union was atheist, while the United States supported religious freedom. Central Intelligence Agency analyses of Said Ramadan were quite blunt, calling him a “Phalangist” and a “fascist interested in the grouping of individuals for power.” But the White House went ahead and invited him anyway. Hooray for Blow Back!

Why are Western governments so concerned about an unstable Egypt? In addition to all of obvious reasons, two words: Suez Canal, which is literally one of the biggest arteries of crude oil (Cheap Oil) that fuels the U.S. economy... It is far too soon to guess the outcome of the situation in Egypt, but if the upheaval somehow makes the Suez Canal an untenable thruway for oil tankers bound for the west, then some experts are suggesting the price of oil could nearly double, causing a gallon of gas to come close to $7 a gallon. Of course this is an oversimplified explanation, and one would expect the interceding by OPEC to have an impact on the price as well.

The government shut down the Internet. I bet Joseph Lieberman is jealous.

Jan28 update: somewhat after-the-fact, WikiLeaks released some appropriate cables.

Jan31: China is censoring info about the uprising. The only news easily accessible in China on Egypt right now comes from state-authorized media who apparently have been allowed to report on the protests as long as they focus on the violence of the protesters instead of their cause.

Feb02: President Hosni Mubarak struck back at his opponents on Wednesday, unleashing waves of his supporters armed with clubs, rocks, knives and firebombs in a concerted assault on thousands of antigovernment protesters in Tahrir Square calling for an end to his authoritarian rule.

Feb03: “It appears that journalists are being targeted by the Egyptian authorities in a deliberate campaign of intimidation aimed at quashing honest, independent reporting of a transformational event,” said The Post’s foreign editor, Douglas Jehl.

Feb03: a review of communications management activities (censorship, Route Around).

Feb03: Hernando De Soto notes the need for Egyptians to work in the Underground Economy.

Feb05: U.S. Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, speaking today at an international security conference in Munich, signaled that U.S. support has swung behind a transition headed by the recently-named vice president, Omar Suleiman. Seriously, the guy who's been head of the national intelligence agency for almost 20 years is considered to be a transition-to-change agent?

Feb11: Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak would be stepping down as president and turning power over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.[38] On 24 May, Mubarak was ordered to stand trial on charges of premeditated murder of peaceful protestors and, if convicted, could face the death penalty.

Feb13: The military junta, headed by effective head of state Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, announced on 13 February that the constitution would be suspended, both houses of parliament dissolved, and that the military would rule for six months until elections could be held. The prior cabinet, including Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, would continue to serve as a caretaker government until a new one is formed.[39] Shafik resigned on 3 March, a day before major protests to get him to step down were planned; he was replaced by Essam Sharaf, the former transport minister. Although Mubarak resigned, the protests have continued amid concerns about how long the military junta will last in Egypt; some are afraid that the military will rule the country indefinitely.

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