My previous comments still largely apply, although given the Egyptian High Court’s invalidation of parliament, a Muslim Brotherhood takeover is looking a lot less likely.
Posts Tagged ‘Hosni Mubarak’
I’m seeing Twitter reports (including one from what appears to be the Egyptian Minister of the Interior) that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has died. Waiting for confirmation.
Mubarak was right around the 50-yard line for brutality and corruption for Arab dictators, more a symptom of the sickness in Arab politics than a cause. He actually observed the treaties his country signed. He was notably worse than Anwar Sadat, but almost certainly better than whoever ends up following him.
Updated to add: That Twitter account is pretty new, so this could well be a hoax. Also, why would the official Twitter feed for the Interior Minister of Egypt be following 320 accounts less than a day of starting up?
I would try to find confirmation on the official Egyptian Interior Ministry webpage, but their server doesn’t feel like working right now…
Update 2: NBC reporter Richard Engel says the interior ministry has denied that Mubarak has died. So I think we can update his status to “I’m getting better.”
And they’re every bit as warm as those for Spiderman: Turn off the Dark:
“Last week, for the second time in his presidency, Barack Obama heard those footsteps, jumped up to grasp a historic opportunity … and missed it completely….This failure was not the result of bad luck. It was the predictable consequence of the Obama administration’s lack of any kind of coherent grand strategy, a deficit about which more than a few veterans of U.S. foreign policy making have long worried….The defining characteristic of Obama’s foreign policy has been not just a failure to prioritize, but also a failure to recognize the need to do so. A succession of speeches saying, in essence, ‘I am not George W. Bush’ is no substitute for a strategy.”
“As our once-stable ally Egypt hurtles down a path leading into the dark unknown, the U.S. can blame itself. The White House apparently did little after our intelligence agencies warned late last year that President Hosni Mubarak’s government was wobbly. Like Jimmy Carter’s handling of Central America, the U.S. backed a revolution, hoping it would make the revolutionaries our friends.”
Like Julie Taymor’s production (which I have not seen, but I have seen enough of Ms. Taymor’s previous work to trust the reviews of it I’ve read), Obama’s foreign policy is far more concerned with flash and spectacle than the boring matter of actual substance. Unfortunately, there’s no chance that Obama’s foreign policy will fold in previews, and we can’t make things better by getting Bono and The Edge to write us a few new tunes…
According the latest news flash. I’m guessing the military finally told him they’d had enough.
What’s next? Anyone’s guess. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say talks with some elements of the opposition together with a crackdown against others.
In email, Stratfor is saying that Rather than letting protesters storm the Presidential Palace, or firing on them to prevent same, the Egyptian military will replace Mubarak in a coup. I remain skeptical; except for a couple of signs early in the crises, they has been no hard evidence that the army has ever wavered in its support of Mubarak.
It is hard to tell at this remove how effective the calls for a general strike have been. Those claiming the strike is widespread have tended to be left-leaning publications that celebrate just about any strike.
The Magic 8-Ball has the same answer it’s been giving since unrest began: ANSWER CLOUDY, ASK AGAIN LATER.
All eyes are still on Egypt, but that’s not the only hotspot for jihad:
The latest from the beleaguered President of Egypt:
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said he would like to resign immediately but fears the country would descend into chaos if he did so.
In his first interview since anti-government protests began, he told ABC News he was “fed up” with power.
It came as Cairo saw another day of violence with clashes between the president’s opponents and supporters.
Mr Mubarak warned that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party would fill any power vacuum if he stepped down.
Mubarak is lying. Dictators almost never want to give up power, except to pass it on to their heirs. (There are exceptions, such as Turkey or Chile, where a military dictator stepped in to prevent a radical regime from inflicting further damage, only to step back and restore control once the danger (and the lives of some political opponents) had passed, but these are the exception rather than the rule.) If Mubarak was really tired of power, he could have stepped down any time in the last 30 years.
However, his statement that that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party would fill the power vacuum are, sadly, probably true.
Good question. Wish I knew. Or, more accurately, wish I knew more than what I can glean from various reports, which is that anti-Mubarak forces are getting a smackdown from pro-Mubarak forces, including (reportedly) police (secret and otherwise) in disguise. Beyond those clashes, its hard to tell what is going on. Maybe Mubarak waited until popular rage had run its course, and delayed the crackdown until fears of disorder and looting drove the majority of non-hardcore protesters off the street before beginning the crackdown.
The more I’ve read the past few days, the more I think that Mubarak survives until his promised stepping down in the September elections. What I’ve seen is lots of anti-Mubarak forces saying he has to step down now, he can’t survive, etc., as well as similar noises from various international governments, but no reports of Egyptian generals or colonels saying the same thing.
A few other interesting articles on the situation:
Hosni Mubarak seems to have adopted an interesting strategy to deal with the unrest gripping his country: Let the worst of it rage with a minimum of reprisals and crackdowns, and then slowly but surely reassert his control using the police and the military. Such a strategy walks the fine line between appearing weak enough to let the revolution push him out of power, and a Tienanmen-type crackdown that leaves thousands dead. So far it seems to be working: Despite some blips and waivers, the army still appears to be following Mubarak’s orders. If they continue to do so, it’s hard to see how the called-for general strike can be total enough to paralyze the nation. And if gas and food continue to make it through, it’s hard to see the general masses being radicalized enough to join the call to oust Mubarak.
Also, National Review reminds us that the Muslim Brotherhood is bad news.
The situation this morning looks much the same as it did last night: neither side backing down, the army following Mubarak’s orders (for now).
Once again the live update pages have changed:
And here’s an interesting article placing the Egyptian situation in the context of higher global food prices, which is driving global unrest. So ethanol subsidies, which were supposed to ween us from dependence on unstable Middle Eastern sources of oil, are helping destabilize the Middle East. Good work, guys!