mubarak Some good news for a change. Well done chaps! Now, how about that dictatorship we’re propping up in Saudi Arabia?

I didn’t actually do anything useful in all this (other than copy-editing the wikipedia article, I’m sure that boosted their revolutionary fervour) but I was rooting for them.

Brian was more useful.

On a lighter note: don’t try this at home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEjiw1VcPGU

Refs

* Egypt’s Mubarak resigns as leader (BBC)

Comments

  1. #1 Rose Colored Glasses
    2011/02/11

    Not only did he resign, he ceded power to the military, which means his whole cabinet is out of business.

    Well, folks, it looks like we’ve witnessed the Fall of the Final Pharaoh.

  2. #2 Steve Bloom
    2011/02/11

    So this is the first in your “was tossed” series. :)

  3. #3 J Bowers
    2011/02/11

    Has something been happening in Egypt?

  4. #4 David B. Benson
    2011/02/11

    So now Egypt has a militaty dictatorship.

    Deja vu all over again.

    [Doesn't look like one -W]

  5. #5 Kooiti Masuda
    2011/02/12

    My colleague working in Indonesia says that it’s deja vu of what happened in Indonesia in 1998.

    Suharto gave up, and the vice president Habibie (a technocrat who used to be an aircraft engineer) became the president. An election was done, and Habibie was defeated by Wahid, the leader of the moderate Muslim party.

    But I do not yet find someone comparable to Megawati, Sukarno’s daughter. Aren’t there any hero/heroine who can remind nostalgia of the times of Nasser, a leader of Non-Alignment Movement? Perhaps the 13-year lag, prehaps the relative continuity from Nasser to Mubarak vs. the discontinuity from Sukarno to Suharto made the difference. But I still hope that a secular nationalist leader comes to the scene.

    [El-Baradi (sp?) seems to be the obvious candidate, if perhaps not as inspiring as you'd hope for. But indeed, perhaps not having a towering figure would be a rather good thing -W]

  6. #7 Kooiti Masuda
    2011/02/12

    I agree that El-Baradei is a key person. But I am afraid he appears too much Europeanized, and I hope another leader who can be a focus of nationalistic minds will come to cooperate with him.

  7. #8 dhogaza
    2011/02/12

    So now Egypt has a militaty dictatorship.

    Deja vu all over again.

    [Doesn't look like one -W]

    Yet.

    I’m hopeful, but it’s far too early to celebrate the arrival of democracy in Egypt.

    Iran’s officially cheering the overflow of Mubarak, hinting that we might be seeing another Islamic Revolution.

    I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    We shall see what does happen.

  8. #9 J Bowers
    2011/02/12

    How much do you think the middle ranking officers physically going over to the anti-Mubarak protesters had to do with the resignation? I think a hell of a lot, the defections being a message to Tantawi who had just told the protesters the army wouldn’t oust Mubarak and the protesters should go home. On the Wednesday when the army withdrew from the square, a lot of army officers had been texting the protest leaders telling them they were with them and they’d protect the square, but orders obviously came down to withdraw for the night (caught on BBC Panorama). When Tantawi and the top brass look like they’d back Mubarak, Shouman hands over his weapon, joins the protesters, makes it clear that other officers were doing the same. Next thing we know, Mubarak resigns.

    Alternatively, the cyncial part of me also wouldn’t be surprised if the top brass had orchestrated it, or just let it happen, to scare Mubarak into resigning, without needing anything resembling an army coup and keeping the army’s financial backers (the USA) happy.

    dhogaza – “Iran’s officially cheering the overflow of Mubarak, hinting that we might be seeing another Islamic Revolution.”

    Yeah, right ;) That’s why they’ve arrested the opposition and blocked incoming news signals. The Iranian protests against the government and clerics probably inspired a lot of what we’ve seen over the past few weeks. The Iranian Basij will have already hammered fresh nails into clubs and serviced the motorbikes.

  9. #10 dhogaza
    2011/02/13

    dhogaza – “Iran’s officially cheering the overflow of Mubarak, hinting that we might be seeing another Islamic Revolution.”

    Yeah, right ;) That’s why they’ve arrested the opposition and blocked incoming news signals.

    Well, why did you think I said “officially” ??? I guess I wasn’t sarcastic enough when I said that the official Iran reaction, favorable the end of Mubarak, is proclaiming that another Islamic Revolution will be the results.

    Let me repeat myself: “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

    How much do you think the middle ranking officers physically going over to the anti-Mubarak protesters had to do with the resignation? I think a hell of a lot

    Yes. But that doesn’t say anything about how things work out. What if an election brings the more fundamentalist elements of the Muslim Brotherhood to power? Does the military – now committed in public to observing treaties with the West and Isreal – stand aside?

    If not, should they? Ignore a democratic election?

    The problem when an army takes over, they have the power to have some control over an election based on the leadership’s willingness to accept it.

    So, for instance, if a democratic election resulted in a government far more fundamentalist than Iran and more emphatic about destroying Israel being elected …

    What would the Army do? The US? Israel?

  10. #11 Paul Kelly
    2011/02/13

    Strange the times when a peaceful, voluntary military coup is seen as a step forward for democracy.

  11. #12 J Bowers
    2011/02/13

    “What if an election brings the more fundamentalist elements of the Muslim Brotherhood to power? Does the military – now committed in public to observing treaties with the West and Isreal – stand aside?”

    I dunno. I can’t see the army risking its financial backing, given part of the deal with the US was to keep peace with Israel in return for annual finance and things like license to build their own Abrams tanks (lots of which were in the news footage over the past couple of weeks). But at the end of the day it’s for the Egyptian people to decide. Compared to the current GOP Congressmen and the seeming attempted pollutocracy in the US, are the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood likely to be that much worse in principle?

  12. #13 Eli Rabett
    2011/02/13

    Paul, you appear remarkably ignorant of Egyptian history. Egypt has been ruled by the military ever since the young colonel’s coup in the fifties. The fact that the head of government took off the uniform is not an indicator of a civilian government.

  13. #14 dhogaza
    2011/02/13

    Compared to the current GOP Congressmen and the seeming attempted pollutocracy in the US, are the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood likely to be that much worse in principle?

    Now there’s a point :)

  14. #15 dhogaza
    2011/02/13

    So they’ve suspended the constitution for six months, which I interpret to mean that the coming elections will be run under a protocol acceptable to the Army.

    This will be interesting …

  15. #16 J Bowers
    2011/02/13

    “So, for instance, if a democratic election resulted in a government far more fundamentalist than Iran and more emphatic about destroying Israel being elected …

    What would the Army do? The US? Israel?”

    I think this from COMOPS gives a nicely detached POV (or at least a rational one) and is worth a full read:

    Should We Fear Muslim Brotherhood Influence in Egypt?
    by Jeffry R. Halverson
    http://comops.org/journal/2011/02/04/should-we-fear-muslim-brotherhood-influence-in-egypt/

    He has these observations…

    There will be no “pro-Israeli” government in Egypt, no matter who emerges in control. And in terms of U.S. relations, the MB is far less hostile to America, especially if America’s backing for Mubarak ends, and, most especially, if an Israeli-Palestinian peace were ever successful. Their issues with the U.S. generally stem from widely held political grievances, not from a cosmic conception of “fighting the infidels” as leaders of extremists like al-Qaeda see it. It is noteworthy to mention that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian ideologue of al-Qaeda (previously of Tanzim al-Jihad), has always been fiercely critical of the Muslim Brotherhood. Likewise, the revolutionary Twelver Shi’ite leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini (d. 1989), once denounced Tilmisani and the MB as “CIA agents.”
    [...]
    The MB is no more likely to begin a new war because of its Islamist politics than the socialists or nationalists. I do not see a MB government going to war with a nuclear-armed Israel anymore than I do Saudi Arabia, which has never signed a peace treaty with Israel. However, Israel would most certainly find itself without the same negotiating and strategic partner it has enjoyed under Mubarak. That period is simply over. As an example of the sort of relationship that might emerge with increased MB participation in Egypt’s government, I suggest one look to Turkish-Israeli relations under “Islamist” Erdogan and the AK Parti

    He ends with…

    While concerns that the MB might curb democratic channels once in power are warranted, their base of support is not large enough to place them in such a position, nor has the current leadership demonstrated any such ambitions. The MB will act as a conservative religious party within a coalition government, not unlike religious conservatives in the U.S. Congress.

  16. #17 Paul Kelly
    2011/02/13

    Eli,

    I am well aware of the military’s role in Egypt. Nothing in my comment, which was aimed at the media’s interpretation of events, indicates otherwise.

  17. #18 Steve Bloom
    2011/02/14

    So apparently what PK meant to say is that we have here an example of hot military coup on military coup action. :)

    BTW, PK, it wasn’t peaceful. Lots of heads got bashed and some were killed.

  18. #19 Paul Kelly
    2011/02/14

    Steve,

    I should have said the “civilian” Egyptian government has long served at the pleasure of the Egyptian military. Defining the reassertion of direct military rule as a step toward democracy and freedom seems novel to me. This is what I get for trying to be pithy. Given the number of protesters and the thuggishness of the regime, the violence was quite small – of course not to the unfortunate people who suffered it.

    On the other hand, the term hot something on something action is usually used to describe things very different from political upheaval. I am shocked that you would introduce such low humor. The rumor around here is that Mubarak claims he has always intended to live in Chicago and may run for mayor.

  19. #20 J Bowers
    2011/02/14

    And it’s kicking off in Tehran. I really pity the protesters there.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12447225

    [Good on them. But after last years elections they know better than to expect the army to hold back -W]

  20. #21 J Bowers
    2011/02/15

    [Good on them. But after last years elections they know better than to expect the army to hold back -W]

    A major problem is that the US has announced support for the protesters, which plays right into the government’s and clerics’ hands for portraying the protesters as American and Zionist spies and troublemakers.

    [I think that is a better choice on the US's part that saying nothing, or (heavens forfend) supporting the regime. The regime is going to say that anyway, so it doesn't much matter. But having the US on their side (even nominally) ought to cheer them up a bit. A new revolution in Iran would be good, but I'm doubtful at present that it is likely. I hope people won't commit themselves too much to very real physical risk in expectation of it succeeding -W]

  21. #22 J Bowers
    2011/02/15

    ‘Iran protests see reinvigorated activists take to the streets in thousands’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/14/iran-protests-reinvigorated-activists

    Yemen and Bahrain are seeing protests, too.

    ‘Unrest in the Middle East – live updates’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/15/middle-east-unrest
    “Police fire on mourners in Bahrain”
    “Members of the Iranian parliament call for the execution of opposition leaders.”

    ‘Protests in Iran, Yemen and Bahrain – in pictures’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2011/feb/14/yemen-bahrain-protests-in-pictures

    ‘Arab youth: the tipping point’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2011/feb/15/arab-world-youth-interactive-map

    “The Arab world has high proportions of young people – and high proportions of youth unemployment – making for explosive levels of discontent from Morocco in the west to Syria and Yemen in the east”

  22. #23 J Bowers
    2011/02/15

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/15/middle-east-unrest#block-7

    “10.35am – Egypt:
    The Muslim Brotherhood said they had no plans to put up a candidate for the presidential elections in Egypt, but today they said they plan to set up a political party.”

  23. #24 J Bowers
    2011/02/15

    A good source of footage coming out of the Middle East is crowdvoice.org:

    http://crowdvoice.org/human-rights-crackdown-in-bahrain#
    http://crowdvoice.org/opposition-protests-in-iran

  24. #25 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/16

    http://hnn.us/articles/80834.html

    “5-11-09 Can a Comic Book About MLK Change the Middle East (At Least a Little)?”

    “The American Islamic Congress (AIC), a multi-national civil rights organization, announced in March that it had published an Arabic translation of an old comic book celebrating the life and ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    First published in 1956, amidst the Civil Rights movement, “The Montgomery Story” centers around the events of the Montgomery Bus Boycott…. distributing 2,000 copies throughout the Middle East.

    Formed in the wake of 9/11, the AIC is part of a much larger social movement gaining steam throughout the Middle East. Comprised mostly of young people, this movement, recently labeled the “soft revolution” by Time magazine writer Robin Wright, seeks to reconcile cultural conservatism and religious observance with modernity. The AIC’s self-prescribed motto, for instance, is “passionate about moderation.” In addition to comic books, the AIC utilizes Internet resources like Facebook and Twitter to promote women’s rights and free expression and combat terrorism.

    The intent behind both the original and most recent publication of “The Montgomery Story” was to disseminate Dr. King’s message of non-violent resistance….”

    Hat tip to
    http://www.metafilter.com/100614/They-have-a-dream-too

  25. #26 thomas hine
    2011/02/16

    A few things:

    “We applaud the demonstrations . . . anyone caught demonstrating here will be killed”

    Lara Logan coverage – people are allowed to comment at the dailymail website, although not at Yahoo in US. This is in good taste, of course, as comments at Yahoo devolve outrageously by the second commenter (or sometimes the first). Would you say commenters in the UK are much more “civilized”.

    Finally – the gift that keeps on giving:
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110216_ozone.html
    any thoughts?

    [I don't think that is news. The ozone-climate connection (colder aloft = more PSCs = more ozone depletion is fairly standard. They just issued another yearly report so have to say it again :-) -W]

  26. #27 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/16

    Ol’ stupid here stuck another topical post in the bit bucket by ignoring the not-enough-URLs rule. Sorry. Worth a look.

    [Ha, sorry, and I don't always check or notice if they need approval. Done now -W]

  27. #28 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/17

    > comic book about MLK/nonviolent methods

    A related story about another source on effective nonviolent methods:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/world/middleeast/17sharp.html?_r=1&hp

    “… his practical writings on nonviolent revolution — most notably “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” a 93-page guide to toppling autocrats, available for download in 24 languages — have inspired dissidents around the world ….”

    Having watched the videos out of Egypt, I’m reminded of how we students responded in 1970 after the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State. The silkscreen studio at the art museum was turning out T-shirts with a bullseye and the word STUDENT. And wore them to Washington DC.

    That’s the thing about nonviolent resistance–you make yourself the target, to bring out the issue before the public.

    Harry Turtledove has asked in a chilling story, The Last Article (1988), whether Gandhi’s nonviolent approach would have worked if the Nazis rather than the British had occupied India.

    The answer may be — if they’d had Twitter and pocket video cameras, perhaps.

  28. #29 Steve Bloom
    2011/02/17

    Re #19: From Mubarak’s resignation speech: “I am a military man.” This was from its inception, and remained, and still is for the moment, a military regime. Don’t be distracted by civilian window-dressing adopted to assuage Western sensibilities.

    As for the hot action, I’m shocked that you would get the reference. :)

  29. #30 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/18

    Well, now we know what Murabak’s mistake was.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/bahrain/8334771/Bahrain-royal-family-orders-army-to-turn-on-the-people.html

    If he’d been hospitable to the US Navy Fifth Fleet, he would have been able to act that way with confidence, because he’d have that big silent giant sitting doing nothing behind him.
    http://www.google.com/images?q=fifth+fleet+base

    I wonder how our kids are feeling sitting in that base, behind their American revolutionary traditions, looking out.

  30. #31 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/22

    > whether Gandhi’s nonviolent approach would have worked ….
    > The answer may be — if they’d had Twitter and pocket
    > video cameras, perhaps.

    From Libya, there’s far less coming out in real time than came out of Egypt, seems to me. And what has, has been horrifying.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/tomtoles/2011/02/22/c_02232011.gif (note the small print at the bottom)

  31. #32 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/25

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/02/201122414315249621.html
    Opinion
    A revolution against neoliberalism?

    “… Two observations about Egypt’s history as a neoliberal state are in order. First, Mubarak’s Egypt was considered to be at the forefront of instituting neoliberal policies in the Middle East (not un-coincidentally, so was Ben Ali’s Tunisia). Secondly, the reality of Egypt’s political economy during the Mubarak era was very different than the rhetoric, as was the case in every other neoliberal state from Chile to Indonesia. Political scientist Timothy Mitchell published a revealing essay about Egypt’s brand of neoliberalism in his book Rule of Experts (the chapter titled “Dreamland” — named after a housing development built by Ahmad Bahgat, one of the Mubarak cronies now discredited by the fall of the regime). The gist of Mitchell’s portrait of Egyptian neoliberalism was that while Egypt was lauded by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund as a beacon of free-market success, the standard tools for measuring economies gave a grossly inadequate picture of the Egyptian economy. In reality the unfettering of markets and agenda of privatization were applied unevenly at best.

    The only people for whom Egyptian neoliberalism worked “by the book” were the most vulnerable members of society, and their experience with neoliberalism was not a pretty picture. Organised labor was fiercely suppressed. The public education and the health care systems were gutted by a combination of neglect and privatization. Much of the population suffered stagnant or falling wages relative to inflation. Official unemployment was estimated at approximately 9.4% last year (and much higher for the youth who spearheaded the January 25th Revolution), and about 20% of the population is said to live below a poverty line defined as $2 per day per person.

    For the wealthy, the rules were very different….”