Thursday, February 10, 2011

Egypt in Crisis: Day 17

Intermittent internet connections are playing havoc with keeping up with the events in Egypt.

For those interested, the situation being reported around the net and via twitter is thus:

UPdate: 5:15pm CST; 01:18 Egypt

Military to make announcement soon. Obama to make announcement. Can't wait.

Mubarek and Suleiman might have thrown away US relationship, but military equipment is all american. Regime might get Saudi money, but military will be hard pressed to continue without receiving parts, equipment and ammo from US. Expect that is formulating military's response.

No idea what Obama is going to say.

UPdate 5:00pm CST; 01:00 Egypt

The power of the internet. Crowds in front of North Area Military Command Center, Alexandria. Chanting "Are you protecting the people, or protecting (Mubarak) the dog?!"

Update: 4:02pm CST; 00:00 Egypt

Suleiman gave a speech. Basically told everybody to go home and go back to work to save Egypt. said he will insure changes as outlined. Will insure the youth get the freedom that they have expected. Will lift Emergency Law when "circumstances allow", re-iterating Mubarek. Says that protests being fomented by outside satellite TV news and other foreigners. Cannot allow that to affect Egypt.

Twitter posts and CNN saying people marching out of alexandria towards Military North Area Command Center. Marchers left Tahrir and are outside of Egyptian TV. Presidential guard, not usual army, guarding station. Some urging calm, others saying Egypt about to explode.

Fears that protest will turn violent. People may act out and give military or other forces reason to act. Now wondering if military council's statement that they are taking steps to protect Egypt isn't something more threatening about breaking protest. That is only speculation. Otherwise, there may be a total break between President, VP and military.

Update: 2:46pm CST; 9:40pm Egypt

Told by Al Jazeera that my time translation wrong. Mubarek still not speaking. Pure speculation. Military, Mubarek and Suleiman still negotiating. Mostly military and Suleiman. Military probably wants Mubarek to hand power to Supreme Council "officially" to avoid "military coup" appearance Suleiman suggested earlier. How they can actually avoid that, I don't know.

Someone is on...listening.

Uh-Oh, Mubarek says he won't leave. Acting like he wasn't responsible for events on the ground and is sympathetic to protesters and those who lost their lives or were injured. Will investigate those terrible deeds. Issuing statement that constitutional changes have been recommended, but won't lift emergency law until appropriate time. Must safe guard the future of Egypt for the Youth in the street who want real democracy and freedom. Essentially stating that some anti-freedom force in country will come to power.

Why different statement from military v. NDP head v. Mubarek? Waiting.

Update: 12:40 AM CST; 6:40pm Egypt

Pres. Obama, very brief statement, US will continue to support an orderly transition to democracy.

OMG! Can Mubarek's statement just play already!?

Update 11:38 AM CST; 5:38pm Egypt

Waiting now. Mubarek announcement to be at 6:30pm Egypt, an hour from now. Wild speculation that it is pre-recorded and that Mubarek is already out of the country.

Update to the update: Geez. AJ is as bad as US cable news. When no news to report, show pictures and have lots and lots and lots of talking heads saying the same BS over and over again.

Update 10:57 AM CST; 4:57pm Egypt

Clarifying that the military has taken control, Supreme Council issues "communique #1" suggesting that as the official number of the first communication from the new government. Report that Mubarek's speech tonight is "pre-recorded". Rumors that he is on his way to Sharm al-Shek (?). speculation that he may leave Egypt via military transport.

Crazy down in Tahrir, crowd estimate impossible.

How the revolution began. This is a good report on how the social networking went from computer to the street. Seems like MB was definitely in there at the beginning, at least the youth part. More on that difference later.

Update 10:33 AM CSt; 4:33pm Egypt

Twitter full of fear of military governance. Insist that they want democracy, not military rule. Military has technically been in charge since 1952 after free officers coup. Not over yet.

Update 10:23 AM CST; 4:23pm Egypt

Apparently, this IS a military coup. Badawri, head of NDP, Mubarek's party said Mubarek would hand over to VP, Suleiman. The Prime Minister said Mubarek was still in charge. The military council said that the convening of the supreme military council without the Commander in Chief, President Mubarek, means that the military has taken control. They will over see dissolution of parliament, transition of government to democracy, writing constitution, etc.

Spokesman for Supreme Military Council says that Prime Minister Shafiq is incorrect. Mass confusion reigns as people try to figure out what is going on. Spokesman says that the supreme council includes Suleiman as the "political" aspect. Good golly, revolution is messy.

Update 10:05 AM CST; 4:06pm Egypt

Al Jazeera reporting that the military prevented Mubarek from making speech earlier handing power over to Suleiman, VP. AJ speculating that the power will be handed over to the military directly instead of VP. UPdate to update: says this may indeed be "military coup" as Mubarek may not be officially handing power to military, but military taking it, with prevention of Mubarek speech.

Crowd chants: Mubarek should wake up because tonight is the last night.

Update: 9:58 AM CST; 3:58pm Egypt

Twitter report that the road to Cairo Airport has been closed.

UPdate 9:40 AM CST 3:50pm Egypt

Twitter comment that Egyptian army, expected to be given power after Mubarek steps down, is calling up reserves. They say this is "confirmed", but no other posts.

Al Jazeera says "There is no KFC in Tahrir Square." LOL Have to take every moment of humor in this event. For instance, Al Jazeera, funded and founded in Qatar, ruled by a king with limited free politics, has an editorial: the poverty of dictatorships. Iron, thy name is Arab Revolution.

Update 9:34 AM CST; 3:35pm Egypt] Gen. Tantawi, Head of Defense Ministry, on TV now. Can't confirm what was said. Unconfirmed, "Everything that you want will be met." Tahrir square just went crazy.

[Updated 9:23 AM CST; 3:23 pm Egypt]

Uptick in pace of situation. Now confirmed reports that they expect Mubarek on TV tonight to announce giving his powers to Suleiman, current VP. That could be good or bad.

Tens of thousands are still gathering in Tahrir. At this time it is appx 3pm Egypt.

Of most interest is multiple twitters stating that Hussam Bawdry (Bawdri, Bawdary, Badawry), newly appointed head of security, was on both BBC, al Jazeera and CNN Arabic stating that Mubarek will come on state TV tonight to announce he is going to meet the protester's demands. No one is 100% sure what that means. It could be what had been earlier suggested. That Mubarek would step aside and delegate powers to Suleiman. However, Bawdry also said that he would be making major changes in the NDP party. No confirmation in writing from any news organization at this time.

Thousands of doctors and lawyers marched from disparate locations to the square. The lawyers should not be a surprise since Cairo University's law faculty declared Mubarek's regime illegitimate two days ago and said the professors would join the march.

A report from BBC that Muslim and Christian Egyptians are together on protests. Some believe that the recent attacks on Christians are state organized. Site state propaganda and control of religious and education centers as influencing the anti-Christian bigotry in the country.

Some in Egypt not so happy with protests
. On the other hand, businesses selling coffee, wine and beer seem to be making a nice profit. That should be a good sign for people fearing extremist Muslim uprising in Egyptian politics.

Meanwhile, in their continuing attempts to appease the demonstrators and buy time, the regime has announced that three newly ex-ministers are being investigated for corruption. (You think?)

In other news, democracy domino theory in hyper drive:

Saudi "moderates" start their own political party and ask permission to exist from Saudi king. The leader of the party says:

His statement says it's time to endorse political rights, including the right to elect a government, promote the role of women in society and preserve women's rights.

It is hard to say what "role" for women in society or "rights" they want to promote, but elections are a good start.

In other news, after first AJ of Iran praising the demonstrations in Egypt, the Iranian Republican Guard have warned the "opposition" against rallying. Two days ago, the opposition had requested permission to rally in support of the Egyptian revolution. Obviously, the ayatollah's are fearful of what might happen if they allowed that to occur. Especially as it is clear that the Egyptian revolution is not faith based. No crystal ball required to see that coming.

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