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Egyptian Insurection


William Kelly
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Hey, did I call it, or what?

Is it too to say, "Grandmother's on the roof"?

Let's see: Tunisia - Dec. 17, 2010 - Mohamed Bouzid sets himself on fire and sparks anti-government protests.

January 14, 2011 - Ben Ali flees Tunisia - 28 days.

Egypt - Jan. 25 - Obama gives State of Union address, protests begin in Cairo.

February 11, 2011 - Mubarak resigns presidency. - 18 days.

Whose next? Yemen? Morocco? Libya? Saudi Arabia, Iran?

The scenes in Egypt have been fantastic and the democracy protests will clearly spread to other countries in the region. However, Egypt is still being ruled by a military dictatorship. All they have achieved is removing the figurehead (as they did in Tunisia). The next stage is the publishing the timetable for free elections. I see that some protesters are refusing to leave the square until they get details of the introduction to democracy.

Protests have erupted in Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Bahrain and Algiers.

On deck, Libya Thursday and Algiera again on Saturday, and protests have been scheduled in Algiers this Saturday and every Saturday until the regime is toppled.

Meanwhile, in Tripoli, the road to Sidi Bouzid is about three hundred miles, closer than Bengazi, where the ripples have begun.

We need to get a program to see whose playing and whose sitting on the sidelines.

One problem facing politicians in the West is that if USA, UK, etc. withdraw their support for these anti-democractic regimes, they will be replaced by China, another country who has much to fear from popular protests in favour of democracy and a free media.

Could anyone give an example of a country which does have democracy and a free media.

It strikes (and I think it is echoed in an article by the US Soc. Work. party statements which alludes to repression as a necessary precursor to a compliant peoples wish to live in peace while that clique which just shape changes and in the final analysis the more things change the more they stay the same, kind of.

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Egypt's Faux Revolution: Bait and Switch on the Nile

by Eric Margolis

February 15,2011

www.lewrockwell.com

"Plus ça change," say the cynical French, "plus c’est la même chose."

Many thoughtful Egyptians will be recalling this "bon mot" as the watch one ruler, the ousted Husni Mubarak, replaced by a military junta led by Field Marshall Mohammed Tantawi.

Egyptians are getting more Mubarakism, sans Mubarak, at least for now. This is not what most Egyptians want or deserve.

The new military junta just proclaimed it would support the hated Israeli-Egyptian peace deal signed by Anwar Sadat, thus assuaging fears in the US and Israel. In an example of typical post-coup talk, the junta says elections will be held sometime in the future.

Many Egyptians are still euphoric over the ouster of Gen. Mubarak, known to one and all as "pharaoh."

Most of them do not yet seem to have realized that the people who have taken over the regime are the very same generals, policemen and tycoons who ran it under Mubarak.

The dreaded secret police, or "Mukhabarat," is commanded by Gen. Omar Suleiman, who is widely viewed as America’s and Israel’s man in Cairo. Alongside him are Marshall Tantawi, chief of staff Lieutenant General Enan and Ahmed Shafik, also seen as America’s men on the Nile. The US usually had a backup for its favorite dictators; this writer noted last April that Gen. Omer Suleiman was Mubarak’s US-anointed successor. After Anwar Sadat’s assassination, Gen. Mubarak was quickly engineered into power.

The latter two generals attended the Pentagon’s updated version of the US military’s School of the America’s in Panama that recruited Latin American officers for the CIA. Senior ranks of Egypt’s 465,000-man armed forces and the secret police are believed to receive sizable secret stipends from CIA and the Pentagon.

Egypt’s senior generals are part of the ruling establishment. Many spend more time managing their business affairs than military matters. Such is also the case in many other Arab one-party states.

As in Pakistan, Egypt’s army is up to its helmets in big business: shopping centers, tourism, property, hotels, steel, telecom. Few among Egypt’s top brass want to end their gravy train by changing the status quo. They are ready to fight to the last mall or stock split.

The US has paid Egypt’s military $1.4 billion annually since 1979 not to confront Israel, one of the biggest bribes in history. On top of this, Egypt receives some $600 million more annually in economic aid, subsidized US wheat, and a host of other goodies – all to make nice to Israel and keep Egypt from supporting the Palestinians.

Egypt’s large armed forces were reconfigured after the Camp David accords, turning it under US supervision from a force designed to defend Egypt’s borders and regional interests to one whose primary function was to control the population and protect the US-backed regime. The military’s stocks of munitions and spare parts for its US arms were kept to a bare minimum to ensure Egypt could not go to war with Israel.

As I watch Egypt’s slow-motion revolution, I wonder if somewhere among the armed forces is another young colonel who loves his people even more than he loves real estate. The Muslim Brotherhood, an object of ill-informed hysteria in the US, wants to reallocate arms spending to social needs.

Egypt’s younger officers must be thinking about the example of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who seized power in 1952 after Egypt’s disastrous war with Israel in 1947–8. Perhaps there is a young colonel or even major who may try to seize power and emulate Nasser, who is still adored by many Egyptians in spite of his disastrous mistakes. People have forgotten many of them. What they do remember was that when Nasser died of a heart attack in 1970, his family had little money, and they recall that Nasser spoke for Egypt, not foreign powers.

So far, the so-called Egyptian Revolution has only been a game of musical chairs. The United States still dominates Egypt’s military, policy, and economy. Washington provides wheat without which Egypt cannot feed itself.

Israel still exercises powerful influence over Egypt thanks to its supporters in the US Congress. An angry word from Jerusalem, and Egypt’s wheat could be cut off. Egyptian and Israeli intelligence are as entwined as was Israel’s Mossad with the Iranian Savak secret police.

The massive pyramid of Egypt’s police state – to use a fine metaphor from the brilliant Albanian writer Ismail Kadere – will not be easily lifted, perhaps without a full scale, violent revolution. To date, the revolt on the Nile has not even produced a Kerensky, never mind a Lenin.

If Egyptians feel cheated by the change of power in Cairo, as many will, and violent demonstrations begin, what will happen if the junta orders a battalion commanded by a colonel to open fire on protesters?

The first young officer who refuses and orders his men to join the demonstrators could become Egypt’s new hero. Nasser’s ghost haunts Cairo.

February 15, 2011

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Egypt's Faux Revolution: Bait and Switch on the Nile

by Eric Margolis

February 15,2011

www.lewrockwell.com

"Plus ça change," say the cynical French, "plus c’est la même chose."

Many thoughtful Egyptians will be recalling this "bon mot" as the watch one ruler, the ousted Husni Mubarak, replaced by a military junta led by Field Marshall Mohammed Tantawi.

Egyptians are getting more Mubarakism, sans Mubarak, at least for now. This is not what most Egyptians want or deserve.

The new military junta just proclaimed it would support the hated Israeli-Egyptian peace deal signed by Anwar Sadat, thus assuaging fears in the US and Israel.

Margolis hates Israel and hates the Camp David almost as much. The generals’ declaration that they would support the deal seems to be the source of his ire I’ve not seen him complain about the lack of democracy in Libya, Syria or Iran.

Many Egyptians are still euphoric over the ouster of Gen. Mubarak, known to one and all as "pharaoh."

Most of them do not yet seem to have realized that the people who have taken over the regime are the very same generals, policemen and tycoons who ran it under Mubarak.

Amazing that he presumes to know more about Egypt than Egyptians! I assume are taking a wait and see attitude it is unfortunate though they haven’t handed power to some sort of provisional civilian government. But there are some promising signs.

Egypt Convenes a Panel to Revise Its Constitution

By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

Published: February 15, 2011

CAIRO — The military officers governing Egypt convened a panel Tuesday to revise the country’s constitution that included both a distinguished Coptic Christian jurist and a member of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, offering the first significant evidence of the military’s commitment to moving the country toward democratic rule.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the defense minister acting as chief of state since the ouster on Friday of President Hosni Mubarak, called together a panel of eight jurists that opposition leaders praised as respected and credible.

Perhaps the most striking choice was Sobeh Saleh, an Alexandria appeals lawyer and former member of parliament who is a prominent figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, the opposition Islamic group that Mr. Mubarak’s government has long depicted as a terrorist threat. Mr. Saleh was released from detention by the Mubarak security forces just a few days ago.

[...]

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/16/world/middleeast/16egypt.html?_r=1&hp

…this writer noted last April that Gen. Omer Suleiman was Mubarak’s US-anointed successor. After Anwar Sadat’s assassination, Gen. Mubarak was quickly engineered into power.

Margolis loves blowing his own horn as I pointed out numerous other observers predicted Suleiman was a or THE leading candidate to replace Mubarak as much as 10 years before him.

The following article is quite interesting and offers far more insight than anything for the pathological xxxx with an agenda.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/world/middleeast/15egypt.html?scp=2&sq=omar%20suleiman&st=cse

The protest leaders are not going to give the general’s a free ride, unlike Margolis, abrogating Camp David is not their top priority

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0214/Egypt-revolution-Protesters-vow-to-keep-pressure-on-military

These articles are also are more valuable that anything Margolis has contributed

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-fg-egypt-opposition-20110216,0,6171986.story

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/egypt-protesters-remind-army-who-is-really-in-charge-1.343621

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Mubarak and Ben Ali in Comas??

Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is near death, possibly in a coma, according to Egyptian newspapers.

The 83-year-old disgraced despot fell into a coma Saturday, a day after he fled Cairo for the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, according to the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The paper quoted sources saying he was being cared for at home and was not hospitalized.

Rumors had circulated widely that Mubarak fainted twice while recording his defiant final speech on Thursday. He had been expected to quit in that speech, but unaccountably veered off script, angering his last supporters and hastening his eventual ouster.

Reuters quoted a military source who would only say Mubarak was "breathing."

The Saudi-owned daily Asharq al-Awsat said Mubarak was not in a coma but was close to death and intent on expiring on Egyptian soil.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/02/15/2011-02-15_exegyptian_president_hosni_mubarak_in_a_coma_reports_protests_flare_up_in_bahrai.html?obref=obinsite

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/crisis-cairo-mubarak-slipped-coma-12910320

Ben Ali reportedly in coma after stroke

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Former Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali suffered a stroke and was in coma in a Saudi Arabian hospital, a French journalist reported.

Journalist Nicolas Beau, citing Tunisian sources, posted on his blog that Ben Ali was in a critical condition in a medical facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Radio France Internationale reported Thursday.

It is believed the ousted leader was admitted to the hospital Tuesday under a false name, the blogger said.

The claim that Ben Ali was hospitalized also was reported by Web-zine JSSnews, although it reported the ousted ruler suffered a heart attack, RFI said.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/02/17/UPI-NewsTrack-TopNews/UPI-74641297962000/#ixzz1EGu4ALsE

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When you go to a game, horse race, sporting event or match, you buy a program to see whose playing, what their numbers are so you can keep track of them during the game, and keep score.

In that spirit, I started this program for the new Arab Revolution, and hope to fill in the blanks with all the countries involved, who their rules are, who the opposition is, and keep track of the events with a chronology - timeline as things progress.

This crisis is unique, in that it's origins in Tunisia can be stated with some certainty, but the events have been happening too quickly for me to keep up with the chronology, so I'll have to add to that later when I get a chance.

http://revolutionary...m.blogspot.com/

Anyone who wants to can add their comments or additions.

I am particularly interested in the strategies and tactics being used by both the regimes in power and the revolutionary opposition.

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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When you go to a game, horse race, sporting event or match, you buy a program to see whose playing, what their numbers are so you can keep track of them during the game, and keep score.

In that spirit, I started this program for the new Arab Revolution, and hope to fill in the blanks with all the countries involved, who their rules are, who the opposition is, and keep track of the events with a chronology - timeline as things progress.

This crisis is unique, in that it's origins in Tunisia can be stated with some certainty, but the events have been happening too quickly for me to keep up with the chronology, so I'll have to add to that later when I get a chance.

http://revolutionary...m.blogspot.com/

Anyone who wants to can add their comments or additions.

I am particularly interested in the strategies and tactics being used by both the regimes in power and the revolutionary opposition.

BK

Revolutionary Soccer

Revolutionary Program

Arab Revolunaries to Play Soccer Friendly despite Historical Animosity

Egypt and Tunisia, the two Arab countries most successful to date in overthrowing their dictators, have agreed to play a soccer friendly despite their longstanding football animosity.

Egyptian Football Association board member Ayman Younes said a date for the match, dubbed “the revolutionists’ game,” had yet to set.

Tunisians were the first in the Arab world to rise in protest, forcing Tunisian President Zine Abedine Ben Ali to last month seek exile in Saudi Arabia. The uprising has sparked a wave of anti-government protests across the Middle East and North Africa that earlier this month toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and has sparked brutal crackdowns in Libya and Bahrain.

Younes said Egypt and Tunisia hoped that FIFA would incorporate the match in its international calendar as an annual event.

Both Egypt and Tunisia, alongside Algeria, which is also confronting anti-government protests, have suspended all professional league matches to prevent the soccer pitch from becoming an opposition rallying point.

Egypt last played Tunisia in a match it lost 2:0 in 2005. Riots erupted in Cairo when storied Al Ahly SC beat Tunisia’s Esperance 2:1 in October of last year.

“Egyptians and Tunisians have a long history of feuds over football matches; a fact the tyrants exploited to exert control,” said Nawara Najem, an Egyptian journalist and blogger who was a spokeswoman for the anti-Mubarak demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, in an article in The Guardian.

Football fans in both countries played important roles in the overthrow of their dictators.

Najem, speaking about the protests in Egypt, said the demonstrators “began to plan how to outmanoeuvre the security forces; experiences of football crowds which have long faced off against the security forces were helpful here.”

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The Arab Revolution Saudi Update

The Arab Revolution Saudi Update | Saudiwoman's Weblog

Remember, in a former post, when I said that Saudis were captivated and shocked by what happened in Tunis and Egypt but hadn’t collectively made up their mind about it? Well it appears that they have. Everywhere I go and everything I read points to a revolution in our own country in the foreseeable future. However we are still on the ledge and haven’t jumped yet.

I know that some analysts are worried particularly of Saudi Arabia being taken over by Al Qaeda or a Sunni version of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. Calm down. Besides my gut feeling (which is rarely wrong), the overwhelming majority of people speaking out and calling out for a revolution are people who want democracy and civil rights and not more of our current Arab tradition based adaptation of Sharia. My theory of why that is, is that Al Qaeda has already exhausted its human resources here. The available muttawas, are career muttawas (fatwa sheikhs) and minor muttawas (PVPV) of convenience both paid by the government and do not want the current win-win deal between them and the government to sour. So it’s unlikely that they would actively seek change. Actually quite the opposite, they will resist and delay as much as they can. Fortunately the winds of change can’t be deterred by a PVPV cruiser.

Last night Prince Talal Bin Abdul Alaziz, the king’s half-brother, did a TV

on BBC Arabia that was widely watched and discussed. In it he warned of an upcoming storm if reforms aren’t dealt with right now. He used the word “evils” to describe what would happen if King Abdullah passed away before ordering the required changes. Prince Talal also strongly advocated a constitutional monarchy and democracy as long as it’s similar to what they have in Kuwait and Jordon. However he hinted that there were people in the ruling family who do not believe in change.

This whole past week was eventful. The first political party to form during King’s Abdullah’s reign, the Islamic Umma Party, has been arrested. According to the party’s released statement, they were informed that they would not be released until they sign a document promising that they will abandon all political aspirations.

In Qatif, a Shia majority area in Eastern Saudi, there is talk that there was a protest demanding the release of political prisoners yesterday. Ahmed Al Omran from SaudiJeans tweeted a pamphlet that was being distributed in Qatif, calling for protests today, Feb 18th, at 8pm.

A hashtag on Twitter, #EgyEffectSa, about the effect of Egypt on Saudi was popular, with a lot of courageous Saudis speaking their mind. The common thread across most of the tweets was for human rights, freedom of speech, democracy and government accountability.

Saving the best for last, a 6100 strong and growing group on Facebook has been started. The group is only for Saudis and you need to be approved to join. I’ve translated their demands:

The People want to Reform the Government Campaign

To support the right of the Saudi people and their legitimate aspirations:

1 – a constitutional monarchy between the king and government.

2 – a written constitution approved by the people in which governing powers will be determined.

3 – transparency, accountability in fighting corruption

4 – the Government in the service of the people

5 – legislative elections.

6 – public freedoms and respect for human rights

7 – allowing civil society institutions

8 – full citizenship and the abolition of all forms of discrimination.

9 – Adoption of the rights of women and non-discrimination against them.

10 – an independent and fair judiciary.

11 – impartial development and equitable distribution of wealth.

12 – to seriously address the problem of unemployment

Impressive, right?! And if these demands aren’t met, according to a lot of the discussions on the group’s page, there will be a protest in Riyadh on Olaya street March 11th. I was also impressed by their code of conduct in which they committed to no sectarianism, no violence or incitement to violence, and no hate speech.

Everyone is holding their breath and delaying doing anything drastic until the King is back. Reports vary, some say he is expected Monday, others say Wednesday. Either way, whatever he does when he gets back will decide the fate of our country. In my opinion, the least he can do is draw up and announce a clear succession that will carry the throne from the brothers’ generation into their sons’. As this is an area of great concern and instability for Saudis because we fear that without a clear and public succession, we might have a civil war between factions of the ruling family. King Abdullah should name names such as heir1 then heir2 then heir3…etc so that the fifth or sixth is a ten or twelve year old. Thus stability is maintained fifty years into the future. Another thing that needs to be done is to aggressively fight corruption and promote transparency and accountability for everyone no matter who they are. If these two issues are taken care of as soon as he gets off the plane, then I predict that things just might calm down and a lot of people won’t be so anxious for change. If not, then the campaign above will just grow bigger and bigger and many more will crop up until eventually the Saudi people will cross the revolution threshold.

Recommended reading:

From Tunis to Cairo to Riyadh? Wall Street Journal piece by Karen House

Will the House of Saud adapt enough to survive … again? Toronto Star piece by Caryle Murphy

Rage, Rap and Revolution: Inside the Arab Youth Quake Time piece by Bobby Ghosh

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It took less than one month for Constitutional Democracy protesters (as they describe themselves) to bring down regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

Who would be third? That was the question, and a week ago, you would have got good odds that it wouldn't be Ghadafi but here we are, and it looks like he will go down tonight.

While there are few video or independent news reports out of Libya, there are people using Twitter and Facebook and other internet devices, even though they shut down such

activities for a few hours. These Tweets give a date and time and location and if accurate, show how the ripples of revolt are playing out in Libya.

Mapping Violence Against Pro-Democracy Protests in Libya - Google Maps

Mapping Violence Against Pro-Democracy Protests in Libya

This map has been created by compiling reports from trusted accounts on Twitter. Nonetheless, these reports are in general unconfirmed. This information should be considered in the context of there being absolutely no independent media in Libya at this time. If you have any questions you can contact me via Twitter @Arasmus.

Because of the difficulty in properly translating Arabic names into English, reports including latitude and longitude data are preferred. Watch this video to see how to find latitude and longitude using Google Maps:

Samples:

police.white.png

February 20, 22:00hrs Local

A report of gunfire throughout Tripoli as mercenaries travel in the city.

police.white.png

February 20, 22:00hrs Local

Reuters reports that members of a Libyan army unit are telling residents in Benghazi that they have defected, and "liberated" the city from pro-Gaddafi forces.

Saif Ghadafi Speech: Sounds like Bahgdad Bob

exiledsurfer: "Full text of Saif ..." « Deck.ly

Full Text of Saif Ghadafi Speech of February 20, 2011

I saw that I had to speak to you. Many Libyans asked me to speak. I don't have a paper or a document to read from.I will not speak in classical Arabic, I will speak in Libyan, I don't have any papers, this is a talk from the heart & mind. We all know that the region is passing through an earthquake, a hurricane or change. If this change does not come from the govts it will come from the people, we have seen this in other Arab countries. Today I will tell you only truth only. We know that there are opposition figures living abroad who have support in Libya. There people try to use Facebook for only. We know that there are opposition figures living abroad who have support in Libya. There people try to use Facebook for a revolution to copy Egypt. These people want to bring Libya to what happened in Egypt & Tunisia. We saw this on facebook and on emails. The country did a pre-emptive move by arresting some people before the protests, shots were fired, people died. The anger was directed at the police in Benghazi. People wanted to storm the police stations, people died, funerals occurred. This is a summary of what happened in Bengazi, now there is a major Fitna and a threat to the unity of Libya. Of course there were many deaths, which angered many people in Benghazi, but why were there people killed? The army was under stress, it is not used to crowd control so they shot, but I called them. The army said that some protesters were drunk, others were on hallucinogens or drugs. The army has to defend its weapons. And the people were angry. So there were deaths, but in the end Libyans were killed.

There are thee parts behind this

1- Political Activists whom we agree with,

2- What happened in Bayda are Islamic elements. Bayda is my town, my mother is from there. People called me. They stole weapons and killed soldiers. They want to establish an Islamic Emirate in Bayda. Some people took drugs & were used by these protesters.

3. The third part are these children who took the drugs and were used. These are facts like it or not.

We have arrested tens of Arabs and Africans, poor people, millions were spent on them to use them by millionaire businessmen. There are people who want to establish a countries in parts of Libya to rule, Like the Islamic Emirate. One person said he is the Emir of Islamic Emirate of Darna. The Arabic Media is manipulating these events.

This Arabic media is owned by Arabs who are distorting the facts but also our media failed to cover the events.

a failed to cover the events. Then there are the Baltagiya who destroyed public property, they fled jails. There are our brothers who sit and drink coffee and watch TV and laugh at us when they see us burn our country.

t is no lie that the protesters are in control of the streets now. Libya is not Tunis or Egypt. Libya is different, if there was disturbance it will split to several states. It was three states before 60 years. Libya are Tribes not like Egypt. There are no political parties, it is made of tribes. Everyone knows each other. We will have a civil war like in 1936. American Oil Companies played a big part in unifying Libya. Who will manage this oil? How will we divide this oil amongst us? Who will spend on our hospitals? All this oil will be burnt by the Baltagiya (Thugs) they will burn it. There are no people there. 3/4s of our people live in the East in Benghazi, there is no oil there, who will spend on them? Your children will not go to schools or universities. There will be chaos, we will have to leave Libya if we can't share oil. Everyone wants to become a Sheikh and an Emir, we are not Egypt or Tunisia so we are in front of a major challenge.

We all now have arms. At this time drunks are driving tanks in central Benghazi. So we all now have weapons. The powers who want to destroy Libya have weapons. There will be a war & no future. All the firms will leave, we have 500 housing units being built, they won't be completed. Remember my words. 200 billion dollars of projects are now underway, they won't be finished.

You can say we want democracy & rights, we can talk about it, we should have talked about it before. It's this or war. Instead of crying over 200 deaths we will cry over 100,000s of deaths. You will all leave Libya, there will be nothing here. There will be no bread in Libya, it will be more expensive than gold.

Before we let weapons come between us, from tomorrow, in 48 hours, we will call or a new conference for new laws. We will call for new media laws, civil rights, lift the stupid punishments, we will have a constitution. Even the LEader Gaddafi said he wants a constitution. We can even have autonomous rule, with limited central govt powers. Brothers there are 200 billion dollars of projects at stake now. We will agree to all these issues immediately. We will then be able to keep our country, unlike our neighbors. We will do that without the problems of Egypt & Tunisia who are now suffering. There is no tourism there. We will have a new Libya, new flag, new anthem. Or else, be ready to start a civil war and chaos and forget oil and petrol.

What is happening in Bayda and Benghazi is very sad. How do you who live in Benghazi, will you visit Tripoli with a visa? The country will be divided like North and South Korea we will see each other through a fence. You will wait in line for months for a visa. If we don't do the first scenario be ready for the second scenario:

The British FM called me. Be ready for a new colonial period from American and Britain. ou think they will accept an Islamic Emirate here, 30 minutes from Crete? The West will come and occupy you. Europe & the West will not agree to chaos in Libya, to export chaos and drugs so they will occupy us.

In any case, I have spoken to you, we uncovered cells from Egypt and Tunisia and Arabs. The Libyans who live in Europe and USA, their children go to school and they want you to fight. They are comfortable. They then want to come and rule us and Libya. They want us to kill each other then come, like in Iraq. The Tunisians and Egyptians who are here also have weapons, they want to divide Libya and take over the country.

We are in front of two choices, we can reform now, this is an historic moment, without it there will be nothing for decades. You will see worse than Yugoslavia if we don't choose the first option. Gaddafi is not Mubarak or Ben Ali, a classical ruler, he is a leader of a people. 10,000s of Libyans are coming to defend him. Over coastline Libyans are coming to support Gaddafi. The army is also there, it will play a big part whatever the cost. The army will play a big role, it is not the army of Tunisia or Egypt. It will support Gaddafi to the last minute. Now in the Green Square people shoot so that they show the world that the army is shooting. We must be awake.

Now comes the role of the National Guard and the Army, we will not lose one inch of this land. 60 years ago they defended Libya from the colonialists, now they will defend it from drug addicts. Most of he Libyans are intelligent, they are not Baltagiya (thugs) Benghazi is a million and a half not the few thousands who are in the streets. We will flight to the last man and woman and bullet. We will not lose Libya. We will not let Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and BBC trick us.

We will live in Libya and die in Libya. (Ends)

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Bill, I share your excitement at the possibility of democracy coming to the Middle East. Unfortunately, we are still a long way from this. Two dictators have been removed but they still have military governments and still no timetable for elections. The US and UK have been very quiet about the protests in Bahrain. Could it be because they have military bases in this country? The government in Bahrain is also hostile to the regime in Iran. The best hope in Libya is a revolution led by young military officers who are willing to listen to the demands of the people.

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Bill, I share your excitement at the possibility of democracy coming to the Middle East. Unfortunately, we are still a long way from this. Two dictators have been removed but they still have military governments and still no timetable for elections. The US and UK have been very quiet about the protests in Bahrain. Could it be because they have military bases in this country? The government in Bahrain is also hostile to the regime in Iran. The best hope in Libya is a revolution led by young military officers who are willing to listen to the demands of the people.

Hi John,

I'm not excited, I'm just following along like a spectator at a sporting match, and don't believe that the revolutions in Tunisia or Egypt are over. When I was in high school I took a political science class taught by a Jesuit priest, Quintin Walsh, in which we had to write a constitution for a mythical country as a final exam. The revolution and removal of the regime is the easy part, the creation of a new constitutional government and sticking to it is the hard part.

I think that the most significant aspect of this whole things, and as it develops further becomes more magnified, is the failure of any and all intelligence agencies and major media to recognize the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi as being a significant event that sparked these revolutions - and reminds me of the Sept. 10th assassination of the leader of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan as being a significant event that should have set off alarms and didn't.

But unlike your early assertions, and the stated beliefs and analysis of most if not all of the political commentators in the early days of the Egyptian revolt (The revolution in Tunisia was totally ignored by all serious political commentators and the media) - neither the Tunisian nor Egyptian revolts were co-opted by the Fundamental Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood or the CIA. While the military kept it peaceful for the most part, if they do not live up to their promises to deliver a democracy in six months, the organizers can do it again and summon, as they did again last Friday, a quarter of a million people to protest. These organizers, unlike the Cuban and Libyan revolutions - are not lead by any specific personality, but are demanding a constitutional democracy (their words), and can organize a demonstration at any given time. So if the military doesn't come across as promised, they will do it again.

I believe it was Jeff Morley on Facebook who first wrote about the possible domino effect, and if indeed, Ghadaffi falls, as it appears he will, then three governments in a row is most certainly a domino effect, and there will be a fourth and a fifth, as it is now only a matter of time.

The US and UK governments have both embraced Ghadaffi in the past few years, and the dictators who have fallen were US supported dictators, as is the government of Bahrain, which is the home of the US 5th Fleet, a carrier task forces which couldn't even prevent the capture of a US sailboat and four old folks from Somali pirates.

Although I think, if I was a betting man, I would say that the remaining Barbary States are the regimes next to go - Morocco and Algiers, and Iran is also in trouble as protests have resumed there, but now we also hear from places like Djibouti - which wasn't on anybody's map or radar - and is situated at a very strategic position on the gulf waters, and I'm now sure we will learn about other such countries.

One day Father Walsh, my political science teacher, wrote the word Kuwait on the blackboard, and asked if anybody knew where it was (nobody did). Then he said that was where the next world war would begin - and he said this in 1968.

As for Libya, that is one country that I do know something about, as I have been part of an effort, for the past decade or so, to repatriate the remains of American sailors from Tripoli, who died during the Battle of Tripoli in 1804, fighting the Barbary pirates. I wrote the regional history of Somers Point, New Jersey, the hometown of Lt. Richard Somers, commander of the USS Intrepid, which exploded in Tripoli harbor with Somers, two other officers and ten men. Their bodies were buried in a grave that is now part of Green Square, which is the Tahrir Square of LIbya. We had negotiated with Saif Gadaffi and I thought that he was a reformer who would introduce a constitution and open the economy, but after hearing what he had to say it is apparent that his family is doomed, and unlike Tunisia and Egypt, not even the military can save them or Libya.

Remember the Intrepid: Repatriation and Unrest in Africa

As you say, there may be a small contingent of non-mercenary Libyan military who can and will take control, like Ghadafi himself did in 1969, but it appears that the situation in Libya will not run the pronounced non-violent course of Tunisia and Egypt.

In the meantime, I am just a spectator keeping score.

Revolutionary Program

Edited by William Kelly
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As you say, there may be a small contingent of non-mercenary Libyan military who can and will take control, like Ghadafi himself did in 1969, but it appears that the situation in Libya will not run the pronounced non-violent course of Tunisia and Egypt.

I fear that there will be a lot more violence in Tunisia and Egypt before the military give up control of those countries. I am also fairly convinced that there will not be a revolution in Iran.

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David Cameron has become the first world leader to visit Egypt since the overthrow of President Mubarak. On Monday visited the scene of the demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Cairo that toppled Mubarak, said the protests had highlighted a hunger for freedom across the Middle East.

In a speech in Kuwait today he said Britain was wrong to prop up "highly controlling regimes" as a way of ensuring stability. These are fine words but what he does not tell you is that with him on his tour of the Middle East is a group of senior defence manufacturers.

The prime minister indicated irritation with his critics when was asked during a press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart how he could promote democracy and reform in the Middle East while travelling with businessmen selling arms to the region.

Cameron said: "I simply don't understand how you can't understand how democracies have a right to defend themselves." Of course, these countries are not democracies. For example, the authorities in Egypt used tear-gas and rubber-bullets on protesters that had been purchased from British companies. In other words, British governments have been helping to keep dictatorships in power, by granting export licences to these companies.

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I'm sure that western-allied military are hoping Gaddafi will fall, but you are quite correct - Bahrain is of strategic importance and has been stable in the past.

Bahrain has only been stable because it has a repressive government. It is a country where a religious minority rule a religious majority. This is why they cannot allow it to be democratic. Once the king is overthrown it will become an ally of Iran.

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Egypt: Struggle enters new a phase

Sunday, February 20, 2011 By Tim Dobson

egypt_transport_workers_strike_feb_14_by_3arabawy.jpg

Egyptian transport workers on strike, February 14. Photo: 3arabawy. The Egyptian people’s revolution has entered a new phase after the fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak on February 11.

The first reaction to Mubarak’s resignation after 18 days of continuous protests was one of celebration.

Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the centre of the uprising, turned into the scene of a giant party for days afterwards in celebration of the exit of Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for three decades.

Undoubtedly, the widespread feeling was that it was time to begin building a “new Egypt”.

However, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which assumed power after Mubarak’s resignation, has made a series of decisions that have put it at odds with popular aspirations.

The armed forces have long been a central power in Egyptian politics. The top generals, who often have important business interests, have close ties to Mubarak and the United States.

The council released its fifth communique on February 13 that outlined its plans in key areas.

It announced a plan to suspend the hated constitution, dissolve both houses of the fraudulently-elected parliament and oversee a “transition period” of six months before fresh elections.

The council will also have the power to decree laws. Mubarak’s cabinet will also be kept in place, as will all existing peace treaties.

The constitution and parliament were not mourned, as they were associated with the old regime. The Egyptian constitution was the legal basis for the “state of emergency” that has been kept in place ever since Mubarak assumed the presidency in 1981.

This has allowed for the brutal crackdown against any opposition to his rule. An end to the emergency rule was a key demand of the mass movement.

However, despite the suspension of the parliament, the emergency law is being kept in place. Also, many of the protesters were disappointed that the constitution was only suspended rather than abolished.

The February 14 Washington Post quoted Egyptian novelist and democracy activist Alaa al Aswany, who said: “By no means can [the military heads] concentrate on fixing the problems and investigating what happened under the former regime, because they are the ones responsible.”

The fact that the new government has guaranteed its agreements with Israel, including the 1979 peace treaty, shows the ongoing influence the US wields over the Egyptian government.

The US gives US$1.3 billion a year in military aid to Egypt, a November 10 US State Department report said.

The US is seeking to continue its influence. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on February 17 that the US would offer up to $150 million in immediate aid for Egypt.

On February 12, the military unsuccessfully tried to clear Tahrir Square of all protesters.

On February 13, Reuters said the military council had issued a decree banning “meetings by labour unions or professional syndicates, effectively forbidding strikes, and tell all Egyptians to get back to work after the unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak”.

The council issued a warning against anyone who creates “chaos and disorder”, widely seen as a threat against protesters still occupying Tahrir Square, Reuters said.

In the dying days of Mubarak’s rule, Egypt was hit by a strike wave, in which thousands of workers combined calls for Mubarak’s resignation with their own economic demands.

There are signs the ban is being widely ignored and many workers are continuing to strike.

On February 16, 10,000 textile workers went on strike. The February 17 EurasiaReview.com said: “Work stoppages have also closed banks and stalled buses in Cairo. Police officers, airport employees, ambulance drivers and electrical engineers have carried out protests.”

The February 17 New York Times said: “The labor unrest this week at textile mills, pharmaceutical plants, chemical industries, the Cairo airport, the transportation sector and banks has emerged as one of the most powerful dynamics in a country navigating the military-led transition that followed an 18-day popular uprising and the end of Mr Mubarak’s three decades of rule.

"Banks reopened last week, but amid a wave of protests over salaries and management abuses promptly shut again this week.

“The opening of schools was delayed another week, and a date has yet to be set for opening the stock market, which some fear may plummet over the economic reverberations and anxiety about the political transition.”

The strikes have struck fear into the rich.

On February 18, TheNational.ae quoted Hisham Ezz al Arab, the chairperson of Egypt’s largest private financial institution, saying: “If the strikes keep spreading, people don’t understand they are going to spoil the 25th of January [the date the anti-Mubarak protests started] because they are selfish.”

Ibrahim Aziz, a merchant in downtown Cairo, complained to the NYT: “For 30 years, there were no protests at all — well, not really — and now that’s all there is.”

Despite the calls for strikes to end, industrial action is winning concessions.

TheNational.ae said: “The central bank said it would sit down with tens of thousands of workers from bank branches, while Egyptian railways has promised permanent contracts to several thousand workers.

“Arafa Holding, a major private textile company, announced yesterday that it had reached ‘satisfactory agreement’ with striking workers and would resume operations next Sunday.”

Many of the activists at the centre of the movement that toppled Mubarak have criticised the military council’s anti-democratic measures.

Almasryalyoum.com reported that the Coalition of the Revolution Youth, which includes the April 6 youth movement and some supporters of moderate opposition leader Mohamed el-Naradei and the Muslim Brotherhood, issued a statement that day that said: “We demand the government be headed by a civilian popular figure that is credible for the public.”

Initial calls by some moderates, such as Baradei, to give the military time to make change have mostly fallen by the wayside. A February 18 Associated Press article quoted Baradei as saying: “To prolong the transitional period without popular participation threatens to throw it back in the arms of dictatorship.”

Mohammed Abbas, a member of the Coalition of the Revolution Youth and the Muslim Brotherhood, told AP: “Remains of the old system are still operating in society. They are trying to wage a counterrevolution.”

AP said the coalition held a press conference on February 14 to release its manifesto, called “The Political Paper”.

AP said the document was “their vision for transition to democracy — the annulment of the 1971 constitution; dissolving Mubarak’s ruling party and the caretaker government he appointed; scrapping emergency laws in place for decades; dismantling regime-dominated municipal councils and scrapping regulations that stifled the formation of political parties, unions and free media.

“It said the new constitution must establish a parliamentary system that reduces the authorities of the president, a radical change for Egypt aimed at ensuring no autocrat can monopolize power again.”

Coalition members met the military government to discuss the implementation of these demands. However, when it became clear the governing military council would not agree, the coalition said it would seek to organise further mass mobilisations.

It called for a demonstration on February 18, named “Friday of Victory and Continuation”, to mark one week since Mubarak’s fall and push its democratic demands.

It was widely seen as a litmus test to see whether there is still a widespread willingness to mobilise against the military government.

PressTV.ir reported on that day that about 3 million people took to the streets of Cairo. Tens of thousands marched in Alexandria.

In response to the pressure, the military government announced the arrest of former interior minister Habib el-Adly, former tourism minister Zuheir Garana, former housing minister Ahmed al-Maghrabi and steel tycoon Ahmad Ezz for corruption.

Abdel-Rahman Samir, a coalition activist, told AP: “We shouldn’t let them take the initiative. We need to keep up the pressure and form a wide front to present itself to negotiate in the name of the revolution — to have our voice heard as partners and not only recipient of the military communiques.”

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From GLW issue 869

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