Egyptians Take the Streets, Mubarak Fires Ministers, Obama Speaks (live blog)

US President Barack Obama is preparing for a press conference and statement following Egyptian President’s Hosni Mubarak’s earlier TV appearance on Nile Television.   No questions for Mubarak.  How about Obama?

markknoller Mark Knoller

Pres. Obama willl be making his statement with the famous portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the wall behind him.

Other US reactions:

Equity Markets fall while Oil Prices rise.

Crude oil prices spiked Friday as anti-government protests in Egypt sparked concerns over regional stability.

Prices settled just shy of $90 a barrel, for an increase of more than 4%.

Clinton Urges Egypt to Seize Moment `Immediately’ for Reforms

The Obama administration is ramping up pressure on President Hosni Mubarak to address the grievances of the Egyptian people and said the government’s response to protests may affect U.S. aid.

“The people of Egypt are watching the government’s actions, they have for quite some time, and their grievances have reached a boiling point and they have to be addressed,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters in Washington. The U.S. will be looking at its “assistance posture” toward Egypt, Gibbs said.

Starting with an early afternoon statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. today toughened its criticism of Mubarak’s methods in suppressing protests that pose the biggest challenge to his 30-year rule over the Arab world’s most populous country.

“For the U.S., any effort on our part to provide support for Mubarak is going to be read in Egypt as support for a crackdown and support for an undemocratic regime,” said Steven Cook, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. “We need to be forward looking for this.”

More than 80 percent of U.S. aid to Egypt, or $1.3 billion, is in the form of military assistance, according to data supplied by the U.S. State Department. With President Barack Obama in power, military aid has stayed unchanged and economic assistance has been cut to $250 million from $411 million in 2008 with the phasing out of democracy-linked programs.

The amount of money Egypt receives from the U.S. is exceeded only by Afghanistan, Pakistan and Israel, based on the State Department’s budget request for the current fiscal year.

Senator John Kerry is talking on AJ right now.  He’s encouraging Mubarak to make changes.  He’s also saying it’s not constructive right now to focus on negatives but positives.  He’s saying Mubarak has opportunities.  Wonder if this will be what Obama says …

ON NOW … 6:31  EST.  It’s on CNN, etc.

UPDATE:  President Obama’s statement via MSNBC.

AJ has a front row seat to this via a bureau there.  BTW, take a look at how many silly Americans are leaving best wishes comments to Egyptians on this media outlet that is headquartered in Doha, Qatar and run/owned by folks from there. Such a geography #FAIL.  On top of that, Egypt can’t get access to the internet right now.  (Palm meet forehead!)

Live blog from Al Jazeera

Live Streaming Al Jazeera

61 Comments on “Egyptians Take the Streets, Mubarak Fires Ministers, Obama Speaks (live blog)”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Obama is saying first concern is preventing injury. He’s saying right to free speech, right to assemble, and right to choose their government.

    he’s calling for reversing internet censoring.

  2. dakinikat says:

    Obama is also calling on protesters to stop violence.

    Saying US has close partnership with egypt including wanting to advance a peaceful region

    • dakinikat says:

      politico POLITICO
      Obama calls for Egyptian authorities to respect citizens rights, saying “suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.”

    • Sima says:

      I wonder, did he call on the soldiers and police to stop their violence? How come the violence always comes from the protesters (supposedly) when the pictures I see show only the protesters bleeding, getting tear gassed, shot, hit with cudgels..

      How does a peaceful protester ‘stop the violence’ when they are suddenly hit with mace? (Saw this happen at the WTO protests in Seattle). It’s not like they did anything to elicite the violence. So basically, calling upon protesters to stop violence is calling upon them to stop protesting.

      Just steam of consciousness thought here.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Obama says in the absence of reforms, grievances have been building up.
    Says he spoke to mubarak after his speech and has asked him to address these grievances and he says suppressing ideas does not make them go away.

    He’s calling for meaningful dialogue leading to a future with more freedoms and those things we all want … and US is committed to being a partner to achieve that kind of future.

    He’s saying governments have a responsibility to respond to their citizens.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hmmmm….. that sounds familiar.

      He didn’t mention anything about the U.S. government having such responsibilities though.

    • dakinikat says:

      markknoller Mark Knoller
      A White House aide says Pres. Obama spent about 30 minutes on the phone with Pres. Mubarak this evening.

    • dakinikat says:

      KeithOlbermann Keith Olbermann
      It’s a guess, but I believe POTUS’s speech was crafted to show #Mubarak he does NOT have unquestioned US support nor a lot of time #jan25

    • Fredster says:

      dk said: Obama says in the absence of reforms, grievances have been building up.

      I wonder if he’s realized that might sound very familiar to U.S. citizens?

  4. dakinikat says:

    He saying governments should maintain power by consent not coercion and saying US will stand up for rights of Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future.

    No questions.

    Basically he’s urging calm on every one’s part basically … refrain from violence …

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    So Dak, I didn’t see this press conference…just reading your post. So no mention of Obama dropping US support of Mubarak?

    • dakinikat says:

      No. He’s just calling for quicker reforms.

      • zaladonis says:

        But I did sense he edged US support a bit away from Mubarak. That’s not exactly the way to put it, he by no means called for his removal or anything remotely like that, but he had more directives for Mubarak than for the people, of whom he basically just said don’t resort to violence. I guess I’m saying the US President attempted to demonstrate support for the people and their concerns, validating them.

      • zaladonis says:

        I guess that’s a good way of saying it.

        But I think Obama’s statement was good for where the situation stands now. What do you think?

        And he’s right that the next 24 to 48 hours are key. It’s all fast changing and Obama’s response will have to continue to evolve.

        • dakinikat says:

          I don’t think they can budge him at the moment but they can’t give them impression that they don’t support the Egyptian people given all the resources we’ve got invested in that country which is why I think he spent so much time saying the Egyptian people had the right to have their grievances addressed. I think it was fairly balanced. I also think it must’ve been crafted by the state department and not the west wing which is why he ran out and didn’t want to take questions. No one wants add any fuel to the fires over there. I bet the phones between the two state departments and defense departments are open like crazy. Good thing those are the two competent cabinet heads here.

      • zaladonis says:

        Agree on all points.

        This is one of those 3am calls and thank goodness Hillary is there to take it afterall.

      • dakinikat says:

        I still would like to hear the stories about what was going on at the Pentagon with all those Egyptian military leaders there for the better part of two days. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that!!

      • mablue2 says:

        This is one of those 3am calls and thank goodness Hillary is there to take it afterall.


        I don’t think even Hillary Clinton has covered herself with glory in this, especially yesterday, which is understandable between there’s “the official line” they have to toe.
        Hillary is a full pfledge member of this administration and not someone who would go “rogue” in a situation like this.

      • zaladonis says:

        Didn’t say she went rogue, mablue.

        Also said I thought Obama’s statement was good.

        Seems pretty obvious I think Hillary’s a full fledged member of this administration. And frankly I think that’s another demonstration of how amazing she is.

        It’s really time you let go of that CDS way of reading my comments about Hillary that you and others at TM attacked me with during the campaign.

    • dakinikat says:

      markknoller Mark Knoller
      Obama said the US will work with the Egyptian govt to provide its people with a future that is more just, free & hopeful.

  6. Fannie says:

    It’s to late, those people want him GONE. Where those people invisible when Obama visited Cairo two years ago? They are no longer in the shadows.

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    PBS is talking about it now.

    • dakinikat says:

      JudyWoodruff Judy Woodruff
      3 experts on #Egypt unpack latest developments in political crisis there: what protesters want, crucial role of military @NewsHour tonite

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Just reiterated the economic situation in Egypt, that most of the regular people are surviving on 2 dollars a day. Talking about that figuring into the situation. That pres O did not lay down the line…that they think the next 24-48 hours are key. Is O going to be saying the same thing in 24-48 hours.

  8. dakinikat says:

    cnnbrk CNN Breaking News
    Mubarak reaction “highly disappointing,” senior administration official says

  9. dakinikat says:

    nytimes The New York Times
    David Kirkpatrick describes scenes of protest in Giza. RT @thelede: Audio Report From Cairo #egypt #jan25

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    Dak thanks for doing these live blog post!

    • dakinikat says:

      oh, yw … I find these live breaking history things fascinating. I’m also glad it’s not in my backyard for a change.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        It is fascinating, that it isn’t in your backyard. 😉
        But seriously, thanks.

      • Branjor says:

        Yeah, if my old boss who was an engineering prof at my college had been in charge of those levees, they would’ve WORKED.

        Of course, he scared me to death by offering to take me to Egypt with him, but that’s another story.

  11. dakinikat says:

    I’m really thinking how important the role of the middle class is in these revolts and how much every one in those countries that are poor can see the middle class and want to be there. Just when the rest of the world is developing their middle class and they’re wanting more benefits, we have our plutocrats doing things to push ours into poverty. Wonder how well that’s going to work?

  12. dakinikat says:

    Ben Wedeman is saying that the Police are all but gone from Cairo and that the Republican Guard and the Army are in charge of the streets. Guess we’ll see whose side they take in the morning when and if people pour into the streets. He’s sure in a tight spot right now.

  13. zaladonis says:

    A facebook friend told me that Blackberrys and cell phones are working again in Egypt, though they’ve gone down a couple of times since coming back on. But Twitter’s still down.

    Anybody else heard about that?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Anyone with a smart phone can access twitter through Tweetdeck, according to Al Jazira.

      • dakinikat says:

        Have they turned SMS back on? I heard that some of that stuff is still up and down. Do you suppose he actually listened to the Clinton/Obama and had them turn it all back on?

  14. dakinikat says:

    Okay here’s some news from Naked Capitalism

    Guest Post: Inequality In America Is Worse Than In Egypt, Tunisia Or Yemen
    Egyptian, Tunisian and Yemeni protesters all say that inequality is one of the main reasons they’re protesting.

    However, the U.S. actually has much greater inequality than in any of those countries.

    Specifically, the “Gini Coefficient” – the figure economists use to measure inequality – is higher in the U.S.

    • Dario says:

      That’s exactly right. The U.S. government should take notice as to what happens when companies are the driving force for policy. People don’t care what a government does, as long as it allows the people to prosper. But of course, the more prosperous the people become, the more interested they become in the policies of the government. It’s funny how that works. We were prosperous in the 60s…

  15. jawbone says:

    Dakinikat, thanks for so many interesting links and the posting on this.