“This is the Arab World’s Berlin Moment”

From the Egypt Live Blog at the UK Guardian:

Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern politics and international relations at the London School of Economics

This is the Arab world’s Berlin moment. The authoritarian wall has fallen – and that’s regardless of whether Mubarak survives or not. It goes beyond Mubarak. The barrier of fear has been removed. It is really the beginning of the end of the status quo in the region. The introduction of the military speaks volumes about the failure of the police to suppress the protesters. The military has stepped in and will likely seal any vacuum of authority in the next few weeks. Mubarak is deeply wounded. He is bleeding terribly. We are witnessing the beginning of a new era.

From Al Jazeera:

11:06pm Cairo neighborhoods are being policed by local residents wielding kitchen knives and hunting rifles, after the military called for civilians to protect their own property.

From their main story:

The looting has prompted residents in some neighbourhoods, including the upscale Zamalek district in central Cairo, to set up vigilante groups to protect private property. Outside some apartment blocks, guards armed with machine guns had taken up posts.

In the Maadi area south of Cairo, neighbourhood mosques called on young men over loudspeakers to come down to the entrances of building and homes to ward off looters.

Naglaa Mahmoud, a Maadi resident, told the Associated Press that thugs were breaking cars and threatening to get into homes. She said even the ambulance service in the neighbourhood had abandoned their offices and accused the regime of planning the chaos by pulling out all of its police forces.

“All this seems to be prearranged. They are punishing us for asking for this change,” she said.

“What a shame he [Mubarak] doesn’t care for the people or anything. This is a corrupt regime.”

The military also urged local residents throughout the country to defend themselves from looters.

The Lede Blog at the NYT has more on ElBaradei’s early call for Mubarak to resign including a video of his interview. There are also some interesting quotes from Egyptian bloggers.  This particular outcry to CNN changed their frame of the protests and the protesters.  Propaganda any one?

Less than an hour after Mona Eltahway, an Egyptian blogger and journalist, appealed to CNN to stop focusing on looting and security problems in Egypt following the government’s decision to withdraw the police from the streets, the broadcaster has changed its onscreen headline from “CHAOS IN EGYPT” to “UPRISING IN EGYPT.”

Less happily for Egyptians who want to oust the Mubarak regime, and are tired of the argument that his government is a necessary bulwark against Islamist extremism, the network just aired a report that asked the question “What Happens if Mubrak falls?” that featured video of Ayman al-Zawahri, the Egyptian militant who is now Al Qaeda’s second in command.

You’re beginning to see this icon next to many names on twitter in response to the obvious framing of the Egyptian situation by the network.

Mohamed ElBaradei writes A Manifesto for Change in Egypt at The Daily Beast.

Then, as protests built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of Tunisia’s Idictator, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assessment that the government in Egypt is “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people”. I was flabbergasted—and I was puzzled. What did she mean by stable, and at what price? Is it the stability of 29 years of “emergency” laws, a president with imperial power for 30 years, a parliament that is almost a mockery, a judiciary that is not independent? Is that what you call stability? I am sure not. And I am positive that it is not the standard you apply to other countries. What we see in Egypt is pseudo-stability, because real stability only comes with a democratically elected government.
f you would like to know why the United States does not have credibility in the Middle East, that is precisely the answer. People were absolutely disappointed in the way you reacted to Egypt’s last election. You reaffirmed their belief that you are applying a double standard for your friends, and siding with an authoritarian regime just because you think it represents your interests. We are staring at social disintegration, economic stagnation, political repression, and we do not hear anything from you, the Americans, or for that matter from the Europeans.

So when you say the Egyptian government is looking for ways to respond to the needs of the Egyptian people, I feel like saying, “Well, it’s too late!” This isn’t even good realpolitik. We have seen what happened in Tunisia, and before that in Iran. That should teach people there is no stability except when you have government freely chosen by its own people.

Breaking news: 19 private planes have just arrived in Dubai. These are businessmen fleeing Egypt. (4:30 pm cst) These are tycoons that have played an important role propping up Mubarak and his party and have profited from his iron fist rule. This might be another sign that the ruling class is seeing the end.


Al Jazeera: Amongst the business tycoons who have fled are Hussein Salem, a huge NDP thug industrial investor in Sharm El Sheikh (corrected)


Al Jazeera: Also reports that (now) former NDP part thug & Gamal Mubarak confidant Ahmed Ezz has fled Egypt in a private jet.

This is kewl … do you suppose we can get Jeffrey Immelt out of the country to Dubai, some how too?

NPR has put up ‘A primer on Following Egyptian Protests on Twitter’.
The relevant hash tags are #egypt and #jan25.

Also, to get the Department’s latest take follow PJCrowley. He hasn’t sent out tweets for about 8 hours so maybe things are shifting again.
Notable tweets

Under the category ask me why I hate the MSM:

weeddude Weed Dude
by teddysanfran

MT @OmarWaraich: Wolf Blitzer’s first Q: to Peter Bergen: “Where does al-Qaeda fit in all of this?” Bergen replied, “Not at all.” #Egypt

No wonder every one was so easily suckered on Iraq.

27 Comments on ““This is the Arab World’s Berlin Moment””

  1. Woman Voter says:

    I am getting that same sick feeling like when we learned via the cables that Pakistan was training the Taliban, to then go into Afghanistan to attack our troops, in a never ending loop…IT HAD BECOME A BUSINESS!

    One way to put it into prospective, is if we got stuck with BUSH/CHENEY for 31 years, with Jeb BUSH in the wing waiting to rule for another 25 years. Yup, walk and think like an Egyptian…once you put yourself in those shoes it because clear!

  2. Mona Eltahawy has been fantastic to follow! I linked to a bunch of her stuff in my morning posts.

    Also, with all the rapid turn of events going on in Egypt, I don’t know if anyone bothered to read about the stuff I posted about the Palestine Papers–this story really isn’t getting the attention it deserves from the American press (not that that’s surprising), but I think it’s really important to consider this as another piece of the puzzle with everything else that is happening in the Middle East.

    Another thing I find hilarious (in a sad way) is watching the American media totally avoid addressing the fact that Wikileaks was a catalyst here, as is the document leak to Al Jazeera of the Palestine papers.

  3. Woman Voter says:

    Social Media and the effect on the Middle East and the dictatorial governments.
    Coverage of the revolution in Tunisia was lapped up by Arab audiences and in Yemen, Algeria and Egypt demonstrators took to the streets. State-controlled media tried desperately to spin the coverage of the unrest, but no amount of spinning could hide the reality of the events in Egypt. On this episode of Listening Post, we look at how the events in Tunisia have had a knock-on effect that has rocked the Arab world.
    Listening Post – The Tunisian effect

    • Woman Voter says:

      The comment about the Egyptian media ‘The Nile’ being, ‘Denial’ says volumes of the control of news agencies when you have a dictatorships in place.

  4. Dario says:

    What is happening in Egypt repeats itself when bad governments fall. Dictatorships and oppressive governments make many laws that people see as oppressive measures, hence people lose all respect for the rule of law. I’ve read that officers from the Egypt interior ministry, the private police of Mubarak, are part of the thugs that are looting in Cairo. They are the ones with the guns.

  5. Dario says:

    Btw, I’m so happy I can get Aljazeera, the news channel that brings the Middle East news like the old BBC used to. It’s great.

  6. Dee says:

    Bulletin: Sec. Hillary Clinton to appear on all five Sunday news shows tomorrow.

    I guess she is the only adult in the house.

    It really pisses me off that she has to do the damage control for Obama given that his loyal supporters hate her so much and like to tell themselves she is controlling him.

    And it just gives them another opportunity to hate on her and Bill.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    President Obama: Here is Your Game-Changer

    For all the president’s talk of “game changers,” he and his foreign policy team seem unable to recognize a real one, even when it stares them in the face. As tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of Egyptians take to the streets to call for the end of Husni Mubarak’s 30 years of misrule, the president and his team seem intent on upholding the old order instead of helping usher in a new one. When the history of the Middle East’s winter revolutions is written, and scholars try to explain why those remarkable events ushered in an era of region-wide hostility toward and non-cooperation with the United States, they will point to Vice President Biden’s refusal to call Mubarak a dictator, or Hilary Clinton’s urging Egypt’s brave pro-democracy activists to calm down, or President Obama’s blithe announcement that the protests indicated that “now would be a good time to start some reform.”

    Of course, the administration’s position stems not from a lack of vision, but rather from a surfeit of fear. For almost 50 years, we have performed a delicate balancing act in the Middle East, declaring our commitment to liberty while at the same time endorsing autocrats like Mr. Mubarak who, we were led to believe, stood guard against a rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Americanism. The bitter irony of this strategy is that it helped produce and nurture precisely those things that we dreaded. Islamists thrived on pointing out to their people America’s alleged double standards, arguing that we want democracy only for ourselves and not for the oppressed of the world.

    • dakinikat says:

      he played basketball today. The conservative blogs are making hay with it.

      • mjames says:

        There you go again with that basketball stuff that drives me crazy. The dude CANNOT play basketball. He doesn’t know how. Just like he doesn’t know how to deal with the Egypt crisis. Or anything else, for that matter.

        He lives in a fantasy world where he is LeBron James and FDR/Reagan rolled into one super superhero. I am not kidding. He is a megalomaniac and positively delusional as to who he really is. With no awareness whatsoever of his smallness of vision and humanity.

        Just what we need right now. Cuz it won’t be long now before the Egypt crisis hits our shores.

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    Any new info as far as Obama is concerned? I kind of tuned out and started a new puzzle. I heard all the stuff on CNN earlier. They were harping on the looting.

    • I tuned out yesterday after Wolf asked the viewers to weigh in on whether Obama’s earlier speech in the Middle East is the reason for the uprising.

      • I wouldn’t say Obama’s speech is irrelevant, btw, but I think Wikileaks had far more to do with setting things off in Tunisia, which then set things off elsewhere.

      • dakinikat says:

        Unfugging believable. Do these people actually study anything they’re supposed to talk about? Didn’t he read at all about the corruption wikileak releases? Or, for that matter, the EGYPT wikileak releases? If you listen to the AJ where they’re actually talking to Egyptians, you’ll see that we’ve got nothing to do with this other than propping this nasty dictator up to rob them for years! Even then, they’re not holding it against us as much as they should. It’s like they just can’t take any more. Sort’ve like I’m hoping people around here wake up and realize where the money and opportunities have all gone to also!! They’re tired of living in a plutocracy! All we’re doing is recreating the same damned model here.

      • I know, I could hardly stand it. It was so pathetic. Wolf Blitzer is shameless.

  9. Human wall protecting Cairo museum:


  10. SaleemaGul RT @goldenrox77: WOW! Some guys caught one of the thugs and tied him to a tree as a lesson for others #jan25 via @Farrah3m

  11. ROFL:

    RT @jeremyscahill: Coming up on Fox News to discuss #Egypt, renowned Middle East scholar Mike Huckabee