What is Obama Waiting for? Egypt is Burning. (Live blog)

Click Image to go to Feb 3 Live Blog of Egypt Protests at Al Jazeera English

This post will update frequently with links, tweets, and information.

For Live Tweets:

Blogs of War

For Al Jazeera English LIVE feed:

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If the feed above doesn’t work for you or crashes your browser:

AJE Live on Youtube


JohnKingCNN (at 10:11 pm CST):

Obama admin official sees tipping point, says next “24-48 hours” key and US urging military to choose “society” over mubarak.

Heartwarming moment in the middle of chaos:


Christian Protesters protecting their Muslims Fellows during their prayers in #Tahrir square.

Enduring America‘s latest tweets:

#Egypt: Captured Thug in Cairo: We Were Paid by MP to Beat Americans in Tahrir Square http://tinyurl.com/5ukrq7l

#Egypt: Egypt State TV Blaming Killings in Tahrir Square on a Random Car Shooting on Protesters http://tinyurl.com/5ukrq7l

Mona Eltahawy, an hour ago (around 10 pm CST):

My heart, my sould, my memories, what most excites me about #Egypt, is there at #Tahrir. Only thing keeping me optimistic re #Egypt is youth

Mona, we are with you in Tahrir Square!

Another tweet from Mona, about an hour later:

I am torn between staying here NYC and continuing my media uprising to amplify #Egypt voices and returning to #Cairo for revolution. #Jan25

Egyptian blogger Ramy Raoof broadcasted this LIVE about 20 minutes ago:


AJE Live reporting:

5 killed 7 killed in overnight clashes and more than 800 wounded

arise_subvert 836 casualties is being reported on Al Jazeera. #Egypt The reporter thinks that is low.

Interesting read from pbs.org Frontline:

Women, Islam, Egypt, and Iran by SETAREH SABETY

Last update to the live blog for now (more in the comments):

RT @kttrend: #egypt can’t sleep when i know the massacre of innocent ppl is happening wo any intervention from world leaders, do smthg #obama do smthing

Egypt Update: Ugliness unfolds as Darkness falls

A supporter of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak rides a camel through the melee in Tahrir Square. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

To recap, breaking news from earlier this morning:

Egyptian Military asks protesters to stop

Yemeni president won’t seek re-election

The military is not intervening as Clashes Erupt in Cairo Between Mubarak’s Allies and Foes (NYT):

President Obama’s calls for a rapid transition to a new order in Egypt seemed eclipsed on Wednesday as thousands of demonstrators for and against President Hosni Mubarak, some on horses and camels, fought running battles in and around Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

These pro-Mubarak rent-a-mobs coming in on camels and creating violence and anarchy are calling themselves “pro-stability forces.”

Anderson Cooper is fine and reporting live now, but earlier Anderson was attacked (Huffpo):

CNN’s Steve Brusk tweeted that “Anderson said he was punched 10 times in the head as pro-Mubarak mob surrounded him and his crew trying to cover demonstration.”

A CNN update said that “no one was seriously hurt” in the attack.

CNN Anchor and correspondent Hala Gorani reporting she was charged at again and again after the camels came to town.

Molotov cocktails being thrown. Fires being started.

If the White House is reviewing economic and military aid to Egypt, now would be the time to cut it off. Look at what our tax dollars are going to. Certainly not an “orderly transition” on the Mubarak regime’s part.

From NYT’s the Lede:

9:45 A.M. |Twitter Updates From Cairo’s Tahrir Square:

Nicholas Kristof, a Times Op-Ed columnist on the scene in Tahrir, posted this update on his Twitter feed two minutes ago:

Mubarak seems to be trying to stage a crackdown not with police or army, but with thugs. They are armed and brutal.

8:56 A.M. |Egyptian Blogger Says Clashes Are Mubarak Ploy:

In a biting, angry and harrowing commentary on the clashes unfolding in Cairo on Wednesday, the Egyptian blogger who writes as Sandmonkey has called the appearance of regime supporters on Cairo’s streets, igniting violent clashes, a ploy by President Hosni Mubarak to create chaos and justify his continued rule.

Here is Sandmonkey’s commentary, posted on Twitter on Wednesday as the first clashes were reported on Egyptian state television:

Watching the egyptian media now is driving me insane. Propaganda & Stupidity overdose!

The TV just annunced that there is a Pro Mubarak million-man-march. This will be hilarious. They managed to get 1000 today.

Clashes in Tahrir square. The egyptian TV claims that hundreds of thousands of protesters are Pro Mubarak.

Clashes, Pro Mubarak people attacking protesters. Tear Gas thrown. Very violent. No Army intervention so far.

Twitter won’t work from my phone. Everything else works.

egyptian army is not seperating the people, they r holding the egyptian flag&urging egyptians- who r beating each other- to unite.

Twitter down on all mobiles. web still works.

Camels and Horses used by Pro Mubarak protesters to attack Anti-Mubarak protesters. This is becoming literally a circus.

You can’t even make up a movie that would equal this level of insanity.

Ok, it is official, my @Mobinil line has twitter and facebook blocked on it. They work fine on my etisalat line….

This means the regime knows who I am and where I live. My life is now officially in danger.

people are showing on TV holding police ID’s from the protesters they just clashed with.

Mubarak has proven to be smarter than all of us, he will not leave. Just watch.

The aim of this is to evacuate the Tahrir square & justify never having protests there Friday, where 1 is scheduled, or ever again.

Authoritarian regimes, watch Mubarak and learn from the master…. Ben Ali must be so jealous he didn’t think of this psychotic brilliant plan.

CNN’s Ben Wedeman on the phone right now, describing this as a:

lynch mob


revenge of the Mubarak regime.

Anderson Cooper on the phone a couple minutes ago telling Suzanne Malveaux he does not want to reveal his exact location “for security reasons.”

Read the rest of this entry »

“A chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt”

From Sunday. LA Times Babylon & Beyond blog:

More than 80 American academics, including Noam Chomsky and several California scholars, posted an open letter online Sunday to President Obama […]

From the Tahrir demonstrations

Here’s the open letter, as posted on the Institute for Public Accuracy site:

Dear President Obama:

As political scientists, historians, and researchers in related fields who have studied the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, we the undersigned believe you have a chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt. As citizens, we expect our president to uphold those values.

For thirty years, our government has spent billions of dollars to help build and sustain the system the Egyptian people are now trying to dismantle. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family’s influence. It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said Friday “political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants.

There is another lesson from this crisis, a lesson not for the Egyptian government but for our own. In order for the United States to stand with the Egyptian people it must approach Egypt through a framework of shared values and hopes, not the prism of geostrategy. On Friday you rightly said that “suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.” For that reason we urge your administration to seize this chance, turn away from the policies that brought us here, and embark on a new course toward peace, democracy and prosperity for the people of the Middle East. And we call on you to undertake a comprehensive review of US foreign policy on the major grievances voiced by the democratic opposition in Egypt and all other societies of the region.

You can view the signatories here. You can also download a pdf. And, to leave feedback, apparently you can to egyptletter.blogspot.com.

Earlier on Sunday, the Carnegie Endowment published the following statement from its Working Group on Egypt, urging for free and fair elections and recommending a suspension of economic and military aid to Egypt until certain conditions that would ensure a free and fair election are met:

Amidst the turmoil in Egypt, it is important for the United States to remain focused on the interests of the Egyptian people as well as the legitimacy and stability of the Egyptian government.

Only free and fair elections provide the prospect for a peaceful transfer of power to a government recognized as legitimate by the Egyptian people. We urge the Obama administration to pursue these fundamental objectives in the coming days and press the Egyptian government to:

  • call for free and fair elections for president and for parliament to be held as soon as possible;
  • amend the Egyptian Constitution to allow opposition candidates to register to run for the presidency;
  • immediately lift the state of emergency, release political prisoners, and allow for freedom of media and assembly;
  • allow domestic election monitors to operate throughout the country, without fear of arrest or violence;
  • immediately invite international monitors to enter the country and monitor the process leading to elections, reporting on the government’s compliance with these measures to the international community; and
  • publicly declare that Hosni Mubarak will agree not to run for re-election.

We further recommend that the Obama administration suspend all economic and military assistance to Egypt until the government accepts and implements these measures.

The Working Group on Egypt is a nonpartisan initiative bringing substantial expertise on Egyptian politics and political reform, and aimed at ensuring that Egypt’s elections are free and fair and open to opposition candidates.

Laura Rozen’s report on the Egypt working group’s statement provides further insight:

A bipartisan group of former U.S. officials and foreign policy scholars is urging the Obama administration to suspend all economic and military aid to Egypt until the government agrees to carry out early elections and to suspend Egypt’s draconian state of emergency, which has been in place for decades.

“We are paying the price for the fact that the administration has been at least of two minds on this stuff, and we should have seen it coming,” said Robert Kagan, co-chair of the bipartisan Egypt working group, regarding what many analysts now say is the inevitable end of Hosni Mubarak’s thirty year reign as Egypt’s president.

Though the Obama administration has tried to look like it’s not picking sides in urging restraint from violence amid five days of Egyptian unrest calling for Mubarak to step down, “the U.S. can’t be seen as neutral when it’s giving a billion and a half dollars” to prop up the Mubarak regime, Kagan said.

And, from Zaid Jilani at Think Progress:

The position of the Obama administration has been unclear. While administration officials have condemned abuses of civil liberties, they’ve also fallen short of endorsing Mubarak’s ouster or ending support for the regime, with Vice President Joe Biden even going as far as to say that Mubarak isn’t a dictator.

The United States gives nearly $2 billion in aid to the Egyptian regime every year, and offers diplomatic and military cooperation that helps bolster Mubarak. As protesters continue to be beaten, tortured, and killed by internal security forces, it’s important to know that these abuses are being subsidized by U.S. taxpayer dollars. Threatening to reduce or eliminate this monetary assistance to the Egyptian regime would be a powerful tool that the United States could use to help advance democracy and promote freedom in the country.

In light of the open letter from Chomsky et al and the statement from the CEIP’s working group on Egypt, I thought it might be helpful to recap what the Obama Administration said yesterday.

Read the rest of this entry »