Feb 9, 2011

Israel’s defenders oppose Egyptian democracy (out of concern for Egypt of course)


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Here are the headlines from Mondoweiss for 02/09/2011:

BDS promises a just peace, unlike current US strategy
Feb 08, 2011 09:54 pm | David Schwartzman and Mai Abdul Rahman

The US initiated and brokered Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have failed to resolve this festering conflict with grave human rights implications for more than forty years. It has become crystal clear that US led peace negotiations will likely fail for the foreseeable future unless other political tools are employed to help spur a different political paradigm. US impotence was clearly displayed during President Obama's first years in office. In spite of his publicly articulated plan and declared intention to end the expansion of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the US has failed to deliver any substantive progress. Recent symbolic gestures to publicly recognize Palestinian sovereignty by a growing number of nations, particularly in Latin America, signal worldwide frustration with the US continued unproductive role as a peace broker.

The US Congress' record of unconditional support for Israel's pro-settlement government along with the aggressive campaigns by the powerful Israeli Lobby in the US have served to obstruct any meaningful US role in bringing about an end of the occupation and realizing justice for the Palestinian people. Faced with this reality, a growing number of concerned citizens in the US are turning to creative new approaches to bring an end to the Israeli occupation and Apartheid-Israeli style.

In July 2005, Palestinian civil society launched a "call to international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel, similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era, until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law." Further, "These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by: 1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. Since the issuance of this historic call in 2005, the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign has been taken up by countless of international peace groups, unions, churches, municipalities, countries and peace advocates.

With many successes of the global BDS movement, this campaign has finally crossed the Atlantic. It is being duplicated in the US by individuals and groups in DC, Maryland, California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and several other states, with active involvement of peace groups with diverse ethnic and religious composition. Believers and Non-Believers, Christians, Jews and Muslims are becoming active in this movement. Americans are adopting the BDS campaign in their local communities to build a broad national movement. They are taking this issue out of the hands of the few gatekeepers to engage mainstream Americans in their cities, town halls and houses of worship. They have come to recognize that BDS is a potent domestic means to change the current official US role of backing Israel regardless of the human consequences. Like the international BDS campaigns, US BDS relies on the guiding principals set by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention, UN resolutions and the International Court of Justice decisions on the wall and the Israeli occupation. The Hague Court stipulates the following: Settlers cannot be transferred into an occupied territory: The indigenous population of an occupied territory cannot be deported from the occupied territory regardless of motive; If a population must be transferred for security or military reasons they must return after security measures have been set in place. In addition the International Court of Justice considers it a crime against humanity for any state whether in peace or war to engage in the collective persecution of "any identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, or religious" grounds.

Significantly, the US BDS initiative reasserts the relevance of the Charter of Nuremberg which declared forced deportation and uprooting of civilian populations to be both a war crime and a crime against humanity. This is an opinion adopted by the world community to protect future communities from displacement and to avert a recurrence of the German Jewish experience during the Hitler regime when Germany oversaw the indiscriminate displacement of Jews, with millions perishing in concentration camps. The US BDS campaign relies on the examples of the successful South African Anti-Apartheid Boycott model as well as the earlier Jewish United Boycott Committee Campaign when Jews and human rights activists developed an organized boycott campaigns of German goods that was implemented throughout Europe and the US between 1933-1945 to protest German war crimes and injustices perpetuated against Jews. The 1936 Jewish led boycott of the German Olympics was an aggressive popular campaign that helped educate the American public on the dire conditions and plight of Jews in Germany.

Building and strengthening the US BDS movement has become a major objective for many US peace and justice activists. The Palestinian BDS call was adopted by the UN Civil Conference and is currently being considered for adoption in the UN General Council in 2011. The likely endorsement of BDS by the General Assembly will express the consensus of world public opinion thereby creating a basis for BDS to be implemented by member states, as well as being recognized as a legitimate tool for corporate ethical accountability on this and other human rights issues.

The current Israeli government 's arrogant refusal to consider suspending settlement building - never mind end its illegal occupation of Palestinian land - has so far only generated pathetic rhetorical protests from the US governement with no consequences. Massive US military and financial aid to Israel continues. Observing this travesty has been a major factor in encouraging ordinary Americans to implement the Palestinian BDS call. The US BDS movement has a real potential to change the political paradigm that has exacted a heavy price on Palestinian and Israelis people. Without justice for the Palestinian people Israelis will continue to live in a highly militarized state without a prospect for real peace and security. And realizing a just peace in the Middle East would have huge positive consequences for all of humanity, by contributing to global demilitarization, thereby freeing up resources needed to confront the multifold challenges posed by the increasing threat of catastrophic climate change and unmet human needs here in the US and especially in the global South.

David Schwartzman is an environmental scientists on the faculty of Howard University and a member of the International Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN).

Mai Abdul Rahman is a Palestinian American living in Washington D.C. She has founded the American Palestinian Women's Association and is a Doctorial student at Howard University's School of Education.


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Jane Harman's exit is good news
Feb 08, 2011 09:32 pm | Philip Weiss

This story is a day old, I know, but LA congresswoman Jane Harmanis leaving Congress, where she spearheaded Israel's concerns, to head the Woodrow Wilson Institute for Public Policy.

Is it a win or a loss? I think it's a win. It takes a real rightwing crank on the issue out of Congress, where she's really standing in the road. (Her two-time primary opponent Marcy Winograd--who puts Palestinian human rights at the top of her issues list and would visit Bradley Manning in solitary-- is thinking of running, and might actually threaten for the seat in the special election?)

Also, Harman is 65. Her move reflects the largest force working for our side: the aging of the Israel lobby. Her husband Sidney is 92; he owns Newsweek and the Daily Beast, and will presumably back the Wilson Institute, too, and make sure that it's conservative on the issue. But I still feel she's out of the way. Will Haim Saban be calling her now? Somehow I doubt it...


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Israel's defenders oppose Egyptian democracy (out of concern for Egypt of course)
Feb 08, 2011 07:16 pm | Adam Horowitz

Today's letters to the editor in the New York Times represent the wide swath of the US public that is behind the protesters in Egypt (82% according to a new Gallap poll). Of the five letters that were published, four of them call on the Obama adminstration to stand with the protesters and warn that "the United States is proving to be on the wrong side of history."  Here's the fifth letter:

To the Editor:

Re "Militants, Women and Tahrir Square," by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, Feb. 6): Yes, "it would be tragic if we let our anxieties" about whether a democratic Egypt might end up a more repressive country "impede our embrace of freedom and democracy."

It would also be tragic if we failed to realize that the Muslim Brotherhood likely won't deliver the democracy that the Egyptians (and we, on their behalf) crave.

Without some countervailing force, the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to use the democratic process to come to power, but to rule using fundamentalist Shariah law.

Because the Muslim Brotherhood is better organized than the many people on the street whom Mr. Kristof has interviewed, the masses' good intentions and dreams for a vibrant democracy may prove irrelevant if the Brotherhood comes to power.

Amy N. Lipton
Greenwich, Conn., Feb. 6, 2011

The writer is active in several pro-Israel organizations.

This is not an isolated example. Here is a video of Alan Dershowitz using the same line on CNN last week and Mona Eltahawy putting him in his place (starts around 2:15):

You would think the advocates trying to represent "the only democracy in the Middle East" would do a better job at actually representing democracy. But then again, Israel's own democracyseems to be in question these days, so I guess these arguments make perfect sense.


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Orange County DA files charges against 11 Muslim-American students who interrupted Michael Oren; JVP says 'charge us too'
Feb 08, 2011 03:29 pm | Adam Horowitz

Last Friday, the Orange County district attorney, Tony Rackauckas, announced he was filing charges against the 11 students who interrupted Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's speech at UC Irvine a year ago. This was despite the fact that the Muslim Student Union, which helped organize the protest, had already been reprimanded by the university. Rackauckas made a statement on the charges saying:

This case is being filed because there was an organized attempt to squelch the speaker, who was invited to speak to a group at UCI. These defendants meant to stop this speech and stop anyone else from hearing his ideas, and they did so by disrupting a lawful meeting. This is a clear violation of the law and failing to bring charges against this conduct would amount to a failure to uphold the Constitution.

The ACLU protested the move saying "We are unaware of any case where a district attorney pressed criminal charges over this type of nonviolent student protest," and the LA Times condemned the decision with an editorial titled "Free the Irvine 11."

Now Jewish Voice for Peace has come out in support of the protesters by making the obvious point that there is clearly a double standard when Muslim-Americans exercise their right to free speech versus other Americans. The JVP Rabbincal Council released a statementthat says in part:

It is clear that there are double standards for protest in the United States. Last November, the members of Young, Jewish and Proud, the young activist arm of Jewish Voice for Peace, were let go after similarly disrupting a speech by the Israeli Prime Minister in front of a much larger audience in New Orleans. Instead of facing sanctions or criminal charges, their actions were lauded by many writers in Israeli and Jewish papers and news outlets across the world. In stark contrast, 11 Muslim students faced unprecedented sanctions both at the University of California and now from the office of the District Attorney which has empaneled a grand jury.

Apart from being deeply concerned by the actions of the Orange County District Attorney's Office, we want to express our support for the message of those who interrupted Ambassador Oren. We believe that four decades of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine calls us to interrupt business as usual. Students that stood in public and voiced their passionate concern over policies of siege, home demolition, targeted destruction of infrastructure and ongoing dispossession of people from their land had a right to confront Ambassador Oren, and hold him and his government accountable for actions that were deemed as war crimes by the Goldstone Report.

JVP has also organized a petition which has been signed by over 5,000 supporters who admit to also having interrupted a speaker or event to make a political point. The petition goes on to ask the DA to charge them as well if "interrupting injustice is now considered a crime." The petition and the rabbi's letter will be delivered to the Office of the Orange County District Attorney tomorrow by Rachel Roberts, who was part of a a group of young Jews who interrupted Netanyahu in New Orleans, and Estee Chandler, a JVP leader in Los Angeles.


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President McCain confronts the Egyptian revolution: 'We will defeat democracy and we will be free'
Feb 08, 2011 12:33 pm | Samuel Nichols

If John McCain had beaten Barack Obama, this is the speech he would be making:

This menacing wave washing over the Middle East is one of the gravest dangers this world has ever seen. This virus has already crept in and destroyed Tunisia. Tunisia's president was forced to leave the country to spare his own life from this awful turn of events. The virus has moved across North Africa and is currently festering in Egypt. We have recommended that President Mubarak leave the region to avoid drastic consequences of this virus. As I address youtonight, this sickness is threatening to spread to nearby Jordan and Yemen.

Our scientists and technicians have been working tirelessly to discover more about this awful virus. It seems to be targeting our allies: oppressive dictatorships and undemocratic regimes whose stability are necessary for our way of life. Our brightest minds are working to protect us from this beast which threatens not only our great nation, but all of humankind. 

Citizens of this great country, this is the most dangerous time in all of modern history. But this is not a time for fear; but is instead, a time to be brave and to heed the call to defend our liberties and our freedoms. Go home tonight and hold your loved ones, look them in the eyes and tell them why this nation is a great nation, remind yourself of why we have persevered and prospered as a light on the hill for all of the world.

We will overcome this disease that threatens to undermine our way of life. We will defeat democracy and we will be free. Thank you and good night.

Samuel Nichols is an activist from the US working with Christian Peacemaker Teams, an organization that supports Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. He lives in al-Tuwani, a small village in the South Hebron hills, amongst Palestinians committed to nonviolent resistance to land confiscation and settler violence. Follow Nichols on his blog  and on Twitter.


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'We just want the rights you have' (Why isn't the U.S. listening?)
Feb 08, 2011 11:31 am | Felice Gelman

Back in the U.S. after an amazing front row seat in Cairo at the Egyptian revolution, I have had to translate my point of view from the street to the news stream. But I can't help being informed by what I saw in the streets of Cairo and in Tahrir Square. It's a parallel world out here, with mainstream media coverage of Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman as the U.S.-approved man for the transition to democracy. Clearly an amazingly versatile politician, Suleiman -- Egypt's chief torturer and leading advocate of autocracy -- has morphed into a bridgebuilder to the opposition. It must be time and distance that lets the press and the White House propose this with a straight face. It certainly isn't flying in Tahrir Square where the pro-democracy forces are adamant they will stay until Mubarak leaves. One chant was, "We won't go until you go." 

The U.S. government never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The fastest and surest course to the "stability" that the U.S. seeks in the Middle East is political reform. But, when the opportunity arises to shuck an aging, repressive, kleptocracy in favor of a popular democracy, the worried looks and frowns come out. The backroom meetings begin. As Hilary Clinton famously said in an interview with Al Arabiya "I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family." Indeed? Well, Hilary, we know it's awfully hard to kick a friend of the family out into the cold. Maybe that's why Mubarak's own lawyer, Frank Wisner, was chosen as the U.S. envoy to "negotiate" with him. 

And so our government has continued to do what it does so well --- deal only with the people it knows best, propping them up when they stumble over their own scheming greed.

The people it knows best are the ones who created whatever problem/crisis is currently being faced. This is what brought us Goldman Sachs to manage the bailout of the financial system. It's what brought us Halliburton to manage the occupation of Iraq. And now it brings us Omar Suleiman to manage the Egyptian governance crisis. It is a sclerotic approach that has attached the US to failed regimes over and over again.

The US blessed "transition" government in Egypt is trying to find ways to transition back to autocratic rule as fast as possible. This means continued arrests of activists, continued deployment of threatening thugs, meaningless stalling negotiations with the opposition, and efforts to isolate the pro-democracy forces of civil society in Tahrir Square. It's a tactic that might work in the short run for the Mubarak kleptocrats. The disruption caused by the protests is a burden on all -- but least bearable for the middle and working class who live from paycheck to paycheck. Having had no political life for the last 30 years, Egyptians are not particularly politically sophisticated, and the state controlled media is working hard to create divisions. 

But where will that leave Egyptian society? Just as in the occupation of Iraq, the US is a pursuing a policy that is likely to result in wiping out secular civil society. The only opposition that is organized to survive an onslaught by the secret police is the Muslim Brotherhood -- the bete noire of Obama and Clinton.

Everything I saw in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Cairo during the days of protest was concentrated in a passionate desire for freedom of expression and a desire for democratic, accountable government. And almost every single person I talked to believed this was what America stood for. "We just want the same rights you have," was a frequent refrain. Almost no one was interested in a religious government. This may have been the least radical revolution we have witnessed. The protesters are simply asking for their human rights. If it doesn't succeed, it will carry a lesson for everyone in the Middle East.

The US government's willingness to back the Mubarak regime and its failure to recognize their legitimate demands has been baffling to the protesters. But the same players and the same foreign policy have kept the US standing shoulder to shoulder with oppressive regimes around the world. Just in the last twelve months -- Iraq, Honduras, Haiti -- every time the US has backed the kleptocrats against the democrats.

It's way too early to give up on the possibility the protesters will prevail. Their support is so broad-based, their demands so legitimate, and their commitment to a grassroots movement so strong that they may succeed without outside pressure in pushing Mubarak out. The Egyptian revolution may proudly be able to say that it won on its own.


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'Our only agenda is love of Egypt' — Freed activist Wael Ghonim reenergizes protesters
Feb 08, 2011 10:50 am | Seham

Wael Ghonim's emotional interview with Dream TV. Watch the entire interview at

Here is the latest on Twitter:


And more of the most recent developments:

Follow up : Police Killed General Mohamed El-Batran
Wael Abbas published recordings with prisoners from Kanatar prisonwho are speaking the inhuman treatment and the massacre they facing from January 26, 2011.  There is a very particular recording that made me stop , this recording is the testimony of some unnamed prisoner who claimed that General Mohamed El-Batran was killed by the police itself at Al-Kantar prison. According to this unnamed prisoner El-Batran was shot down along with his assistant by police snipers from the prison's tower.

Egypt Protests Leave 297 Killed: Human Rights Watch
CAIRO — At least 297 people have been killed since Egypt's anti-government uprising began two weeks ago, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch told The Associated Press on Monday. 

Official brutality, torture continue amid Egypt revolt: activists
CAIRO: Egypt's feared state security services are using torture as much as they ever did, rights activists say, with no sign that their horrifying tactics are about to change despite the regime's promise of reform.  Rights groups say that anger against routine police abuse and torture has been a driving force behind the massive popular protests in which at least 300 people have died and an unknown number were detained. 

Hosni Mubarak to leave Egypt for health check in Germany: report 
Hosni Mubarak may travel to Germany as a patient as part of a graceful exit strategy, Der Spiegel reports, a move organized by the US and Egyptian governments. 

Mubarak pushes 'transition plan'
The Egyptian government says it is moving towards a "clear map" for a power transfer, as protests against President Hosni Mubarak continue.

2009 cable tells of Mubarak resisting U.S. calls for reform
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "seeks to avoid conflict and spare his people from the violence he predicts would emerge from unleashed personal and civil liberties. In Mubarak's mind, it is far better to let a few individuals suffer than risk chaos for society as a whole." 

Omar Soliman tells Christiane Amanpour About the agenda
Omar Soliman sat with Christiane and had that very short interview which was aired on ABC. This was the second televised interview for general Soliman after being the VP. The first interview was with the Egyptian TV and surprisingly this interview is much worse than the first interview. This is his first interview in a foreign channel after being the VP.

WikiLeaks: Israel preferred Suleiman as Mubarak's successor
2008 cable quotes senior Defense Ministry official as telling US that in the event of Egyptian president's death, "There is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Suleiman."

Suleiman: The CIA's man in Cairo
Suleiman, a friend to the US and reported torturer, has long been touted as a presidential successor.

In Backing Vice President, U.S. Plays Tricky Hand in Egypt
The Obama administration's support of Vice President Omar Suleiman shows a reliance on the existing regime to make changes it has steadfastly resisted for years. 

U.S. eases off call for swift Egypt reform
The Obama administration feels the approach is needed to reassure Middle East allies of U.S. loyalty. But gradual reform isn't going to satisfy the protest movement in Cairo.  The Obama administration has reconciled itself to gradual political reform in Egypt, an approach that reflects its goal of maintaining stability in the Middle East but is at odds with demands of the protest movement in Cairo that President Hosni Mubarak relinquish power immediately.,0,7537859.story 

Egypt's ex-police chief appears before prosecutors
CAIRO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Former Egyptian Interior Minister Habib el-Adli has appeared before military prosecutors and may face charges of causing a breakdown in order, a security source said on Monday, during protests against President Hosni Mubarak.  The source said Adli, who was in court on Sunday, could be be charged with withdrawing security forces from the streets during the uprising, ordering live fire on protesters and releasing prisoners from jail. 

Egypt protests: Muslim Brotherhood's concessions prompt anger
Egypt protests have sought Mubarak's removal. The Muslim Brotherhood suddenly dropped that demand in talks Sunday, angering participants in Egypt protests and causing an apparent split in the group's ranks.

Community amid Egypt's chaos
United against their president, demonstrators in Tahrir Square have managed to bridge the country's political divides. 

Egypt's opposition grows bolder, Brotherhood may quit talks
CAIRO: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said it could pull out of talks with the government if opposition demands were not met, including the immediate exit of President Hosni Mubarak who chaired a Cabinet meeting Monday.  Protesters, barricaded in a tent camp in Tahrir Square in the heart of Cairo, have vowed to stay until Mubarak quits and hope to take their campaign to the streets with more mass demonstrations Tuesday and Friday. 

State Department confirms Egyptian military "elements" participated in crackdown
The State Department now acknowledges that "elements" of the Egyptian military have taken part in the violent crackdown on journalists and activists in Cairo over the past few days, calling into question the positive influence and neutrality of the military, which the Obama administration praised last week.  Human rights activists in Washington and Cairo reported last week uniformed Egyptian military personnel were directly involved in the arrest, detention, and interrogation of human rights activists in Egypt, including the raid on the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, which included the arrest of Human Rights Watch researcher Daniel Williams. In a gripping first-hand account on Monday, Williams explained the extensive role of Egyptian military personnel in his incarceration. 

Obama administration deals with conflicting statements on Egypt
The Obama administration's message on Egypt and the fate of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been evolving ever since protesters took to the streets of Cairo on Jan. 25, but conflicting messages from different parts of the administration are complicating the U.S. stance going forward. 

"The Empire's Bagman": Obama Egypt Envoy Frank Wisner Says Mubarak Should Stay
The official U.S. response to events unfolding in Egypt remains mixed. Over the weekend, the Obama administration distanced itself from U.S. "crisis envoy" to Egypt Frank Wisner after he issued a statement in support in support of President Hosni Mubarak. Revealing a possible conflict of interest, British journalist Robert Fisk recently reported Wisner works for the law firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises "the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government's behalf in Europe and the U.S." We are joined by Trinity College Professor Vijay Prashad, who has written about Wisner's history with the U.S. Department of State and his close relationship with Mubarak. 

The inside story on the exploding Egypt "envoy," Frank Wisner
Uber-diplomat Frank Wisner won't be making any public remarks on the crisis in Egypt anytime soon; the Obama administration has directed him to steer clear of the press following his command performance in Munich, where he went off the reservation of the Obama administration's policy and forced the administration to distance itself from him and his remarks. 

Egypt protesters tell of beatings while in custody
One lawyer says interrogators whipped him with a rubber hose and burned him with cigarettes. Former detainees say they'll continue to demonstrate. The young lawyer sat in a cafe, burn marks on his hands, purple and yellow bruises hidden under the legs of his jeans. He knows he might be followed, but he doesn't care. He says that telling his story might be the only way to protect himself.,0,4695771.story 

Exclusive: Wael Ghonim's First Interview With English Subtitles

Wael Ghonim Interview on Al Jazeera English 

Political activist Wael Ghonim is free
Wael Ghonim, a Google executive and political activist,arrested on 25 January by Egyptian authorities has been released.

Blogger's release 'reignites' Egypt
Google executive Wael Ghonim speaks after release from Egyptian custody, sparking outpouring of support from protesters.

Wael Ghonim, Google Executive, Released In Egypt
After several rumors throughout the day, Google has now confirmed that its executive Wael Ghonim was freed today by Egyptian authorities.  Ghonim himself announced the news in a tweet, stating: "Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting for it. #Jan25"  Googletweeted, "Huge relief--Wael Ghonim has been released. Our love to him and his family." 

Ayman Mohyeldin on his detention
Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Cairo who was held by the military outside Tahrir (Liberation) Square on Monday, has spoken to the network about the experience following his release. "As we have been for the past several weeks, we've been reporting daily from Liberation Square, and yesterday as I was making my way into Liberation Square I was essentially stopped by the Egyptian military," said Mohyeldin. "There was a young recruit there ... who asked me for my identification. And when I presented him with my identification, he asked me 'What you are coming to do?'." "I simply said I was a journalist, I didn't really have any major equipment on me, just a small camera and my cellphones. "Immediately it seemed like he was taken aback, suprised perhaps by my identity. At that time they didn't know who I was working for, and they didn't ask me, really. "It was just the mere fact that I was a journalist who was trying to go into Liberation Square that seemed to be enough for them to take me for further questioning." Handcuffed Mohyeldin describes how he was taken to a separate holding area, where he was handcuffed with plastic strips, had his equipment taken off him and was interrogated. At least two other journalists were already present at the holding area. Other detainees appeared to have been severely beaten, intimidated and at least one person broke down in tears under the pressure. While foreign journalists were released fairly quickly, Mohyeldin and a Reuters cameraman of Palestinian descent were held for an extended period. All of the detainees who were released were told to sign a document that said that they would not attempt to return to Tahrir Square without permission from the military. 

My 36 Hours in Egyptian Captivity
Cradling an assault rifle, the soldier in the sand-colored camouflage uniform stood on a chair, haranguing the group of men and women inside the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, a noted human rights organization in Cairo. "You want to go outside?" he asked our group. "They will kill you." 

Media Crackdown: Democracy Now!'s Sharif Abdel Kouddous Reports from Tahrir Square on the Systematic Targeting of Journalists in Egypt
Reporting on the Egyptian uprising has been not only difficult, but even dangerous for many domestic and foreign journalists. Tactics used against media workers include cutting phone lines, repeated arrests and detention, harassment, the seizure of equipment and intimidation. The first fatality of a journalist was also reported last week. Democracy Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous speaks with journalists in Cairo's Tahrir Square. He also visits a media tent set up by activists to collect reports from people on the streets. 

Egyptian Blogger Sandmonkey will Continue on Despite Brutality
To call the ongoing people's revolts in Tunisia and Egypt FaceBook revolutions is certainly overstating the case.  In both countries, the time was ripe for revolution and social upheaval. Poverty, repression and hopelessness were enforced by greedy U.S.-supported despots who were deaf to the needs of their people. But there is little doubt that the recent street-protest revolts in Tunis and Cairo were assisted by new social media: Facebookers, tweeters and a new generation of Internet bloggers. 

Protests/Protesters/Attacks Against Them & Eyewitness Accounts
Statement of the April 6 Movement Regarding the Demands of the Youth and the Refusal to Negotiate with any Side
The youth of Egypt have stood their ground and struggled against the tyrants. We have faced bullets against bare chests with great courage and patience. We salute the great Egyptian people, the creators of this revolution. For that reason, we affirm that victory is the fall of Mubarak and his regime.

Protests swell at Tahrir Square
Tens of thousands pour into central Cairo seeking President Mubarak's ouster, despite a slew of government concessions.

Egyptian Revolution - A badly Injured Egyptian Hero 

Violence in Egypt clashes
Al Jazeera has obtained footage showing violent clashes between Mubarak loyalists and pro-democracy protesters on the night between February 2 and 3. In one clip, Mubarak loyalists are seen driving into a crowd of pro-democracy protesters, who then set upon them. In another, shots are fired on protesters on a bridge. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons in Cairo has more. [Warning: the images in this footage may disturb some viewers.] 

Mass protests continue in Egypt
Pro-democracy supporters hold fresh rallies in Cairo, just hours after the release of a detained Google executive.

Freed Google exec Wael Ghonim reenergizes Egyptian protesters
Wael Ghonim, an Internet activist who helped organize the Jan. 25 protests, was held in secret detention until yesterday. Protesters hold him up as a symbol of why the regime can't be trusted.

Alexandria Protests 

The different shades of Tahrir
Even after two weeks, central Cairo's Tahrir Square remains the heartbeat of the pro-democracy movement.

Tahrir: epicentre of the revolution
In Cairo's Tahrir [Liberation] Square, there's a growing sense of camaraderie, as demonstrators continue to rally until Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak steps down. As the unrest enters its third week, protesters are forging close bonds, and exploring new ways of making their voices heard. Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Cairo.

Shocking 'Egypt images' emerge
New video footage shows violent confrontations between protesters and government supporters.

Protests Demanding Mubarak to Resign Grow Stronger, Despite Some Government Concessions
Newly appointed Egyptian vice president Omar Suleiman held talks on Sunday with opposition groups in Cairo in an attempt to stem the anti-government protests that continue across the country. Suleiman agreed to several major concessions, including ending the country's decades-old emergency laws (he did not say when), allowing a free press (even as another Al Jazeera reporter was arrested), and creating a constitutional reform committee. The top demand of demonstrators--the immediate removal of President Hosni Mubarak from power--was not addressed. Protests continue today across Egypt, and tens of thousands of demonstrators have held their ground in Tahrir Square amidst a heavy military presence. To further explain these developments, we are joined by Democracy Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Hossam Bahgat, an Egyptian human rights activist live from Cairo. [includes rush transcript–partial] 

Protests continue in Tahrir Square
Pro-democracy protesters in Cairo appear unmoved after talks between the Egyptian government and opposition groups. People are still gathering in Tahrir Square but the space they are allowed to occupy is getting smaller as authorities are trying to get life back to normal in the capital. Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reports. 

#EgyWorkers Updates
University professors will gather tomorrow, Tuesday, 12:30pm in front of their club headquarters, and will stage a march in support of the revolution, joining the protesters in Tahrir. Also, tomorrow 12 noon, journalists will gather at their syndicate, in an emergency meeting to lobby for impeaching their state-backed syndicate head, Makram Mohamed Ahmed.

Actors for the Revolution 
I spoke with actress Yosra el-Lozy, who's been attending the Tahrir protests, and she says there is roughly 265 members of the Cinema Syndicate who signed a statement denouncing the President of the Syndicate's pro-regime position, and expressing the actors' refusal for negotiations with the regime. 

Scenes from Tahrir Square: Anti-Mubarak Sign
Central Cairo has been the site of numerous protest signs, ranging from the poignant to the giggle-incuding. This one straddles a line between the two, invoking dark humor. It says, in reference to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak: "Hitler committed suicide, you can too."

Tahrir Square Wedding Cheers Protesters
It might not have been the fairytale venue of her dreams, but Ola Abdel Hamid's choice to marry Ahmed Zaafan in the heart of Cairo's Tahrir Square was nonetheless a moving moment in the massdemonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. 

Muslims return favor, join hands with Christian protesters for Mass in Cairo's Tahrir Square
On Friday, the holy day for Islam, Christian protesters in Tahrir Square joined hands to form a protective cordon around their Muslim countrymen so they could pray in safety. Sunday, the Muslims returned the favor.  They surrounded Christians celebrating Mass in Cairo's central plaza, ground zero for the secular pro-democracy protests reverberating throughout the Middle East. 

Egyptian Protesters' Makeshift Helmets (7 pics)
The brave protesters on the streets of Cairo face many challenges. Among them, flying rocks and projectiles cause many injuries. With limited resources at the scene, we take a look at how people are improvising to protect themselves. It's amazing to see what people will do when they have to adapt to survive. 

#Jan25 Facing the tanks
One of the protesters who are sleeping in front of the army tanks in Tahrir Square. Yesterday, the army tried moving in to restrict the protest space in the square. The revolutionaries moved quickly, took out the barbed wire installed by the army, forming human chain on the ground. 

Egypt's protesters settle in for long haul
Demonstrators continue to demand Mubarak's resignation, as people attempt to resume lives.  CAIRO: Cairo protesters dug in for a long fight Monday, pressing their demand for an overhaul of the political system and the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak as many Egyptians tried to resume their normal lives.  Up to 2,000 people bedded down overnight under blankets and tents made from plastic sheeting in Tahrir Square. Some slept while others camped out on woolen blankets as national and revolutionary songs blared out from loudspeakers. 

Egyptians abroad come home for 'revolution'
CAIRO: For many Egyptians abroad, watching raging anti-regime protests on television was not enough. They made excuses at work, convinced their families and booked flights home to join the "revolution."  For some the decision was easy. They were seeing a lifelong dream unfold in their homeland, and they knew they had to get there to take part. For others, it was more difficult. They struggled to work out whether their presence would be useful and how they could leave behind jobs and family. 

Scenes from Tahrir Square: Rock Concert
On the night of Tuesday, February 8, Tahrir Square took on a festival atmosphere, with a man playing an acoustic guitar to a crowd of hundreds. 

Scenes from Tahrir Square: Tent Village
In the six days since anti-government demonstrators defended central Cairo in vicious street battles, the occupied square has turned into a warden of semi-permanent housing.

Scenes from Tahrir Square: The Welcome
In recent days, the civilian blockades that check for identification cards and screen for weapons at the entryways to the square have been augmented by a celebratory greeting crew that welcomes visitors with chants of "Here, here, here! The Egyptians are here!" 

#Jan25 'We are not afraid anymore' 

#Jan25 Singing for the Revolution 

#Jan25 Protesters in Mahalla set police cars on fire 

Anti-Mubarak protester in Tahrir Square… 

#Jan25 Egypt's Friday of Rage 

2/7/11 Tahrir Square and videos from the revolution 

Call to Action
Send This To the General Prosecutor ASAP
If you are Egyptian or live in Egypt then please use this form and send it to the general prosecutor ASAP through Fax , we are asking the general prosecutor to open an investigation about minister of information Anas El-Fiky. Anas El-Fiky is accused of spreading hate and lies in the society , yes we are accusing him of hate crime. His official media whether in TV or radio or newspaper accused us and the El-Tahrir protesters of being traitors working for Iran and Israel and even Mars for $ 50 and KFC meal !!

Dear Lebanese brothers and sisters
We need mass protests in Lebanon in solidarity with the Egyptian revolution. We need the Lebanese trade unions to issue statements on our behalf. We need Lebanese student unions to lobby the Egyptian embassy continuously… Our revolution will change this region, and turn it upside down. If we succeed, not only we will liberating Egypt, but we will be striking the biggest blow to US imperialism and Zionism in the region… Solidarity…

World Solidarity 
Video of the Sayyed Speaking, most poignant part towards the end when he says:"Yash'hadullah (As God is my witness) that with great longing and desire that I wish I could join you and I would offer my blood and my soul like all these young men who offered their lives for this noble cause"

Hezbollah backs Egypt protests
Leader Nasrallah says protesters are fighting for 'Arab dignity' and slams US for supporting region's 'dictatorships'.

Sayyed Nasrallah to Egyptians: Your Victory Will Change Face of Region
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah announced on Monday support to the Egyptian and Tunisian people in the light of their revolutions against their regimes. His eminence stressed that what we're witnessing today is a real and patriotic revolution in Egypt.  Sayyed Nasrallah expressed belief that the victory of the Egyptian people in its revolution will change the whole face of the region. "On behalf of Hezbollah and all resistance parties, we place our capabilities at your service," his eminence declared during the speech. 

Lebanese National Forces Back Egyptian Revolution
In support of Egypt's Arab identity and in support of the Egyptian people's revolution against the Camp David regime, the Lebanese national forces and parties held on Monday a ceremony at Ghobeiry square, Beirut, in which different speeches were delivered. 

Nabi Saleh marches with the people of Egypt
Despite pounding rain and aggressive repression tactics employed by the army, the village of Nabi Saleh marched Friday in solidarity with the people of Egypt. The demonstration was also in honor of 14 year Nabi Saleh resident Islam Tamimi, who was arrested in a night raid in the village almost three weeks ago and remains in jail.

Protests in Geneva

Stand with Egypt Protest in San Francisco

#Jan25 Egypt - Rap of the revolution
Most of the world's past conflicts have inspired protest songs to reflect the spirit of resistance. Now Egypt has its own. Inspired by the resilience of the demonstraters, several notable musicians from North America have teamed up to release a rap song. Omar Offendum, a Syrian-American rapper, was interviewed at Al Jazeera's Doha studio.

The #Jan25 Anthem has Arrived
Check out this track and video. #Jan25 -Amir Sulaiman, Ayah, Freeway,The Narcicyst, Omar Offendum (Produced by Sami Matar) This is what inspired music sounds like... real protest, activist, liberation hip-hop. It is for the protesters who brought forth their fury and energy for a better future in Egypt. 

Ramy Essam, "The Sound of the Revolution" (Music Video)
Ramy Essam is a singer and composer from Mansoura, Egypt. This song, composed of slogans of the Egyptian Revolution, was performed at Tahrir Square in Egypt on the "Day of Departure" (4 February 2011).

Friends of the Dictator
Netanyahu: Egypt could follow Iran
Bibi says Egypt may turn into new Iran, radicalize in wake of political upheaval; PM tells European parliamentarians they too are threatened by Tehran's missiles, says West has trouble recognizing fanaticism hiding behind suit and tie.,7340,L-4025339,00.html 

Egypt could crush uprising 'like Iran': Netanyahu
JERUSALEM — Egypt could ruthlessly suppress the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak like Iran crushed mass protests after a disputed June 2009 election, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned.  "There could be liberal and democratic reforms in Egypt. The second possibility is that Islamists take advantage of the turmoil to seize control of the country," he said in an address to parliament on Monday evening.  The third possibility, he told more than 400 visiting European MPs from some 30 countries, is that "Egypt follows Iran's example".  Netanyahu said Tehran simply quashed the mass protests after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election that opponents said was rigged. "There were no talks, the people were simply killed on the streets."  The Israeli premier stressed that Israel's interest was to "preserve the peace that has existed for three decades... and brought stability in the region."  Egypt has since January 25 seen the biggest challenge to Mubarak's 30-year rule with tens of thousands taking to the streets to demand his ouster. 

As'as Abukhalil's Commentary
`Umar Sulayman...
In English Watch.  But his Hebrew is probably better.

The Intelligence of Egyptian protesters
The beauty of Egyptian protests is that they went to the head of the regime, head on.  In Jordan, the opposition cowardly express its anger at the prime minister, as if he is the head of the regime.  But then again: the opposition in Jordan, in its secular and fudamentalist versions, have been the most lame and most monarchist of any opposition I know--save of the Moroccan Communist Party under `Ali Ya`tah. 

Breakdown of protesters
Most agree on this rough breakdown: 15% Muslim brotherhood, 5% various Arab nationalist and progressive parties, and 80% who belong to no parties at all.

Marwan Mu`ashshir
I find this galling.  US and Saudi media are interviewing Marwan Mu`ashshir on developments in Egypt as if he is some democracy champion.  I mean, the man was a minister in the regime of King Abdullah of Jordan, and was known for being the most hardline against reform and in favor of closer relations with Israel.  Wait, wait. I get it now.  Those who advocate for closer ties with Israel, are democrat by US standards.  Just like Sadat was a cute dictator, for the West. 

NYT: poor Mubarak
Mr. Mubarak, 82, has survived three wars, an Islamic uprising and multiple assassination attempts. Two years ago, an aneurism caused the sudden death of his 12-year-old grandson, Muhammad, a deep personal blow".  We are supposed to feel sorry for him? In one week, he managed to kill more than 300 and injured more than 2000 Egyptians.  This story is like those biographies of Hitler which talk about his kindness to Goebbels' children. 

Of course, Wisner speaks for Obama
"That tension was laid bare in Munich when Mr. Wisner, whom the White House sent last week to ask Mr. Mubarak to announce he would not run for another term, told a high-level security conference that "President Mubarak's role remains extremely critical in the days ahead." While Mrs. Clinton said that Mr. Wisner "does not speak for the administration or the government," she did not contradict much of his message." 

Anis Mansur: and Saudi propaganda

This guy was a chief propagandist for Sadat: he later invented a career of himself as a dissident in Nasser's time, when in reality he had written in his praise, just as he praises Mubarak.  He does not travel much nowadays due to age, but did travel to attend the wedding of prince `Azzuz.  He writes for Al-Ahram and for the mouthpiece of Prince Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. He is regarded as knowledgeable and intellectual, but he often makes things up about philosophers and historical figures. Look what he says about Lenin, here: he claims that Lenin was always cheating on his wife, and that when she would complain, he would threaten her with a gun.  As you know, there is absolutely no basis of this whatsoever, and the person--her--who fabricated the story clearly has not read about Lenin.  If anything, Lenin (who I don't like now, but I used to like in my communist youth) stopped talking to Stalin when the latter once called his wife and fought with her and called her a "syphilitic whore."  The guy just made up a story, just to entertain his Saudi benefactors with anecdotes about communist figures, as if communism remains a threat to House of Saud.  Tell him to regale us with stories and anecdotes about the married and unmarried lives of Saudi princes and kings.

Hillary Explains why the US does not support democracy in Egypt
"she emphasized the dangers of rushing headlong into a vote without rewriting the Constitution, engaging opposition groups or mastering the mechanics of elections, like how to compile voter rolls." 

Nasrallah on Al-Arabiyyah TV
Hasan Nasrallah has just given a speech in support of Egyptian protesters.  Not much in the speech: he on the hand wanted to express support for the protesters, but on the other hand did not want to seem to be lending help to the regime's propaganda about outside interferences (the regime blames a conspiracy hatched between US, Mossad, Hamas, Iran, and Hizbullah for its troubles).  But what surprised me is that Al-Arabiyyah TV (the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law which really lived up to its brand name of pure propaganda during these days by delivering non-stop propaganda for Mubarak's regime) is that the station decided to carry Nasrallah's remarks live: only to provide ammunition to regime propaganda. 

The White Man can measure the Intellectual vibrancy of the natives
As is known, the White Man has a device toe measure the "intellectual vibrancy" of the natives, and can measure the level of intelligence of the natives:  "Today's Arab societies — less intellectually vibrant than Iran..."  This dude, a loyal student of Bernard Lewis, follows the inclinations of the latter who always in his history books make a point to refer to the racial/ethnic backgrounds of great thinkers and philosophers in Islamic history and state that they are of non-Arab origin (of course, the great Philosopher, Al-Kindi was 100 per cent Arab). 

Monstrous dictatorship
"Historically, what Washington always really feared is Arab nationalism, not crackpot self-made jihadis. Arab nationalism is intrinsically, viscerally, opposed to the 1979 Camp David peace accords, which have neutralized Egypt and left Israel with a free iron hand to proceed with its slow strangulation of Palestine; for As'ad Abu Khalil of the Angry Arab website, every Middle East expert who worked on the accords "helped construct a monstrous dictatorship in Egypt"." 

Frank Wisner
"We work in tandem with Israeli law firms to help serve clients and gain a more "local" understanding of what they consider their greatest needs. The firm has a close working relationship with Dov Weissglas, the past chief of Staff to former Prime Minister Sharon, who advises us in dealings with a number of our Israeli clients."

When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie That's amore
"Several cables describe a "warm relationship" between Mr. Mubarak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel." 

The Israeli government is officially freaking out
"The Israeli government is freaking out," said Dr Shmuel Bachar, at the Israel Institute for Policy and Strategy. "For the past 30 years we have depended on Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. Now, suddenly, we have rediscovered the existence of something called an Egyptian public, the existence of which we've vigorously tried to ignore."

"Wise Men" Committee in Egypt
There are some good people in that "Wise Men" committee although there are some regime types there too (NYTimes said that the committee has Western support which troubles many).  So an Egyptian comrade who is a leading activist in the protest was offered to join the "Wise Men" committee but he tells me that he scoffed at the idea and refused. 

Man of Israel
"Saudi political writer and analyst Turki al-Hamad slammed embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as an agent of Israel and the United States, rejecting as groundless the claims that a foreign conspiracy was behind the popular uprising in the country." 

Inside Story - Corruption in Egypt
Many Egyptians feel the only ones benefitting from the country's wealth are businessmen with ties to the ruling National Democratic Party. How did Egypt become so corrupt? And what can a new government really do about it?

This is Egypt's revolution, not ours | Mohammad Mursi
All we in the Muslim Brotherhood want is for President Mubarak to go and real democracy to prevail.  As the past fortnight has underlined, Egypt occupies a leading role in one of the most vital and volatile regions in the world. However, this great country has been ruled by an autocratic regime for more than 30 years, and left riddled with corruption, poverty, inequality and insecurity. With millions condemned to live in squalor, astronomical unemployment rates, political suppression and absence of basic freedoms, the Egyptian people have been seething with anger, frustration and discontent for years. Thousands of political dissidents have been dragged before military courts and sentenced to years in prison despite civil courts ordering their release. Elections were rigged on an unimaginable scale – forcing Egyptians, and especially the young, into a state of utter desperation.

Smell of freedom is sweet in this small Egyptian town
CAIRO (IPS) - Imam Mohammed al-Saba of the Eisa mosque here in the center of the rural town Kirdasa takes the pulpit to tell his congregation he can smell "the air of freedom for the first time in thirty years." 

Time for Democracy in Egypt, Ralph Nader
Those politically savvy people who thought strongman, Hosni Mubarak would be out before the end of the first week of the Egyptian uprising better rethink the odds. For thirty years Mubarak has developed what can be called a deeply rooted dictatorial regime with regular White House access and annual largesse of some $1.3 billion in military equipment and payroll.  A former military man, he has been very alert to what is needed to maintain the loyalties of the police, the intelligence security forces and the army. If he goes, tens of thousands of those on his payroll could lose their patronage and be on the outs if his government is really replaced. 

US officials flock to appear on Al Jazeera
What a difference a revolution can make.  Members of the Obama administration are flocking to appear on Al Jazeera, one of the most influential media sources in the Arab world.  US officials are desperate to have their spin of events in the Middle East included as millions tune in to the network's coverage of the uprising in Egypt. 

Making History in Tahrir
Watching Egyptians protest today is a sight I never thought I'd witness. Having studied urban protest in Egypt and Syria in the late Middle Ages, like other Arabs of my generation I had been beguiled by our political quietness, our seemingly unending, bottomless stoicism. I chose to work on premodern protest to say something about the present and argue for something in the future. The late middle ages offered a case of medieval Islamic regimes centered in Egypt and including Syria, before the arrival of European imperialism – and before "modernity."

Window of democracy has likely already shut (and Hillary knocks at Suleiman's door), Philip Weiss
It helps to know something about Egypt if you're writing about it. (I guess). Here's a really smart piece by Joshua Stacher of Kent State at Foreign Affairs saying that the "democratic window has probably already closed," that the regime has never broken down, its central institution, the military, remaining as powerful as ever. And now the gov't is successfully playing the young demonstrators off against the ordinary citizens' desire for normal times. 

American revolution, Philip Weiss
I insist that the Egyptian revolution is having a huge effect on our discourse. Two indications that I am right: --On Saturday, Hillary Mann Leverett was on MSNBC. Alex Witt asked her about the Muslim Brotherhood, and Leverett said they were a legitimate part of the Egyptian polity and were opposed to the inhumane blockade of Gaza. Or words to that effect. She went on for a bit about Gaza. It was a huge moment for the mainstream media, not to hear the usual b.s. about Hamas and weapons.

Washington and Arab Revolts: Sacrificing Dictators to Save the State, James Petras
To understand the Obama regime's policy toward Egypt, the Mubarak dictatorship and the popular uprising it is essential to locate it in an historical context. The essential point is that Washington, after several decades of being deeply embedded in the state structures of the Arab dictatorships, from Tunisia through Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority, is attempting to re-orient its policies to incorporate and/or graft liberal-electoral politicians onto the existing power configurations. 

Events in Egypt show U.S. understanding of Middle East is almost zero
The U.S. has shown that it does not understand and comprehend the pulse of the street in the Arab world despite its multifarious intelligence agencies. It has drastically failed to weigh the influence governments, oppositions and Arab populations exercise in the Arab world.   It seems the U.S. relies heavily on unilateral sources which are very close to the circles of power in the Middle East and lacks the ability to interpret and decipher the situation and its likely course in the future.   In thousands of documents WikiLeaks has released of secret correspondence regarding the Middle East, there has been no hint that the days of U.S. allies in the region were close.\2011-02-06\kurd.htm 

Foreseeing Egypt's Unrest, Juan Cole
I noticed a lot of television commentators wondering why no one predicted the unrest in Egypt. I'd just like to draw attention to the number 1 item in my New Year's list of 2011 challenges for US foreign policy. While it is not exactly a prediction of what we are seeing today on our television sets, it lays out the outlines of the challenge as we are now experiencing it and suggests that corporate media is just listening to the wrong inside-the-beltway pundits if they weren't hearing about these potentialities in the Egyptian scene before January 25.

Mubarak's Last Act, Mohammad Salama
As a native Egyptian who left seeking opportunities for a better, more humane life unavailable under Mubarak's rule, I see the events currently unfolding in Egypt as both surreal and inevitable.  It all began in 1975, when Anwar El Sadat chose an inconspicuous military hero to be his vice president. The choice was surprising because at that time, young Muhammad Hosni Mubarak was a leading air force officer, but by no means Mohamed Al-Gamasy, the outstanding leader of the 1973 Egyptian victory. Sadat's choice was precipitated by his fear that influential army personnel would collude to take down his regime after his peace talks with Israel began. Sadat's best option was an unassuming, loyal young man to whom the choice was also a surprise. In 1979, Sadat signed a peace agreement with Israel under the auspices of the United States, shocking many Egyptians and Arabs since it was unbecoming for an Arab president to visit the Knesset or shake hands with an Israeli leader. Before long, the cultural milieu in Egypt and the Arab world mobilized against Sadat, and two years later, Sadat, fully attired in his military regalia, on Oct. 6, 1981 – the anniversary of the October victory – was shot down. Mubarak, who was at Sadat's side, escaped with just a sling on his injured arm.

"You'll Be Late for the Revolution!" An Anthropologist's Diary of the Egyptian Revolution
This is the diary of one week (much too short although it felt so long) that I spent in Egypt in the middle of the popular revolution that began on 25 January 2011 and that at the time of writing this is still continuing - to an uncertain direction. Ever since the demonstrators filled the streets on 25 January I felt that I should really be in Egypt, a country where I have many friends and to which I feel very bound through more than twelve years during which I have been studying, doing research, and living with the people of Egypt. On 28 January, as millions went out all over the country, I booked my ticket to Cairo for a short visit, with the aim of making myself an idea of the atmosphere, of the sensibility of life of an uprising that had completely taken me by surprise. As an anthropologist, my work in the last years has focussed on the aspirations people have, the frustrations they experience, and the ways they try to find to live a life of dignity under constantly frustrating conditions. But I had not taken seriously the possibility that there would emerge a sudden collective consciousness that it is actually possible to change these conditions. Just days before 25 January, a friend asked whether there could be a revolution in Egypt like there was in Tunisia, and I said no, I don't think so, because it seems so difficult to mobilise the people in Egypt, and for decades people have expected a revolution to break out in Egypt, but it hasn't. Well, now it has, and much of what I thought I knew about Egyptian society has to be revised

The Muslim Brotherhood and Democracy in Egypt, JOHN L. ESPOSITO
We are witnessing an extraordinary and potentially historic transformation in Egypt and the Arab world.  Sparked by the Tunisian pro-democracy movement and toppling of the Ben Ali regime, the rulers of Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Syria are facing popular demands for reform. As the Gallup World Poll, the largest and most systematic poll of the Muslim world representing the voices of a billion Muslims, reported, majorities in most countries, including Egypt, want democratic freedoms. 

Kissinger on Egypt, BARRY LANDO
Always comforting to have Henry Kissinger around to advise the current U.S. administration what to do. His latest advice to Obama re Egypt: slow down, take things easier, don't rush Egypt's sensitive leaders. "We should be looking at a democratic evolution," said Kissinger. But he warned the U.S. should cultivate key democratic reformists and military leaders in a low-key fashion during the process. "It should not look like an American project. The Egyptians are a proud people. They threw out the British and they threw out the Russians." 

Jamie Stern-Weiner, "Counter-Revolution Field Manual"
In backing Suleiman's bid for control the U.S. and Britain are directly opposing the demands of the protestors lauded by Cameron. Indeed, as Rami Khouri reports, they are "frantically groping for ways to transfer power from one old military officer to a group of equally old colleagues". This is not to say that American officials are of one mind. There is a spectrum of views: from those, like US special envoy Frank Wisner, who demand "continued leadership" by Mubarak, to those, like Hillary Clinton, who are calling for Mubarak to go so that the regime can survive. Initially the former view was dominant. But as the revolt spread and it became clear that Mubarak's continued rule was untenable, the U.S. and the Egyptian regime shifted to Plan B: "to ride out the uprising with their basic authoritarian prerogatives intact". . . . If we set this dogma aside and examine the facts, it emerges that the American counter-revolutionary intervention in Egypt, as described above, has followed a "standard pattern": support for an allied dictatorship until the allegiance becomes untenable, at which point it is dropped and the U.S. tries to determine or co-opt its replacement.

Mubarak's Thirty-Year Dictatorship, Stephen Lendman
Throughout decades of brutal rule, Mubarak remained a steadfast US ally. As a result, Washington rewarded him generously. US administrations also ignored his crimes, corruption, and lawlessness, as late January released WikiLeaks cables reveal, showing Obama knew he kept power through ruthless state terror.

Tunisia and Egypt Ripples Felt Throughout Arab World
Palestinian Streets Quiet as PA Suppresses Protests, Mel Frykberg
RAMALLAH, Feb 7, 2011 (IPS) - The Palestinian Authority (PA) is using brute force and intimidation tactics - similar to those deployed in Cairo - to suppress pro-Egyptian and Tunisian protests in the West Bank.

Domino Effect: JORDAN: Tribesmen slam Queen Rania, warn of revolt
Three dozen members of powerful Jordanian tribes have lashed out at the country's glamorous Queen Rania and denounced what they called a "crisis of authority," calling for political change and justice against those involved in corruption in the Arab kingdom.  in a joint statement issued over the weekend, the 36 tribal figures also issued a stern warning: If political reform isn't implemented soon, Jordan is likely to face a popular uprising similar to those in Egypt and Tunisia. 

Saudi reformers start Facebook group
DUBAI – Like their Arab neighbours using the web to rally against their regimes, Saudis seeking political, social and economic reforms have created a group on Facebook that by Tuesday had nearly 2,000 members.  "The people want to reform the regime" group calls for a constitutional monarchy, transparency, legislative elections, an independent and fair judicial system, anti-corruption measures and respect for human and women rights.

Riz Khan - Winds of change in the Arab world
Inspired by protests in Egypt and Tunisia, rumblings of discontent are growing across the region. Could the pro-democracy protests in Egypt generate an unstoppable momentum for political reform across the Arab world?


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'NYT' says two-state solution should be saved by building 25-mile tunnel so that Israelis don't have to see Palestinians traveling to Gaza
Feb 08, 2011 10:35 am | Philip Weiss

The New York Times Magazine has afforded Bernard Avishai a number of pages in its forthcoming issue to try and resuscitate two-state solution ideas of three years ago ("A Plan for Peace That Could Still Be"). It includes this throwaway line:

[Then-Israeli PM Ehud] Olmert produced a map of 6.3 percent [of the West Bank colonized by Israel], suggesting that for the percentage of Palestine Israel would annex, it would compensate Palestine with 5.8 percent, plus a 25-mile tunnel that would run under Israel from the South Hebron Hills to Gaza.

My mind reeled when I read this. Can a person really offer such an idea in good conscience as a concession to the Palestinians? I'm not phobic, but the idea of traveling 25 miles under the desert to see my grandmother-- wow! And let us be clear, this is all a form of gerrymandering; so that privileged people get to hold on to their Jewish democracy while the fragmented parts of Palestine are somehow unified.

Notice that the tunnel is put forward as a form of "compensation" for the land Israel is stealing from the Palestinians. Would you take a basement as compensation for a mansion? Now and then I drive the Holland Tunnel. I look forward to it ending, after 3 miles or so.

According to Google, a couple of tunnels in the world are longer than the proposed Gaza tunnel. They cost huge amounts of money and lives. And those tunnels at least have an excuse; they're going under seas and mountains. The longest one took 60 years to build. The New York Times tunnel would be a huge expenditure of civil engineering, and a massive contribution to global warming, too, and huge waste of water too, think of all the concrete involved-- to escape what?

For segregation purposes, so that Israelis don't even see the Palestinian cars. How sad that the Times puts this forward as an ameliorative proposal for a people denied rights for 44 years.


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The Meaning of Budrus
Feb 08, 2011 10:29 am | Ramona

Budrus is a documentary about a West Bank village in which villagers succeeded in saving their land from Israeli annexation through non-violent demonstrations. The film serves as an excellent example of what effective Palestinian popular struggle should look like: inclusive of all groups including women and all political parties.

In 2004, the villagers of Budrus resisted for 10 months non-violently against the building of the Israeli annexation wall on their lands. At their peak, the demonstrations had 500 out of 1,200 villagers in attendance. In the end, the villagers successfully managed to get the wall rerouted, and saving 95% of their territory.

I recently saw the film at a live screening in the West Bank. Following the film, there was a question and answer session between the audience and Ayed Morrar, the protagonist and lead Budrus organizer. I asked a question that has been with me at all the protests I have attended in the past five months while in Palestine: why do certain villages employing non-violent strategies succeed while others fail? In this case, I asked Morrar why he thought that Budrus was able to reach its ultimate goal of re-routing the wall, while the other villages engaged in non-violent struggle have not been able to do the same.

Morrar pointed to a few reasons, namely women's prominent role in the village's demonstrations, as well as the ability of villagers to work together across party lines.

Morrar's 15 year old daughter Iltezam, encapsulates the strength and determination of the village's women. She was the first villager to succeed in getting past the Israeli border police and stopping a bulldozer from razing agricultural land by courageously jumping in front of it. This act was able to inspire the rest of the village and was important in motivating others to join the struggle.

Iltezam was responsible for organizing the women's contingent and rallying other women to join the protests. Many women participated in the demonstrations in various ways; they threw stones at military jeeps, and stood alongside Palestinian men confronting soldiers.

Women's presence reduced the amount of violence used by the military. Since women had not been involved since the beginning, their sudden appearance put soldiers in an unusual and awkward situation, which made them think twice about using force on the demonstrators. Soldiers were surprised and unprepared, and did not know how to deal with them. Their presence psychologically manipulated soldier's power and might have been one of the factors that led to the eventual success of the demonstration.

Morrar's observation rings true with my thoughts regarding other protests I have attended while in the West Bank, including Bil'in, Al Masara, Silwan (East Jerusalem), Nabi Saleh, and Beit Ommar. Only a couple of Palestinian women have been present at the demonstrations, usually one or two among fifty or more protesters. The only visible Palestinian women have been village bystanders watching as the action unfolds.

The lack of participation by half of the village's female population diminishes the power and effectiveness of such an action. If women are not getting involved or are not encouraged to do so, it is much harder to amass a large pool of people, and confront the Israeli oppressor with enough force.

Additionally, women's participation lessens or at least delays the use of violence by the military. Their presence plays with soldiers' notions about who they are permitted to be rough and violent with. If other Palestinian villages exploited this reluctance and weakness on the part of the military, perhaps less force would be used, and more leeway would be given to demonstrators.

Morrar's other point was that Budrus was able to unite across political lines, and form a broad based political movement. The film features Ahmed Awwad, a local Hamas leader who plays a major role in rallying Hamas villagers for the demonstration. This made it possible for villagers from Hamas, and Fatah to work together.

This unity is something that might be lacking at the other villages engaging in demonstrations. I often see a sea of Fatah flags, and some demonstrations have even felt like Fatah rallies. Rarely do I notice Hamas and PFLP flags represented. Could it be that other villages are not able to bridge the party divide?

It's significant to keep in mind that Budrus' success came way before Hamas won the election in Gaza in January 2006. Since then, tensions have dramatically risen between not only Israel and Hamas, but also the PA and Hamas. The PA has also become tremendously repressive towards non-Fatah party members. This means that the political landscape has become enormously fragmented and polarized, making it harder for different political parties to work together.

This has many implications for the unity of Palestinian society, especially in times of crisis. If Palestinians are so polarized, and fear dissent, how can they work in harmony when confronting the biggest enemy of all, Israel?

When analyzing the success and failures of social movements one has to look at both internal and external factors, and in this case I have only tackled some of the internal movement dynamics.

External factors also play a huge role in determining success, namely the strength and determination of an occupying power willing to do whatever it takes to crush opposition. It would therefore be too simplistic to assume that the lack of women's role and unity are the only factors affecting the success of demonstrations, as these are only internal factors.

This is a complicated matter, and there are many other variables that should be taken into consideration. Some of these include: the nature of the demands, the strategic significance of the village's location for Israel, timing (maybe more were involved when the demonstrations first started), escalation of Israeli violence and repression against demonstrators, etc.

Amidst these countless complexities, there are key lessons that one can obtain from the film. One is that popular resistance must include a wide array of village residents if it is to be effective. Half of the village's female population cannot be excluded, nor can party affiliation impede unity. These obstacles are hard to overcome, especially with a new political landscape. However, new strategies should be devised in order to truly create a broad based grassroots movement against the occupation. 

Ramona is an activist currently living in the West Bank.


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Anderson Cooper knows what to do next– it's time to hear the stories of our heroes
Feb 08, 2011 09:37 am | Philip Weiss

I crashed last night on Egypt. The sense that a deal is in the works that will sell out the young people in Tahrir Square, the sense that the U.S. and the authoritarian Egyptian regime are still working hand in glove, the inevitability of the Israel lobby as a factor. At dinner, my wife said to me, It's going to take a long way to work its way out. Great things are happening. Then I thought about when the paper, The Israel Lobby, came out in the LRB five years ago and I ran around the house with my six-guns going and shouting, It's high noon! High noon for the Israel lobby! Well, these things take a while. People in Washington had to read it in brown paper bags.  

After dinner I watched a lot of TV and took heart. Mona Eltahawy is always exciting.

She sees it as her job to rally the west, not to let our spirits flag. Not to be at all pessimistic. She spoke with joy of the Wael Ghonim story-- the google executive who was just released by Egyptian authorities after 12 days in jail. It is a beautiful story. This young man came back to Egypt from a fancy job in Dubai to liberate his country, he is as indifferent to the blandishments of corporate/elite life as the well-educated hijackers were ten years ago, but for completely different reasons. And on seeing the photos of the dead after 12 blindfolded days behind the bars, Ghonim sobbed and apologized to their parents before excoriating the regime. What a human being!! What a spirit! I want to learn everything about this man.

Then later on Anderson Cooper's show on CNN, he spotlighted Khalid Abdallah, a British-Egyptian actor who has chosen to be in Egypt for the same reason, to fight for his society, for social justice, freedom of expression, the right of assembly... He is optimistic. He spoke by Skype from a high-ceilinged room in Cairo, and I recognized the space. An old house. An open window on the streets and rooftops and cats of gracious old Cairo.

You can see that Cooper is radicalized by his experience in Egypt. He talked about the gov't "lies" repeatedly last night and raced ahead of Abdallah to lay out the cruelness of the regime. He identifies fully with the youth of Tahrir Square, feels loyalty to their cause. I sense that this is not some one-off for young Cooper, that he is with us. He knows that America must change for Egypt to change; and that it is vital to show Americans the people who so affected him in Cairo, the Khalid Abdallahs who can reverse our stupid racist images of the Arab world.

We need heroes to keep this revolution alive. Let journalists find the charismatic leaders and tell their thrilling stories. We have time now, let us dig deep to learn their stories. The New Yorker must do a big piece telling us how the revolution came about, 60 Minutes must also do the story, and we will meet these people and hear what they care about. Facebook is one thing, now let us put a face on the revolution.

[Update: Please go watch Wael Ghonim's interview at the top of this page. Staggering intellectual and moral leadership. Our only agenda was the love of Egypt. Now is not the time to impose ideologies...]


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