Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Al-Jazeera is reporting on massive protests in Egypt's major cities, calling for reforms and demanding the ouster of octogenarian President Hosni Mubarak and the ruling National Democratic Party.
Downtown Cairo was brought to a standstill with protesters chanting slogans against the police, the interior minister and the government, and further demonstrations were reported in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, the Nile Delta cities of Mansura and Tanta and in the southern cities of Aswan and Assiutin.
Egyptian riot police responded with water cannons, riot batons and tear gas and numerous arrests were reported. Official sources say that there were 30 arrests in Cairo alone, but my sources indicate that there were a lot more. Habib el-Adli, the interior minister, has issued orders to "arrest any persons expressing their views illegally".
Interested parties can follow developments on twitter: http://twitter.com/draddee#
Here's the back story.
Hosni Mubarak has been ruling Egypt since the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Anwar Sadat for making peace with Israel.Egypt is a US client state with very little oil wealth, a large and increasingly poverty stricken population - it's the most populous country in the Middle East, has an official unemployment rate of 10% and rising and a per capita household income of $5400.
The chief political opposition comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas.
Mubarak has been attempting to ensure the succession of his son Gawan to leadership,but its an open question whether he'll succeed. Egypt's last parliamentary elections were held at the insistence of George W. Bush at the height of his Arab Democracy fetish,but unlike the 'Palestinians' Mubarak was savvy enough not to go along with the program and game the results before things got out of hand.
If Egypt falls to a popular revolt,(and as in most Arab countries, it all depends on which way the army jumps) expect the following:
1)the Muslim Brotherhood will co-opt it and turn Egypt into an Islamic Republic along the lines of Iran or Gaza.
2)The new regime will be hostile to the US and it's armistice with Israel will be a thing of the past.
3)Jordan's King Abdullah may very well be the next to go, as Jordan becomes what it was supposed to be back when the Brits first created it in 1923 - the Arab Palestinian state, but under Muslim Brotherhood elements rather than the old Fatah mafiosos.