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Obama's behind-the-scenes efforts in Egypt

Mark Mardell | 18:31 UK time, Monday, 31 January 2011

Protesters at evening prayer near tanks in Egypt

 

US President Barack Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs continues to dodge the question “should Mubarak go?”

He says that is “not for me, not for our country or our government to determine”.

He also says “the way Egypt looks and operates must change”. He even has a shopping list of what “must happen".

Negotiations with the political opposition. Free and fair elections. More freedoms. More openness. Changes in the constitution. But he was not going to talk about the central demand of the demonstrators.

Nevertheless, the buzz in Washington is that the Obama administration is working behind the scenes to ensure Mr Mubarak goes and the army takes charge until there can be new elections. One source thinks it has got down to the detail of where Mr Mubarak goes, how much money he takes with him and whether he is immune from prosecution.

This may all be diplomatic gossip and wishful think tanking but it is a near unanimous view.

An insider tells me that the administration can’t pull the plug because of the alarm that would cause to all the other authoritarian allies in the region but  “I don’t think anybody thinks he can stay: the conversations have changed and all the talk is about an ordered transition.”

He adds that the regime is listening but hasn’t got the message. “Mubarak seems to be out of touch, acting as if it is all a Muslim Brotherhood plot. He’s 82, Vice-President Omar Suleiman is 74, the chief of staff is 75, this really is the old guard in a country where the population is very young.” 

The relationship between the United States and the Egyptian army is strong and could be critical. One well-placed source has told the BBC that lines are buzzing between Washington and Cairo, with talk of the new vice-president and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman organising the transition. "$1.7bn in aid buys you the capacity to have that conversation," says the source.

In fact all but a measly $400m of that aid goes to the Egyptian military. There are other ties that bind. Every year for the past 30 years, the Egyptian and US armies have held joint manoeuvres, Operation Bright Star , which have grown in importance and most recently also included Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Greece, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, France and Pakistan.

Just in the past month, one American company has won a $20m contract to provide Egypt with "ground surveillance hardware", another a $7m deal to provide the Egyptian engineering corps with vehicles. Omar Suleiman has long been the main contact for the CIA in the Middle East, its favourite anti-Jihadist guru. A few days ago, the Egyptian chief of staff was an honoured guest at the Pentagon. I would love to have been a fly on the wall.

Shortly after President Barack Obama called for the repression and violence to stop, the Egyptian army appeared on the streets. The police disappeared. The repression and violence stopped. Is this causality or coincidence ?

A former senior US state department Egypt expert, Graeme Bannerman, who has subsequently worked as a consultant for the Egyptian government and is now with the Middle East Institute, is not sure it works like that. He told me that the Egyptian army thinks the police are badly trained and brutal, and that the army has "sympathy for the protesters, they don't want chaos, but see themselves as protectors of the Egyptian people and will do whatever they believe is best for their country".

He thinks that American influence is more subtle than hasty conversations, and is more about 30 years of training the officers of a professional army that has a sense of responsibility and a distaste for the idea of firing on its own population. He agrees that Mr Mubarak's fate has been decided, but those who remain don't want it to seem they have been pushed around by the demonstrators so the "million man march" expected on Tuesday will be critical.

"For the last three days, things have been moving in the right direction, but tomorrow is scary. The progress can be upset if there is violence. If things get out of control the army may act differently because chaos is not acceptable," Mr Bannerman says.

But his sense is that a huge, calm, demonstration under the watchful eye of the army will be another turning point.

Comments

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  • 1. At 7:19pm on 31 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM:all but a measly $400m of that aid goes to the Egyptian military.
    ]




    But that won't prevent 'usual [anti-American] suspects' from claiming that U..S. is controlling situation in Egypt trough that country's army.

    Am I right, or am I right?

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  • 2. At 7:29pm on 31 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Just in the past month, one American company has won a $20m contract to provide Egypt with "ground surveillance hardware", another a $7m deal to provide the Egyptian engineering corps with vehicles."






    Mardell, I realize you are from UK where a female British MP has to account for every penny spent by her husband on porno flicks (times being tough there in EU), but in U.S. categories that's what we roughly spend on toilet paper for our troops.


    A question: which part of a single Nimrod could you buy yourself for 27 million green ones?

    Let alone which single deck of a UK aircraft carrier?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 3. At 7:31pm on 31 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    The Egyptian Army is highly respected by the Egyptian people, it is not the thugish group like in Iran, north Korea or Venezuela.

    Why is the BBC promoting el Bareerdi he was supporting the Iranians instead of doing the inspections as he should have.

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  • 4. At 9:25pm on 31 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    4 Who is Magic promoting and why?

    In the other thread he described the Palestinians as "thugs" unworthy of a "third homeland"....would he like to live in a Palestinian homeland?

    Bet you no one would get to call the Israelis "thugs" on the BBC!

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  • 5. At 9:54pm on 31 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #4
    worcesterjim wrote:
    4 Who is Magic promoting and why?

    In the other thread he described the Palestinians as "thugs" unworthy of a "third homeland"....would he like to live in a Palestinian homeland?

    Bet you no one would get to call the Israelis "thugs" on the BBC!

    _____________

    Both the BBC and Fox have said this about the Egyptian army. But I stand by calling those other countries armies and the Palestinian rulers in Gaza thugs!

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  • 6. At 9:57pm on 31 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Well I don`t know anboutyou chaps but I don`t believe we can afford to keep bankrolling all this interference in foreign countries...however much the oil companies and Wall Street think it`s a good idea.
    Why aren`t all these financiers hiring mercenaries for this work instead of sending our kids off to die telling them they are fighting to defend us?
    Why don`t we have a peace conference with Osama Bin Laden....he worked for the CIA destabilising Afghanistan but who is to say that he won`t be ready for peace if we come to some sensible arrangement about stopping interfering in Islamic countries?

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  • 7. At 10:13pm on 31 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #6

    "Why don`t we have a peace conference with Osama Bin Laden...."


    Because it's hard to find his cave. The peace conference delegates need an address, in order to attend the conference.

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  • 8. At 10:14pm on 31 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    From last blog-- more appropriate here.


    As far as I am aware the Egyptian Army (forces) have businesses, cheap housing and shopping etc. --all better off than the general population. Those perks are also at stake if Mubarak goes.

    Does anyone know if the police also have such perks ?

    The Army wishing to be on ANY ´winning´side may explain its behavior -- When America pays the bill and the Army promises to defend America´s and Israel´s policies.

    However a ´free and democratic´ Egypt is excluded from this scenario.

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  • 9. At 10:22pm on 31 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #5 MagicKirin

    Your Hamas and Moslem Brotherhood paradise already exists --

    http://jfjfp.com/?p=18461

    -- so what is your constant complaint ????

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  • 10. At 10:24pm on 31 Jan 2011, crash wrote:

    The last thing the USA needs is a disaster in the middle east,hopefully we will keep out out of it and shake the hand of the winner who will rig the elections for next 30 years.

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  • 11. At 10:33pm on 31 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    JMay
    "Why don`t we have a peace conference with Osama Bin Laden...."


    "Because it's hard to find his cave. The peace conference delegates need an address, in order to attend the conference."

    --a poor excuse ---he always finds you doesn´t he ?

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  • 12. At 10:38pm on 31 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #10

    -- Good comment and true.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 10:44pm on 31 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Look have I got totally the wrong idea here in believing that our countries owe astromical amounts of money to moneylenders? If I am right then who are these moneylenders and why are we obliged to pay them interest on loans when it appears that some of their number were alleged to have set off the financial crisis which we had to rescue them from with collasal sums of borrowed money?

    I never get a straight answer about this but in the last few months it`s become obvious to me that the USA and Britain are spending VAST amounts of our borrowed money on some highly questionable activities (like Egypt)over which we have zero oversight and control.

    Does anyone think it`s time to call in outside investigators to find out just who our politicians are working for and what they are doing before we are all ruined? I haven`t felt I was living in anything like a real democracy for years....in fact it just feels more and more like dictatorship run by a mysterious secret society!?

    I never see anything like a set of accounts that would alert me to where our money is going...so isn`t it time we had some auditors working for voters ..so we can find out what is going on?

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  • 14. At 10:48pm on 31 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    ✲ Upper Egypt & Lower Egypt ✲
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VSZCB6ZJfw

    (✲) spiritual soul jazz music

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  • 15. At 11:02pm on 31 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 16. At 11:06pm on 31 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #13 WJ

    " I haven`t felt I was living in anything like a real democracy for years....in fact it just feels more and more like dictatorship run by a mysterious secret society!?"

    The Egyptians are trying to do something about it.

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  • 17. At 11:12pm on 31 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    15 Thanks SO...Private Eye does seem to think they need watching themselves....but how difficult would it be to set up a global fraud squad answerable to the UN....and let`s roll up our sleeves and get to the bottom of all this financial jiggery pokery while we still have the power and the freedom to bring these crooks to justice.

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  • 18. At 11:33pm on 31 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    16..Are they trying to do something about "it"?
    I`ve been interested in Europe for some years and my belief is that lots of innocent people in the old Soviet Block have been cleverly encouraged into regime change by Soros and the CIA and business/mafia interests....but once there`s a US friendly regime installed we shall see whether they are "free" or whether it`s goodbye to freedom and their assets and to any silly ideas they had about voting for "change".

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  • 19. At 11:38pm on 31 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    The Egyptian army has announced it will not fire on demonstrators, now the question is whether the army will stand by and do nothing if security forces fire on demonstrators. If the army acts to defend the demonstrators, or announces that it will, it's all over for Mubarak.

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  • 20. At 11:44pm on 31 Jan 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    I think this is going to scare China's leadership into stopping

    internet use. And we won't be seeing triumphalist Chinese voices

    talking about "the decline of the West" anymore. Oh, how horible!!!

    Oh well, c'est la vie (joie de vivre).

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  • 21. At 11:49pm on 31 Jan 2011, Simon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 22. At 11:52pm on 31 Jan 2011, Simon21 wrote:

    9. At 10:22pm on 31 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:
    #5 MagicKirin

    Your Hamas and Moslem Brotherhood paradise already exists --

    http://jfjfp.com/?p=18461

    -- so what is your constant complaint ????
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That the Palestinians, non-jewish Israelies etc ec will not dissapear

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  • 23. At 11:54pm on 31 Jan 2011, Simon21 wrote:

    5. At 9:54pm on 31 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #4
    worcesterjim wrote:
    4 Who is Magic promoting and why?

    In the other thread he described the Palestinians as "thugs" unworthy of a "third homeland"....would he like to live in a Palestinian homeland?

    Bet you no one would get to call the Israelis "thugs" on the BBC!

    _____________

    Both the BBC and Fox have said this about the Egyptian army. But I stand by calling those other countries armies and the Palestinian rulers in Gaza thugs!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sticks and stones call them what you like, jus don't shoot, starve, beat unarmed old men, children (including babies) and women as the IDF has a tendency to do

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  • 24. At 11:54pm on 31 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.# 7. At 10:13pm on 31 Jan 2011, JMay wrote:
    #6

    "Why don`t we have a peace conference with Osama Bin Laden...."


    Because it's hard to find his cave. The peace conference delegates need an address, in order to attend the conference.

    ------------
    If the U.S. had Bin Laden's address he wouldn't be receiving invitations to a peace conference, more like a personal escort for himself and his staff to an all expenses paid vacation at a secluded little resort in Cuba...

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  • 25. At 11:57pm on 31 Jan 2011, Simon21 wrote:

    3. At 7:31pm on 31 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:
    The Egyptian Army is highly respected by the Egyptian people, it is not the thugish group like in Iran, north Korea or Venezuela."


    It is a conscript army for starters.

    But it does kill fewer children than he Israeli one.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Why is the BBC promoting el Bareerdi he was supporting the Iranians instead of doing the inspections as he should have.


    Why does Israel support blood stained dictatorships?

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  • 26. At 00:02am on 01 Feb 2011, Simon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 27. At 00:06am on 01 Feb 2011, seanspa wrote:

    "That the Palestinians, non-jewish Israelies etc ec will not dissapear"

    What was that about being illiterate?

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  • 28. At 00:08am on 01 Feb 2011, Simon21 wrote:

    20. At 11:44pm on 31 Jan 2011, Stevenson wrote:
    I think this is going to scare China's leadership into stopping

    internet use. And we won't be seeing triumphalist Chinese voices

    talking about "the decline of the West" anymore. Oh, how horible!!!

    Oh well, c'est la vie (joie de vivre).
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not sure. The Chinese on past form will see a massive opportunity for investment as it has done throughout Africa.

    And if you think the PLA is going to behave like he rag bag Egyptian army, well keep hoping

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  • 29. At 00:10am on 01 Feb 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    If America is to have any credibility in the middle east they should stop the billions in Aid given to Israel. The state of Israel comprises of European Jews placed in the region after WW2.

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  • 30. At 00:16am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #18 WJ

    --- Some say a 1000 people run this world -- others only 100.

    The same problem is present in all countries and it has taken 100´s of years to perfect. The political system has little influence on those few make the rules -as you have observed.

    I tried to point this out with #8 -- Any victory the Egyptian population think they have achieved, is likely to be hollow. Read between the lines and turn the argument upside down -- and then you may understand what is really being said.

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  • 31. At 00:28am on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    "For the last three days, things have been moving in the right direction, but tomorrow is scary. The progress can be upset if there is violence. If things get out of control the army may act differently because chaos is not acceptable," Mr Bannerman says.
    --------
    What is considered 'out of control'?

    Many news reports have said that over 100 have died, hundreds of women disappeared and thousands wounded, mummies in musuems beheaded, artifacts stolen, houses robbed- is this 'out of control'?

    When you get masses of people like that going wild anything can happen...

    I think tomorrow the Army should expect anything and everything cause' even if most protesters are not violent, all it takes is one small group of people to stir things up and next thing you know...

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  • 32. At 00:28am on 01 Feb 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    @ WJ. when anyone challenge auditors in court, they employ heavy handed bullying tactics racking up extortionate costs proportionate to how much they stand lose, threatening to bankrupt you for everything you have. They will also buck the game using dirty tricks by showing no transparency hiding evidence in order to say a legitimate complaint is unproven.

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  • 33. At 00:29am on 01 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    22 Thanks Simon...very interesting article...though I think the rise of Hitler was only a conclusion of a very long history of persecution which arose because the Jewish communities always remained distinct and different....and the curse of usury as practised by a tiny but very influential minority. Also many Jews were intellectuals and I notice that in all social upheavals intellectuals get a hard time.

    I still wonder if the repercussions of the First World War and the `29 crash got blamed on Jewish communities in their role as eternal scapegoats and financiers?

    What happened to the Israeli socialists who movedthere from England? Don`t they have any influence?

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  • 34. At 00:31am on 01 Feb 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 35. At 00:36am on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Scott wrote: The Egyptian army has announced it will not fire on demonstrators, now the question is whether the army will stand by and do nothing if security forces fire on demonstrators. If the army acts to defend the demonstrators, or announces that it will, it's all over for Mubarak.
    ---------
    What happens if a group of protesters turns violent?
    Will the Egyptian army defend violent protesters?

    If the Egyptian army does defend violent protesters, wouldn't this mean they are taking sides?
    Could USA support an army that defends violent protesters?

    Really, everything is on the protesters- whether they remain peaceful tomorrow or if some become violent...

    Only time will tell...

    As for USA, its the biggest ice storm in 50 years!!!

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  • 36. At 00:43am on 01 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    24 Scot...Ex-CIA operative Osama Bin Laden could help get the world off the brink of a major conflict....and let`s face it...he`s no worse than a lot of people we do business with now.

    Let`s cut the nonsense about democracy and women`s rights and face the truth that all this is really about allowing the USA to control the world`s natural resources and financial system.

    Once we get realistic about our true motivation then we can probably agree to stop meddling in other countries and TRADE with them LIKE CHINA IS DOING.

    We are fighting an Afghan war yards from the borders of China and India....WHY? Let them take the military strain for a change while we cut trade deals with the rightful governments of these countries rather than carry on acting like megalomaniac control freaks.

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  • 37. At 00:47am on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Studio wrote: If America is to have any credibility in the middle east they should stop the billions in Aid given to Israel. The state of Israel comprises of European Jews placed in the region after WW2.
    ------
    Well, we must have credibility or else we wouldn't be there...regardless, its up to Americans whether or not we want to give aid to Israel and you will find some that do want to and some that don't, just like how opinions vary on everything...

    Yes, and your country, GB, also was involved in that deal...you can't just give something to someone and then take it away...some might say it wasn't theirs to give away, but it doesn't really matter because its survival of the fittest and there's land disputes all over the world. Just look at China, Tibet and Taiwan. Just look at Russia and its neighbors. Is Tibet and Taiwan China's to give away? Is Ukraine and Georgia Russia's to give away? Ect...

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  • 38. At 00:47am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Various American cable TV providers have dropped Aljazeera. (un-American and anti-Israel reasons)

    LucyJ and JMay any comments ?

    --or only proud ?

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  • 39. At 00:58am on 01 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    OK I`m out folks...the mod refuses to publish my friendly and completely rational and reasonable responses to Simon`s post 22. This is now preposterous when inflammatory comments seem to get published all the time.

    I have no idea what the BBC is trying to achieve by this bizarre inconsistent sinister authoritarian behaviour....though perhaps ...on reflection...it`s just being its normal self!Nation shall speak fearfully to nation!

    Wishing you ALL well!

    Jim Evans in Worcester UK

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  • 40. At 00:59am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #24 Scott0962

    "If the U.S. had Bin Laden's address he wouldn't be receiving invitations to a peace conference, more like a personal escort for himself and his staff to an all expenses paid vacation at a secluded little resort in Cuba..."

    ---I thought Castro threw the American hotel and casino Mafia out years ago ?


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  • 41. At 01:06am on 01 Feb 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #38

    "Various American cable TV providers have dropped Aljazeera. (un-American and anti-Israel reasons)"

    Or low to non-existent viewership/ratings?


    Here is the actual situation.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/30/al-jazeera-english-us_n_816030.html


    The relevant part is the updates, which begin about halfway down the article.


    Feel free to call upon me, with any other questions you may have.

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  • 42. At 01:09am on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    quiet wrote: LucyJ and JMay any comments ?
    ------------
    Is shutting off al Jazeera in Egypt any different than Venezuela shutting off news programs that are negative toward Chavez?

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  • 43. At 01:12am on 01 Feb 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    @ Lucy
    After WW2 one of the options on the table was to set up a State of Israel in Africa. The British chose to establish it in Palestine instead. Israel was expected to defend themselves in that region surrounded by the Arab states. Palestinians were displaced to house Israel.

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  • 44. At 01:14am on 01 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Simon21, (#26. At 00:02am on 01 Feb 2011)
    ”... US troops use toilet paper? Hmm not my experience ...”
    Well, well, well. What experience would you be drawing upon?

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  • 45. At 01:17am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #35 LucyJ

    "Could USA support an army that defends violent protesters?"

    --of course not !

    --- only an army that kills protestors --lets not be selective, we are a democratic country !

    ---what is this nonsensical argument from one who defends ´The right to bear arms´ against a dictatorship ????


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  • 46. At 01:28am on 01 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    quietoaktree, (#38. At 00:47am on 01 Feb 2011)
    ”Various American cable TV providers have dropped Aljazeera. (un-American and anti-Israel reasons) ...”
    Did the cable TV providers publish the reason they dropped Al Jazeera?

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  • 47. At 01:32am on 01 Feb 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    31. LucyJ:

    "... all it takes is one small group of people to stir things up and next thing you know..."

    ************
    And there is no shortage of groups that would like to stir things up and often do so with violence. Some might prefer to wait until the Muslim Brotherhood gains some power before starting.


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  • 48. At 01:33am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #41JMay

    --Apart from supporting my statement ( also NPR)

    --- thanks !

    P.S. will not be up-dated.!

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  • 49. At 01:50am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #42 LucyJ

    I wrote --

    "Various American cable TV providers have dropped Aljazeera. (un-American and anti-Israel reasons)"

    You wrote--

    "Is shutting off al Jazeera in Egypt any different than Venezuela shutting off news programs that are negative toward Chavez?"

    ---could you give any reason why your answer should should not be considered as spam ?




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  • 50. At 02:07am on 01 Feb 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #48

    "--Apart from supporting my statement ( also NPR)"


    It hasn't supported your statement. Your statement was:


    #38

    "Various American cable TV providers have dropped Aljazeera. (un-American and anti-Israel reasons)"


    The link I posted proves that in fact the channel was never carried to begin with. It's hard to drop something you never carried, isn't it. The article also explains the concerns the cable companies have about carrying it.



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  • 51. At 02:11am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #46 Chryses

    No, only the ´Communist´ NPR gave the reason.

    --do you disagree, or are you only waiting for a confession from those who manipulate the news sources ?

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  • 52. At 02:27am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #39 WJ

    ---we all have our Mod burdens to bear.

    --and most of my sympathies go to the Mods.

    The more the merrier -- Your existence will not be justified by saying goodbye !

    See you tomorrow ?

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  • 53. At 02:34am on 01 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    quietoaktree, (#51. At 02:11am on 01 Feb 2011)
    ”No, only the ´Communist´ NPR gave the reason ...”
    What reason did those wicked communists at NPR give? Do you have a url for the story?

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  • 54. At 02:53am on 01 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #49
    quietoaktree wrote:
    #42 LucyJ

    I wrote --

    "Various American cable TV providers have dropped Aljazeera. (un-American and anti-Israel reasons)"

    You wrote--

    "Is shutting off al Jazeera in Egypt any different than Venezuela shutting off news programs that are negative toward Chavez?"

    ---could you give any reason why your answer should should not be considered as spam ?

    _____________

    It's valid, Hugo the dictator shuts down media that does not parrot his bolvarian fraud or tell the truth about his major human rights violations.

    Egypt shut down Al Jazeera's signal for being anti Mubarak

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  • 55. At 03:27am on 01 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    Nice report, Mark. "A few days ago, the Egyptian chief of staff was an honoured guest at the Pentagon. I would love to have been a fly on the wall."

    Aye, that would have been an interesting little chat.

    For those interested, a link to a bit more info on Suleiman, with further links, here.

    Seems like Washington's man. But will he be able to turn the trick and manage an 'orderly transition?'

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  • 56. At 03:31am on 01 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    This might interest military history buffs: a bit on the Blue and the Grey in Egypt's Army here.

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  • 57. At 08:58am on 01 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Hate be off topic, but some posters might be interested in knowing that

    "A federal judge in Florida has struck down as unconstitutional key parts of the sweeping health care reform bill." (CCN)

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  • 58. At 09:05am on 01 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re evil Egyptian Army...

    You know, the one "receving most of U.S. aid"?



    "Egypt's powerful army has vowed it will not use force against the protesters.

    [...] correspondents say that the army's statement has been a major blow for President Mubarak, and appears to have encouraged protesters."

    (BBC News reporting)


    It seems U.S. has been doing something right all those years. :-)

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  • 59. At 09:07am on 01 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #57 correction:

    CNN reporting.

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  • 60. At 09:13am on 01 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 61. At 09:16am on 01 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    After Tunesia and Egypt -is SYRIA (and Assad) next?


    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/01/31/egypt.protests.where.else/index.html?hpt=C1

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  • 62. At 10:51am on 01 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    43. At 01:12am on 01 Feb 2011, Studio One wrote:
    @ Lucy
    After WW2 one of the options on the table was to set up a State of Israel in Africa. The British chose to establish it in Palestine instead. Israel was expected to defend themselves in that region surrounded by the Arab states. Palestinians were displaced to house Israel.
    __________________________________
    Actually, Israel was expected to lose, (their original boundaries were impossible to defend, so they fixed that ;)) go down in the blaze of glory and the Brits could wash their hands of the issue and say, "Well, we tried...” they just didn't count on the fact that Israeli soldiers, with their backs to the Med proved to be 10 times the fighters the Arab soldiers were... a few times. The highlights being '48, '67 and '73. To the victor go the spoils. The Arabs and their Brit sympathizers need to get over it.

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  • 63. At 10:58am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Does anyone have a good LINK the to the Cairo march LIVE ?

    -- the 24/7´s are sending old info between themselves !

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  • 64. At 11:18am on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    BBC radio has just said journalist equipment is being confiscated at the airport.

    -- so back to the ´old faithful´radio !

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  • 65. At 11:21am on 01 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    quietoaktree, (#63. At 10:58am on 01 Feb 2011)

    Al Jazeera seems to have a live feed.

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  • 66. At 11:39am on 01 Feb 2011, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    Al Jazeera English live is showing the live gathering at Tahrir Sq. and reporting more than one million have gathered.
    (Incidentally, the IMF reports it will retreat from its Egyptian austerity/privatization policy-- for now.)

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  • 67. At 12:08pm on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Thanks folks !

    --- it seems live -- more protesters now !

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  • 68. At 12:16pm on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    That looks like the end ?



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  • 69. At 1:11pm on 01 Feb 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    station identification
    testing channel 1234

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  • 70. At 1:38pm on 01 Feb 2011, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    As a fairly typical American, there's a lot concerning the holidays of other cultures where I know very little. Just what is the tradition behind ringing your residence in barbed wire anyway?

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  • 71. At 3:36pm on 01 Feb 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    Behind the scenes (maybe):
    "...the Obama administration is working behind the scenes to ensure Mr Mubarak goes and the army takes charge until there can be new elections. One source thinks it has got down to the detail of where Mr Mubarak goes, how much money he takes with him and whether he is immune from prosecution."
    Let's hope that's all there is to it:
    But the implications for the American power in the Arab world, as well as its own economy, suggest the Americans might go even further.
    Like what?
    The Americans need Egypt. They need oil, and they have demonstrated the lengths to which they will go to get it (aka steal it) in the American deployments to Afgfhanistan and Iraq today.
    The United States is in no position to deploy huge Americcan resources, but there is that little American pack sitting in the Sinai - just enough to infiltrate the Egyptian Army and using live ammunition make it appear that the Egyptian Army has gone back on its word NOT to attack its own citizens.
    If live ammo starts to fly - look for this American infiltration.
    If Egyptian citizens die, look for an Arab world that will not be placated against the United States.
    If things remain relatively peaceful, there is a huge loss to American prestege: utter failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention its perpetually botched foreign policy that consists entirely of bombs and threats and imperalism.
    It's not democracy in Egypt that must be stopped, its the American Military-Industrial Complex.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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  • 72. At 3:46pm on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Andrea wrote: Some might prefer to wait until the Muslim Brotherhood gains some power before starting.
    -------
    On the news, they said that the Muslim Brotherhood was joining up with the opposition force against Mubarack...
    -------
    Pmk wrote: "Egypt's powerful army has vowed it will not use force against the protesters
    --------
    So if Mubarack resigns and the opposition leader who is supported by Muslim Brotherhood is elected, wouldn't this mean that the Egyptian Army will be subject to what the Muslim Brotherhood wants to do?

    If the Muslim Brotherhood takes control of Egyptian army, why would USA continue to give money/funding/support to Egyptian army?

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  • 73. At 3:52pm on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 74. At 3:54pm on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Is it not bizarre how when you hit next on Obama's Behind the scenes or caution on Egypt blogs by Mardell, then it takes you to the same page and will not take you to the next page?

    Why won't the next button work on the other blogs>?

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  • 75. At 3:55pm on 01 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "If live ammo starts to fly - look for this American infiltration."






    If there were any "American infilatrion" it wouldn't manifest itself via live ammo.

    [Frank Wisner knowing what to do]


    Please, be thankful for the U.S. massive aid to the Egyptian Army.

    Which also seems to know which side of their bread is buttered.

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  • 76. At 4:22pm on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    More Russian spies???

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/eu_ireland_russian_spies

    An excerpt:
    Ireland ordered a Russian diplomat to be expelled Tuesday, after an investigation concluded that the country's intelligence service used stolen Irish identities as cover for spies operating in the United States. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin announced that police have concluded that Russian agents stole the personal details of six real Irish citizens and used them to counterfeit Irish passports.
    -----------

    Is it just me or do they just keep coming?

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  • 77. At 4:30pm on 01 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #75PMK

    "Please, be thankful for the U.S. massive aid to the Egyptian Army."

    ---and the Egyptian police !

    For 30 years of oppression and torture of the Egyptian people ---paid by the ´the good old US of A´

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  • 78. At 4:31pm on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20110201/ts_csm/360220_1

    An exceprt:
    The Obama administration favors a strong national government and measures – like the health-care reform law – that help expand assertions of national power. In contrast, many conservatives argue that the Constitution calls for a national government of limited powers, with most authority in the hands of the states and the people.
    -------------

    If a person can't afford health insurance under Obamacare, isn't fining someone thousands of dollars for not buying health insurance too much federal power?

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  • 79. At 4:38pm on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Isn't immunity immunity? So why won't Pakistan let our diplomat go?

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terrorism-security/2011/0201/Pakistan-court-refuses-to-release-US-official-denying-immunity

    An excerpt:
    Crowley added that the US government agreed with its employee’s claim that he was acting out of self-defense when confronted by two armed men.
    However, according to Pakistani English-language newspaper Dawn, the Pakistani government will decide whether Davis has diplomatic immunity in this situation – not the US.
    --------
    What if this had happened in USA?

    Would we give the Pakistani diplomat back?

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  • 80. At 4:49pm on 01 Feb 2011, DenverGuest wrote:

    62. At 10:51am on 01 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:
    To the victor go the spoils. The Arabs and their Brit sympathizers need to get over it.
    ------------------------------------------
    I find it interesting that you do not talk about the morality of this (or the lack of morality perhaps). Morality seems to play a large part in most of your arguments, but when one country takes another's land and ghetto-izes the inhabitants, it's hunky dory. The people suffering because their land was taken in '67 and '73 are not the soldiers or heads of state who engaged in the fighting in the first place. They are civilians who have been confined and oppressed and killed for several decades now.

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  • 81. At 4:53pm on 01 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    76 I agree Lucy....and yet that`s probably how other people feel in their countries when you interfering bullying Americans come round meddling with our democracies and stealing our assets.
    Maybe we should have a global pow-wow and ALL agree to mind our own business?

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  • 82. At 6:20pm on 01 Feb 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    It has suddenly occurred to me: There is a highly-equipped US army that is permanently resident in Africa to oversee The United States' imperialist interests. This permanent army is called the African Command (Africom).
    Just before end of last year, General Wm Garret, Commander US Army for Africa, met with defence representatives from all African embassies to sell the idea of an American army based in Africa.
    Liberia and Morocco offered to host Africom but Southern African Development Community (SADC) said no to any possibility of its member states hosting the US army.
    Liberia has longstanding ties with the US; Morocco is not a member of the African Union and does not hold elections. Morocco might have wanted the US army on site to suppress any future democratic uprising in its own country.
    SADC's refusal was a small victory for the people of Africa in their struggle for independence. Nonetheless, Africom is worrisome.
    The US itself wanted a more strategic country than Morocco and Liberia since the army would be the epicentre of influence.
    Africom is an American imperialist army behind which the United States obscures its means to Africa's oil and other natural resources.
    Africom ensures that America has its tentacles reaching every African country. Africa through Africom has literally sub-contracted its military independence to America.
    Africom is financially superior to any African army; it can dictate the pace for regime change in any country and also give power the US natural resource exploitation. There is no doubt that as soon as the army gets operational in Africa, all the gains of independence will be under threat.
    Watch for the United States to "move" Africom into the Egyptian fray?

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  • 83. At 6:58pm on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Jim wrote: and yet that`s probably how other people feel in their countries when you interfering bullying Americans come round meddling with our democracies and stealing our assets.
    Maybe we should have a global pow-wow and ALL agree to mind our own business?
    ----------
    They feel like we are all spies?

    I just don't get that?

    Well, then why don't you take ahold of your own democracies?

    Why don't you protect your assets?

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  • 84. At 6:59pm on 01 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Denver wrote: They are civilians who have been confined and oppressed and killed for several decades now.
    ---------
    Ever heard of survival of the fittest?

    That's a law found in nature and it does abide...

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  • 85. At 8:39pm on 01 Feb 2011, Ad wrote:

    The conspiracy theories are flying thick and fast on this blog...

    But before anything more, please note everyone (especially Simon), that the cat I mentioned in the previous blog is fine and it's not mine, it's a feral cat that has had its kittens and needs the kindness of a sterilisation before getting jumped on again by the big tom from the farm just up the road. The Vets concur wholeheartedly.

    Um, now:

    Huge numbers of ordinary people out in the streets and squares of Cairo, Alexandra, Suez and elsewhere. The Egyptian Army stands by and fraternises with the demonstrators. The police have disappeared again. Sweet stalls open up their wares. Suleiman the new vice-president with a military / intelligence background, remains quiet. America and others call for calm. Children on their parents' shoulders shout the slogans. Mubarak hangs in effigy from lamp-posts.

    I remember well Gamel Abdul Nasser's nationalisation of the Suez Canal and there's been nothing like it since: this is a revolution. With the King of Jordan reshuffling his cabinet, attempted suicides in Morocco, Algeria trembling on the brink - what's next. We can't tell, but for Egypt one thing is certain, this is a temporary unification of the middle-classes and intelligentsia. On one side, the Brotherhood and its supporters, on the other, the muslims-in-name-only: and the question is, if they get Mubarak out (if!) which group will take over? We can't tell.

    Mubarak's Egypt was at peace with Israel and a stabilising influence in the Eastern Mediterranean. The new Egypt (which I think will happen) will be less tolerant towards the Israeli control of the Levant and less of a friend to the USA.

    That's my prophecy but I won't bet on it. This is a fluid and dangerously exciting situation. the genie is out of the bottle.

    Good night all.

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  • 86. At 9:48pm on 01 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #77" For 30 years of oppression and torture of the Egyptian people ---paid by the ´the good old US of A´"







    Posted by on of the oppressed or merely by one of America-haters on duty?


    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 87. At 10:38pm on 01 Feb 2011, crash wrote:

    Shouldn't it be behind the back politics being he's from chicago ?

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  • 88. At 04:40am on 02 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    The situation in Egypt reminds me very much of the situation in Iran in the last days of the Shahanshah. I read the handwriting on the wall and got out a couple of weeks before H.I.M. He still controlled Teheran and was considering fighting for his throne [as reported in the Persian and international press] when I left.

    Egypt, like Iran, has a rural, poorly if at all educated religious majority. Other similarities are an isolated and aging dictator supported [in theory] by American trained military and police. I had first-hand knowledge that the support of the police and military in Iran, contrary to appearances and expectations, was weak [no, Chryses, I won't tell details, for obvious reasons, but I worked with military and police officers, and when they were being candid chills ran up my spine].

    Like Iran, Egypt has an underlying anti-foreignism [especially anti-American and anti-Semitic] mixed in with the nationalism. People would say things like Worcesterjim and some others write about Jewish conspiracies and how they really dislike their government's being friendly with the US and Israel [the Iranians always told me it was the Brits that they disliked because of the Bushir occupation and other reasons].

    I really hope all the positive predictions come true, or at least most of them. I will repeat what I have said on a number of occasions though, "The Pllyannas are often wrong and the Cassandras are often right."

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  • 89. At 09:45am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    JMM in #88:
    Like Iran, Egypt has an underlying anti-foreignism [especially anti-American and anti-Semitic] mixed in with the nationalism.






    The ultimate irony is, that based on an irrefutable DNA analysis, all Arabs are Semites, whereas not all of the Jews are. :-)))

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  • 90. At 10:24am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "With the King of Jordan reshuffling his cabinet, attempted suicides in Morocco, Algeria trembling on the brink - what's next."






    Syria, Bashar Assad, and its Socialist Baath Party oppressive regime?

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  • 91. At 2:32pm on 02 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    89. At 09:45am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    "The ultimate irony is, that based on an irrefutable DNA analysis, all Arabs are Semites, whereas not all of the Jews are. :-)))"

    That last is one of the most annoying propaganda clubs used by Arab nationalists against Israel and the Jews. If they were logical, i.e. that they have no objection to genetically semitic Jews settling in their ancestral homeland, it would make some sense, but they use it to mean that all Jews are fake and not entitled to return to the ancestral homeland.


    The Nazis, Arab Nationalists and Soviets are not the only ones to have promoted fake science or mis-application of real science [always in self interest, of course]. Some studies seem to indicate that the Palestinians may be Jews who converted to Christianity and/or Islam. Other studies suggest that they are descendents of the original Peleseti or Philistines. One study even suggests the opposite, that the Jews are Palestinians who changed their customs and religion BEFORE the foundation of ancient Israel.

    These claims are interesting, but I am not a biologist and know only enough to be suspicious of claims that look too conveniently aligned with particular political, social, religious and racial agendas.

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  • 92. At 4:10pm on 03 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    JMM in #88:
    Like Iran, Egypt has an underlying anti-foreignism [especially anti-American and anti-Semitic] mixed in with the nationalism.
    ---------------
    I was watching ABC and Christine Amanpour asked a guy who said he hated the USA why he hated us and what did he say?

    Because we are 'not good people'!

    That was his only reason...

    Funny that I can say the same thing about them!

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