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Thread: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

  1. #91
    Coachella Junkie Aurgasm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    By the way, this is the most important thing Obama will ever touch in his presidency.
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Expound on that if you can. What will Obama's involvment be and how will it effect things long term?

  3. #93
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by faxman75 View Post
    Expound on that if you can. What will Obama's involvment be and how will it effect things long term?
    As President he is responsible (and obliged by law) "to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community." (source- state dept. website)

    The decisions and the directives he gives to the State Department and Department of Defense will determine our country's foreign policy in the Middle East for decades to come. I could go on forever.. Essentially Cairo is the capital of the Arab Middle East and whatever happens there will redefine the United State's support of traditionally repressive and corrupt governments. Obama has the opportunity to manipulate what could be a regional domino effect. Does he support the Egyptian military which the United States built and funds? Does he fold to Israeli pressure, keeping Mubarak in office and deepening the frustration of Arabs and Muslims toward the United States? You have to remember that Sayyid Qutb was an Egyptian and that a lot of the contemporary, extreme takfiri doctrine that extremists use to legitimize the kinds of horrible acts that have defined Muslims in the eyes of Americans (thank you CNN), comes from Egypt. Also, Obama was just in Cairo a few years back talking about reform; if he doesn't follow through that energy and excitement you see WILL turn into rage and that will spread across the Middle East, stagnating relations between countries and deepening the cultural divide that has incubated xenophobia and hate on both sides of the world. My friends tell me they don't see so many people burning American flags right now, because all their energies are focused. If that focus gets jolted by perceived American meddling, all hell will break loose.

    Also, Egypt has a very skeptical population steeped in paranoia. While living in Imbaba (a neighbourhood in Cairo that was demolished by a massive earthquake; the government didnt show up to the scene for almost a week, and the Muslim Brotherhood capitalized, building make shift hospitals and pumping in charitable donations) a man told me that there were no clouds in Egypt because Israel uses planes that essentially soak up all the moisture in the air... He was dead serious. I bring this up because this is the first time since...hell, before the Mamaluk period, that this feeling of "oh well there's not shit we can do, everything is conspiring against us in a perfect storm" has seemingly disappeared, instantly changing Egyptian identity. If Obama mistreats this newfound Egyptian identity, we're looking at trouble with untold economic and political consequences.

    Sorry if this is a ramble, I'm at work and just typed a little piece at a time.
    Last edited by Aurgasm; 01-31-2011 at 01:30 PM.
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    Coachella Junkie Alchemy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    It almost seems like the White House believes Mubarak will resign, eventually. I'd like to believe that ElBaradei will take over (I don't know much about him, of course, but he does seem to have what it takes to become Egypt's leader) and that the White House will roll with that, but I'm sure they'd be inviting themselves over and trying to convince ElBaradei to continue Mubarak's Israeli role (but this time, do not be a dictator).
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  5. #95
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    look at all the different subjects touched in this Embassy cable. This might clarify just how big of an ally HosMub has been over the years..

    Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
    09CAIRO874 2009-05-19 12:12 2011-01-31 21:09 SECRET Embassy Cairo
    O 191258Z MAY 09
    FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
    TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2465
    S E C R E T CAIRO 000874


    NEA FOR FO; NSC FOR KUMAR AND SHAPIRO

    E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/17/2019
    TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM ECON EG IS IR IZ
    SUBJECT: SCENESETTER: PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S VISIT TO
    WASHINGTON

    Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey
    for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

    ¶1. (S/NF) Introduction: President Mubarak last visited
    Washington in April 2004, breaking a twenty year tradition of
    annual visits to the White House. Egyptians view President
    Mubarak's upcoming meeting with the President as a new
    beginning to the U.S.-Egyptian relationship that will restore
    a sense of mutual respect that they believe diminished in
    recent years. President Mubarak has been encouraged by his
    initial interactions with the President, the Secretary, and
    Special Envoy Mitchell, and understands that the
    Administration wants to restore the sense of warmth that has
    traditionally characterized the U.S.-Egyptian partnership.
    The Egyptians want the visit to demonstrate that Egypt
    remains America's "indispensible Arab ally," and that
    bilateral tensions have abated. President Mubarak is the
    proud leader of a proud nation. He draws heavily from his
    own long experience in regional politics and governance as he
    assesses new proposals and recommendations for change.

    MUBARAK'S PROFILE
    -----------------

    ¶2. (S/NF) Mubarak is 81 years old and in reasonably good
    health; his most notable problem is a hearing deficit in his
    left ear. He responds well to respect for Egypt and for his
    position, but is not swayed by personal flattery. Mubarak
    peppers his observations with anecdotes that demonstrate both
    his long experience and his sense of humor. The recent death
    of his grandson Mohammad has affected him deeply and
    undoubtedly will dampen his spirits for the visit which he
    very much wants to make. During his 28 year tenure, he
    survived at least three assassination attempts, maintained
    peace with Israel, weathered two wars in Iraq and post-2003
    regional instability, intermittent economic downturns, and a
    manageable but chronic internal terrorist threat. He is a
    tried and true realist, innately cautious and conservative,
    and has little time for idealistic goals. Mubarak viewed
    President Bush (43) as naive, controlled by subordinates, and
    totally unprepared for dealing with post-Saddam Iraq,
    especially the rise of Iran,s regional influence.

    ¶3. (S/NF) On several occasions Mubarak has lamented the U.S.
    invasion of Iraq and the downfall of Saddam. He routinely
    notes that Egypt did not like Saddam and does not mourn him,
    but at least he held the country together and countered Iran.
    Mubarak continues to state that in his view Iraq needs a
    "tough, strong military officer who is fair" as leader. This
    telling observation, we believe, describes Mubarak's own view
    of himself as someone who is tough but fair, who ensures the
    basic needs of his people.

    ¶4. (S/NF) No issue demonstrates Mubarak,s worldview more
    than his reaction to demands that he open Egypt to genuine
    political competition and loosen the pervasive control of the
    security services. Certainly the public "name and shame"
    approach in recent years strengthened his determination not
    to accommodate our views. However, even though he will be
    more willing to consider ideas and steps he might take
    pursuant to a less public dialogue, his basic understanding
    of his country and the region predisposes him toward extreme
    caution. We have heard him lament the results of earlier
    U.S. efforts to encourage reform in the Islamic world. He
    can harken back to the Shah of Iran: the U.S. encouraged him
    to accept reforms, only to watch the country fall into the
    hands of revolutionary religious extremists. Wherever he has
    seen these U.S. efforts, he can point to the chaos and loss
    of stability that ensued. In addition to Iraq, he also
    reminds us that he warned against Palestinian elections in
    2006 that brought Hamas (Iran) to his doorstep. Now, we
    understand he fears that Pakistan is on the brink of falling
    into the hands of the Taliban, and he puts some of the blame
    on U.S. insistence on steps that ultimately weakened
    Musharraf. While he knows that Bashir in Sudan has made
    multiple major mistakes, he cannot work to support his
    removal from power.

    ¶5. (S/NF) Mubarak has no single confidante or advisor who can
    truly speak for him, and he has prevented any of his main
    advisors from operating outside their strictly circumscribed
    spheres of power. Defense Minister Tantawi keeps the Armed
    Forces appearing reasonably sharp and the officers satisfied
    with their perks and privileges, and Mubarak does not appear
    concerned that these forces are not well prepared to face
    21st century external threats. EGIS Chief Omar Soliman and
    Interior Minister al-Adly keep the domestic beasts at bay,
    and Mubarak is not one to lose sleep over their tactics.
    Gamal Mubarak and a handful of economic ministers have input
    on economic and trade matters, but Mubarak will likely resist
    further economic reform if he views it as potentially harmful
    to public order and stability. Dr. Zakaria Azmi and a few
    other senior NDP leaders manage the parliament and public
    politics.

    ¶6. (S/NF) Mubarak is a classic Egyptian secularist who hates
    religious extremism and interference in politics. The Muslim
    Brothers represent the worst, as they challenge not only
    Mubarak,s power, but his view of Egyptian interests. As
    with regional issues, 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. He has been supportive of
    improvements in human rights in areas that do not affect
    public security or stability. Mrs. Mubarak has been given a
    great deal of room to maneuver to advance women's and
    children's rights and to confront some traditional practices
    that have been championed by the Islamists, such as FGM,
    child labor, and restrictive personal status laws.


    SUCCESSION
    ----------

    ¶7. (S/NF) The next presidential elections are scheduled for
    2011, and if Mubarak is still alive it is likely he will run
    again, and, inevitably, win. When asked about succession, he
    states that the process will follow the Egyptian
    constitution. Despite incessant whispered discussions, no one
    in Egypt has any certainty about who will eventually succeed
    Mubarak nor under what circumstances. The most likely
    contender is presidential son Gamal Mubarak (whose profile is
    ever-increasing at the ruling party); some suggest that
    intelligence chief Omar Soliman might seek the office, or
    dark horse Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa might
    run. Mubarak's ideal of a strong but fair leader would seem
    to discount Gamal Mubarak to some degree, given Gamal's lack
    of military experience, and may explain Mubarak's hands off
    approach to the succession question. Indeed, he seems to be
    trusting to God and the ubiquitous military and civilian
    security services to ensure an orderly transition.

    MUBARAK'S EGYPT: 1982 -- 2009
    -----------------------------

    ¶8. (C) Egypt continues to be a major regional economic,
    political, and cultural power. However, economic problems
    have frustrated many Egyptians. Egypt's per capita GDP was
    on par with South Korea's 30 years ago; today it is
    comparable to Indonesia's. There were bread riots in 2008
    for the first time since 1977. Political reforms have
    stalled and the GOE has resorted to heavy-handed tactics
    against individuals and groups, especially the Muslim
    Brotherhood, whose influence continues to grow.

    ¶9. (SBU) Economic reform momentum has slowed and high GDP
    growth rates of recent years have failed to lift Egypt's
    lower classes out of poverty. High inflation, coupled with
    the impact of the global recession, has resulted in an
    increase in extreme poverty, job losses, a growing budget
    deficit and projected 2009 GDP growth of 3.5% - half last
    year's rate.

    ¶10. (S/NF) Mubarak himself refuses to discuss economic
    assistance to Egypt, but other interlocutors may raise it.
    On May 7, Egypt formally and publicly accepted FY 2009 and FY
    2010 assistance levels, ending a stalemate over the FY 2009
    program, linked to levels, a perceived lack of consultation,
    and political conditionality. Based on our assessment of
    Egypt's most pressing assistance needs, and broad public
    consensus in Egypt that the educational system is seriously
    deficient, we would like to focus on education. We believe
    the Egyptians would welcome a new presidential level
    initiative in this area, which would also be in U.S. national
    interests given the critical role education will play in
    Egypt's political and economic development.

    MUBARAK'S REGIONAL OUTLOOK
    --------------------------

    ¶11. (S/NF) Israeli-Arab conflict: Mubarak has successfully
    shepherded Sadat,s peace with Israel into the 21st century,
    and benefitted greatly from the stability Camp David has
    given the Levant: there has not been a major land war in more
    than 35 years. Peace with Israel has cemented Egypt,s
    moderate role in Middle East peace efforts and provided a
    political basis for continued U.S. military and economic
    assistance ($1.3 billion and $250 million, respectively).
    However, broader elements of peace with Israel, e.g. economic
    and cultural exchange, remain essentially undeveloped.

    ¶12. (S/NF) Camp David also presented Mubarak with the
    perpetual challenge of balancing Egypt,s international image
    as a moderate with its domestic image as pan-Arab leader.
    Mubarak has managed this strategic dichotomy most effectively
    in times of regional stability. However, the Gulf wars, and
    especially post-Saddam regional crises, have taxed this
    equation. For example, during the 2006 Lebanon war, the Bush
    Administration asked Egypt to side against Hizballah; at the
    same time Egyptian protestors demanded the peace treaty with
    Israel be vacated. The Egyptians were frozen, and relegated
    to waiting for the situation to stabilize. More recently,
    with Iran bringing the battlefield closer with Hamas' actions
    in Gaza and discovery of the Hizballah cell in Egypt, the
    Egyptians appear more willing to confront the Iranian
    surrogates and to work closely with Israel.

    ¶13. (S/NF) Mubarak has been effective as an intermediary
    during various phases of the Israeli-Arab conflict. In the
    Arafat era, Egypt worked between the Palestinian Authority
    and Israel. At the outset of the Abbas era, Egypt,s role
    was unclear as the Israelis and Palestinians communicated
    directly, and Mubarak for a time was left with no deliverable
    either to the West or his public. He firmly believes,
    incorrectly, that the Bush Administration "forced" the
    Palestinian legislative elections of 2006 (which Hamas won).
    Hamas' June 2007 takeover of Gaza allowed the Egyptians back
    into the game as a go-between, and Mubarak,s team has made
    clear they will not cede the "Palestinian file" to another
    Arab state. In general, the Egyptian-Israeli strategic
    relationship is on solid ground, as they face a shared threat
    from Hamas.

    ¶14. (S/NF) The ongoing intra-Arab dispute, which pits Egypt
    and Saudi Arabia against Syria and Qatar and is primarily
    driven by Iran's regional influence, is the current test for
    Mubarak. For the moment the Egyptian-Saudi moderate camp is
    holding. Mubarak has maneuvered with reasonable
    effectiveness, brandishing Egyptian clout through a hastily
    prepared but effective summit in Sharm el Sheikh in February,
    but Iran,s Arab surrogates (especially Qatar) continue to
    unsettle the Egyptians. Mubarak will rail against President
    Bush,s decision to invade Iraq, contending that it opened
    the door to Iranian influence in the region. That said, the
    Egyptians recently told Special Envoy Ross they expect our
    outreach to Iran to fail, and that "we should prepare for
    confrontation through isolation." Mubarak and his advisors
    are now convinced that Tehran is working to weaken Egypt
    through creation of Hizballah cells, support of the Muslim
    Brotherhood, and destabilization of Gaza. Egypt has warned
    that it will retaliate if these actions continue.

    ¶15. (S/NF) Egypt views the stability and unity of Sudan as
    essential to its national security because of concern over
    its access to Nile waters and the potential for increased
    Sudanese refugee flows. The GOE is using development
    assistance in South Sudan to encourage unity. Here too, the
    Egyptians are jealous and sensitive to the Qatari foray into
    resolving Darfur, a crisis squarely in Egypt's backyard.
    Mubarak may ask about the potential for cooperation with the
    U.S. on Sudan and will probably want to hear how the
    Administration will approach the issue. If he agrees,
    Mubarak can use his stature and credibility with Bashir to
    make progress on Darfur and human rights issues.

    ¶16. (S/NF) MUBARAK REGIONAL TALKING POINTS
    -----------------------------------------
    Israeli-Arab peace: He will ask for continued U.S. leadership and highlight Egypt’s role as moderate interlocutor. He will stress the primacy of the Palestinian track over efforts with Syria. He will press for concrete action on settlements and resist Arab gestures to Israel until the Arabs can see whether or not Netanyahu is credible.
    Iran: He will rail against Iranian regional influence and express pessimism about U.S. outreach to Tehran. He will make clear that there should be no linkage between Israeli-Arab peace and Iran but will agree with the President’s assessment that such linkage as does exist argues for progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track to undermine Hamas and Hizballah.

    Sudan: He will highlight Egypt’s role as provider of humanitarian and military assistance, and stress the need to maintain stability.
    Intra-Arab strife: He may criticize Qatar, and perhaps Syria, as Iranian surrogates. He may ask about our plan to engage Damascus and suggest we coordinate our efforts.
    Iraq: He may be circumspect, but harbors continuing doubts about Maliki and his Iranian ties. He will say Egypt is open to bilateral improvement but is awaiting Iraqi actions.
    SCOBEY
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  6. #96
    Coachella Junkie faxman75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurgasm View Post
    Sorry if this is a ramble, I'm at work and just typed a little piece at a time.
    No reason to apologize. That was informative. My next question is about the Muslim Brotherhood. I'm liberal and I listen to liberal talk radio. The liberal guest who was some international poli sci major mentioned that the Muslim Brotherhood are a non violent organization or at least have been mostly since the 40's. It seems that here in the US when the media talks about the Muslim Brotherhood they make it sound like a terrorist organization but from what I can tell (and again my knowledge is limited) they aren't a terrorist organization but a group that promotes the Muslim religion. A movement of people with similar beliefs.

  7. #97
    man-homie obzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    They're not a terrorist organization, but they (Muslim Brotherhood) don't exactly support the apparent (cold) peace Egypt has with Israel.

  8. #98
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemy View Post
    It almost seems like the White House believes Mubarak will resign, eventually. I'd like to believe that ElBaradei will take over (I don't know much about him, of course, but he does seem to have what it takes to become Egypt's leader) and that the White House will roll with that, but I'm sure they'd be inviting themselves over and trying to convince ElBaradei to continue Mubarak's Israeli role (but this time, do not be a dictator).
    Baradei is a candidate Westerners want, but this is a popular uprising and Baradei has been out of Egypt forever. Any leadership position he gets will be awarded to him by a group that he does not lead. My money is on Amr Moussa or a Turkish style govn't with the military acting as protector
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    Coachella Junkie Aurgasm's Avatar
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    The Brotherhood is an ever changing beast. While it's historically had Takfiri elements in it, it's become more of a charitable organization than a true political movement. It's basically a loose organization of various charitable branches, a political branch and I believe they still maintain an 'action committee' so to speak.

    It's stuff like that Imbaba story that has earned the trust of a notoriously distrustful populace. While it's officially banned (because of the actions of elements that were loosely associated with the MB at the time) it remains a force supported by teachers, students, engineers, doctors, the occasional military officer and a whole ton of poor Egyptians. They organize a lot of cool things. During Ramadan they give out food (bowls of camel meat and rice, molokheya and bread, along with sweets) and they organize soccer matches. It's hard to really define it's modern identity. As a political movement it can't officially field candidates, so they sign up other various banners so they haven't been able to really mature as an organized political force. I think most of its military and subversive units went dormant after the Luxor Massacre that disgusted the Egyptian populace.

    I really don't know... I've met MB members who are straight up psychopaths who spent years being tortured in egyptian jails. There are various MB members who found the readings of Qutb while in prison. They went in as young men disgusted with the repressive government and came out hardened radicals. These elements went off to form their own groups, namely Zawahiri's al-Jihad (which at the time wasn't anti-american, simply wanted to have an Islamic style government in Egypt) which moved between Khartoum and Peshawar, eventually becoming Al Qaeda in the 90's. So, because of this radicalization, a lot of the truly scary elements became disenchanted with an MB that they no longer identified with, making a split and forcing the MB to redefine itself in terms of what it's goals were and who lead them both spiritually and organizationally.

    So yea... it started as an answer to colonial repression but had it's core rocked after the assassination of Sadat, making a number of different groups ranging from the peaceful to the radical. I truly think they see themselves as a peaceful organization now; I doubt they force their hands like the way Hamas and Hezbollah do in Palestine and Lebanon, respectfully. It's too decentralized. btw, women play an important part in the Brotherhood.
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  10. #100
    Member PrettyRagdoll's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurgasm View Post
    This sentiment is the reason you have not seen the American government take any direct actions. The relationship between Egypt and Israel/United States will come up soon. You know how intoxicating it is to rage in Tahrir after 31 years of having to keep your mouth shut? Opposition is considering how they will publicly discuss revisiting those relationships. They have to be careful or risk splintering this pan-Egyptian feeling of unity.
    I completely agree and understand that this is why they are treading carefully. But I guess my sentiment comes through from my "Fuck Israel" comment. I didn't say that lightly or as someone who enjoys e-fame by being provocative. I feel like ALL our relationships need to be re-examined, but ESPECIALLY in Israel. I understand that we really can't do much About Saudi Arabia as long as we're this dependent on Oil. But Israel get's away with a lot of shit just because they are 'our ally' where as any other country would have had sanctions put on them by now.

    Which is why I think, that situations from the past year [in a linear time since, not in the since of 2011 is a new 'year'] have created what might be our only real chance to be decisive and at least attempt to go back to the table and discuss: How much money we supply these different countries [especially since I hear we have a deficit]; and how far we'll stick our neck out for them when our so-called allies instigate/aggravate situations.

    /endthreadhijack

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    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by PrettyRagdoll View Post
    I completely agree and understand that this is why they are treading carefully. But I guess my sentiment comes through from my "Fuck Israel" comment. I didn't say that lightly or as someone who enjoys e-fame by being provocative. I feel like ALL our relationships need to be re-examined, but ESPECIALLY in Israel.
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Obama has sent Frank G. Wisner, former Ambassador to Egypt, to Cairo to meet directly with Mubarak. Man, to be a fly on that wall. I wonder if they'll be discussing amnesty for Mubarak with the US or other ally.

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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by RageAgainstTheAoki View Post
    Oh. We have a dreamer in the house.
    Yeah I know

    Quote Originally Posted by clarky123 View Post
    Fuck your formal education up for music and stop being a coward.
    Quote Originally Posted by braundiggity View Post
    I dunno. Lots of the arguments seem hypocritical to me. Can't we leave it simply as: I loved the shit out of it, some hated the shit out of it, and that's just how some shows go?
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  14. #104
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    So... Where the hell were you all when Tunisia just had this shit happen earlier last month?
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  15. #105
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Come on, handsome, slow down. Part of the problem is probably that 90% of us couldn't find Tunisia on a map before the Jasmine Revolution occurred. Also, the Tunisian demonstrations were a slow burn starting way back in December with much smaller and less "news worthy" (not my call) protests. Whether or not everyone was paying attention at the time, I think most people understand that the results of the protests in Tunisia have had a profound effect on the entire Arab world. I could be wrong about this, but I think that Mohamed Bouazizi is a name that people throughout the Arab world will know for years.

    I have to say when the protest organizers started calling for today's demonstrations to be the "Million Man Protest" I thought to myself don't call it that -- then, if only 10,000 of you show up Mubarak can declare it a failure and a sign that the movement is slowing down. Sure looks like they achieved their goal today. Amazing.
    Last edited by RageAgainstTheAoki; 02-01-2011 at 08:12 AM.

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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by PassiveTheory View Post
    So... Where the hell were you all when Tunisia just had this shit happen earlier last month?
    To be fair, the Tunisia one was over pretty quickly and involved nowhere near as many people.

    I hear Morocco may be the next biggie.
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Hey, look how shitty this house of cards is. Everyone stay still.

  18. #108
    Coachella Junkie Aurgasm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Tunisia is a different story, but sure it helped bolster the Cairo protests that started in '08 by a female BM member and got reignited after rigged parliamentary elections in Nov.

    Morocco is unlikely to fall next. Jordan and Yemen.

    Mubarak will unroll sweeping subsidies today. Wait for it
    Last edited by Aurgasm; 02-01-2011 at 08:38 AM.
    Rhythm is a dancer.

  19. #109
    Peaceful Oasis TomAz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    I also have secret inside information from Page 1 of the New York Times.

    February 1, 2011
    Jordan’s King Dismisses Cabinet
    By RANYA KADRI and ETHAN BRONNER
    AMMAN, Jordan — King Abdullah II of Jordan fired his government in a surprise move on Tuesday, in the face of a wave of demands of public accountability sweeping the Arab world and bringing throngs of demonstrators to the streets of Egypt.

    The Jordanian news agency Petra announced that after recent protests in Jordan itself, the king had dismissed Prime Minister Samir Rifai and replaced him with Marouf al-Bakhit, a former general and ambassador to Israel and Turkey. He is widely viewed as clean of corruption.

    The official announcement said Mr. Bakhit would have the task of “taking practical, swift and tangible steps to start a real political reform process, in line with the king’s version of comprehensive reform, modernization and development.” It added that the king asked Mr. Bakhit and the new cabinet to “bolster democracy” and proceed “with nation building that opens the scope for broad accomplishment to all dear sons or our country and secure them the safe and dignified life they deserve.”

    Jordan is a highly literate and largely stable country, with well-developed security and intelligence operations. But it has a fundamental vulnerability in the large number of Palestinians here. Refugees arrived in large numbers from the West Bank and Jerusalem after the war in 1967, and more arrived from Kuwait after President Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded in 1991. They and their descendants make up more than half the country’s population of six million.

    Recent demonstrations in Jordan were the first serious challenge to the decade-old rule of King Abdullah, a crucial American ally in the region who is contending with his country’s worst economic crisis in years.

    Last Friday, thousands took to the streets in the capital, Amman, as well as several other cities shouting, “We want change.” Because direct criticism of the king is banned, the focus has been on his government. Banners decried high food and fuel prices and demanded the resignation of the prime minister, appointed by the king.

    On Saturday there was a sit-in of about 400 people in front of the prime minister’s office calling for his resignation. He has been criticized for what is seen as a lack of accountability.

    In recent months, journalists, former generals and students have attacked corruption, lower subsidies and lack of democracy in Jordan, especially recent reductions in freedom of expression. The marchers have been a mix of Islamists, trade unionists and leftists. To counter the criticism, the king recently announced an increase in civil service pay and $125 million in subsidies for basic goods and fuel.

    After Tuesday’s announcement of a new prime minister, reactions among protest leaders were cautiously positive.

    Nahed Hattar, a leftist activist, said in a telephone interview that he considered the change a good move but that he wanted to see the government program before rendering judgment.

    Ali Habashneh, a retired general who had participated in public protests, said the appointment was “wise,” adding, “He is the right man to lead the country at this time.”

    The new prime minister, Mr. Bakhit, served briefly in the post once before in 2006 after Amman hotels were attacked by terrorists. He is close to the king and has been closely involved in the peace treaty with Israel.

    While King Abdullah has detractors in Jordan, there seems at the moment to be little push to end the monarchy. The pressure has been focused on economic issues and government accountability.

    Meanwhile, also in response to the mood sweeping the region, in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority announced it would hold local elections, postponed last year, “as soon as possible.” Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government said it would set the election date next week.


    Ranya Kadri reported from Amman, Jordan, and Ethan Bronner from Ramallah, West Bank.


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  20. #110
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    It seems like Mubarak wants to try and turn the middle class (and upper-middle class?) who are supportive of the protesters but choose to stay home themselves. Is that the impression you get, Aurgasm?

  21. #111
    Coachella Junkie Alchemy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    WASHINGTON — President Obama has told the embattled president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, that he should not run for another term in elections in the fall, effectively withdrawing American support for its closest Arab ally, according to American diplomats in Cairo and Washington.
    Closing in!
    Quote Originally Posted by canexplain View Post
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  22. #112
    business time tessalasset's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    This is pretty amazing. I just now read in to what these past few days have been about.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ardentbiscuit View Post
    This is the equivalent of musical water boarding.

  23. #113
    business time tessalasset's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Oh wow, he's stepping down.

    Mubarak says he'll step down in September


    Quote Originally Posted by Ardentbiscuit View Post
    This is the equivalent of musical water boarding.

  24. #114
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Not fast enough.

  25. #115
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    Yeah, we'll see how the rest of the week goes. Some translators were saying that following his speech, the crowds were chanting things like "leave now!" and "we'll be here Thursday, we'll be here Friday!" No idea how reliable those translations are, but I guess we'll find out in the coming days.

  26. #116
    Coachella Junkie Alchemy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    President Obama strongly suggested that Mr. Mubarak’s concession was not enough, declaring that an “orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now.”
    The pressure is on.
    Quote Originally Posted by canexplain View Post
    I try to be politically pc more than most here: As a dude, anyone who could put a shark up a gals pc body, is pretty creepy, different and interesting. Just saying big time ..... cr****

  27. #117
    Beef Supreme Mr.Nipples's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    looking to purchase:big brother skateboarding magazine back issues. travis bean tb1000s electric guitars.

  28. #118
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    I've enjoyed reading this thread. Nice posts, Forza.

    Except this one...

    Quote Originally Posted by PassiveTheory View Post
    So... Where the hell were you all when Tunisia just had this shit happen earlier last month?
    Where were you? Your indignation is idiotic.
    .

  29. #119
    Coachella Junkie sonofhal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    It's all going off today.

    Yesterday - Mubarak says he'll step down in Sept to try and clear protestors but they don't leave.

    Today - Mubarak arranges for busloads of his supporters (or people happy to be paid to be) to come into town to show support for him.

    Shit has gone off. Fights, petrol bombs etc. It's going to be a crazy night.
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    well, for all intensive porpoises it is, will sell out within seconds tomorrow.
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  30. #120
    Coachella Junkie MissingPerson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh Egypt. My heart is with you.

    I heard the internet access is back?

    Seems weird to flip the switch on the day you finally set the dogs on people.

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