January 28th, 2011

Egypt in turmoil

I haven’t yet written about the demonstrations and turmoil in Egypt, because I keep trying to find a report that seems to have a handle on what is actually occurring there—and even more importantly, what might be about to happen there.

I’ve given up on the latter, though. Once such forces are unleashed, it’s very difficult to know who is in control and who will emerge victorious. That’s the reason that US realpolitikers have tended to support the status quo and the strongmen who represent it.

If you want a roundup of what’s happening in Egypt right now as best we can tell, see this, this, and this, as well as this on the internet ban.

This article has an ominous tone to me. I have been concerned from the start about the possible influence and popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood, a currently-banned Islamist fundamentalist group that has its roots in Egypt in the earlier part of the twentieth century. And here’s some background on the position of El Baradei, who might (accent on the “might”) be in a position to take charge in a while.

The Egyptian people are protesting in favor of democracy. As a person who remembers the turmoil of the Iranian revolution of 1979—the different groups temporarily united for the Shah’s overthrow and then jockeying for position (vainly) against the fundamentalist Islamists who quickly established their dominance—I have to say the situation makes me nervous. But as my moniker indicates, I’m strongly for democracy—if it goes hand in hand with liberty and is not merely a case of “one person, one vote, one time” and after that, tyranny and rigged elections.

Which will it be in Egypt? Or will it be something in-between? I don’t even pretend to know. Nor, I believe, does anyone else.

[ADDENDUM: El Baradei is now under house arrest.]

69 Responses to “Egypt in turmoil”

  1. Scott Says:

    The English language version of Al-Jazeera has good video coverage and several articles.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Scott: well, ordinarily I hate to link to Al-Jazeera, but you are correct that in a situation such as this it’s probably a good bet.

  3. Artfldgr Says:

    Those other events you list were unpredictable because we had two super powers playing proxy games. this time, one is gone and whats going on is pretty much unopposed, so one side can only win.

  4. IgotBupkis Says:

    Wolf Howling seems to be pretty good at sniffing out real facts on ME events, much like Fausta does a great job on Latin American events — he did a pretty good job on coverage of the Iranian post-election protests, for example.

    Here’s his first installment on Egypt…
    A 3 A.M. Phone Call From Egypt

  5. IgotBupkis Says:

    > so one side can only win.

    Yeah, except our side has Obama and Jimmy Carter. Look what a great job Carter did on Iran.

  6. LAG Says:

    The first thought that occurred to me after hearing one of the talking heads mention the Suez Canal was ’1956.’ Assuming for the moment that over the next few weeks and months that the Muslim Brotherhood does gain control, they might see that one way to make life very difficult for the Great Satan is to deny it use of the Canal. (As a former naval person I can tell you, this is a big deal.)

    That’s where the ’1956′ reference comes from. In 1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser tossed out the last Egyptian monarch and nationalized the Canal. A short time later, Britain, France and Israel struck to regain control. They failed for a couple of reasons. First, Eisenhower objected and then there was that Hungarian uprising and tank-crushing to consider.

    Will this be the US’s 1956? Will we play the role we long ago assumed from Britain? Or will we roll? Or will O give another speech in Cairo? (Which happens, BTW, to be the dirtiest city in the world from my experience.)

    A bit later another talking head from a security consulting organization gave a pretty good analysis and made a reasonable prediction. He expected that the Egyptian Army has all the power it needs to reestablish order but won’t do so until the current security forces have been beaten down and Mubarak essentially discredited. They favor this because the Army does not want him to pass the presidential office to his son. Once that stage is reached, bang. Thereafter, the Army will place their own candidate in office and return to barracks.

    I like this as a prediction, but it should be noted that it only works if the rank and file go along. If the soldiers decline to shoot their fellah citizens (no, that’s not a misspelling, just a bad pun) it probably won’t turn out as expected.

    One things for sure, it’s worth paying attention–history is being made today.

  7. Artfldgr Says:

    Maybe Obama’s apologizing in Egypt made the opposition think that if they act to seize power, Obama wont do anything…

  8. Scott Says:

    neo-neocon:

    If you don’t want people using your blog as a “jumping off point” to Al-Jazeera, feel free to delete either my comment or the link to Al-Jazeera that I included within the comment. I was trying to be helpful but I understand completely not wanting to link to the site.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Scott: no, that’s fine.

  10. DirtyJobsGUy Says:

    I’ve done business in Tunisia for several years and what seems to have triggered the revolt was hard economic times. The taxi drivers would alway make cynical jokes about the rich and politicians (my french is not good enough to understand them all but I got the point), but the country was not a brutal dictatorship.

    Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen are the current list of unrest countries. All have little or no oil. They are strongly impacted by the weak world economies and rising prices for food, fuel and other staples. The islamacists could take power proposing to take the spoils from the current group in power, but this can only be short lived. Failure to deliver on a better economy would be death to any group.

  11. Bob from Virginia Says:

    For more on the Moslem Brotherhood which our dear Leader made a point of inviting to his Cairo speech see below:
    http://pajamasmedia.com/michaeltotten/2010/10/11/the-muslim-brotherhoods-declaration-of-war/

    Prof. Rubin at Rubin Report assures us that the Moslem Brotherhood will take over any mass revolt. Rantings of a Sandmonkey says there is no Islamist element in the demonstrations but I believe he is offline now. He may also be dead but I doubt it.

    I wonder how the media will spin this to make Obama look wise?

  12. vanderleun Says:

    In Egypt, s. happens for a few days more. Army comes in. Ends it with guns. Core cadres of the Muslim Brotherhood disappear and fill slots in the desert. Mubarak stays for continuity and to mask the coup.

  13. Perfected democrat Says:

    “Which will it be in Egypt? Or will it be something in-between? I don’t even pretend to know. Nor, I believe, does anyone else.”

    In the arab world it is whoever is capable of being the nastiest. If anyone has an in-depth and realistic perspective on the events that are unfolding, it is Caroline Glick in her MUST READ essay today, The Pragmatic Fantasy,: http://carolineglick.com/

    [neo-neocon adds: here's the link to Click's article itself.]

  14. Oblio Says:

    I left Cairo this morning at 4 am, and having been in the air all day, I’m just catching up with events. My impression on the ground was that the security forces are alert but still supportive of order (or afraid of disorder) and the government. That’s essential. Second, they seem to have a strategy for arresting the opposition leadership, disrupting communications by cutting off cell phones and internet access and making maximal use of non-lethal force. A 6 pm curfew is in place. I was assured that the demonstrations are not “anti-Western,” but against “the system.” No one I talked to thought the government would fall over this, and they had just gone to the trouble of packing Parliament with their supporters. This is obviously a worm’s eye view, so take it for what it’s worth.

    There is no question that poverty plays a role. The impact of food prices is harder to estimate, since food for the poor is so highly subsidized. There is a general sense of crisis across the region, beginning with riots in Algeria, the revolution in Tunisia that started because of the way a policewoman (!) “humiliated” a fruit seller, secession of Southern Sudan, the fall of the Lebanese government, a bombing campaign against Shia and Christians in Iraq, and major riots in Yemen. In the meantime, the “Palestinian Papers” provided by Wikileaks and published by al-Jazeera (I think) have provoked an internal Palestinian crisis, with the suggestion that Abbas might have offered to sacrifice the idea of a Palestinian Right of Return.

    The proximate cause of the Egyptian disturbances is “police brutality,” especially in the case of a young Salafist arrested in Alexandria after the New Year’s attack on the Copts. The young man died in police custody. The government has blamed the bombing on a Palestinian al-Qaeda splinter group, neatly hitting three birds with one stone: the Muslim brotherhood by inference, the Palestinians, and the Israelis. The papers are also full of speculation about how the Israelis will use turmoil in the Arab world to distract attention from the Peace Process. The papers also see Israeli troublemaking in the Sudanese secession vote. There are concerns that upstream countries will divert too much of the Nile’s water.

    Something’s got to give, but I think the narrative about “democracy in the streets” is way too simple.

  15. Perfected democrat Says:

    Don’t forget how Anwar Sadat died, Mubarak is history, while Elbaradei is a loyal muslim above all else….

  16. Oldflyer Says:

    I have no doubt that the Army will try to take control at some point. LAG raises the essential question, however. Will the rank and file obey orders? Or will there be a revolt within the Army?

    If the Army fails, I suspect the the MB will be the one entity best organized to exploit the situation. That would be a very bad outcome.

  17. Artfldgr Says:

    Larger, and more violent, anti-government demonstrations are showing up in Algeria, in the last two weeks (since the dictatorship in neighboring Tunisia was overthrown). So far, the violence has led to about ten deaths, and over a thousand wounded. The people want economic, and political, justice, and an end to the “emergency rule” (sort of martial law, with increased police powers) that has been in force for two decades.

    The dictatorships all operate in the same model. The government is run by a skillful politician who has set up a system whereby those who support the dictatorship get jobs or economic opportunities. In this way, about ten percent can live off the other 90 percent. The problem with this system is that it tends to be try and be hereditary, and that means that after a few generations, natural selection sees to it that the ruling class is less able and the unhappy other 90 percent has more political talent, often enough to overthrow the government.

    The only problem here is avoiding the leaders of the revolution from establishing another. That is supposed to be avoided via democracy, but some of the democracies established in the wake of the 1989-91 collapse of communist governments turned into dictatorships pretending to be democracies.

  18. LAG Says:

    I’m trying to follow Gibbs press conference right now, and I get hints that the White House seems to be ready to cut Mubarak loose. I don’t hear anything even vaguely approaching support for the government.

  19. Perfected democrat Says:

    Six hours ago: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/28/biden-mubarak-step/

    Obama won’t betray a loyal ally, right?

  20. Artfldgr Says:

    on another set of notes on the outskirts of current situations…

    Sweden is running out of soldiers. It all began when, six months ago, Sweden abolished conscription.

    yes. they cut back, decided not to conscript, and now their feminized emasculated people wont join and protect themselves. [we shall see where this will lead since malmo and a few other places have silently fallen to islam. gang rapes are common among other things. and their mulitcultural laws forbid the news inside the country to say much that would influence the outcome]

    Israel has ordered its military to fortify critical military installations against missile and rocket attack. This would mean a lot more underground (or partially so) storage facilities. Last year the military was ordered to disperse its stocks of supplies, equipment and spare parts to a larger number of (better protected) locations. Apparently, it was later determined that putting more stuff in bunkers was also necessary. This fortification program will begin next year.

    so they are not exactly sitting still in this and lots of other things…

    Somali Islamic terror group al Shabaab is having recruiting problems, and they are solving it by recruiting kids. Fighting in Mogadishu (the old capital of Somalia) has not been going well for al Shabaab, and many of their fighters have been killed, or discouraged enough to desert. Unable to entice enough men to join, they have convinced (or coerced) some clan elders to allow kids (large enough to handle an AK-47) to join the fight. The kids have been eager for the opportunity to have an AK-47 of their very own, and people to shoot at. This is a big deal for Somali teenagers.

    perhaps an immigration program would help?

    After several million Cold War surplus AK-47s began showing up in Africa in the 1990s, the “child soldier” became a practical factor in war. The cheap AK-47 made it possible to use kids as young as 10-14 years old, as soldiers. This was a new development, because the old weapons (spears, swords, bows) required muscle. Kids had to be older, and stronger. But now, if you could lift a 4.5 kg (ten pound) AK-47 and pull the trigger, you were a killer. Child soldiers changed everything, because warlords could just kidnap or entice kids and quickly brainwash them. These armies of child killers made insurrection and anarchy more common. Tens of millions of Africans fled their homes to avoid these tiny terrors, and many of those refugees died of starvation or disease.

    I guess communism is still making and selling and supplying weapons. Victor Bout in our films was turned into an american, but sad that the left doesnt know who the real deal was or is

    and what really should be the focus

    In North Korea, a terror campaign is in progress. Security forces have been ordered to arrest anyone openly criticizing the government, or communicating with the outside world (via cell phone or just reading pamphlets from South Korea). Violators are increasingly being executed publically, and news of these deaths allowed to quickly spread.

    January 13, 2011: North Korea has agreed to restore the Red Cross sponsored hotline across the DMZ. The north shot down this phone connection last year, to protest South Korean anger at North Korea sinking a South Korean warship.

    its a lot easier to have a world war and skim the finances of the mess to fix the problem than it would be to just let the stuff clear on its own with no hands in the game making it worse

    and last..

    The Iraqi Army is hustling to get ready to deal with Iran, by the time the last 50,000 U.S. troops leave at the end of the year. Increased oil production, and oil prices, has made it possible to recruit more troops, and equip more combat divisions. Particularly noteworthy is the creation of Chemical Defense Regiments, with the goal of one of these units being assigned to each combat division over the next few years. The only neighbor known to have chemical weapons is Iran. Iraqi diplomats spend a lot of time trying to improve relationships with Iran, but just in case things go south, the Iraqi military is preparing for the worst.

    we are watching a world war start…
    as these states get into it…

    you have lots of them in which the few elite at the top feel safe and have an imperitive to fix or do something rather than not.

    north south korea is in conflict

    iran iraq are now heating up
    some of the moribund socialist dictatorships are being reorganized into islamic brotherhood states with hamas and russian connections for weapons.

    chavez and others are supplying and building for columbia and so forth.

    mexico is bleeding over to here…
    with AQ stuff being found in the desert, including an islamic imam…

    that map of the break up and reformation of the US is starting to look a lot less crazy. (but less crazy is never sane).

    albania is in play

    pakistan is about to enter play

    china is threatening taiwan and the US interference

    before obama when discussing the war, and the future, i said they would turn on every burner in the kitchen if we tried to seal the door to all that trade in weapons and these other games.

    we did
    they did
    we stopped
    they didnt…

    is the kitchen hot enough yet?

  21. Artfldgr Says:

    Jordan and Yemen are now starting to be in play as well…
    [anyone remember what started WWI?]

    n Jordan thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets of Amman and six other cities to demand that the prime minister, Samir Rifai, step down amid anger over rising prices, inflation and unemployment.

    A crowd of 3,000 protesters — among them Islamists, leftists and trade unionists — gathered in the capital, chanting: “We want change.”

    and
    Thousands of protesters have also taken to the streets in Yemen in recent days to demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled the country for nearly 32 years. Socialists, Islamists, and youth activists shut down the streets of Sana’a yesterday as they sang songs and shouted patriotic slogans.

    so be aware who is organizing, double crossing the people they had relationships with, putting new blood in place and is preparing…

    i wont say who… but all one has to do is know the history…

    =======================

    The move by Egyptian authorities to seal off the country almost entirely from the Internet shows how easily a state can isolate its people when telecoms providers are few and compliant.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/41311587

    [realize that a kill switch like this is in the works for here too]

  22. Bilwick Says:

    I blame the vitriolic, hate-filled rhetoric of the Egyptian Tea Party.

  23. Artfldgr Says:

    Egyptian Army tanks have allegedly surrounded the embassies of the United States and United Kingdom. This comes after Israel evacuated its entire embassy staff via helicopter. This is coming in through their live blog, and further details appear scarce. The BBC is quoting an al-Jazeera cable: 2125: Tanks have surrounded the US and British embassies in Cairo, Al-Jazeera reports.

  24. colagirl Says:

    I remember something Michael Totten (I think) said a while ago: that from what he had seen, Iran and Egypt seemed to be mirror-images of each other. In Iran, the government was virulently anti-Israel and anti-Western, but the people (especially the youth) were much less so, whereas in Egypt, the government was fairly friendly to Israel and the West, but the people were much more hostile. He said that he wouldn’t be surprised if in 25 years, Iran and Egypt had traded places, with Iran being more or less friendly to the west, but Egypt having joined the gallery of rogue nations. Was he right? I dunno, but I’ve been thinking about that as I watch this story unfold.

  25. Artfldgr Says:

    Reports are getting out that stuff is happening by the Suez canal now… oh boy…

    In the canal city of Suez, protesters overran a police station, seized weapons and torched security force vehicles in fierce clashes during which a protester was killed, witnesses said. But in a hint that authorities might heed public anger, a senior lawmaker and member of the ruling party called for “unprecedented reforms” in order to stave off a revolution. They fired warning shots and used water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets in a bid to quash the rising tide of popular anger. As the violence raged, Mustafa al-Fekki, National Democratic Party (NDP) member and chairman of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said security forces alone could not prevent revolution in Egypt, that reform was necessary. “Nowhere in the world can the security forces put an end to revolution,” he said in remarks to Al-Jazeera television. (Bold mine.)

    (good thing that russia made an agreement with chavez, that way supplies dont stop if the suez closes)

    in case people havent noticed, its being referred to as the Jasmine Revolution… that will tell you that a democratic republic is NOT whats going to be there when done.

    in fact, Obama with the 1.5 billion can choose who will win, and they are teasing with that!!!

    “Large demonstrations in Syria started at the Yarmouk camp in Damascus after Friday prayers from al-Wassseem mosque. People from Al-Zahera and Assali joined the crowd. Police opened fire in the air. Crowd dispersed.”

    ‘Tens of thousands’ of protesters have taken to the streets of Sa’ana Yemen to condemn that nation’s government. Yemen, ruled by a dictatorship, has seen tremendous instability during its history, from division and civil war to today’s insurgency and attacks by al Qaeda. These protests largely took place yesterday but may be further fueled by those in Egypt today.

    The unrest in Egypt has spread to Jordan. The moderate Muslim state is now facing protests in its capital, Amman. Jordan has some experience with democracy, but most power still remains in the hands of its monarch, King Abdullah.

    Jordan, like Egypt, is a US ally and has a peace treaty with Israel.

    what a marvelous way to avoid being called a cheat for war in violation of a treaty (like russia with latvia and their treaty). reform the state, treaties are null, all is well to act.

  26. Occam's Beard Says:

    Christ, thanks, Art, now I’m really depressed.

  27. Ozyripus Says:

    Re: O’s Beard comment:

    Yes.

  28. Jim Ash Says:

    Considering all of the above information and the obvious bad influence of the Muslim Brotherhood
    in all of this, it strikes me as VERY BAD for our
    Gov. spokesmen and SEcState to take the side of the protesters.
    It is ridiculous.
    Certainly Mrs. Clinton must know that these demonstartions are “Islamist” ( In the political sense) in nature ?

  29. Parker Says:

    All that anyone can safely predict at this point is that no one can predict what will happen. However, it is difficult to believe Egypt will become a stable, pro-western nation if the current ruling structure falls. I suspect there is a great deal of panic in the State Department right now and having Obama in the oval office during a crisis of this potential magnitude is disconcerting to say the least.

  30. expat Says:

    This is exactly the kind of 4-D chess situation that makes me want foreign policy to be a big factor in choosing our leaders. You can have the right values and be smart, but it takes some serious study time to develop a sense of not just what to do but when and how to do it. Crisis management skills are crucial.

  31. Tom Says:

    I’m depressed also. Maybe that’s too strong; may be better to say I am quite unprepared to expect anything, anything at all, favorable to come of all this. Glad you’re outta there, Oblio.

    Mohamed El-Baridhei* is and has been a conniving fool, and this will end badly for him too. He appears to think he is a saint in UN blue around whom the masses in their frenzy will rally.

    * I do not know and do not care how he wants his name spelled.

  32. Occam's Beard Says:

    in all of this, it strikes me as VERY BAD for our Gov. spokesmen and SEcState to take the side of the protesters.

    Yup. The time to step up re protesters was during the Iranian unrest, where the protesters made clear their pro-Western – and pro-American – sympathies, and were protesting against a staunchly anti-American government. There, where we had nothing to lose, it would have been appropriate to support the protesters, but bupkis from the Messiah.

    This situation, where the leanings of the protesters are not at all clear, and the current government is friendly towards us, would be an excellent time for Hillary & Co. to practice stifling themselves (“smart diplomacy?” If only). Otherwise we might be supporting a future ayatollah knockoff. Instead of coming out on either side, it would be smarter to come out for the outcome we’d like to see, viz., a friendly, peaceful (and preferably democratic) government. This time they step for the protesters. They consistently do the wrong thing at every turn. They must be idiots, or traitors, or both.

  33. Occam's Beard Says:

    I suspect there is a great deal of panic in the State Department right now and having Obama in the oval office during a crisis of this potential magnitude is disconcerting to say the least.

    it takes some serious study time to develop a sense of not just what to do but when and how to do it. Crisis management skills are crucial.

    You two are not cheering me up, you know. My metaphor for the State Department right now is Laurel and Hardy trying to paint out of the same bucket, while Obama frantically tries to phone Mr. Soros for orders.

    I do not know and do not care how he wants his name spelled.

    It’s transliterated anyway, so the spelling is a free kick!

  34. Parker Says:

    Occam’s Beard:

    Agree, best to stand down and see which way this is headed. Also agree we should have given strong moral support to the Iranian protesters.

    Artfldgr:

    Your list of troubled nations/regions is spot on. I would add most, if not all, of equatorial Africa and the Philippines to your list. This is indeed a dangerous and extremely unstable era. Chaos is likely to intensify as the global economy teeter-totters between collapse and hyperinflation. And, the looming food shortage will hit the less developed nations in their most vulnerable area. (Makes one pine for the cold war.)

    BTW, why is Albania “in play”? I know very little about what goes on in Albania.

  35. Occam's Beard Says:

    And, the looming food shortage will hit the less developed nations in their most vulnerable area.

    Yep. Do you suppose the bioethanol idiots will own up re food shortages/prices?

    It’s a rhetorical question.

  36. expat Says:

    Latest via WaPo eMail and Yahoo Germany: Mubarak is dismissing his government, but will stay on himself. He says he will make reforms.

  37. Oblio Says:

    Don’t forget el-Baradei’s yeoman service in making sure that Iran made progress toward getting nuclear weapons.

    CNN seemed to be cheering on the demonstrators and spreading rumors of the moral collapse of the regime, with stories about government officials and their family members leaving the country. The White House’s demands for restoring social networking and keeping the Army out of the situation was one-sided in this way: both moves are intended to improve the correlation of forces in favor of the demonstrators. International publicity and pressure will prevent the Egyptian Government from acting ruthlessly. Conclusion, official Washington and the International Community are in favor of chaos in Egypt, since neither they nor anyone else can know what will emerge in the aftermath of what CNN is calling a “Revolt.”

    Perhaps they think that some combination of media talking heads and mob violence maximizes their own influence and importance, but if so, they are playing the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

    The irresponsibility and fecklessness of Obama’s policy is not to be believed, especially by comparison with its supine posture versus Iran.

    Niall Ferguson reminds us that appeasement as a strategy is directed at the strong, not the weak.

    By contrast, Mubarek read the Riot Act and promised reform. He sacked his cabinet, but the Army is taking over from the police in Tahir Square. That doesn’t sound like the moral collapse of the CNN narrative.

  38. Oblio Says:

    Add Pakistan to the list. When the lawyers are out in the street agitating on behalf of an Islamicist assassin in Lahore, you know you are reaching the crisis.

  39. rickl Says:

    I didn’t know Frances Fox Piven was so influential in Egypt.

  40. Richard Aubrey Says:

    You’ll note Mubarak didn’t blame or even mention Israel.
    Thing is, Wikileaks showed that the Arab governments were really concerned about Iran. They talked about Israel to keep the masses and morons (including the zero admin) distracted from domestic issues.

  41. Parker Says:

    ricki says, “I didn’t know Frances Fox Piven was so influential in Egypt.”

    What a crack up! I almost feel off my chair.

  42. Parker Says:

    Occam’s Beard:

    That’s why we call them bio-ethanol idiots!

    (Rhetorical answer.)

  43. Occam's Beard Says:

    Nothing to do with Piven. This has Sarah Palin’s pawprints all over it.

  44. Parker Says:

    ricki,

    After I feel off my chair I hit my heed on the proverbial floor. ;-)

  45. Parker Says:

    Parker’s Razor: Never attribute to Sarah Palin what can be blamed on Darth Cheney.

  46. Occam's Beard Says:

    Bookworm has connected the dots re bioethanol and food shortages. For some reason a comment with the hyperlink in it won’t post.

  47. rickl Says:

    Sorry ’bout that, Parker. :)

    There’s lots of other good commentary. Belmont Club has too many posts to link. OK, here’s the current one:

    Text Like an Egyptian

    See also the Market Ticker:

    How To Destabilize A Region

  48. Gringo Says:

    Occam’s Beard
    Bookworm has connected the dots re bioethanol and food shortages. For some reason a comment with the hyperlink in it won’t post.

    While her commenting software was once good, it is now rather problematic. While I have occasionally seen some comments with embedded hyperlinks, I cannot use them with my Firefox system when commenting there.

    Hints for posting links on Bookworm’s site:

    1) Post a link without embedding the link: naked link, as it were.
    2) Sometimes two links, or sometimes more than two links will cause the comment to be held up for blog owner approval.
    3) If you post a comment from a Word doc, you will initially see some code after the first preview. The code will disappear after the second preview.
    4) One advantage of Bookworm’s commenting software: it has preview.
    5) IMHO, commenting software has gotten worse over the years, perhaps in response to trying to cut out spam. Here is my definition of good commenting software: allows italics, blockquote, lots of embedded links, and has preview. The number of sites that have all of those have considerably diminished- at least where I go.

  49. rickl Says:

    I just heard an ABC News story on the radio that mentioned that the rioters paused to pray at various times. So yeah, it’s the Islamists driving this.

  50. Curtis Says:

    GOOD. Get the Islamists out in the open where we can kill them. Like sucking the poison out of snake bite.

  51. Occam's Beard Says:

    Thanks for the tips, Gringo, but actually I was trying to post here the link to her site. No biggie.

  52. rickl Says:

    Um, Curtis, who’s “we”? The government led by Obama?

  53. Curtis Says:

    Ahhh! Sorry, thought I was back in the Bush years.

  54. Artfldgr Says:

    BTW, why is Albania “in play”? I know very little about what goes on in Albania.

    to tell you the truth my first guess was more economic, but sadly i have to defer to Reuters.

    The Socialists refuse to accept the results of a 2009 election which gave Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s Democratic Party a second four-year term by the narrowest margin since Albania toppled communism. They accuse his government of corruption and vote fraud.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/25/us-albania-qa-idUSTRE70O2JW20110125

    and uk is basically passing this one around..

    Egypt protests: America’s secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8289686/Egypt-protests-Americas-secret-backing-for-rebel-leaders-behind-uprising.html

  55. Parker Says:

    Yo Curtis,

    We missed our big opportunity when we attempted to ‘nation build’ in Iraq and Afghanistan. I favored crushing the Saddam regime and bitch slapping the Taliban. But after dethroning Saddam and the Taliban Then, I wanted us to leave and let the Shite (Persians) and the Sunni (Arabs and others) partisans of Islam to rush into the vacuum and fight each other over control of Iraq and Afghanistan. I would have gladly supported spending billions to surreptitiously give both a sides all the ammo & weapons they might desire.

    And, I was willing to assure the Kurds in northern Iraq that we would be happy to act as their air force…. just to stick a thorn into Turkey’s vulnerable side. Turkey may become a big problem for western civilization and needs to be kept off balance.

    To me that is how a great power conducts war & diplomacy. Instead of uniting your enemies, set them against one another. “Sit patiently on the river bank and wait for the bloated, dead bodies of your enemy to come floating by.”

  56. br549 Says:

    When nations made up of individuals that have a strong sense of self preservation were the only ones with access, I never really feared nuclear weapons. MAD actually made sense – sort of. In nations where the coolest thing you can possibly do is blow yourself up, and take as many with you as possible, well, that’s a horse of a different color.

  57. Gary Rosen Says:

    “Obama won’t betray a loyal ally, right?”

    You are such a kidder!

  58. physicsguy Says:

    This morning drudge is linking to a report in the London Telegraph, that BHO’s administration has been in contact with the protesteors for over two years, and knew this was being planned. If the report is true, BHO has been engineering this all along.

    If Egypt goes Islamic, and the report is true, this is worse than anything Carter ever did.

  59. Sergey Says:

    To me it looks just as a repeat of Russian revolution, when delusional liberals grossly underestimated the destructive forces of a popular revolt and just as grossly overestimated their ability to take it under control. The appropriate citation is
    “As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;”
    this is actually a citation from Bible:
    Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
    2 Peter 2:21-22

  60. IgotBupkis Says:

    Of related interest:

    Fjordman: Why Islam Must Be Expelled From The West

    In addition to the above, Pajamas Media has this:

    In Norway, an Awakening to the Islamist Danger

    ====================================================================================================

    In addition, Wolf Howling now has several excellent pieces to provide background on the Egyptian element of this topic:

    Egypt’s El Baradie Not An Option

    Egypt Update I

    A 3AM Phone Call From Egypt

    Check back with him regularly — if his coverage of the Iranian riots in 2009 are any indication, he should likely be a good source for background info on this subject as well as a source for the latest information.

  61. IgotBupkis Says:

    > (Which happens, BTW, to be the dirtiest city in the world from my experience.)

    Worse than cities in India? I have no experience to gauge from, but I’ve heard that, upon leaving one of the major cities in India after any extended stay there, one wonders if you’ll ever feel really clean again.

  62. Brad Says:

    Here’s the guy whose death helped bring down Tunisia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Bouazizi

    There’s a lesson in all that about respecting your people’s pride, giving a crap about their employment opportunities, and not being openly corrupt.

  63. rickl Says:

    This is off-topic, but funny:

    If A Liberal And A Tea Partier Had Been Aboard The Titanic

  64. Tom Says:

    Brad posts to prove the truth of Sergey’s citation.

  65. rickl Says:

    Back on topic, I saw this at Ace’s:

    Egyptian army storms museum to protect from looters

    One man pleaded with people outside the museum’s gates on Tahrir Square not to loot the building, shouting at the crowd: “We are not like Baghdad.” After the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, thieves carted off thousands of artifacts from the National Museum in Baghdad — only a fraction of which have been recovered.

    Suddenly other young men — some armed with truncheons taken from the police — formed a human chain outside the main entrance in an attempt to protect the collection inside.

    “I’m standing here to defend and to protect our national treasure,” said one of the men, Farid Saad, a 40-year-old engineer.

    Another man, 26-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim, said it was important to guard the museum because it “has 5,000 years of our history. If they steal it, we’ll never find it again.”

    Finally, four armored vehicles took up posts outside the massive coral-colored building in downtown Cairo. Soldiers surrounded the building and moved inside to protect mummies, monumental stone statues, ornate royal jewelry and other pharaonic artifacts.

  66. ziontruth Says:

    “The Egyptian people are protesting in favor of democracy.”

    Look, I know this is hard for people of the 21st century to accept, but something must be understood: The Muslim world is medieval, and the man in the Muslim street thinks medieval.

    In 13th-century Europe, a father whose son had just confessed to disbelieving in God would promptly deliver the demon-possessed boy to the Dominican friars for the next auto-da-fe. By today’s standards this sounds unthinkable; back then, it was the way people were.

    Luther didn’t have textual criticism of the Bible in mind when he pinned his theses to the church door, nor did the uprisings against the nobles or the king stem out of a democratic impulse. It would all be anachronistic until the end of the 18th century, and even then the French Revolution ended with the guillotine and Napoleon.

    The people in Egypt are protesting against Mubarak’s regime, which, like the Shah’s regime in Iran, no one can deny is a dictatorship. They’re not protesting against Islam. They’re not opposed to shariah law, except for a very thin layer of intellectuals who have to phrase their words carefully unless they want to end up like Naguib Mahfouz. They’re medievals, pure and simple. The Muslim world is pretty much “The Valley The Enlightenment Forgot.”

    Forget about true democracy in the Muslim world. The best hope there was for it, the relatively secularized state of Turkey, is now backslidden into the old path. The impulse toward shariah law is not in this politician or that imam–they just put the rubber-stamp on it. It’s in the man in the street. The man in the street has the same thoughts in his head as his ancestor 500 years ago. Crazy as life under shariah law seems to the moderns, it’s an authentic and grassroots desire in the entire Islamic world. The army of Islam is comprised of close to all the 1.6 billion, not just a few who call themselves Al-Qaeda or Taliban.

    There’s no way around this harsh truth.

  67. Sergey Says:

    Absolutely true, ziontruth. Only one neccessary clarification: this is not High Medieval period. No Gothic cathedrals, no eleborate philosophy or theology. This is Early Medieval, also known as Dark Ages. What we see on the streets now is just primordial savagery, madness of crowds. Purely destructive impulse, with no chance of creating something except total chaos.

  68. MT of Hollywood Says:

    wow. what a treasure trove of uncommon sense.

    John Bolton last night on Greta said something like, “So those who think this is the ‘dawning of the Age of Aquarius’ in Egypt are mistaken.”

    I heard a Young Liberal Newscaster (YLN) talking to his pal on some phone that still worked. YLN was having a great time reporting this ‘n that. His friend said, upon sigining off, “We’re glad you’re there on the ground.” YLN replied, “Me, too. It’s really cool.”

    BO and HRC might be coaches/owners of that team? That would be devastating. On the other hand, Biden is on the Mubarek-is-not-a-dictator team. Maybe they took down Biden’s internet, too?

  69. Sergey Says:

    Liberty is a priviledge of civilized, cultured people. It is not a right of savages and ignoramuses.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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