“Rumors are circulating everywhere. You don’t know what’s true and what’s not true.”
That statement by Sharif Abdul Bakhi (my phonetic spelling), a man living on the outskirts of Cairo who was just interviewed on CNN, seems to say it all. And he doesn’t know what’s going on even though he’s in Cairo; most of us are not (fortunately).
So far reports vary, but it seems that scores of people have died in the riots. Is this only the beginning of the violence, or will it be contained? Lenin famously said that to make an omelet you have to break some eggs. What sort of omelet is being cooked up right now?
And Israel wonders most particularly, although most of the speculation is that whatever the result, it won’t be good for that beleaguered country.
I have an extremely apprehensive view of what’s going on. It feels potentially like a runaway train. Whatever the protesters have in mind (other than doing away with Mubarek) is unclear. And whatever they have in mind may become irrelevant, because other more pernicious forces can easily co-opt the movement and take over.
And the US, and Obama? I have to say that this is one of the moments I have a small amount of sympathy for him. Yes, he may be in over his head, but wouldn’t almost anyone be? No one foresaw this; no one. That said, I would deeply prefer that more realistic and informed heads were involved. Exactly whom these people might be, and what they would actually say or do, I don’t know. I just know they’re not at the helm right now, and that makes me especially uneasy.
[ADDENDUM: John Bolton chimes in.]