Egyptian Unrest, Day Four

Update 13: Just watched Mubarak’s speech. Seriously out of touch. Will form new cabinet tomorrow. Aging, out of touch. He effectively doubled down. Tomorrow might be bloody. Will the army rally to the people or Mubarak?

Update 12: Kuwait MPs pass $5 bln aid package for citizens:

The parliament of the wealthy Gulf state of Kuwait on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation to grant cash and free food to Kuwaiti citizens totalling over $5 billion to mark national occasions.

The grants, made last week by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, stipulate paying 1,000 dinars ($3,580) to each Kuwaiti citizen plus free distribution of essential food items for 14 months.

A little nervous? Wonder what we’ll see in Saudi Arabia?

More: Compare egyptian protesters’ concern for museum with us indifference to baghdad museum… so much for american power

“They hate us for our freedoms” update: Teenager showed me teargas canister “made in USA”. Saw the same thing in Tunisia. Time to reconsider US exports? #Jan25 #Egypt This has gotten a lot of play all day on Al Jazeera English.

From The Guardian live blog: Foreign journalists are being tougher on Gibbs than the White House press corps. “We have reached a point where the grievances have to be addressed with concrete reforms, have to, must,” says Gibbs at one point, in annoyance. Gibbs does go on to describe internet access as a basic right, which is a revelation of sorts.

Saw boys with massive seal of the republic looted from State TV. If this isn’t the end, it certainly looks and smells like it. #Jan25 #Egypt

Al Jazeera speaks to Ahmad Kelani, spokesman of @ElBaradei party “There is no longer an Egyptian regime. Now we have moved into a new phase”

AJ: Egyptian army deploying around Parliament, Prime Minister’s office, TV and radio stations

Update 11: Based on what I heard White House spokesman Gibbs say, Mubarak has been officially thrown under the bus. I make a lot of fun of the White House and Obama, but Gibbs made all the right noises a few moments ago. Mubarak is clearly finished and the White House knows it.

Be sure to check out the photo stream of Al Jazeera Live, here.

Update 10: Critical news from the AP: WASHINGTON (AP) AP source: US will review its stand on providing aid to Egypt based on unfolding events. Looking for link now. This is a game changer. Follow up from Nick Baumann:

If US aid is up in the air, it puts enormous pressure on the military, the NDP, + Mubarak himself. Now that US has put it on the table (1/2)

(2/2) opponents of aiding the regime will have a much stronger argument in US politics. Some1 shld ask gov’t how determination will be made.

Israeli official: “I’m not sure the time is right for the Arab region to go through the democratic process.” Link to story Idiots RT @HumaImtiaz Fox News: groups linked to al-Qaida “in danger of taking over the government in Cairo”

Other goodies here: RT @jmartpolitico Per Chris Good, Egyptian lobbyists include: Tony Podesta, Toby Moffett and Bob Livingston #Egypt

And here: “the demonstrators have an offline networking tool: mosques” there is nothing that Internet metaphors can’t describe!

Update 9: The question of the hour is this: will the army side with the people of Egypt or with the police? All indications are that the army is, at the very least, not attacking the people. That fact weighs against the survival of Mubarak’s regime.

Al Jazeera is reporting from Suez: “there are no police on the streets. Several tanks, lots of protesters. Order has resumed.”

Lambert has updates here. Head over there for good stuff as well.

Okay, I have personal business to attend to. Please see comment thread, and Mark’s updates for more info. Hopefully I will return soon.

Update 8: “Al Jazeera English: Unconfirmed reports that that army and the police are clashing”

Correction: reports of gunfire incorrect. They were sounds of rocks being hurled at multiple APCs disabled in downtown Cairo.

The sounds in the background of the AJE livestream are clearly gunfire.

AJE livestream is reporting shots fired against protesters. “We are hearing very loud gunfire from Ministry of Information. I cannot confirm, this but I have heard sound of ammunition in my life,” says one AJE reporter.

Breaking Al Arabiya: Eyewitnesses report clashes & live fire near the Egyptian Parliament #Jan25

Bolton on Fox News says protests aren’t pro-democratic, warned of Muslim Bro’hood taking over. Urged Obama to “remain prudently silent.”

Update 7: NDP headquarters in flames in Cairo. Symbolic backdrop for Mubarak/Hillary speeches

The sound of protests and crowds in the background of the Al Jazeera live feed is simply astonishing. Crowdsourcing has a new face. You can watch it here. Of course not a single US network covers this, the largest, most important country in the Arab world. #fail

Update 6: “BREAKING: Egyptian TV announces immediate curfew in Cairo.”

Update 5: Al Jazeera confirms:

Live from Cairo: Army vehicles spotted in Cairo and warmly greeted by protestors, asking protection from the police #Jan25 #Egypt

Unconfirmed reports are coming in that the army is now on the streets.

From Evegeny Morozov:

I hope there is still cab service in Cairo because Tom Friedman won’t produce an Egypt column without talking to the drivers first…

To recap: El Baradei is under house arrest. Protests have spread to many cities in Egypt, not just Suez and Cairo. Alexandrian protests rumored in 100,000 area.

The vaunted “free” press of American is getting absolutely pwnd by Al Jazeera.

The White House is as silent as Mubarak.

Update 4: Shorter Obama: “Can’t we all just get along?” Rumors in Washington DC is that our masters of civility have a serious case of the vapors. David Broder has been hospitalized. David Brooks fainted. Peggy Noonan apparently whipped out a Ouija board and channeled Ronald Reagan.

Updated 3: Protests now spreading to Luxor, reports Al Jazeera. Rich neighborhoods in Cairo joining in protests as well. Protesters, per Al Arabiya have stormed the Governate Office in Alexandria.

Al Jazeera reports protesters now heading towards Presidential palace. End game near?

All reports, sporadic, otherwise, from official media and non-traditional indicate downtown Cairo is a madhouse.

From Al Jazeera: Protesters take control of parts of Suez & Egyptian security forces are retreating.

Mark Lynch tweets: “Absolute silence of Mubarak so far is really striking.” I personally think he’s toast at this point. Live fire would just draw more protesters into the streets.

Update 2: Things are simply moving too fast now. Its hard to keep up. If Mubarak has not ordered police and security forces to use live ammunition by now it’s pretty clear he’s lost control. Protesters own Tahrir Square. Reports coming in that October 6 bridge is burning. More: “Opposition leader Ayman Nour suffered head injury, now in ICU at Agouza hospital, his son tells Al Jazeera English.”

Update: Thousands protesting in Al Masoura, thousands reported in Arish as well. Things moving very fast. Many satellite channels completely blocked now inside Egypt.

Al Jezeera reporting police in Alexandria refusing to fire tear gas at protesters, others taking off uniforms joining protests. Al Arabiyya has reported the same.

Mohamed El Baradei has been doused by a water cannon and subsequently arrested. Supporters attempted to shield him.

Reporters from outlets as diverse as Al Arabiyya, Al Jazeera and CNN are all reporting police harassment and beatings for filming anything in Egypt. Ben Wedeman of CNN has his camera smashed.

There are a reported 100,000 protesters in Alexandria. Al Jezzera reports protesters in “Al Areesh, N Sinai.” More protests than the regime can handle, apparently.

Ben Wedeman succinctly sums up the day:

So far today? Attacks on protesters, press. Internet, cell phone service cut. Nobel laureate arrested. And day still young. #Jan25 #Egypt

Background here: Egyptian protesters are not just Facebook revolutionaries

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

34 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Appears Mubarak is digging in, but sounds like he’s doomed. The big question is where the Brotherhood stands, and Friday is probably the make/break day for their decision. If they join and that tips the scales, they may end up with a lot of power. Maybe Egypt becoming a Sunni version of Iran?

    Retired Mainframe maven, active curmudgeon, poet, writer.

  • and the throngs are congregating. Was watching Al Jazeera, and it didn’t look like many folks protesting in Cairo, but It’s after 5 in Cairo now, and the crowds are getting larger. I guess God has come out on the side of the protests.

  • We oughta keep the Al-Jazeera live connection up front/top.

    Sean-Paul: I figured out the mystery of the numbers. It’s tweets written in Arabic that for some reason comes across ‘encrypted’ or translates into number, letters, & symbols. I found one last night and it now comes up like that below.

    “شغل أمريكا متغلف وختمه عليه، ضيف زارنا يا عم من غير دعوة لابس بيه قعد تلاتين سنة مابئولش قاعد ليه، والنية يديها لإبنه النابغة بعديه” poem about 7 hours ago via web

  • Al Jazeera English showing army going out on the streets to support the police. Some people celebrating hoping Army switches sides like in Tunisia. Exciting times.

  • Al Jazeera English showing army going out on the streets to support the police. Some people celebrating hoping Army switches sides like in Tunisia. Exciting times.

  • Al Jazeera English streaming live picture of the headquarters of National Democratic Party (ruling party of Egypt) on fire, burning out of control. People are no longer afraid of the regime things are changing ?…

  • Al Jazeera English streaming live picture of the headquarters of National Democratic Party (ruling party of Egypt) on fire, burning out of control. People are no longer afraid of the regime things are changing ?…

  • Army is entering Cairo, Alexandria, Suez… but reports of Army being cheered and Army troops giving thumbs up to protesters. Can definitely hear live fire going on.

    NDP building still out of control, near the antiquities museum.

    Curfew is NOT working, announced by Egyptian TV as being across country.

  • Live fire from police station towards military in Suez. Military drove towards police station, thousands still on street.

    Shops of regieme supporters under attack.

  • Amazing how protests have maintained momentum despite no Internet, no cell phone service and reports of land lines even being shut down. As well Al Jazeera Arabic has definitely been shut down within Egypt. Not sure if Al Jazeera English is available WITHIN Egypt doing a great job informing the world but within who knows.

    Army is moving to protect Egyptian TV. Army being cheered by the people (has not been used to crack down for a long time, just police).

    Still no answer are the army going to stand up for President, people, itself??

    Presidential Army guard heading towards Cairo State TV station.

  • At least 2 killed, 400 wounded across Egypt so far…

    Many foreign journalists attacked/detained/equipment smashed by security forces.

    Still not clear which way Army is going. Protesters still cheering Army.

  • Army arrived to jubilation but have left city centre to take up positions around port and oil facilities.

    Security police have disappeared and crowd is calm but still out in force in city centre.

  • .. You need to remember that a lot of the poorer people in this world don’t have phones or Internet access to begin with. However they get their news, the Egyptian government can’t just flip a switch and turn it off.

    EDIT: Come to think of it, I imagine a lot of people get news by going to their local mosque..


  • Over 800 wounded including bullet wounds – Reuters. 7-8 dead in Cario alone, Al Jazeera.

    Still not clear what army is up to.

    Egyptians have lost fear of security forces.

  • White House briefing on Egypt situation has been delayed. Mubarak still hasn’t spoken publicly as he promised to do over three hours ago.

    NDP HQ still burning near Museum of Antiquities.

    No reports of ARMY troops attacking protesters.

    Reports indicating things quieting down… but still lots of people on streets, buildings burning in many cities.

  • are ill at ease right now. Not just in the Middle East.

    This may be the defining moment of our time.

    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • Yes lets hope the Army does that right thing and loads the old leader on a plane tonite and stop the blood shed of their own people. If the US calls don’t answer, let it ring.

  • Well this shows everything wrong with US foreign policy. Instead of dealing with real people, its always stupid elite and/or apocalyptic crazies & cultists — the frickin Neocon MEK trial balloon is off and sailing away and now Torricelli and even Bill Richardson are on board. But Richardson sez he only heard about their whole Iraq base thing today. These are the people
    Ah the MEK is being floated by Executive Action LLC which is surely not violating Material Support laws. These kind of weasels and general pattern are exactly why America’s foreign policy sucks & produces terrible outcomes. Turning back to Cairo.

  • But that really makes very little sense from a classic, US foreign policy standpoint. The Telegraph article insinuates far beyond what the one cable they offer as evidence indicates, especially given that the cable ends with a negative view of this mystery activist and his chances.

    The question is why would the US want to be behind the protests? We have no track record of supporting actual political freedom vs. a stability dictatorship. The Wikileaks evidence that there was some pressure on Mubarak proves very little, because it was kept private.

    If this had the hallmarks of a color revolution (which have all, successful or not, played out almost exactly the same), then i’d be inclined to agree. It doesn’t have any of those and, at the moment, appears to be leaderless. That’s not the US’s SOP because it lacks reliability. The growing lists of VPs for Mubarak look like the US positioning for the future far more than instigating the protests does.

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