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The United States and Egypt
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How is 0bama handling the Egyptian Crisis?
Very well
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Well
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Ok
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Not so well
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Poorly
40%
 40%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 5

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coebul



Joined: 18 Nov 2010
Posts: 3285
Location: Northwest USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:07 pm    Post subject: The United States and Egypt  Reply with quote

This Egypt thing concerns me.  This has the Iran hostage crisis written all over it.  

DEVELOPING: President Mubarak has expanded the night curfew nationwide, State TV reports.

Read earlier report below:

Egypt's military deployed on the streets of Cairo to enforce a nighttime curfew as the sun set Friday on a day of rioting and violent chaos that was a major escalation in the challenge to authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

Still thousands in the capital Cairo defied a nationwide night curfew and were trying to storm two major government buildings -- the state TV and the Foreign Ministry. Others were praying on the streets after nightfall.

Flames rose up across a number of cities from burning tires and police cars. Even the ruling party headquarters in Cairo was ablaze in the outpouring of rage, bitterness and utter frustration with a regime seen as corrupt, heavy-handed and neglectful of grinding poverty that afflicts nearly half of the 80 million Egyptians. Hundreds were looting television sets and electric fans from the burning complex of buildings used by the ruling party.

One protester was killed in demonstrations that stretched across nearly half the provinces in Egypt, bringing the death toll for four days of protests to eight.

"I can't believe our own police, our own government would keep beating up on us like this," said Cairo protester Ahmad Salah, 26. "I've been here for hours and gassed and keep going forward, and they keep gassing us, and I will keep going forward. This is a cowardly government and it has to fall. We're going to make sure of it."

Internet and cell phone services, at least in Cairo, appeared to be largely cut off since overnight in the most extreme measure so far to try to hamper protesters form organizing. However, that did not prevent tens of thousands from flooding the streets, emboldened by the recent uprising in Tunisia -- another North African Arab nation.

There are reports Syria has also suspended internet access in response to the unrest in Egypt.

Even Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the country's leading pro-democracy advocates, was under house arrest after joining the protests.

"It's time for this government to change," said Amal Ahmed, a 22-year-old protester. "I want a better future for me and my family when I get married."

The sustained and intensifying demonstrations raised serious questions about whether Mubarak can keep his grip on power. Egypt is Washington's closest Arab ally, but Mubarak may be losing U.S. support. The Obama administration has publicly counseled him to introduce reforms and refrain from using violence against the protesters.

President Barack Obama convened his national security team on the growing protests in Egypt as aides voice concern about violent clashes between demonstrators and police.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that the United States is "deeply concerned" about the Egyptian government's violent use of force to quell protests in Cairo and elsewhere, urging both sides to show restraint.

"We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters," Clinton said. "The Egyptian government needs to understand that violence will not make these grievances go away."

In one of many astonishing scenes Friday, thousands of anti-government protesters wielding rocks, glass and sticks chased hundreds of riot police away from the main square in downtown Cairo and several of the policemen stripped off their uniforms and badges and joined the demonstrators.

An Associated Press reporter saw the protesters cheering the police who joined them and hoisting them on their shoulders in one of the many dramatic and chaotic scenes across Egypt on Friday.

After chasing the police, thousands of protesters were able to flood into the huge Tahrir Square downtown after being kept out most of the day by a very heavy police presence. Few police could be seen around the square after the confrontation.

The unrest began when tens of thousands poured into the streets after noon prayers in the mosques, stoning and confronting police who fired back with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Groups of thousands of protesters, some chanting "out, out, out," defied a ban that has been in place for days on any gatherings and turned out at different venues across Cairo, a city of about 18 million people. Some marched toward major squares and across scenic Nile bridges.

As the sun set, burning tires, buildings and cars sent up plumes of black smoke across the cityscape. Security officials said there were protests in at least 11 of the country's 28 provinces.

The protesters were energized by the return of ElBaradei on Thursday night after a month abroad. He declared he was prepared to lead the opposition to a regime change.

When he joined protesters after noon prayers, police fired water cannons at him and his supporters. They used batons to beat some of ElBaradei's supporters, who surrounded him to protect him.

A soaking wet ElBaradei was trapped inside a mosque while hundreds of riot police laid siege to it, firing tear gas in the streets around so no one could leave. Tear gas canisters set several cars ablaze outside the mosque and several people fainted and suffered burns.

When he returned home, police stationed outside told him he was not allowed to leave again.
Abeer Ahmed, a 31-year-old woman who showed up for ElBaradei with her toddler, said she has a law degree but makes a living cleaning homes.

"Nothing good is left in the country," she said. "Oppression is growing."

Some of the most serious violence Friday was in Suez, where protesters seized weapons stored in a police station and asked the policemen inside to leave the building before they burned it down. They also set ablaze about 20 police trucks parked nearby. Demonstrators exchanged fire with policemen trying to stop them from storming another police station and one protester was killed in the gun battle.

In the upscale Mohandiseen neighborhood, at least 10,000 were marching toward the city center chanting "down, down with Mubarak." The crowd later swelled to about 20,000 as they made their way through residential areas.

Residents looking on from apartment block windows waved and whistled in support. Some waved the red, white and black Egyptian flags. The marchers were halted as they tried to cross a bridge over the Nile, when police fired dozens of tear gas canisters.
In downtown Cairo, people on balconies tossed cans of Pepsi and bottles of water to protesters on the streets below to douse their eyes, as well as onions and lemons to sniff, to cut the sting of the tear gas.

At Ramsis square in the heart of the city, thousands clashed with police as they left the al-Nur mosque after prayers. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets and some of the tear gas was fired inside the mosque where women were taking refuge. Hundreds later broke through police cordons to head to the main downtown square, Tahrir. But they were stopped by police firing tear gas.

Near Tahrir, hundreds of riot police in a cluster moved in, anticipating the arrival of large crowds. A short while later, thousands of protesters marched across a bridge over the Nile and moved toward the square, where police began firing tear gas at them.

Hundreds of protesters played a cat-and-mouse game with riot police in a square just behind the famed Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square. Police were using tear gas and the protesters responded with rocks and chants of "illegitimate, illegitimate," a reference to Mubarak's regime.

Later, television footage showed a chaotic and violent scene where protesters were throwing rocks down on police from a highway overpass near Tahrir Square, while a police vehicle sped through the crowd spraying tear gas on demonstrators.

Clusters of riot police with helmets and shields were stationed around the city, at the entrances to bridges across the Nile and other key intersections.

The troubles were preventing trains from coming to Cairo, said security officials.

In Assiut in southern Egypt, several thousand demonstrators clashed with police that set upon them with batons and sticks, chasing them through side streets.

Mubarak has not been seen publicly or heard from since the protests began Tuesday. While he may still have a chance to ride out this latest challenge, his choices are limited, and all are likely to lead to a loosening of his grip on power.

A Facebook page run by protesters listed their demands. They want Mubarak to declare that neither he nor his son will stand for next presidential elections; dissolve the parliament holds new elections; end to emergency laws giving police extensive powers of arrest and detention; release all prisoners including protesters and those who have been in jail for years without charge or trial; and immediately fire the interior minister.

Mubarak has not said yet whether he will stand for another six-year term as president in elections this year. He has never appointed a deputy and is thought to be grooming his son Gamal to succeed him despite popular opposition. According to leaked U.S. memos, hereditary succession also does not meet with the approval of the powerful military.

Mubarak and his government have shown no hint of concessions to the protesters who want political reform and a solution to rampant poverty, unemployment and rising food prices.
Continuing the heavy-handed methods used by the security forces the past three days would probably buy the Mubarak regime a little time but could strengthen the resolve of the protesters and win them popular sympathy.

The alternative is to introduce a package of political and economic reforms that would end his party's monopoly on power and ensure that the economic liberalization policies engineered by his son and heir apparent Gamal over the past decade benefit the country's poor majority.
He could also lift the emergency laws in force since 1981, loosen restrictions on the formation of political parties and publicly state whether he will stand for another six-year term in elections this year.

Friday's demonstrations also got a boost from the endorsement of the country's biggest opposition group, the Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood. The group called its supporters to join the protests on Friday.

The Brotherhood, outlawed since 1954, is Egypt's largest and best organized opposition group. It seeks to establish an Islamic state. It renounced violence in the 1970s and has since been a peaceful movement. Its network of social and medical services has traditionally won it popular support, but its detractors say its involvement in politics has chipped away at its support base.

It made a surprisingly strong showing in 2005 parliamentary elections, winning 20 percent of the legislature's seats, but it failed to win a single seat in the latest election late last year. The vote is widely thought to have been marred, rigged to ensure that Mubarak's ruling party win all but a small fraction of the chamber's 518 seats.

Egypt's four primary Internet providers -- Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr -- all stopped moving data in and out of the country at 12:34 a.m., according to a network security firm monitoring the traffic. Telecom experts said Egyptian authorities could have engineered the unprecedented cutoff with a simple change to the instructions for the companies' networking equipment.

The Internet appeared to remain cut off in Cairo but was restored in some smaller cities Friday morning. Cell-phone text and Blackberry Messenger services were all cut or operating sporadically in what appeared to be a move by authorities to disrupt the organization of demonstrations.

Authorities appear to have been disrupting social networking sites, used as an organizing tool by protesters, throughout the week. Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger have all seen interruptions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Last edited by coebul on Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:10 am; edited 2 times in total
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bieramar



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These uprisings throughout the region are more examples of the 21st century "Internet Wars."

Some articles, in chronological order of U.S. cables regarding Egypt released via WikiLeaks:

Nov 29, 2010
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/...ld/la-fg-wikileaks-arabs-20101130

Nov 30, 2010
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2033593,00.html

Dec 31, 2010
http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx%3Fid%3D201674

Jan 28, 2011
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2...olice-brutality-torture-wikileaks  

The foreign policy issue addressed in the poll question of this thread is the same one that has existed since the beginning of WWII in Europe in the 1930s.  

Do we militarily and diplomatically support the existing government of any nation who is allied with us against an enemy of the U.S. (including a government facing insurgency)?
...regardless of their policies and actions towards their own citizens and residents?
...regardless of their policies and actions in regard to non-military issues, such as banking and trade?

If - after considering the impact of military and diplomatic support on the above - our policy is "yes, we'll support" do we join the combat with U.S. forces, or simply supply weapons and intel?
...or limit our support to the diplomatic sphere?

In this instant case, my judgment is that our diplomatic action should be restricted to counseling "human rights" to all Egyptians, with absolutely NO actions by U.S. military forces.

As to comparison with the Iran hostage crisis, IF we would have supported the populist insurgency against Shah then, there wouldn't have been either of the two Gulf Wars, or the ongoing war in Afghanistan/Pakistan.  

Since we can't change history, let's learn from it.
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coebul



Joined: 18 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some have claimed Wikileak is the cause of these riots...   Get a rope.
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auntmartymoo



Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bieramar wrote:
As to comparison with the Iran hostage crisis, IF we would have supported the populist insurgency against Shah then, there wouldn't have been either of the two Gulf Wars, or the ongoing war in Afghanistan/Pakistan.  

???  How absurd.  You have no idea what other foreign policy "shoes" might have dropped, regardless of our support.  No one can say with any certainty that those wars wouldn't have happened.
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coebul



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bieramar wrote:
As to comparison with the Iran hostage crisis, IF we would have supported the populist insurgency against Shah then, there wouldn't have been either of the two Gulf Wars, or the ongoing war in Afghanistan/Pakistan.  
Not sure I would agree with this comment.  

We made significant mistakes with Iran but stop the war on Terrorism in 1978?  That's a stretch.
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coebul



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bump

Because of lack of response for the original poll it has been changed.
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bieramar



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coebul wrote:
...the original poll [question] has been changed.


The poll question addresses Obama's actions in re Egypt, and in accordance with my earlier opinion that our foreign policy during this upheaval in the regions' Arab nations - currently five are undergoing radical government changes precipitated by young Arabs and secular and religious Muslims of many sects via internet discussions and organizing - should be simply to preach democratic principles and non-violence, I give Obama a "very well" as his two public comments have done just that.  

The sending in of USMC to the embassy to extend the protective cordon of the civilian contractor guards, and the assistance in evacuating U.S. citizens, is SOP during any like crisis in other nations.  

No threatening speeches for/against Egypt's president or the demonstrators have been made by Obama or any authorized U.S. government official.
This is the perfect diplomatic stance in this situation where an U.S. alliance was created before many of the demonstrators were born for a foreign policy goal of that previous era.  An agreement with a nation's elected President with expectations that he would guarantee unalienable human rights to his country's residents; but who has retained power and become a tyrannical ruler for 30 years.
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coebul



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Well?  I will wait and see.  I think he (0bama) is doing fair to pretty good.  I think his admin has made a couple of blunders but for the most part they/it is doing better then the last President to deal with this kind of crisis.  

I believe there are more forces at work then "...young Arabs and secular and religious Muslims...".  

How this is handled by both this country and Europe will set the stage for the next 20 years or more.
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bieramar



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Multiple analyses and resources linked here:

http://afsc.org/resource/egypt-protest-resources

The article why Egypt 2011 is not Iran 1979 is very enlightening.
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coebul



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What will we do if the Muslim Brotherhood take control of Egypt and assume control of the Suez Canal?  We are rapidly loosing the Middle East.


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