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11 February 2011


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The pyramids were more ancient to Cleopatra than Cleopatra is to us. I hope that in the future, Americans will be able to visit Egypt without worrying about security. A truly great civilization.

Patrick Lang


Don't be naive. the killers of tourists did not do it from angst caused by a lack of democracy. pl


The military is an institution that the people seem to trust; it's enough for me.

Like all of us, I wish nothing but happiness and success for this sweet, bright and funny people. Two years ago, I brought my wife and younger daughter with me to Egypt, after not being there myself for almost 20 years. I was stunned, in a way, by the proliferation of western things, most notbably the flash coffee shops on Zemalek, the bright young people we chatted with. How different everything seemed to me.

No doubt some of them were the childen of senior military men, is not the Officer's Club on the island?.

The people in Tahrir Square showed real courage. I hope that we remember that in the days ahead. Right now it is a wonderful thing to see.



Thanks for your insight so far. Now comes the hard part. The Army is as much a part of the regime as Mubarak; yet, by not dispersing the protestors the Egyptian Army assured his departure after 18 days. The Egyptian Higher Council of the Armed Forces will have to be composed members with the strength and foresight of George Washington to transform the government to a functioning constitutional democracy.

I was struck by the power and eloquence of the Egyptian Revolution. Not only is Egypt the cradle of civilization, the Arab youngsters have developed the tools and language to fight the state security apparatus and propaganda of neo-liberal regimes. What they have developed to promote human dignity is just as applicable to North America as North Africa.

Sidney O. Smith III

Deus Vult? I assume there is an Arabic translation.


Daniel Larison points out that according to opinion polling, two thirds of Egyptians in Cairo and Alexandria support fixtures of the old regime, and that about one in ten of those surveyed mentioned a desire for democracy as the main reason for the protests. (Most thought it was about the economy.)


I don't think Americans understand that the small number of people in Tahrir Square and on Twitter do not exactly make a representative sample. I certainly hope people in the White House do.

The beaver

From the Guardian:

Mubarak picked an auspicious date to resign. On this day 32 years ago the Iranian revolution took place when the Shah's forces were overwhelmed. And 21 years ago today Nelson Mandela was freed by the apartheid regime in South Africa.


It won't be such a popular thing to say, here or elsewhere, perhaps, but I would like to know the verses repeated in Cairo and Alexdrandia and all over Egypt during prayers today. Wuthout knowing, I suspect that many recited a certain sura.

Mubarak banned prayers in the street. Why, I don't know. But today a wonderful thing happened. Tens, hundreds, of thousands of Muslims unashamedly prayed in the great cities of Egypt, just when it looked as if they were defeated. It is not an untoward thing to remind all of ourselves that the source of all victory is G-d (S. 110).

Patrick Lang


La Ghalib illa Allah. (No victor but God.) pl

Patrick Lang


Muslims do not generally presume to know God's will. They accept his will. "Kul shay fi yed Allah" (everything is in God's hand." would be fair as a sentiment. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

Yes, SMC is the "junta" in effect.

Next step is to create some form of transitional government. There are plenty of "technocratic" types there, and plenty who can return, and this includes persons who are known internationally. A credible transition government should not be that hard to field. And our friend Gen. Suleiman can certainly "consult" if needed.

Elections in September, hopefully.

As Sec. Clinton stated last weekend, the international community just assisted southern Sudan with the recent referendum mechanics. The international community can certainly assist Egypt with whatever they might need in terms of state of the art election technology and all that.



Wallahi, you're a Muslim - and you know I mean it in the truest and best sense of the word - not in any formalist, non-sensical way,but in the real way - as are many of the good people who post comments here. To speak truth to power and to oppose tyrants, that's enough.

I'd like to send you a present, Col., in appreciation of your good intentions and good heart -some good bukhoor from Arabia Felix, mumkin?

Sidney O. Smith III

Col. Lang

The words of the serenity prayer came to mind. Help me to accept…

Re: "Extra legal" revolutions supported by some in the US

Our founding fathers went to great extremes to justify that the Am. Revolution was not extra legal. They saw it, in effect, as a revolution within tradition, imo.

To do so, our founding fathers wanted to send a symbolic message down through the ages to make that point. It’s the underlying message of the Great Seal. Annuit Coeptis and so on. “He favors our undertakings”.

Interesting, the words “annuit coeptis” are above an image of an Egyptian pyramid on the Great Seal. In fact, today I look at that part of the Great Seal and cannot help but think of Egypt.

Its rather doubtful that when it comes to the actions of the Jacobins, the phrase, “annuit coeptis” kicks in. They believe in creative destruction, after all.

Our founding fathers were very well steeped in the dangers of revolution via the mob.



I can't even get on a plane to disneyland without worrying about 'security', though I have allot worse threat of dying on my daily commute.


from NYTimes:

As we wait got the military authorities to issue a new statement, here is the Egyptian newspaper's fascinating report in full:

Maj. Gen. Safwat El-Zayat, a former senior official of Egypt's General Intelligence and member of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs, asserted, in an interview with Ahram Online, that the address delivered by President Mubarak last night was formulated against the wishes of the armed forces, and away from their oversight. He claimed that Vice Preisdent Omar Suleiman's address, which came on the heels of Mubarak's address, was equally in defiance of the armed forces and away from its oversight.

Attributing this information to his own sources within the Egyptian military, Maj. Gen. El-Zayat said there was now a deep cleavage between the armed forces, represented in its Supreme Council, and the Presidential authority, represented in both President Mubarak and his Vice President, Omar Suleiman.

According to El-Zayat, communiqué #2 issued this morning by the Supreme Armed Forces Council was not, as many people in Egypt and elsewhere understood it, an affirmation of the addresses of Mubarak and Suleiman, but rather an attempt to avoid an open conflict, while at the same time underlining that the army will act as guarantor for the transition to full democracy. He adivced that people should listen carefully to the anticipated communique #3.

The beaver


( Note: it is a pro-govt. rag)
Mubarak's speech last night was not cleared by the military:
Maj. Gen. Safwat El-Zayat, a former senior official of Egypt's General Intelligence and member of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs, asserted, in an interview with Ahram Online, that the address delivered by President Mubarak last night was formulated against the wishes of the armed forces, and away from their oversight. He claimed that Vice Preisdent Omar Suleiman's address, which came on the heels of Mubarak's address, was equally in defiance of the armed forces and away from its oversight.

Patrick Lang


A gesture of your appreciation will obviously be appreciated. Please take note of the "donations" button at the upper right of the blog. Ashkurak. pl


Col. Lang:

Do you have any knowledge (thoughts etc.) about OS's relationship (influence) with the Supreme Military Council or is he part of it?

I would guess that the SMC will have its own agenda as it relates to the release of state power to political entities not necessarily allied with the SMC.

robt willmann

1. It is intriguing that last night Hosni Mubarak said he transferred some or all of his "power" to Omar Suleiman, and then today, Mr. Suleiman said, according to the translator, that Mubarak had "instructed the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to run the affairs of the country". So I guess that Mubarak took back the verbal transfer of power of last night and handed it off to the Supreme Military Council today. Behind Suleiman's left shoulder during his announcement on Egypt State TV was a man in a suit whose eyes were sweeping the area in front of him; he had the look of an assistant or experienced bodyguard.

2. Clifford Kiracofe notes in a comment above that the "international community" can assist Egypt with state of the art election technology. I must respectfully say that this would be disastrous, since electronic voting machines permit undetectable and unlimited vote fraud. I wrote an editorial about this which was accepted for publication by the San Antonio newspaper before the 2008 election, and then the editor overruled the person setting up the editorial page and blocked it at the last minute, saying it was too controversial. Another newspaper in a different city was interested in it but then got cold feet and decided not to publish it. In a nutshell: you do not mark or cast your ballot, a computer program does; election officials do not count the ballots, a computer program does; and no recount is possible.

robt willmann

Reuters is reporting that Switzerland has frozen assets "possibly belonging" to Hosni Mubarak, but has so far declined to say how much money is involved.


No mention of his son Gamal.



check the poll results -- http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/html/pdf/pollock-Egyptpoll.pdf

Are people living in a police state with a shitstorm on the horizon likely to give candid answers phone poll questions?

Pechter Polls sampled 343 people of whom 90 to 100 respondents either didn't know or refused to answer the questions on which it bases its key findings.

As Larisson says at the end of his second update, "I don’t know, but I wouldn’t assume we can glean very much from this poll."

WINEP humbug!!!


I think I just broke The 54th Commandment:

Thou shalt not step in it while mounting thy high horse.



Patrick Lang

Robert Willman

The resignation negated the "donation" of powers because the VP does not succeed under the present constitution. The speaker of the parliament succeeds and the junta has now dissolved the parliament. pl

FB Ali

I do not think Vice President Suleiman has any role in the new setup.

Obama's 3 pm speech was very good. He deserves credit for his stand during the crisis. After the initial blunder of miscalculating the leverage the US had over the regime, he stuck to his position of supporting the protestors (unlike some of the Europeans).

Patrick Lang

FB Ali

There is no "setup." there is only the junta. pl

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