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08 February 2011

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William R. Cumming

I found the interviews extremely interesting. PL who is this John Batchelor--he seemed to be a competent and at least somewhat knowledgable interviewer? One question not asked to my memory was what or how you or Larry would assess the individuals and groups that comprise the street protestors? IN the sense is there any indication of leadership or staying power and organization?

Clifford Kiracofe

Latest from VP Suleiman:

"At one point in the roundtable meeting, Suleiman warned that the alternative to dialogue "is that a coup happens, which would mean uncalculated and hasty steps, including lots of irrationalities. We don't want to reach that point, to protect Egypt."

Pressed by the editors to explain the comment, he said he did not mean a military coup but that "a force that is unprepared for rule" could overturn state institutions, said Amr Khafagi, editor-in-chief of the privately-owned Shorouk daily, who attended the briefing.

"He doesn't mean it in the classical way."
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201128225410121154.html

The meter is running on the cost of the rising. Just heard one economist (I know) estimate about $1 billion so far. But is this just the beginning should things unravel more?

Reports of $8 billion in capital flight already by foreign investors and an unknown amount by locals. These would seem to be significant numbers with consequences.

Tourism is a key sector and what are the prospects now for this year?

And looking to the future, there is the matter of the flow of the Nile as upriver countries in the Nile River Basin seek to use more for themselves. Dam construction in Ethiopia and other projects. Regional conference on this in the last few days. Present flow is based on the arrangements going back to the 1920s in the "colonial era." So just what about the future flow of the Nile?

But for now, at what point do the working class and parts of the middle class feel a severe enough pinch to become alienated from the youth movements in Tahrir Square...and angry?

Presumably this would be the opportune moment when the present regime would feel in a better position to restore order (and send Mubarak to Germany for medical treatment or...)?

Jake

Well Colonel you brought some resemblance of continuity and intelligence to the Batchelor program. Most of the time this guy is so far off its not even funny and he is suppose to be a decent historian and yes he is a good interviewer. Does his homework on his guests. But his opinions are not based in reality so I stopped listening to his shows a long time ago.

My personal opinion is that Batchelor is too much a book worm for my taste. Though I will admit he does put the others radio talking heads to shame.

Patrick Lang

jake

I have no idea who Batcheler is. they asked me to talk to him. pl

walter

The fundamental error that guys like you and Larry Johnson make, in my humble opinion, is to always look upon these Middle Eastern political issues from the perspective of "what is in the best interests of the United States" or "what is in Israel's best interest" or "what will create stability in the region"

The region was made unstable by British, US and Israel invasion, meddling in Middle East affairs for their own selfish desires. All us white guys need to get the hell out of the Middle East and mind our own business...

Grumpy

Col. Lang, I took the time to listen to “The John Batchelor Show”. This is to show reference is in this blog with Larry Johnson and yourself, talking about the implications of the situation in Egypt. Would did not give just an intelligent answer, but a wise answer. Your answer was not just theory, but when one they could be applied from all sides and ever people look at issue the cool in there from one extreme to the other. You would for the central place in the lever to put the fulcrum to get actual sustainable, balance. THANK YOU!

Clifford Kiracofe

Some data as to the ongoing politics:

"Yesterday witnessed an unprecedented meeting between members of the “wise men” committee – who call themselves “the dialogue committee”, and blame the media for the “wise men” designation – and the representatives of five youth movements which have played a significant role in triggering the uprising, and providing a measure of field leadership to the protesters, not just in Tahrir Sq, but around the country. These are: The 6 April Movement; the Campaign in Support of Baradei and Democracy; the Door-Knock Campaign, The Muslim Brotherhood Youth; and the Youth Movement of the Democratic Front Party.


The Committee, which is effectively led by the former head of the Human Rights Council, Kamal Abul-Magd, is made up of some 30 non-partisan public figures, including most prominently, Ambassador Nabil Al-Araby, a former judge on the International Court of Justice, and member of the board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.


The committee also includes prominent law professor, Yehia Al-Gamal, Ambassador Nabil Fahmy, Egypt’s former ambassador to the US, currently the Dean of the American University in Cairo’s School of Public Policy. It includes as well, Naguib Sawiris, a Copt and one of the country’s top businessmen, as well as Egypt’s top publisher, Ibrahim El-Moalem. Between Sawiris and El-Moalem, the committee effectively has influence on two Egyptian satellite TV stations, O TV, and On TV (Sawiris), and a daily newspaper, Al-Shorouk (El-Moalem), all three of which have not been shy about providing favorable coverage of the ongoing revolution.


Other members present a variety of public figures including a smattering of former government ministers, diplomats, academics, journalists, businessmen and prominent political activists. According to Abul-Magd, membership in the committee is subject to a number of criteria, including non-partisanship, personal integrity and public approval. Chuckling, he adds, “and a smiling face”.
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/5183/Egypt/Politics-/News-Analysis-Egypt-between-revolution-and-counter.aspx

The gross incompetence of the US media reporting the politics of the situation is not surprising but certainly "unhelpful" in the present situation.

I have yet to read one serious interview by any US think tank "expert" getting into the nuts and bolts of the politics. Just idle chatter so far and emotions and feelings and emotions and feelings and and and...

Patrick Lang

walter

The fascinating thing about statements about the blindness of "us white guys" is the egotistical belief on your part that we do not not understand the situation. How much time do you have on the ground in the Middle East and/or Egypt? That's as opposed to time in some library or seminar room. pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks Clifford that is very helpful. My conclusion is that the street protestors in aggregate have some creds and not just disgruntled university students.

Jake

Colonel,

Anytime you can make an appearance and not be doubled teamed by idiots, is a good deal for all who might be listening. Your voice of experience and moderation is what we are all missing with the MSM and its sister outlets.

Clifford Kiracofe

WRC,

glad it was helpful


All,

Some further data on the evolving political scene:

"Hoping to create a form of representation for themselves, many young activists have banded to form a coalition called “The Revolution's Youth”. Groups involved include the 6 April Youth movement, Justice and Freedom, Muslim Brotherhood youth, ElBaradei's campaign, The Popular Democratic Movement for Change (HASHD), The Democratic Front and Khaled Saeed Facebook group administrators. The coalition has 14 group representatives in total and a general assembly with a few hundred members.

The group representatives include Ahmed Maher and Mahmoud Samy from the 6 April Youth movement, ElBaradei supporters Ziad Alimy and Abdel Rahman Samir, Islam Lotfy and Mohamed Abbas from the Muslim Brotherhood, Shady Ghazali Harb and Amr Salah from the Democratic Front Party and from the Youth for Justice and Freedom, Khaled Sayed and Mostafa Shaki.

Additionally, Wael Ghoneim, one of the founders of the Facebook group “Kolona Khaled Said” (We are all Khaled Said), as well as independent activitsts Naser Abdel Hamid, Abdel Rahman Faris and Sally Moore are also members.

According to Ahmed Ezzat, a HASHD and coalition member, the coalition is still expanding and intends to include other young and diverse political trends that have been part of Egypt's political sphere over the past few past years."
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/5257/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt-revolution-youth-form-national-coalition.aspx

The US has been in the Mediterranean region since the late 1700s. Our Med Squadron was established back in 1801. Our merchants and missionaries were in Smyrna (Izmir), Beirut, Cairo, and so on.

We founded American University Cairo, not to mention American University Beirut, Robert College Istanbul and so on.

So we have been out that way for over two centuries and we will be out that way in centuries to come. We have had a positive American tradition in the region but it has been poisoned over the years by our obsession with Israel.

Charles I

We have spent a lot of time discussing the street cred of the protesters. First thing out of Larry Johnson's mouth was that the MB was behind the protests.

Patrick Lang

Charkes 1

I wuz chagrined. pl

Charles I

There was a certain what iffy directionality to the whole thing to my mind, and the news today is "people, you have to go home soon "rather than "Husni is not feeling well today. . . " And I don't here him in Parliament proposong those constitutional amendments as demanded. . .

The MSM has been a chorus, then I reported Dr K on Charlie Rose who god bless him has politely skeptical down pat, but cripes Monica Crowley on Mcglauchlin(sic?) on the weekend, "One vote, one time, once!" was her cry, with a wagging finger and a stern look to boot.

My new favourite is that this proves we can now safely ignore the "non-determinant" Palestinian issue, poor saps.

Marcus

Thank You for your knowledgeable and measured perspective on these matters Colonel. A breath of fresh air compared to the toxic entertainment called TV News out there.

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