The people of Egypt refuse to be intimidated by curfews, violence and US-supplied tear gas shells fired at them by the police. For several nights, people have defied the curfew as government control begins to crumble.
January 30, 2011 - 1500 DST
The people of Egypt refuse to be intimidated by curfews, violence and US-supplied tear gas shells fired at them by the police. For several nights, people have defied the curfew as government control begins to crumble. At least 100 people have been killed and several thousand injured by the police in six days of protests.
Air force planes and helicopters flew over Tahrir Square in Cairo in a show of force on January 30. People asked, with justification, why these US supplied planes and helicopters were flying over Cairo when they have been conspicuously absent from the fight against Israel? Many people shook their fists at the planes flying overhead.
Unconfirmed reports on January 30 also said Saudi Arabia had refused Hosni Mubarak’s request for asylum. He was considering fleeing to Israel, according to other reports. In the meantime, 19 Egyptian businessmen have fled to Dubai in private jets. Gamal Mubarak, son of the aging dictator, and his mother Susan Mubarak, have also fled the country.
On Saturday January 29, Mubarak appointed General Omar Soleiman, until then Intelligence Chief (head of the Mukhabarat) as Vice President, and General Ahmed Shafiq as Prime Minister. Soleiman is a nasty character. He is even more ruthless than Mubarak and is favoured by the US and Israel because he advances their agenda. Soleiman’s appointment is seen by many as paving the way for Mubarak’s departure that could come soon.
Meanwhile, Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of International Atomic Energy Agency and another favorite of the US, said on January 30 that “change was coming” and people should “show patience.” Most observers believe he has been sent by the US to take over from Mubarak so that the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon would not take power in Egypt in what is referred to as the "nightmare" scenario. So much for democracy and all that!
Thousands of people have broken out of Egyptian jails as they overpowered their guards. The escapees include Ikhwan political prisoners. In the rest of the country, the Interior Ministry, still dominated by Mubarak loyalists, has unleashed thugs to go on a rampage of looting and burning. This would provide the regime the pretext to clamp down even harder on people.
In the rapidly evolving situation, the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon announced on January 29 that they would not field a candidate in the presidential elections. They also supported a call by several political parties asking ElBaradei to negotiate with Mubarak so that the dictator would leave and ElBaradei could take over as interim president, arranging for presidential elections.
How this will ultimately play out will depend on what happens in Egypt in the coming days and weeks but what is beyond doubt is that people are no longer afraid of the security forces. This should make Mubarak, the US and Israel very worried.