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 Egypt ..............Iran

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PostSubject: Egypt ..............Iran   Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:16 am

The Muslim Brotherhood: The Future of Egypt?

Caitlin Dickson Caitlin Dickson – Mon Jan 31, 12:44 pm ET
WASHINGTON, DC – As protests in Cairo continue, attention has turned to the Muslim Brotherhood, the 83-year-old Islamist opposition group. Members of the long-suppressed organization have recently been arrested in the protests. The opinions of the Muslim Brotherhood are vast and varied, as beliefs that the group's sole motivation is to oust President Mubarak and bring peace to the country are contradicted by proclamations that the Brotherhood plans to take over Egypt and create an anti-American state. Here is a sampling of the current discussion and the questions everyone is asking.


What Is the Brotherhood's Role in the Protests? Cara Parks at the Huffington Post attempts to break down who exactly the Muslim Brotherhood is and what role it plays in the current protests. Founded in 1928 and suppressed in Egypt since 1952, the Muslim Brotherhood is known both for its support of democracy and its criticism of American foreign policy. In the protests currently ravaging Cairo, Parks writes, the Brotherhood's role is minimal. She cites news reports crediting Egypt's youth for the uprising. Still, members of the group have been arrested during the protests, as "the Egyptian government has warned protestors of the group's 'hidden agenda'." But, Parks points out, Nobel laureate Mohamad ElBaradei insists "the Mubarak government uses its Islamist opposition as an excuse for authoritarian rule."

Are They Violent? "For most of its existence in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has refrained from violence against the state. It is not the organization of radical jihadists that it is sometimes made out to be. But its caution in dealing with Mubarak has made it appear recently that it is more concerned with protecting itself than with improving the nation," writes Will Englund at The Washington Post. Still, "the groups running the demonstrations have organized a committee of 10 to deal with the government; the Muslim Brotherhood is included. When its eight regional directors were arrested last week, it chose not to mobilize in their defense so as not to distract from the main goal--the departure of Mubarak."
Are They a Threat to the U.S.? Think Progress writer Tonya Somanader scoffs at the purported threat of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, calling it the Republican hardliners' "delusion-du-jour." She writes that Representative Thaddeus McCotter and UN Ambassador John Bolton are among many in the U.S. who believe "the result of this pro-democracy movement will be the enfranchisement of the Muslim Brotherhood and other anti-American 'jihadist nutjobs.'" She cites Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei's appearance on Fareek Zakaria's CNN show in which he denounced such assertions as "a myth perpetuated and sold by the Mubarak regime," insisting that the religiously conservative group is a minority in Egypt, but has a lot of credit because they are interested in a secular state. Somanader affirms ElBaradei's comments by writing that the Muslim Brotherhood has moved away from its past violence and, now peaceful, is the largest opposition group to the Egyptian government.
Now allied with legal Egyptian political groups and tied to Egyptian professional unions, university campuses, and social welfare programs, the Brotherhood is a “peaceful” group that “could draw moderate Muslims who identify with [its] ideology to participate in electoral politics, thereby isolating violent jihadis.” Indeed, the Brotherhood denounced a recent terrorist attack in Egypt as a “cowardly act” and is not on the U.S. State Department’s terrorist list....Though banned by Mubarak’s regime from participating in parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood has 17 supportive representatives in the Egyptian Parliament and is supporting ElBaradei’s leadership role in forming a new government without Mubarak.


What Would a Muslim Brotherhood-Run Egypt Mean for Israel? The Israeli government fears that an Egypt run by the Muslim Brotherhood will mean "not only a stronger Islamist force in Gaza but also in the West Bank, currently run by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, as well as in Jordan, meaning Israel would feel surrounded in a way it has not in decades," writes the New York Times's Ethan Bronner from Jerusalem.

According to Bronner, the Muslim Brotherhood, which has ties to Hamas, is the "best-organized political force in Egypt." If in charge of the country, the group could be expected to turn Egypt's long held alliance with Israel into a hostile relationship and "quite likely stop in its tracks any further Israeli talk of peace negotiations with the Palestinians."
Is the Brotherhood Being Disingenuous? At The Daily Beast, Leslie Gelb warns strongly against believing the Muslim Brotherhood's assertion that they are "misunderstood Islamic democrats" and that having the group in power "would be calamitous for US security." He explains why:
The MB supports Hamas and other terrorist groups, makes friendly noises to Iranian dictators and torturers, would be uncertain landlords of the critical Suez Canal, and opposes the Egyptian-Israeli agreement of 1979, widely regarded as the foundation of peace in the Mideast. Above all, the MB would endanger counterterrorism efforts in the region and worldwide. That is a very big deal.

It would be delusory to take the MB's democratic protestations at face value. Look at who their friends are—like Hamas.The real danger is that our experts, pundits and professors will talk the Arab and American worlds into believing we can all trust the MB. And that's dangerous because, outside of the government, the MB is the only organized political force, the only group capable of taking power. And if they do gain control, it's going to be almost impossible for the people to take it back. Just look at Iran.



Will the Muslim Brotherhood Prove to Be Egypt's Version of Ayatollah Khomeini? Haaretz.com reports that the Muslim Brotherhood is working with Mohammed ElBaradei to form a national unity government, excluding President Mubarak's National Democratic Party. To some, like Don Surber, this is evidence that the results of the current uprising in Egypt will look like Iran's 1979 revolution. At his Daily Mail blog, Surber writes that if he were the president, he would bring home all of his ambassadors now. "Revolutions are dangerous, and the post-revolutionary period is often autocratic," he writes. "Pray for Egypt." Many who fear Egypt's revolution will turn out like Irans, envision the Muslim Brotherhood as the post-revolutionary autocratic regime. At The American Spectator, Hal G.P. Colebatch suggests that, "in the endless, dusty, jerry-built tower-blocks ringing Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood is watching and waiting to seize its chance."


____________________________________________________
Iran wants to influence Egypt; the Muslim Brotherhood, active in Egypt since 1928 sees their chance for a power grab, and now, not surprisingly Hamas wants it's share of the treasure. Hamas is the sibling of the Muslim Brotherhood, and as such has the same ideals, goals and mission statement. The preamble to the Hamas charter uses the words of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the MB, in which he says "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." The Muslim Brotherhood began as a religious, political, and social movement with the credo, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” According to Al-Banna, contemporary Islam had lost its social dominance, because most Muslims had been corrupted by Western influences. Shariah law based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah were seen as laws passed down by Allah that should be applied to all parts of life, including the organization of the government and the handling of everyday problems. While holding extremist views on issues such as women's rights, it was from the start extremely hostile to the independent working class and popular organizations such as trade unions. Underground links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities. A wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoirs from that period, confirm this. Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler's Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and democracy in Western societies. Huge gains in the 2005 parliamentary elections allowed the Brotherhood to pose as "a democratic political challenge to the regime, not a theological one". There has been widespread skepticism regarding the movement's commitment to use its influence to push Egypt forward towards a democratic state. For instance, briefly after the elections, Sameh Fawzy remarked in the Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper, "If the Muslim Brotherhood were in a position to enforce its ideological monopoly, the vast majority of the populace would face severe restrictions on its freedom of opinion and belief, not just on religious matters, but on social, political, economic and cultural affairs as well". The Muslim Brotherhood in Parliament, did focus on "banning books and legislating the length of women's skirts". The first thing the MB/Hamas theocrats would do is gut the Egyptian constitution, invalidate any agreements between themselves and Israel, expand their capacity to wage war, and call all Muslims to fight in jihad, and drive the infidels from the land of Allah. Article 8 of the Muslim Brotherhood charter says: "Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes". Moreover, there are reports that as Egypt’s border with Palestine becomes unpatrolled, “Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt” and seeking collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is a Palestinian/Islamic political/terrorist organization that was founded as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood backs Mohamed Elbaradei. If Elbaradei becomes Egypts new ruler, it will not be too long before the MB starts to use their strength, through Elbaradei to affect change in Egypt towards a fully functioning sharia-compliant and doctrinally-based society. This is Egypts future, another Iran like clone. Not the rosy picture of democracy that they portray.

________________________________________
THE FICTION CALLED PALESTINE

There is no such thing as a Palestinian; they are simply Arabs. The Philistines (the Sea People) came from the Islands of the Aegean Sea in Greece around 4000 years ago (at the time of Moses) and occupied the coast of Israel and other Mediterranean countries; they disappeared from the area around 3000 years ago. Then, after the revolt of Jews against the Roman occupation of Israel 2000 years ago, the Romans changed the name of Israel to " Palestina.” That name stuck to Israel since then. Now the Arabs claim that they are Palestinian and native of Israel. They are simply Arabs, not Philistine or Palestinian.

All former occupiers of Israel, including the Greeks, Romans, English, and Turks left Israel. Why shouldn’t the Arabs leave Israel?

Jews have continuously lived in Israel for thousands of years even after their expulsion by the Romans. Arabs are only recent occupiers of Israel, and one of many. They came from surrounding Arab countries to work for the British between WWI and WWII.


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PostSubject: Blood in Cairo square: Mubarak backers, foes clash   Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:32 pm


Blood in Cairo square: Mubarak backers, foes clash
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_egypt

CAIRO – Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak charged into Cairo's central square on horses and camels brandishing whips while others rained firebombs from rooftops in what appeared to be an orchestrated assault against protesters trying to topple Egypt's leader of 30 years. Three people died and 600 were injured.

The protesters accused Mubarak's regime of unleashing a force of paid thugs and plainclothes police to crush their unprecedented 9-day-old movement, a day after the 82-year-old president refused to step down. They showed off police ID badges they said were wrested from their attackers. Some government workers said their employers ordered them into the streets.

Mustafa el-Fiqqi, a top official from the ruling National Democratic Party, told The Associated Press that businessmen connected to the ruling party were responsible for what happened.

The notion that the state may have coordinated violence against protesters, who had kept a peaceful vigil in Tahrir Square for five days, prompted a sharp rebuke from the Obama administration.

"If any of the violence is instigated by the government, it should stop immediately," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

The clashes marked a dangerous new phase in Egypt's upheaval: the first significant violence between government supporters and opponents. The crisis took a sharp turn for the worse almost immediately after Mubarak rejected the calls for him to give up power or leave the country, stubbornly proclaiming he would die on Egyptian soil.

His words were a blow to the protesters. They also suggest that authorities want to turn back the clock to the tight state control enforced before the protests began.

Mubarak's supporters turned up on the streets Wednesday in significant numbers for the first time. Some were hostile to journalists and foreigners. Two Associated Press correspondents and several other journalists were roughed up in Cairo. State TV had reported that foreigners were caught distributing anti-Mubarak leaflets, apparently trying to depict the movement as foreign-fueled.

After midnight, 10 hours after the clashes began, the two sides were locked in a standoff at a street corner, with the anti-Mubarak protesters hunkered behind a line of metal sheets hurling firebombs back and forth with government backers on the rooftop above. The rain of bottles of flaming gasoline set nearby cars and wreckage on the sidewalk ablaze.

The scenes of mayhem were certain to add to the fear that is already running high in this capital of 18 million people after a weekend of looting and lawlessness and the escape of thousands of prisoners from jails in the chaos.

Soldiers surrounding Tahrir Square fired occasional shots in the air throughout the day but did not appear to otherwise intervene in the fierce clashes and no uniformed police were seen. Most of the troops took shelter behind or inside the armored vehicles and tanks stationed at the entrances to the square.

"Why don't you protect us?" some protesters shouted at the soldiers, who replied they did not have orders to do so and told people to go home.

"The army is neglectful. They let them in," said Emad Nafa, a 52-year-old among the protesters, who for days had showered the military with affection for its neutral stance.

Some of the worst street battles raged near the Egyptian Museum at the edge of the square. Pro-government rioters blanketed the rooftops of nearby buildings and hurled bricks and firebombs onto the crowd below — in the process setting a tree ablaze inside the museum grounds. Plainclothes police at the building entrances prevented anti-Mubarak protesters from storming up to stop them.

The two sides pummeled each other with chunks of concrete and bottles at each of the six entrances to the sprawling plaza, where 10,000 anti-Mubarak protesters tried to fend off more than 3,000 attackers who besieged them. Some on the pro-government side waved machetes, while the square's defenders filled the air with a ringing battlefield din by banging metal fences with sticks.

In one almost medieval scene, a small contingent of pro-Mubarak forces on horseback and camels rushed into the anti-government crowds, trampling several people and swinging whips and sticks. Protesters dragged some riders from their mounts, throwing them to the ground and beating their faces bloody. The horses and camels appeared to be ones used to give tourists rides around Cairo.

Dozens of men and women pried up pieces of the pavement with bars and ferried the piles of ammunition in canvas sheets to their allies at the front. Others directed fighters to streets needing reinforcements.

The protesters used a subway station as a makeshift prison for the attackers they managed to catch. They tied the hands and legs of their prisoners and locked them inside. People grabbed one man who was bleeding from the head, hit him with their sandals and threw him behind a closed gate.

Some protesters wept and prayed in the square where only a day before they had held a joyous, peaceful rally of a quarter-million, the largest demonstration so far.

Egyptian Health Minister Ahmed Sameh Farid said three people died and at least 611 were injured in Tahir Square. One of those killed fell from a bridge near the square; Farid said the man was in civilian clothes but may have been a member of the security forces.

Farid did not say how the other two victims, both young men, were killed. It was not clear whether they were government supporters or anti-Mubarak demonstrators.

After years of tight state control, protesters emboldened by the uprising in Tunisia took to the streets on Jan. 25 and mounted a once-unimaginable series of demonstrations across this nation of 80 million. For the past few days, protesters who camped out in Tahrir Square reveled in a new freedom — publicly expressing their hatred for the Mubarak regime.

"After our revolution, they want to send people here to ruin it for us," said Ahmed Abdullah, a 47-year-old lawyer in the square.

Another man shrieked through a loudspeaker: "Hosni has opened the door for these thugs to attack us."

The pressure for demonstrators to clear the square mounted throughout the day, beginning early when a military spokesman appeared on state TV and asked them to disperse so life in Egypt could get back to normal.

It was a change in attitude by the army, which for the past few days had allowed protests to swell with no interference and even made a statement saying they had a legitimate right to demonstrate peacefully.

Then the regime began to rally its supporters in significant numbers for the first time, demanding an end to the protest movement. Some 20,000 Mubarak supporters held an angry but mostly peaceful rally across the Nile River from Tahrir, responding to calls on state TV.

They said Mubarak's concessions were enough. He has promised not to run for re-election in September, named a new government and appointed a vice president for the first time, widely considered his designated successor.

They waved Egyptian flags, their faces painted with the black-white-and-red national colors, and carried a large printed banner with Mubarak's face as police officers surrounded the area and directed traffic. They cheered as a military helicopter swooped overhead.

They were bitter at the jeers hurled at Mubarak.

"I feel humiliated," said Mohammed Hussein, a 31-year-old factory worker. "He is the symbol of our country. When he is insulted, I am insulted."

Sayyed Ramadan, a clothing vendor said: "Eight days with no security, safety, food or drink. I earn my living day by day. The president didn't do anything. It is shame that we call him a dog."

Emad Fathi, 35, works as a delivery boy but since the demonstrations, he has not gone to work.

"I came here to tell these people to leave," he said. "The mosques were calling on people to go and support Mubarak," he said.

The anti-Mubarak movement has vowed to intensify protests to force him out by Friday.

State TV said Vice President Omar Suleiman called "on the youth to heed the armed forces' call and return home to restore order." From the other side, senior anti-Mubarak figure Mohamed ElBaradei demanded the military "intervene immediately and decisively to stop this massacre."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke with Suleiman to condemn the violence and urge Egypt's government to hold those responsible for it accountable, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

Protesters had maintained a round-the-clock, peaceful vigil in Tahrir Square since Friday night, when the military was first deployed and police largely vanished from the streets.

After celebrating their biggest success yet in Tuesday's demonstration, the crowd thinned out overnight. By morning a few thousand protesters remained. Mubarak supporters began to gather at the edges of the square a little after noon, and protesters formed a human chain to keep them out.

In the early afternoon, around 3,000 pro-government demonstrators broke through and surged among the protesters, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

They tore down banners denouncing the president, fistfights broke out, and protesters grabbed Mubarak posters from the hands of the supporters and ripped them to pieces.

From there, it escalated into outright street battles as hundreds poured in to join each side.

The battle lines at each of the entrances surged back and forth for hours. Each side's fighters stretched across the width of the four-lane divided boulevard, hiding behind abandoned trucks and holding sheets of corrugated metal as shields from the hail of stones.

At the heart of the square, young men with microphones sought to keep up morale. "Stand fast, reinforcements are on the way," said one. "Youth of Egypt, be brave." Groups of bearded men lined up to recite Muslim prayers before taking their turn in the line of fire.

Bloodied young men staggered or were carried into makeshift clinics set up in mosques and alleyways by the anti-government side.

Women and men stood ready with water, medical cotton and bandages as each wave returned. Scores of wounded were carried to a makeshift clinic at a mosque near the square and on other side streets, staffed by doctors in white coats. One man with blood coming out of his eye stumbled into a side-street clinic.

As night fell, some protesters went to get food, a sign they plan to dig in for a long siege. Hundreds more people from the impoverished district of Shubra showed up later as reinforcements.

Wednesday's events suggest the regime aims to put an end of the unrest to let Mubarak shape the transition as he chooses over the next months. Mubarak has offered negotiations with protest leaders over democratic reforms, but they have refused any talks until he steps down.

As if to show the public the crisis was ending, the government began to reinstate Internet service after days of an unprecedented cutoff. State TV announced the easing of a nighttime curfew, which now runs from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. instead of 3 p.m. to 8 a.m.

____

AP correspondents Sarah El Deeb, Hamza Hendawi, Diaa Hadid, Lee Keath, Michael Weissenstein and Maggie Michael contributed to this report.


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PostSubject: US response to Egypt draws criticism in Israel   Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:32 pm

JERUSALEM – President Barack Obama's response to the crisis in Egypt is drawing fierce criticism in Israel, where many view the U.S. leader as a political naif whose pressure on a stalwart ally to hand over power is liable to backfire.

Critics — including senior Israeli officials who have shied from saying so publicly — maintain Obama is repeating the same mistakes of predecessors whose calls for human rights and democracy in the Middle East have often backfired by bringing anti-West regimes to power.

Israeli officials, while refraining from open criticism of Obama, have made no secret of their view that shunning Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and pushing for swift elections in Egypt could bring unintended results.

"I don't think the Americans understand yet the disaster they have pushed the Middle East into," said lawmaker Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who until recently was a Cabinet minister and who is a longtime friend of Mubarak.

"If there are elections like the Americans want, I wouldn't be surprised if the Muslim Brotherhood didn't win a majority, it would win half of the seats in parliament," he told Army Radio. "It will be a new Middle East, extremist radical Islam."

Three decades ago, President Jimmy Carter urged another staunch American ally — the shah of Iran — to loosen his grip on power, only to see his autocratic regime replaced by the Islamic Republic. More recently, U.S.-supported elections have strengthened such groups as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories and anti-American radicals in Iran.

"Jimmy Carter will go down in American history as 'the president who lost Iran,'" the analyst Aluf Benn wrote in the daily Haaretz this week. "Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who 'lost' Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and during whose tenure America's alliances in the Middle East crumbled," Benn wrote.

Israel has tremendous respect for Mubarak, who carefully honored his country's peace agreement with Israel after taking power nearly 30 years ago.

While relations were often cool, Mubarak maintained a stable situation that has allowed Israel to greatly reduce its military spending and troop presence along the border with Egypt.

He also worked with Israel to contain the Gaza Strip's Hamas government and served as a bridge to the broader Arab world. Israeli leaders have said it is essential that whoever emerges as Egypt's next leader continue to honor the peace agreement.

For more than a week, Egyptians fed up with deepening poverty, corruption and 30 years of Mubarak's autocratic rule have massed across the country to demand his ouster. The backlash has forced Mubarak to announce he won't run in September elections, but that has not appeased protesters, who want him out now.

In the course of the turmoil, the Obama administration has repeatedly recalibrated its posture, initially expressing confidence in Egypt's government, later threatening to withhold U.S. aid, and lastly, pressing Mubarak to loosen his grip on power immediately.

"We want to see free, fair and credible elections," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday. "The sooner that can happen, the better."

Critics say the U.S. is once again confusing the mechanics of democracy with democracy itself.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed similar sentiments this week when he warned that "if extremist forces are allowed to exploit democratic processes to come to power to advance anti-democratic goals — as has happened in Iran and elsewhere — the outcome will be bad for peace and bad for democracy."

So far, no unified opposition leadership or clear program for change has emerged in Egypt from the anti-government protests, which have been led by secular activists. Historically the leading opposition in Egypt has been the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that favors rule by Islamic law and has been repressed by Mubarak throughout his tenure.

Many young people see the former director of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, as Egypt's democratic hope, but critics say he is out of touch with Egypt's problems because he has spent so many years outside of the country.

The calls for democracy inside Egypt have put the U.S. in an awkward position of having to balance its defense for human rights with its longtime ties to an authoritarian regime that has been a crucial Arab ally.

In Israel, critics say the U.S. has suffered a credibility loss by shaking off Mubarak when his regime started crumbling. They say Israel will have to think twice about relying on the U.S. as it is being asked to make what could be risky territorial concessions to the Palestinians as part of a future peace agreement.

"The Israeli concept is that the U.S. rushed to stab Mubarak in the back," said Eytan Gilboa, an expert on the U.S. at Bar-Ilan University.

"As Israel sees it, they could have pressured Mubarak, but not in such an overt way, because the consequence could be a loss of faith in the U.S. by all pro-Western Arab states in the Middle East, and also a loss of faith in Israel," he said.

Raphael Israeli, a professor emeritus of Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, echoed a widely felt perception that before the unrest erupted, the Obama administration paid only lip service to the lack of human rights in Mubarak's authoritarian regime.

"If Obama were genuinely concerned with what is going on in Egypt, he should have made the same demands two years ago (when he addressed the Muslim world in Cairo) and eight years and 20 years ago. Mubarak didn't come to power yesterday."

"As long as there are no problems, the oppression works," Israeli said. "If the oppression doesn't work, suddenly it becomes urgent. That's unacceptable."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110203/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_us_egypt_protests

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PostSubject: Re: Egypt ..............Iran   Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:06 pm

Egypt's Mubarak in Red Sea resort as protests rage


By YASSER IMAM, Associated Press Yasser Imam, Associated Press – 55 mins ago
CAIRO – A local government official says President Hosni Mubarak is in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, 250 miles from the capital Cairo, where protesters are deluging squares and marching on presidential palaces and the State TV building.

The official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Friday that Mubarak arrived at the airport in Sharm and was greeted by the local governor. Mubarak passed most of his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman Thursday night, rebuffing the demands of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators that he step down immediately.

Mubarak spends a good deal of time in Sharm, where he has a palace.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's powerful military backed President Hosni Mubarak's plan to stay in office until September elections, enraging hundreds of thousands of protesters who deluged squares in at least three major cities Friday, marched on presidential palaces and broke through army barricades at the state TV building — key symbols of the authoritarian regime.

The army's show of solidarity with the president was a heavy blow to protesters who called on the military to take action to push Mubarak out after he announced Thursday night that he would hand most of his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman but remain in office.

The Armed Forces Supreme Council, the military's highest body, depicted itself as the champion of reform in its latest statement. Trying to win the trust of an angry and skeptical population, the army promised to make sure Mubarak lifts hated emergency laws immediately once protests end. Mubarak and Suleiman had only given a vague timetable for ending the law — when security permits.

Still, the profound disappointment that Mubarak did not step down on Thursday turned to rage on Friday and protests escalated.



"What are you waiting for?" one protester yelled in the face of an army officer outside Mubarak's main palace, Oruba, in northern Cairo, where a crowd of demonstrators grew to more than 2,500. "Did you pledge your allegiance to the president or the people?" another shouted.

It was not known if Mubarak was in the palace, one of at least three in Cairo, or even in the capital. The palace was protected by four tanks and rolls of barbed wire, but soldiers did nothing to stop more people from joining the rally.

The march on the palace were the first by protesters who for nearly three weeks have centered their mass demonstrations in Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square.

More than 10,000 tore apart military barricades in front of the towering State Television and Radio building, a pro-Mubarak bastion that has aired constant commentary supporting him and dismissing the protests. They swarmed on the Nile River corniche at the foot of the building, beating drums and chanting, "Leave! Leave! Leave!" They blocked employees from entering, vowing to silence the broadcast.

Soldiers in tanks in front of the building did nothing to stop them, though state TV continued to air.

"The employees have been perpetuating lies and haven't been broadcasting the real message, feelings, and voice of the Egyptian people," said Mahmoud Ahmed, a 25-year-old graphic designer. "Nobody in Egypt feels like they know what is happening because state television is lying to them."

The protesters shouted, "We are here, where is Al-Jazeera." The pan-Arab news network has aired blanket coverage of the demonstrations, largely positive, and has been targeted by the government.

Other protesters massed outside the Cabinet and parliament buildings, both largely empty, several blocks from Tahrir.

Tahrir Square was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with a crowd that rivaled the quarter-million figure of the biggest protests, stunned by Mubarak's blunt determination not to bend in the face of the biggest mass uprising in Egypt's history, now in its 18th day.

More than 100,000 massed in the main square in Egypt's second biggest city, Alexandria. In the afternoon, the giant crowd marched toward Ras el-Tin Palace, Mubarak's main residence in the city, with thousands more joining their ranks to fill a long stretch of the main seaside boulevard on the Mediterranean.

In Assiut, the main city of southern Egypt, about 40,000 protesters, including thousands who streamed in from nearby villages, marched down the main avenue, chanting for Mubarak to go. Thousands set base around the main security headquarters, guarded by riot police, and others headed toward the provincial government headquarters, guarded by the army. "You go along with your regime, Mubarak," the protesters shouted.

In the multiple demonstrations, protesters vowed they were more determined than ever and continued to try to win military support, chanting "the people and the army are one hand."

"Protesting and striking are fundamental rights and the most powerful available means to bring down the regime, so let's be steadfast and united. Right is above might we shall be victorious," Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, whose supporters are among the youth activists organizing the protest movement, said in a Tweet on Friday.

In Cairo's Tahrir, a Muslim cleric urged the protesters never to give up in a sermon to tens of thousands of protesters seated in row after row sweeping across the sprawling plaza and over military vehicles.

"We lived long years where no one could speak a word ... Today we tell this regime to go," he said. "We will pray in this square this Friday and the Friday after and the Friday after and we will defend our dignity.

The military statement, labeled "Communique No. 2" after a statement a day earlier, endorsed Mubarak's plan to transfer some powers to Omar Suleiman.

But it said it would make sure that Mubarak and Suleiman — both military men — stuck to their promises for reform. The armed forces, it said, "are committed to shepherding the legitimate demands of the people and to work for their implementation within a defined timetable until achieving a peaceful transition all through a democratic society."

After Mubarak promised to eventually lift the emergency law in place since 1981, the military command gave a more specific timetable, saying they would go once the protests end — "immediately after the end of the current circumstances."

The law gives police and security forces almost unlimited powers of arrest, which opponents say they have used to crush dissent. Police are also accused of widespread use of torture.

The Supreme Council also called for public services to resume and urged "the return of normal life in order to safeguard the achievements of our glorious people."

Hopes that Mubarak would resign had been raised Thursday when the military council issued its Communique No. 1, announcing it had stepped in to secure the country, and a senior commander told protesters in Tahrir Square that all their demands would soon be met.

Instead, several hundred thousand people watched in disbelief and anger as Mubarak refused to step down in his televised address several hours later.

________________________________________

In a Democracy the will of 51% of the people can take away the rights of 49% of the people.

In a Republic the will of 99% of the people can NOT take away the rights of 1% of the people.

This from a Founding Father:

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” - Thomas Jefferson




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PostSubject: Re: Egypt ..............Iran   Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:23 pm


King warned Obama Saudi could fund Egypt: paper
Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:03am GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah told U.S. President Barack Obama that his country would prop up Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak if the United States withdrew its aid programme, The Times said on Thursday.
Abdullah told Obama not to humiliate Mubarak, who is under pressure from protesters to quit immediately, in a telephone call on January 29, the newspaper said, citing a senior source in Riyadh.

Obama's administration has wavered between support for Egypt in Washington's conflict with militant Islam and backing for Egyptians who have been protesting for weeks to demand Mubarak and his government quit.

The United States has long nurtured its alliance with key ally Egypt, giving billions of dollars in aid as it seeks to influence affairs in a region whose autocratic rulers are struggling to contain social discontent.

The United States has stopped short of endorsing calls for Mubarak, 82, to leave office immediately. He said last week he would step down in September when an election is due.

On January 28, the White House said the United States would review $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt. Officials later said no such review was planned currently.


Basically, any US leverage the US might think it has in the region could be evaporated.
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PostSubject: Democracy protests bring down Egypt's Mubarak   Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:03 pm

Democracy protests bring down Egypt's Mubarak


By PAUL SCHEMM and MAGGIE MICHAEL, Associated Press Paul Schemm And Maggie Michael, Associated Press – 25 mins ago
CAIRO – Fireworks burst over Tahrir Square and Egypt exploded with joy and tears of relief after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak with a momentous march on his palaces and state TV. Mubarak, who until the end seemed unable to grasp the depth of resentment over his three decades of authoritarian rule, finally resigned Friday and handed power to the military.

"The people ousted the regime," rang out chants from crowds of hundreds of thousands massed in Cairo's central Tahrir, or Liberation, Square and outside Mubarak's main palace several miles away in a northern district of the capital.

The crowds in Cairo, the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and other cities around the country erupted into a pandemonium of cheers and waving flags. They danced, hugged and raised their hands in prayer after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall. Some fell to kiss the ground, and others chanted, "Goodbye, goodbye" and "put your heads up high, you're Egyptian."

"Finally we are free," said Safwan Abou Stat, a 60-year-old protester. "From now on anyone who is going to rule will know that these people are great."

The success of the biggest popular uprising ever seen in the Arab world had stunning implications for the region, the United States and the West, and Israel.

Mubarak was the symbol of the implicit decades-old deal the United States made in the Middle East: Support for autocratic leaders in return for their guarantee of stability, a bulwark against Islamic militants and peace — or at least an effort at peace — with Israel.

The United States at times seemed overwhelmed throughout the 18 days of upheaval, fumbling to juggle its advocacy of democracy and the right to protest, its loyalty to longtime ally Mubarak and its fears Muslim fundamentalists could gain a foothold. Those issues will only grow in significance as Egypt takes the next steps towards what the protest movement hopes will be a true democracy — in which the Muslim Brotherhood will likely to be a significant political player.

Neighboring Israel watched with the crisis with unease, worried that their 1979 peace treaty could be in danger. It quickly demanded on Friday that post-Mubarak Egypt continue to adhere to it. Any break seems unlikely in the near term: The military leadership supports the treaty. While anti-Israeli feeling is strong among Egyptians and future ties may be strained, few call for outright abrogating a treaty that has kept peace after three wars in the past half-century.

From the oil-rich Gulf states in the east to Morocco in the west, regimes both pro- and anti-U.S. could not help but worry they could see a similar upheaval. Several of the region's authoritarian rulers have made pre-emptive gestures of democratic reform to avert their own protest movements.

The lesson many took: If it could happen in only three weeks in Egypt, where Mubarak's lock on power had appeared unshakable, it could happen anywhere. Only a month earlier, Tunisia's president was forced to step down in the face of protests.

Perhaps more surprising was the genesis of the force that overthrew Mubarak. The protests were started by a small core of secular, liberal youth activists organizing on the Internet who only a few months earlier struggled to gather more than 100 demonstrators at a time. But their work through Facebook and other social network sites over the past few years built a greater awareness and bitterness among Egyptians over issues like police abuse and corruption.

When the called the first major protest, on Jan. 25, they tapped into a public inspired by Tunisia's revolt and thousands turned out, beyond even the organizers' expectations. From there, protests swelled, drawing hundreds of thousands. The Muslim Brotherhood — Egypt's powerful Islamic fundamentalist movement — joined in. But far from U.S. fears the Brotherhood could co-opt the protests, the movement often seemed to co-opt the Brotherhood, forcing it to set aside its hard-line ideology at least for now to adhere to democratic demands.

Mubarak, a former air force commander came to power after the 1981 assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat by Islamic radicals. Throughout his rule, he showed a near obsession with stability, using rigged elections and a hated police force accused of widespread torture to ensure his control.

He resisted calls for reform even as public bitterness grew over corruption, deteriorating infrastructure and rampant poverty in a country where 40 percent live below or near the poverty line.

Up to the last hours, Mubarak sought to cling to power, handing some of his authorities to Suleiman while keeping his title.

But an explosion of protests Friday rejecting the move appeared to have pushed the military into forcing him out completely. Hundreds of thousands marched throughout the day in cities across the country as soldiers stood by, besieging his palaces in Cairo and Alexandria and the state TV building. A governor of a southern province was forced to flee to safety in the face of protests there.

Mubarak himself flew to his isolated palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, 250 miles from the turmoil in Cairo.

His fall came 32 years to the day after the collapse of the shah's government in Iran.

Vice President Suleiman — who appears to have lost his post as well in the military takeover — appeared grim as he delivered the short announcement.

"In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic," he said. "He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor."

Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, whose young supporters were among the organizers of the protest movement, told The Associated Press, "This is the greatest day of my life."

"The country has been liberated after decades of repression," he said adding that he expects a "beautiful" transition of power.

The question now turned to what happens next after effectively a military coup, albeit one prompted by overwhelming popular pressure. Protesters on Friday had overtly pleaded for the army to oust Mubarak. The country is now ruled by the Armed Forces Supreme Council, the military's top body consisting of its highest ranking generals and headed by Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

After Mubarak's resignation, a military spokesman appeared on state TV and promised the army would not act as a substitute for a government based on the "legitimacy of the people."

He said the military was preparing the next steps needed "to acheive the ambitions of our great nation" and would announce them soon. He praised Mubarak for his contributions ot the country, then expressed the military's condolences for protesters killed in the unrest, standing at attention to give a salute.

Earlier in the day, the council vowed to guide the country to greater democracy. It said was committed "to shepherding the legitimate demands of the people and endeavoring to their implementation within a defined timetable until a peaceful transition to a democratic society aspired to by the people."

Abdel-Rahman Samir, one of the protest organizers, said the movement would now open negotiations with the military over democratic reforms but vowed protests would continue to ensure change is carried out.

"We still don't have any guarantees yet — if we end the whole situation now the it's like we haven't done anything," he said. "So we need to keep sitting in Tahrir until we get all our demands."

But, he added, "I feel fantastic. .... I feel like we have worked so hard, we planted a seed for a year and a half and now we are now finally sowing the fruits."

Sally Toma, another of the organizers, said she did not expect the military would try to clear the square. "We still have to sit and talk. We have to hear the army first," she said.

For the moment, concerns over the next step were overwhelmed by the wave of joy and disbelief.

Outside the Oruba presidential palace in northern Cairo, where tens of thousands had marched during the day, one man sprawled on the grass, saying he couldn't believe it. Protesters began to form a march toward Tahrir in a sea of Egyptian flags.

Thousands from across the capital of 18 million streamed into Tahrir, where protesters hugged, kissed and wept. Whole families took pictures of each other posing with Egyptian flags with their mobile phones as bridges over the Nile jammed with throngs more flowing into the square.

Abdul-Rahman Ayyash, an online activist born eight years after Mubarak came to office, said he would be celebrating all night, then remain in the square to ensure the military "won't steal the revolution."

"I'm 21 years old," he said. "This is the first time in my life I feel free."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110211/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_egypt

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