Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt

Al Jazeera English has live coverage streaming here.

Also might be interesting, when there's a chance to go through them (which I haven't had yet), wikileaks just released a whole bunch of Cairo cables, indexed here.

UPDATE: Hillary Clinton: "People in the Middle East, like people everywhere, want to have a role in the decisions that will shape their lives." Meanwhile, the NDP headquarters are on fire.

UPDATE II: The moment PZ Myers posts something about how stupid Egyptians are for praying in the middle of a riot, I'll let you know.

UPDATE III: The NDP headquarters are still on fire, and were extensively looted already. Protesters are setting up makeshift barricades on the streets and, according to Al Jazeera's reporters, seem to still be pretty much in control of central Cairo at least.

UPDATE IV: Speaking as an American the idea that the police and the military might not be serving the same interests is very difficult for me to grasp. In comments Jack points out that the military is "booted up with conscripts," which seems like it might be significant, but I don't know nearly enough to understand the situation.

Right now reports seem to conflict. There is some indication that there have been gunfights between military and police. AJE is reporting in turns that the military was greeted with cheers as they rode through saluting the protesters or that the military actually fired on crowds of protesters; AJE themselves seem to be confused about it. It may be that different things are happening in different places.

As I write various people on AJE are talking about how the military "has been shielded from politics for at least thirty years," which I'm not quite sure what that means; mentioning also that they are significantly smaller than the internal police forces; and speculating about military leaders taking over if Mubarak steps down or is deposed; they also point out that the military has issued no statement about whether they're backing the government or the people.

I don't know anything about this aspect of the situation, absolutely zip, and am kind of at a loss of where to look to learn more.

UPDATE V: There has been some fear for the Egyptian Antiquities Museum, which is, if I understand correctly, pretty much right across the street from the NDP headquarters. At this point, protesters are apparently forming a human shield around it to prevent looting and to try to keep the fire from spreading to it. Which is damned impressive if you ask me.

UPDATE VI: A reporter on the street is showing a handful of live ammo shells she's been given by protesters, who picked them up off the street, so that seems to be confirmation that live ammo has been fired. She also says many people have pointed out to her the "MADE IN THE USA" stamps on the tear gas canisters fired on protesters.

UPDATE VII: Robert Gibbs's favorite word is "monitoring." He uses it whenever he would otherwise be required to answer a question.

UPDATE VIII: No word from or sign of Mubarak, no one seems to know where he is. Do we feel like he's fleeing?

UPDATE IX: Prominent businessmen have been "boarding private jets and leaving."

UPDATE X: One thing AJE keeps emphasizing is that there is no real leader of the protests, that it's the people themselves making themselves heard.

UPDATE XI: Hah! AJE tells me Reuters just reported that Egypt is in "Mubarak's safe hands," and then says "If this is what we're seeing, what does that say about Mubarak's safe hands?"

UPDATE XII: Mubarak has given an address on television, saying basically that the protests have suppressed people's desires for more of his rule, or whatever it is that he means when he says "democracy." He doesn't seem to think he's lost power.

15 comments:

Jack Crow said...

Have read a few so far. On top of allegations of sex and slave trafficking, via Saudi Arabia, from Yemen to Egypt - the ones I've read document official awareness of the Egyptian state's repressive practices.

At the same time that Bush and Obama were praising it as a strategic partner.

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Fucking Swillary and her arrogance. The condescension drips from her words.

"want to have a say in"

as if that's surprising, or, worse, just plain objectionable.

It's the latter, for Swillary, of course.

Randal Graves said...

It's early, I'll grant, but that Hillary quote's the early leader for best of the year.

Jack Crow said...

The Egyptian army is booted up with conscripts. Important?

Ethan said...

Hillary's a Real Winner, as always.

I tried going through the cables, but quickly realized that my brain isn't up to being numbed in that way at this point.

Jack, as I've said elsewhere, speaking as an American the idea that the police and the military might not be serving the same interests is very difficult for me to grasp. Your point seems like it's probably significant, but really I don't know nearly enough to judge it.

Right now reports seem to conflict. There is some indication that there have been gunfights between military and police. AJE is reporting in turns that the military was greeted with cheers as they rode through saluting the protesters or that the military actually fired on crowds of protesters; AJE themselves seem to be confused about it. It may be that different things are happening in different places.

Jack Crow said...

Ethan,

Those are my cultural blinders as well. If the NH National Guard or Reservists were sent in to back up the local cops, in containing a riot (wholly imaginary, here in NH) it would literally be impossible for me to expect them to turn on the cops. Hell, a not negligible percentage of them are cops.

I still cannot help wondering if it's significant, over there.

I kid you not, veriword: resserve.

Google's ghost in the machine is almost ready to pass the Turing test.

Ethan said...

Jack, exactly. So much overlap in just the personnel that it's hard to tell the difference, let alone in purpose and command structure.

Google grows increasingly terrifying.

Jack Crow said...

Fuck.

The Atlantic has decided to publish the info As'ad wisely and rightly refused to make public.

Fucking Spectacle.

Oh. Come on now. Veriword: spines. After I edit personal info out of the screen shot, I'll send it to you if you want. GoogleMind is on to us...

Ethan said...

Jack, I saw that. Assholes.

Although once this is over I think we should all try to track down the complete pamphlet and study it.

Jack Crow said...

Agreed.

Jack Crow said...

Interviewee on AJ live feed talking about conscription now (3:47 EST). Talking about how the professional police are paid 30x more than the Army conscripts.

He's sure they will join the demonstrators today or tomorrow.

And that they already with the protesters, because they would have fired on them in the past, pre-Tunisia.

Ethan said...

Oh, I knew if I took five minutes to take a shower I'd miss something important.

That sounds very promising, though I wonder what the interests of the military leaders are, and if military cooperation with the protesters would give those leaders a push into power.

Jack Crow said...

Ethan,

The chastisement the Atlantic had rec'd from its readers is something, at least.

Richard said...

I saw the link to the Atlantic via Lenin's Tomb... I'm frankly shocked he simply posted the link without criticism of the (always already) shitty Atlantic.

Ethan said...

I was startled by that too, Richard.