Tag Archives | Egypt

Christopher Hitchens: Is Barack Obama Secretly Swiss?

Is Obama Swiss?No stranger to controversial opinions, Christopher Hitchens asks on Slate:

However meanly and grudgingly, even the new Republican speaker has now conceded that the president is Hawaiian-born and some kind of Christian. So let’s hope that’s the end of all that. A more pressing question now obtrudes itself: Is Barack Obama secretly Swiss?

Let me explain what I mean. A Middle Eastern despot now knows for sure when his time in power is well and truly up. He knows it when his bankers in Zurich or Geneva cease accepting his transfers and responding to his confidential communications and instead begin the process of “freezing” his assets and disclosing their extent and their whereabouts to investigators in his long-exploited country. And, at precisely that moment, the U.S. government also announces that it no longer recognizes the said depositor as the duly constituted head of state. Occasionally, there is a little bit of “raggedness” in the coordination.

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Why Are Protesters Dying in Libya & Bahrain? Answer: Mercenaries!

Leonardo da Vinci, "Il Condottiero", 1480.

Leonardo da Vinci, "Il Condottiero", 1480.

It’s not that easy to get soldiers to shoot at their own people. Ishaan Tharoor writes in TIME via Yahoo News:

While the protests convulsing Bahrain and Libya this past week occurred in vastly different contexts – and will likely produce very different results — both were met with conspicuously swift crackdowns.

And in both cases, reports suggest the Libyan and Bahraini regimes deployed foreign fighters and mercenaries against their own citizens, lethal clashes that left scores wounded and many dead.

Though difficult to substantiate in the current chaos, reports from eastern Libya, in particular from the city of Benghazi, claim that snipers and militiamen from sub-Saharan Africa gunned down residents on the streets. The Dubai-based al-Arabiya network says some of the guerrillas were Francophone mercenaries recruited by one of the sons of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Qatar-based al-Jazeera detailed pamphlets circulated to mercenary recruits from Guinea and Nigeria, offering them $2,000 per day to crack down on the Libyan uprising.

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How a Slap Sparked Tunisia’s Revolution … And Perhaps For the Entire Middle East (Video)

TunisiaWhile Libya now, and Egypt not too long ago, are/were dominating the news cycle, 60 Minutes had a recent piece on what happened in Tunisia before these events. The most amazing part of this video to me, is in Tunisia, some young people who were part of the protest movement are now part of the new government. Bob Simon of 60 Minutes reports:
The wave of revolutions sweeping the Arab world started in a forgotten town in the flatlands of Tunisia. It was an unlikely place for history to be made. But so was Tunisia itself, the smallest country in North Africa, strategically irrelevant, with no oil and not much of an army. It has been an oasis of tranquility in this tumultuous part of the world, famous for its beaches, its couscous and its wonderful weather. But there was a dark side to paradise: for 23 years, Tunisia was ruled by a corrupt and ruthless dictator named Zine Ben Ali, who filled his prisons with anyone who spoke out against him.
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Egyptian Dad Names Child ‘Facebook’

Facebook & EgyptVia CNN:
A man in Egypt has named his newborn daughter "Facebook" in honor of the role the social media network played in bringing about a revolution, according to a new report. Gamal Ibrahim, a 20-something, gave his daughter the name "to express his joy at the achievements made by the January 25 youth," according to a report in Al-Ahram, one of Egypt's most popular newspapers. Many young people used Facebook and other social media networks to organize the protests, which began January 25 and ultimately led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power. Wael Ghonim, a Google executive who organized a Facebook page on his own time, became a central figure of the revolution.
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CBS Reporter ‘Sexually Assaulted’ Amid Egyptian Celebration of Democracy

Lara Logan

Lara Logan in Iraq.

There is always a dark element to herd behavior, be it “authoritarian” or “revolutionary.” Melissa Maerz reports in the LA Times:

Lara Logan is recovering in an American hospital this week after being sexually assaulted and beaten by a mob in Egypt’s Tahrir Square late on Friday.

The same day that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, Logan was surveying the mood of anti-Mubarak protesters for a “60 Minutes” story when she and her team “were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration,” CBS said in a statement Tuesday. The network said that a group of 200 people were then “whipped into a frenzy,” pulling Logan away from her crew and attacking her until a group of women and Egyptian soldiers intervened …

During her time in Egypt, Logan had been outspoken about the Mubarak regime’s efforts to intimidate foreign journalists. “We’re being prevented from telling this story,” Logan said during a recent CBS broadcast.

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The American Military’s New Fiefdom: Egypt

With the American military as its greatest benefactor, the Egyptian military has assumed control of the day-to-day functions of government, but which direction will this force take and who under whose auspices are members of the Egyptian military operating?

FMF funds totalled 1.8 B in FY 2009, who do you think is in charge?

FMF funds totalled 1.8 B in FY 2009, who do you think is in charge?

Is this move towards military rule a remnant of the previous administration’s new domino theory in the middle east or the first decisive step in the new administration’s new “plan” for the region? The Project for the New American Century spent many years strong-arming an already pliant Bush administration into increasing military aid to regions like the middle east, but only to regimes it could “work with“.

Consider this excerpt from diplomatic cables addressed to a General Schwartz from 2009:

Your visit will fall on the anniversary of the April 6, 2008 nation-wide strike protesting political and economic conditions.

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Egypt And The Shaping Of A New World Order

Egyptian ProtestsMark LeVine writes at Al Jazeera:

A most modern and insane revolt

The following description, I believe, sums up what Egypt faces today as well as, if not better, than most:

“It is not a revolution, not in the literal sense of the term, not a way of standing up and straightening things out. It is the insurrection of men with bare hands who want to lift the fearful weight, the weight of the entire world order that bears down on each of us — but more specifically on them, these … workers and peasants at the frontiers of empires. It is perhaps the first great insurrection against global systems, the form of revolt that is the most modern and the most insane.

One can understand the difficulties facing the politicians. They outline solutions, which are easier to find than people say … All of them are based on the elimination of the [president].

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Mubarak Refuses To Leave – Can Egypt Avoid Coup Or Violent Revolution?

Tahrir Square

Tahrir Square, Feb. 10, 2011.

All of Egypt was at fever pitch in anticipation that President Hosni Mubarak would resign in a televised speech this evening. Instead he refused to move and set himself up for massive conflict with a broad mass of Egyptians who want a real democracy in this large, civilized, educated but desperately poor country. What happens next is anyone’s guess. Al Jazeera continues to have the best coverage of any media service; here’s their latest report:

Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has refused to step down from his post, saying that he will not bow to “foreign pressure” in a televised address to the nation.

Mubarak announced that he had put into place a framework that would lead to the amendment of six constitutional articles in the address late on Thursday night.

“I can not and will not accept to be dictated orders from outside, no matter what the source is,” Mubarak said.

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