The Fat Belly Man would like to take this opportunity to express support for the Egyptian peoples battle for democracy.
I can’t help but be amazed and full of admiration at the courage shown by the protesters in the face of one of the most vicious regimes in the world.
At the time of writing (4th February 08:00), the revolution appears to be entering a critical phase and is finely balanced. The Pro-Democracy movement are gearing up for ‘The Day of Departure’ to force Hosni Mubarak to leave.
Meanwhile, it is reported that the West is attempting to calloborate with the regime in a deal to allow Mubarak to go but enabling the regime to remain intact. While this apparent deal is being discussed, it seems that the regime is keeping its options open by preparing to violently suppress the Pro-Democracy Movement.
Watching the events in North Africa and the Middle East as they’ve unfolded since Tunisia, one can not help feeling that though the outcome of today’s events may effect the pace and the rhythm of the revolution, they will not stop its march.
Events yesterday, (Thursday 10th February), show the unpredictable nature of revolution and the tenacity of a dictator using all the thirty years of experience of rule to cling onto power.
Against all expectations, Mubarak, instead of stepping down, merely repeated the minor concessions granted by the regime over the last week. This may prove to be just a final twist in the fall of Mubarak.
What has been exposed is the weakness and vacillation of the Army Generals. They intimated yesterday that the protesters demands would be met in full, implying that Mubarak would be removed. Mubarak’s actions has shown the Army Generals to be paralysed by splits amongst themselves and doubts about the loyalty and reliability of the lower ranks.
As it stands, the regime seems almost too stupid to save itself. Unfortunately, its saviour may come in the form of elements of the opposition, some of whom rushed at the chance to negotiate with the regime. These elements are more interested in having a share of the spoils of power and, judging by the pleading of some of them for the Army to step in, they are terrified at the direction the uprising could take.
This morning, (Friday 11th February 09:00), the protesters have advanced from Tahrir Square to surround political symbols of power such as the Egyptian Sate TV Station and have moved towards the Presidential Palace. One has the sense of an inevitable show down.
Demonstrations alone, however, may not be enough. The key seems to rest with the strikes that have broken out in all the main cities. These strikes have the real possibility of developing into a general strike. In this case the demands of workers would expand from the economic to the political. A question would then arise that the West and the regime, and also some in the opposition, are desperate to avoid – who rules?
When trying to judge the direction of momentous events, it serves to attach a serious health warning to predictions. With that caveat in mind, it seems most likely that the regime, rather than allow the system to be fundamentally threatened, will make whatever concessions are necessary to maintain control. These will probably consist of sacrificing Mubarak and Suleiman and forming a National Unity Government which includes the Muslim Brotherhood, ElBaradei and others.
A National Unity Government involving the Army would be possible with the collusion of a section of the opposition and the playing on the illusions held by a significant proportion of Egyptians in the Army as a ‘Protector of the People’. Any such government would be weak and unstable and Egyptians would be faced with the choice of a slide back into authoritarian rule or finishing what they started on the 25th January with their rallying cry, “We will accept nothing less than the collapse of the regime!”
Egpyt – Breaking News
At 16:00 GMT Friday 11th February, Mubarak resigns and power is passed to the Supreme Military Council. So ends Part One of the Egyptian Revolution…
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Gary Hollands – February 11th 2011.