News Release

Egypt: Threat of the Army, Resilience of the Protests

U.S. government officials had been saying that the future of Egypt should be decided by Egyptians, but today, Obama’s special envoy to Egypt Frank Wisner stated: “We need to get a national consensus around the preconditions for the next step forward. The president [Mubarak] must stay in office to steer those changes.”

RAHUL MAHAJAN
Mahajan is author of Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond and writes at his Empire Notes blog: EmpireNotes.org.

He said today: “According to the Saturday New York Times, the Obama administration has come out firmly in support of Omar Suleiman, Hosni Mubarak’s designated successor (and CIA-allied torturer), and is in favor of a ‘gradual transition, managed by Mr. Suleiman, a pillar of Egypt’s existing establishment, and backed by the military.’ Although many lower-level officers have great sympathy for the Egyptian people, and early on even protected them against the riot police, the military has clearly united in favor of continued military control of Egypt and against popular democracy.”

PHILIP RIZK, twitter.com/tabulagaza
Rizk is an independent blogger and filmmaker based in Cairo. He said today: “Although the Egyptian anti-government demonstrators welcomed the arrival of the military on Friday night the 29th, I have considered their presence a threat to the people’s demands from the start. I believe the military dispersed on the streets of Egypt in order to calm down a very fragile situation and then to gain the demonstrators’ trust in order eventually to act as the element of surprise when they partner with government security forces and turn on the demonstrators. So far the military has been biding its time while the state propaganda convinces the local population of their good intentions with the ultimate aim of waiting for the most strategic moment to clear the streets of Cairo of any sign of protest. The only complication in the regime’s calculations is that the protesters are relentless in their call: down with the regime of Hosni Mubarak.”

SHEILA CARAPICO
Professor of political science and international studies at Richmond University and currently visiting at the American University in Cairo, Carapico said today: “Last week an art historian colleague at AUC commented that the protests had ‘good politics but bad aesthetics.’ Now musicians, poets, artists, archivists, intellectuals, committees and even cartoonists and comedians — who were already among the demonstrators — are finding new ways to support and supplement the tenacity of Tahrir Square demonstrators who on Saturday slept out in the rain and the grassroots organizers in Egypt’s neighborhoods including watch committees also out in the rain.”
See video of activist Asmaa Mahfouz calling for the protests to begin.

See Jane Mayer’s “Who is Omar Suleiman?” She writes: “Suleiman has headed the feared Egyptian general intelligence service. In that capacity, he was the C.I.A.’s point man in Egypt for renditions — the covert program in which the C.I.A. snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167