Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Feb 9, 2011

February 8th in Tahrir Square

This is day 15th of the Egyptian uprising and the protestors are still defying the regime. The largest number of demonstrators to date gathered on February 8th in Tahrir square, in front of the Egyptian Parliament, the Prime Minister’s headquarters, and in front of the government owned magazine Rose el Youssef. There were also demonstrations held in Alexandria and other Egyptian cities.

It has been reported that many new participants have joined the protestors for the first time. The movement is not withering away as the regime wanted us to believe. We think it is gaining steam and the vociferous call for the resignation of Mubarak is not dwindling.

Mubarak is buying time. He met for the first time since the uprising with the new cabinet that is headed by Dr. Ahmad Shafiq and signed a declaration for the revision of the Constitution. The picture that the Egyptian television has broadcasted infuriated many Egyptians. The anger was expressed in an article in the newspaper Al Shorouk (2/9/2011) by the writer Bilal Fadl who wrote “today President Mubarak appeared sitting comfortably on his chair and laughing in the midst of his men making us all feel we mean nothing to him.”

Prime Minister Shafiq later publicly said that President Mubarak WILL NOT RESIGN and will continue his term, which will end in September 2011. He further announced a pay increase of 15% granted to government employees and retirees starting April 2011. To some, this seems be a bribe. As a matter of fact a demonstrator interviewed by al Jazeera International said sarcastically “ today government employees went to their offices and were notified of the increase afterwards they walked towards Tahrir Square to demonstrate!”

The same day Vice President Omar Suleiman publicly announced some of the reforms the government will undertake in the future. He announced that he is in the process of establishing a ROAD MAP for the transition of authority peacefully. Doesn’t the phrase road map have a familiar tone? Indeed, it is the same expression used by US government, Israel and Egypt regarding a so-distant peaceful solution for the Arab Israeli conflict. We are all aware now that it failed. Not a good omen Mr. Vice President. Second, he maintained that the government will not prosecute any of the protest movement leaders and that it will begin making wide reforms in response to the people’s demands. The protestors rejected the Vice President’s offers.

Also on that memorable day of February 8th, a group of lawyers have filed a petition that they submitted to the General Prosecutor accusing President Mubarak and his family of stealing state and public wealth. This was supported by prominent political figures, members of the Kifayah political movement, professors, and students. The demand was fueled by the recent news in both foreign and Egyptian media that revealed the wealth of Mubarak and his family to be between 40 to 70 billion dollars.

Another request has also been submitted for the prosecution of the previous Interior Minister, Habid el Adly, who has been accused of plotting the Alexandria church explosion on the Coptic Christmas day, and scheming the cabal where many protestors were massacred on Wednesday, February 2, 2011.
There will be more in the next few days.

This post is a collaboration between Hani Fakhouri and Aleya Rouchdy.

1 comment:

  1. thanks so much for your updates.