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Reporting the Revolutions: Day 6 with Up Date 1900 hrs EDT

CLASHES HAVE BROKEN OUT BETWEEN PRO AND ANTI GOVERNMENT FORCES IN TAHRIR SAQUARE

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and though Mishima’s live blog, our news editor.

class=”BrightcoveExperience”>The Guardian has a Live Blog that refreshes automatically every minute.

Al Jazeera has a Live Blog for Feb 2

As you can see we now have the live feed from Al Jazeera English and I am posting this at very early so everyone can watch the events in Egypt as they happen.

This is day eight of the protest in Egypt demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down. Late last night on Egyptian state television, Mubarak said that he would not run for reelection on September but would not step down. His tone and words at times were aggressive and confrontational condemning the demonstrators, echoing the speech given by former Tunisian President Zine el Abidine ben Ali the day before he fled by private jet to Saudi Arabia.

President Obama said he spoke to Hosni Mubarak after the Egyptian president’s announcement to serve out his remaining term, and told Mubarak an orderly transition of power in Egypt ‘must begin now’.While the meaning of the last phrase was deliberately vague, it appeared to be a signal that Mr. Mubarak might not be able to delay the shift to a new leadership.

Mubarak’s speech did little to quell the demands for his immediate departure. The opposition leaders have vowed to keep up the protests and said they would get bigger until Mubarak is gone. Angry Chants of “Erhal! Erhal!”, or “Leave! Leave!” could be heard and scenes of protesters waving their shoes and using them to beat pictures of Mubarak were common.

Up Date 1900hrs EST: The clashes continue between anti-government protesters and pro-Mubarak supporters. Many reporters are saying that there was a completely different attitude in the pro-Mubarak groups who ere intimidating, stopping traffic, pounding on cars. NBC reporter Lester Holt, who was reporting from Cairo said the they arrives on horses and camels carrying pipes and bats, clearly looking for violent confrontation.

From the NYT’s The Lede Live feed

In the past few minutes, Ramy Raoof, an Egyptian blogger and human rights activist, has started using his mobile phone to broadcast live video of the opposition protesters in central Cairo to the mobile broadcasting Web site Bambuser.

5:34 P.M. Protesters Reportedly Push Back Regime Supporters

A few minutes ago, Anderson Cooper of CNN reported from Cairo that a phalanx of opposition protesters, using sheets of metal as improvised shields and advancing in a line had successfully pushed a dwindling number of regime supporters back and taken control of a street outside the Egyptian Museum.

Mr. Cooper, watching from above the national museum, estimated that only a few hundred regime supporters remained at that entrance to the Tahrir Square area filled with thousands of opposition protesters.

Anthony Shadid, David Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim reported from Cairo earlier that the regime supporters might not be as motivated by political convictions as the opposition protesters.

The violence came after the Egyptian government “struck back at its opponents on Wednesday, unleashing waves of pro-government provocateurs armed with clubs, stones, rocks and knives in and around Tahrir Square in a concerted effort to rout the protesters who have called for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s near-30-year rule.”

Mr. Alhossary also posted a photograph of what he said was the police I.D. card of one of the regime supporters who had been captured after attacking opposition protesters.

From Al-Masry Al-Youm:

Ban Ki Moon says violence against peaceful demonstrators unacceptable

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed his deep concern regarding the escalating clashes between protesters in Tahrir Square, calling the violence used against protesters unacceptable and urging restraint on all sides.

“This is very much an unacceptable situation. Any attack on peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable and I strongly condemn it,” said Moon.

Opposition calls on Mubarak to cede power to new vice-president

A group of independent writers and businessmen called on President Hosni Mubarak to delegate all authority to his deputy and serve as a “ceremonial” leader until his term ends in September, according to a statement issued Wednesday.

Rights groups blame Egyptian officials for Tahrir violence

Human rights advocacy group Amnesty International on Wednesday called on Egyptian authorities to protect the right to peaceful protests and blamed Wednesday’s outbreak of violence at Tahrir square on the Egyptian authorities.

After Tahrir violence, protesters rule out negotiations with regime

Following violent attacks on protesters in Tahrir Square on Wednesday, activists who were already reluctant to accept the regime’s invitation to negotiate say that such a move is now completely out of the question.

“We might have negotiated a diplomatic solution with the regime, but after today’s developments, the fight will continue; what happened will not weaken it,” said Nasser Abdel Hamid, member of the National Association for Change. “Even if people are forced to leave the square, they will return another day.”

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Sweet Potatoes: Nutrition Wrapped in Vivid Flavors

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By sweet potatoes, I mean the orange-fleshed tubers with brownish skin that growers and supermarkets often mislabel as “yams.” The two varieties at my local farmers’ market are jewel yams and the darker-skinned garnet yams, both sweet and moist.

   In fact, actual yams have starchier, light yellow flesh and a rough, brown skin; they are native to Africa and Asia, and an important staple in the Caribbean and in parts of Africa. But they don’t have the impressive nutritional profile of real sweet potatoes.

Chili-Bathed Sweet Potatoes

Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes

Soba Noodles in Broth With Sweet Potato, Cabbage and Spinach

Spicy Braised Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato, Carrot and Dried Fruit Casserole

Reporting the Revolutions: Day 5 with Up Dates

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and though Mishima’s live blog, our news editor.

The Guardian has a Live Blog that refreshes automatically every minute.

FireDogLake now has a direct link to all their coverage.

This is day eight of the protest in Egypt demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down.

After a day of protest that drew more than a million peaceful demonstrators to Tahrir Square in Cairo and around other cities in Egypt, there are still tens of thousands of protesters in the streets, many having vowed to remain until Pres. Hosni Mubarak leaves office. News agencies are reporting that Mubarak will make a televised address possibly announcing that he will not run for office in September. Whether that will satisfy the protesters and the opposition parties is in doubt. President Obama is also urging Mubarak not to run:

The message was conveyed to Mr. Mubarak by Frank G. Wisner, a seasoned former diplomat with deep ties to Egypt, these officials said. Mr. Wisner’s message, they said, was not a blunt demand for Mr. Mubarak to step aside now, but firm counsel that he should make way for a reform process that would culminate in free and fair elections in September to elect a new Egyptian leader.

This back channel message, authorized directly by Mr. Obama, would appear to tip the administration beyond the delicate balancing act it has performed in the last week – resisting calls for Mr. Mubarak to step down, even as it has called for an “orderly transition” to a more politically open Egypt.

Up Date 1900 hrs EST:

In a late night appearance on state television, President Hosni Mubarak has said he would not run for reelection in September and would oversee an orderly transition. In his refusal to step down, Mubarak said:

“I never intended to run for re-election,” Mubarak said in his address. “I will use the remaining months of my term in office to fill the peoples’ demands.”

That would leave Mubarak in charge of overseeing a transitional government until the next presidential election, currently scheduled for September. He promised reforms to the constitution, particularly article 76, which makes it virtually impossible for independent candidates to run for office. And he said his government would focus on improving the economy and providing jobs.

“My new government will be responsive to the needs of young people,” he said. “It will fulfil those legitimate demands and help the return of stability and security.”

Mubarak also made a point of saying that he would “die in this land” – a message to protesters that he did not plan to flee into exile like recently deposed Tunisian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Mubarak also said the protests were “manipulated and controlled by political forces” and the people must chose between “chaos and stability”.

This did not satisfy many of the protesters in the streets who could be heard yelling “Erhal! Erhal!”, or “Leave! Leave!”. Many left the square where earlier over one million people had gathered. Calls to march on the presidential palace and new of “we wont leave until Mubarak is gone” were echoed through the square.

Al Jazeera correspondent in the midst of Tahrir Square in Cairo, says that protesters are “furious after Mubarak’s ‘audacious’ speech.” He adds that the protesters are insisting that the army remove Mubarak from power.

There have also been reports of shots being fired over the heads of crowds in the port city of Alexandria where there have been clashes between anti-government and pro-Mubarak protesters.

President Obama in a live address said the he spoke with Mubarak after he spoke and told him that only Egyptian people can determine their leaders, need orderly transition that’s meaningful, peaceful and must begin now.

Reporting the Revolution: An Interview with Mohamed ElBaradei with Up Dates: 1730 hrs EST

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and though Mishima’s live blog, our news editor.

The Guardian has a Live Blog that refreshes automatically every minute.

FireDogLake now has a direct link to all their coverage

This is the seventh day of protests in Egypt against the repressive Mubarak government. The police have returned to the streets after having been absent for three days leaving only a military presence that did little to stop the protesters.

Excellent interview from Fareed Zakaria GPS. Fareed’s entire program on CNN was devoted to the situation in Egypt.

(I will post the transcript as soon as it is available)

It’s now late evening, in Egypt. Al Jazeera’s live blog reports that many protesters slept in the streets and in Tahrir Square, some shared their food with the soldiers.

This first hand account by Sharif Kouddous, a journalist and senior producer with Democracy Now! who lives in Egypt, was posted at The Nation and Democracy Now!:

Live From Egypt: The Rebellion Grows Stronger

January 30, Cairo, Egypt-In the second day of defiance of a military curfew, more than 150,000 protesters packed into Tahrir Square Sunday to call on President Hosni Mubarak to step down. The mood was celebratory and victorious. For most, it was not a question of if, but when, Mubarak would leave.

Military tanks have been stationed at entrance points around the square with soldiers forming barricades across streets and alleyways. In another departure from ordinary Cairo life, people quickly formed orderly queues to get through the army checkpoints. Soldiers frisked people and checked their identification cards. One soldier said they were making sure no one with police or state security credentials could enter.

Reports are widespread that many of the looters in Cairo are, in fact, remnants of the police and state security forces that were forced into a full retreat during Friday’s mass street revolt. In addition, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prisoners were released from prisons in Fayyoum and Tora. Many believe it’s all part of an organized campaign by the regime to create lawlessness in the city in a last gasp attempt to maintain its grip on power. The headline of Al-Masry Al-Youm today blared: “Conspiracy by Interior Ministry to Foment Chaos.”

Just when you need a laugh category: Somebody at Fox News failed Geography.

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Imbolc: First Light in the Dark of Winter

Although you’d never know it if you looked out your window here in the Northeast and throughout a good part of the northern hemisphere, we are nearing the midpoint between winter solstice and the vernal equinox. The Sun is noticeably rising earlier and setting later. It is a pleasure to take my early morning shower in daylight and start dinner preparation with daylight still illuminating the kitchen. There are seed catalogs arriving in the mail which has me contemplating the flower beds, the herb garden and maybe this year some vegetables.

In the traditions of Pagan and Wiccan religions, we celebrate this changing season as Imbolc, or Candlemas, which begins on January 31st, February Eve, and ends on February 2nd, a time of rebirth and healing. Imbolc is one of the eight Wiccan Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year, one of the four cross-quarter fire festivals. Brighid, the patroness of poetry and healing, is the Pagan Goddess associated with Imbolc.

Some of the traditions are the lighting of fires, decorating with red and white symbolizing the snow and the rising sun and green for new growth. Candles are lit in all the rooms of the house. Fires places and hearths are cleaned out of ashes and fires are lit. Since there is still snow drifts in my backyard, the fireplace will be just fine.

The symbols are ewes and lambs since Imbolc is derived from a Celtic word, “oimelc”, meaning ewe’s milk. Many of the foods that are serves are lamb, cheese, poppyseed muffins, cakes and breads. Dishes are seasoned with bay leaves and dried basil.

In rural places where farming is still a way of life, ploughs are decorated with flowers and then doused with whiskey. I know most of us have better things to do with whiskey. Sometimes the plough is dragged from door to door by costumed children asking for food and money, a kind of wintry “trick or treat”. Some traditional gifts, if your going to a friends house to celebrate, are garden tools, seeds and bulbs.

The Maiden is also honored as the “Bride” on this Sabbat. Straw corn dollies are created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. The older women make special acorn wands for the dollies to hold. The wands are sometimes burned in the fireplace and in the morning, the ashes in the hearth are examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. A new corn broom is place by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new.

Non-Pagans celebrate February 2nd as Ground Hog’s Day, a day to predict the coming weather, telling us that if the Groundhog sees his shadow, there will be ‘six more weeks’ of bad weather. It actually has ancient roots, weather divination was common to Imbolc, and the weather of early February was long held to be a harbinger of spring. On Imbolc, the crone Cailleach‘s grip of winter begins to loosen. She goes forth in search of kindling so that she may keep her fires burning and extend the winter a little longer. If Imbolc is rainy and cloudy, she will find nothing but twigs unsuitable for burning and will be unable to prolong the winter. If the day is dry and kindling is abundant, she will have plenty of fuel to feed her fire and prolong the cold of winter. Spring will be very far away. As an old British rhyme tells us that, “If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.”

Whatever you celebrate or believe, let us all hope that that the local groundhog doesn’t see his shadow and there is only one winter this year. I have nowhere else to pile the snow.

Blessed Be.

Reporting the Revolution: Protests in Egypt, Day 3, Up Date x 5

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and though Mishima’s live blog, our news editor.

The Guardian has a Live Blog that refreshes automatically every minute

This is actually the sixth day of protests in Egypt against the repressive, brutal regime of President Hosni Mubarak. As Mubarak struggles to maintain control, the Egyptian army is doing little to stop the protesters who have defied curfews to demonstrated against Mubarak’s 30 year rule. The appointment of former intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, as his vice president and Ahmed Shafik, another general and Mubarak insider, prime minister, have only fueled the protesters’ fervor for Mubarak’s ouster. Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohamed ElBaradei returned to Egypt on Thursday and has called for Mubarak to step down. He has also plead with the demonstrators and the army to use restraint and avoid violence.

The Guardian reports that Al Jazeera’s Cairo office has been shut down by the Mubarak regime. It’s license’s revoked early this morning:

“The information minister ordered … suspension of operations of al-Jazeera, cancelling of its licences and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today,” a statement said.

Al Jazeera has released this statement:

Al-Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people…

Al Jazeera Network is appalled at this latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt

You can still follow Al Jazeera’s reports here and through Twitter. This is a list of their reporters that can be followed on Twitter. For now Evan Hill reports:

Yes, Al Jazeera is still broadcasting live despite apparent shutdown order. No one knows who would enforce it.

The team is working on a plan if the shutdown does occur. For obvious reasons, won’t be tweeting the details here

The Stars Hollow Gazette will be following this list.

President Obama has refrained calling for Mubarak to step down but has called for him to institute real reforms and not just shuffle the players.

This morning reports coming from the Guardian‘s live up dates are saying that the military will take harder line against the protesters but doubt they will carry it out. Even though the military is patrolling the streets, they are doing little to stop the looting. Due to the absence of the security police, residents are trying to maintain order and protect themselves and their property.

Already today there are several thousand protesters are in Tahrir square, chanting they will not leave until Mubarak quits and in the center of Alexandria chanting: “Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak”. Some also shouted slogans in support of the army and shook hands with soldiers.

From Reuters this morning:

• Thousands of protesters have gathered in Ishmalia, east of Cairo. Police have fired teargas and rubber bullets at the crowds.

• Dozens have gathered in the central areas of Suez chanting: “Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak”. About 100 people gathered outside the morgue in the city, saying it was holding the bodies of 12 protesters.

• Thousands have taken to the streets in the Nile Delta city of Damanhour, chanting anti-government slogans and calling on Mubarak to quit.

This is going to be a long day.  

Reporting the Revolution: Protests in Egypt, Day 2, Up Date x 4

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and though Mishima’s live blog, our news editor.

A second day of protests have taken to the streets across Egypt and conditions have deteriorated considerably. Protests, dissatisfied with a reshuffling of the “deck chairs”, have intensified calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak has appointed a Vice President for the first time and a new Prime Minister, both government insiders who are close to Mubarak. Omar Suleiman, 71 years old, head of intelligence and former spy, has been named Vice President. Mubarak had promised to do this some years ago but never did to Suleiman’s disappointment. He, however remained loyal to Mubarak. The new Prime Minister is another military man, Ahmad Shafiq.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the opposion party that has no seats in the current parliament, has called for Mubarak to step down and a unity government formed without the ruling party, NDP. Al Jazeera is now reporting that the head of the Muslim Brotherhood have been detained by the Mubarak government.

In a statement this evening (Egyptain time), Mohamed Elbaradei has called once again for Mubarak to step down and the formation of a unity government that represents all the Egyptian people. The people will be satisfied with nothing less. (I will have the video with the simultaneous translation as soon as Al Jazeera makes it available on You Tube)(Up date #2: Video of Elbaradei’s statement with simultaneous translation by AL Jazeera)

The curfew, 6 PM to 7 AM local time, continues but is being ignored. There are reports of looting and vandalism of shops, the museums and hospitals. There are no signs of the security police from the Ministry of Interior. The army is unable to contain any of the protests and is calling for private citizens to protect themselves and their property. There are also reports that the “thugs” who are looting may be police from  police Egypt’s Central Security. Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin is reporting that thugs in one neighborhood were seized and found to have state security id and carrying state issued weapons.

7:38pm Ayman Mohyeldin reports that eyewitnesses have said “party thugs” associated with the Egyptian regime’s Central Security Services – in plainclothes but bearing government-issued weapons – have been looting in Cairo. Ayman says the reports started off as isolated accounts but are now growing in number.

Al-Masry Al-Youm has reported that protesters have been trying to organize to protect neighborhoods in the absence of the police.

Also a h/t to Siun at FDL for her fine reporting.  

Political Capital For Sale to the World’s “Scuzziest Dictators”

Cross Posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Rachel Maddow describes several political operatives who have squandered their political clout by representing nefarious overseas actors like Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Jean-Paul “Baby Doc” Duvalier, dictators in places like the Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea and the governments of Indonesia and Saudi Arabia that fund organizations that plot terrorist attacks against the United States and its citizens.

Both Bob Barr and Rudy Guiliani have indicated that they are interested in running for president in 2012.

In a lame defense of Mark Penn, the PR firm, Burson Marsteller, said it was unfair “to tie the company’s current leader to former clients that predated him. Penn joined Burson Marsteller in 2005, years after the junta, Indonesia and Saudia Arabian clients contacted the firm.”

Shortly after the Tuscon shootings, Mr. Penn let loose with this little “bomb” on November 4, 2010 when he told Chris Matthews that what Obama really needs to reconnect to the American electorate is an “Oklahoma City moment”. Both sides are guilty of this kind of political rhetoric but at least the left acknowledges that it has to stop and there is a need for a change in tone.  

Reporting the Revolution: Protests in Egypt with Up Dates x 7

Cross Posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Mishima is providing the live updates- TMC

Mishima’s live blog

I’ve been awake for 22 hours I’m going to bed- mishima

This Is A Live Blog

  • AP reports that the Foreign Ministry has been stormed by protesters

  • Port Said has 40,000 protesters in the streets  
  • Gun Fire can Clearly Be Heard Near The Hilton Hotel
  • Protesters have stopped to pray for the last time today
  • Military is out in force in Suez
  • People in Alexandria are trying to get home to avoid the curfew
  • Heavy gun Fire Is Being Reported
  • Fires are burning on the 6th of October bridge
  • Gun Fire is being reported by Al Jazeera in Cairo
  • It Looks as though the NDP building is on FiRE
  • Five tanks have entered Suez in an attempt to regain control of Suez
  • The power of the People have Over whelmed the Police
  • Police riot van has been set alight with protesters trying to dump it into the Nile river
  • Mubarak will address the country shortly

News is breaking extremely fast. Both Al Jazeera and CNN are transmitting live images. You can watch the Al Jazeera broadcast live on line. Protests broken out all over Egypt and there are tanks on the streets of Cairo. Reports are that the police have withdrawn from the Alexandria.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, arrived in Egypt yesterday and it is being reported by numerous news agencies that he has been placed under house arrest

As I am writing this, the commentator is reporting that state security has entered Al Jeezera’s Cairo building in an attempt to shut down their feed. Communications have been hampered in the building. The cutting of cell phone connections and the Internet blackout the past three days is unprecedented and reporters and crews are missing, as per live reports.

It is prayer time and the protesters are organizing for evening prayer and the riot police has back off to give them time to pray.

There are reports of at least one person killed in Cairo and a curfew has been imposed for 6 PM Egyptian time (11 AM EST).

This is a video of clashes on a bridge that took place earlier today.

UP dates will continue as they happen.

Up Date #1: CNN reports that the Egyptian Army has been ordered to take over the security from the police.

Up Date #2: The New York Times has continuous up dates on the protests as they receive them.

Egyptian President is expected to give a live address.

Up Date #3: A curfew went into effect at 6 PM (11 AM) and is being ignored.

Al Jazeera reports that 5 Army tanks have entered Cairo as protesters take over security police armored personnel carriers and police stations, setting them on fire.

Further up dates and videos will be below the fold.

US Foreign Policy: Ignoring the Revolutions

In case you missed it because the American MSM mostly buried it, Tunisia had a revolution overthrowing it’s US backed dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia with most of his family. The upheaval arouse from the streets out of the frustrations of a well educated public that is suffering with high unemployment and skyrocketing prices for basics. The streets protesters were joined by the police and the military. The “revolution” is spreading across Africa to Egypt with major protests in the streets condemning the rule of ailing President Hosni Mubarak and his hand pick successor, his businessman son. Inspired by the Tunisian revolution, Egypt poverty stricken youths have taken to the streets demanding the end of Mubarak’s 30 year rule.

For decades, Egypt’s authoritarian president, Hosni Mubarak, played a clever game with his political opponents.  

He tolerated a tiny and toothless opposition of liberal intellectuals whose vain electoral campaigns created the facade of a democratic process. And he demonized the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood as a group of violent extremists who posed a threat that he used to justify his police state.

But this enduring and, many here say, all too comfortable relationship was upended this week by the emergence of an unpredictable third force, the leaderless tens of thousands of young Egyptians who turned out to demand an end to Mr. Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Now the older opponents are rushing to catch up.

“It was the young people who took the initiative and set the date and decided to go,” Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Wednesday with some surprise during a telephone interview from his office in Vienna, shortly before rushing home to Cairo to join the revolt.

ElBaradei, who has been targeted for assassination by Mubarak supporters, is returning to Egypt today. in his  statement issued prior to his departure, ElBaradei has some disparaging comments about Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton:

   When Egypt had parliamentary elections only two months ago, they were completely rigged. The party of President Hosni Mubarak left the opposition with only 3 percent of the seats. Imagine that. And the American government said that it was “dismayed.” Well, frankly, I was dismayed that all it could say is that it was dismayed. The word was hardly adequate to express the way the Egyptian people felt.

   Then, as protests built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of Tunisia’s dictator, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assessment that the government in Egypt is “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people”. I was flabbergasted-and I was puzzled. What did she mean by stable, and at what price? Is it the stability of 29 years of “emergency” laws, a president with imperial power for 30 years, a parliament that is almost a mockery, a judiciary that is not independent? Is that what you call stability? I am sure not. And I am positive that it is not the standard you apply to other countries. What we see in Egypt is pseudo-stability, because real stability only comes with a democratically elected government..

   If you would like to know why the United States does not have credibility in the Middle East, that is precisely the answer…

(emphasis mine)

Now, it has spread to one of the poorest Mideastern countries, Yemen, as their youth take to the streets to protest their government.

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Yemen, one of the Middle East’s most impoverished countries and a haven for Al Qaeda militants, became the latest Arab state to witness mass protests on Thursday, as thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in the capital and other regions to demand a change in government. . . . . .

The demonstrations on Thursday followed several days of smaller protests by students and opposition groups calling for the removal of President Ali Abdallah Saleh, a strongman who has ruled this fractured country for more than 30 years and is a key ally of the United States in the fight against the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda. . . . . .

Yemen’s fragile stability has been of increasing concern to the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a visit to Sana earlier this month, urged Mr. Saleh to open a dialogue with the opposition, saying it would help to stabilize the country. His current term expires in two years, but proposed constitutional changes could allow him to hold onto power for longer.

How many despotic regimes will the US continue to bolster? For how long? US policy in the region has been on the wrong track for decades. Time to reassess is coming fast.

Open Thread: Snow Flakes

Open Thread: Snow

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