Friday 4 February 2011Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Egypt, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Pan Arab Revolt - 2011.
This rides at the top of the weekend Counterpunch. No information on the author other than name and email. But it has tidbits….
Meanwhile, the last touches of a crude plan to abort the protests and attack the demonstrators were being finalized in the Interior Ministry. In the mean time, the leaders of the NPD met with the committee of forty, which is a committee of corrupt oligarchs and tycoons, who have taken over major sections of Egypt’s economy in the last decade and are close associates to Jamal Mubarak, the president’s son. The committee included Ahmad Ezz, Ibrahim Kamel, Mohamad Abu el-Enein, Magdy Ashour and others.
Each businessman pledged to recruit as many people from their businesses and industries as well as mobsters and hoodlums known as Baltagies – people who are paid to fight and cause chaos and terror. Abu el-Enein and Kamel pledged to finance the whole operation.
Meanwhile,the Interior Minister reconstituted some of the most notorious officers of his secret police to join the counter-revolutionary demonstrators slated for Wednesday, with a specific plan of attack the pro-democracy protesters.
About a dozen security officers, who were to supervise the plan in the field, also recruited former dangerous ex-prisoners who escaped the prison last Saturday, promising them money and presidential pardons against their convictions. This plan was to be executed in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said, Damanhour, Asyout, among other cities across Egypt.
Tahrir or Liberation Square has been the center of action in Cairo throughout the protests. It’s the largest square in the country located in downtown Cairo where millions of demonstrators have been gathering since Jan. 25. Eight separate entrances lead to it including the ones from the American Embassy and the famous Egyptian museum.
Around 2 PM on Wednesday Feb. 2, the execution of the plan of attack ensued in earnest. Over three thousand baltagies attacked from two entrances with thousands of rocks and stones thrown at the tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators gathered in the square, while most attackers had shields to defend themselves against the returning rocks. While a few were armed with guns, all baltagies were armed with clubs, machetes, razors, knives or other sharp objects.
After about an hour of throwing stones, the second stage of the attacks proceeded as dozens of horses and camels came charging at the demonstrators in a scene reminiscent of the battles of the middle ages. The pro-democracy people fought back by their bare hands, knocking them from their rides and throwing their bodies at them. They subsequently apprehended over three hundred and fifty baltagies, turning them over to nearby army units.
They confiscated their IDs which showed that most assailants were either NDP members or from the secret police. Others confessed that they were ex-cons who were paid $10 to beat up the demonstrators. The camel and horse riders confessed to have been paid $70 each.
The third stage of the attack came about three hours later when dozens of assailants climbed the roofs in nearby buildings and threw hundreds of Molotov cocktails at the pro-democracy protesters below, who immediately rushed to extinguish the fires. They eventually had to put out two fires at the Egyptian museum as well. By midnight the thugs started using tear gas and live bullets from a bridge above the protesters killing five people and injuring over three dozens, ten seriously.
Interestingly, one hour before the planned assault the army announced to the demonstrators on national TV that the government “got the message” and then implored the protesters to end the demonstrations and “go home.” But when the protesters begged the army units to interfere during the brutal attacks that persisted for 16 hours, the army declared that it was neutral and partially withdrew from some entrances despite its promise to protect the peaceful and unarmed demonstrators.
By morning, the Tahrir Square resembled a battleground with at least 10 persons killed and over 2,500 injured people, 900 of which required transport to nearby hospitals as admitted by the Health ministry. Most of the injured suffered face and head wounds including concussions, burns and cuts because of the use of rocks, iron bars, shanks, razors, and Molotov cocktails. Al-Jazeera TV and many other TV networks around the world were broadcasting these assaults live to the bewilderment of billions of people worldwide.
Before the attacks started that afternoon, the Minister of Information had also executed his part of the plan. He called on all ministry employees to demonstrate on behalf of Mubarak in an upscale neighborhood in Cairo. He then asked the Egyptian state TV to broadcast live for the first time in nine days of continuous demonstrations- the ensuing confrontation between the protesters and the government-sponsored thugs, in order to show the Egyptian people what chaos would bring to the country as Mubarak had warned them in his address just the previous night.
The battle plan was for the baltagies to block seven entrances of the Tahrir Square, leaving only the American Embassy entrance open for the thugs to push back the demonstrators in order for them to come so close to the Embassy that its guards surrounding it would have to shoot at them and thus instigate a confrontation with the Americans.
But the heroic steadfastness of the demonstrators lead by the youth was phenomenal as they not only withstood their ground but also chased them away every time they were pushed. By the next morning the assault fizzled and the whole world condemned the Mubarak regime for such wickedness, cruelty, and total disregard of human life.
I wonder if the USA even has a glimmer of how badly, publicly and privately, they have fumbled this…
En0ugh that David Ignatius is left, in the Wapo, to keep selling Obster as, oh whatever!, the adult version of some querulous child living with his mother in Indonesia.
Who fucking cares.
This tidbit from the author, as well. I don’t care if the numbers are inflated or not… reminds me that shortly before Abu Ghraib broke, 70 SEVENTY cities and towns in Iraq rose up…
People from every age, class, and walk of life assembled and marched in every province and city by the hundreds of thousands: two million in Tahrir Square in Cairo, one million in Martyrs Square in Alexandria, 750 thousand in downtown Mansoura, and a quarter million in Suez, just to name a few. It was an impressive show of strength. This time, they demanded not only the immediate removal of Mubarak but also the ouster of the whole regime.
This, from Angry Arab:
Obama and Hillary
If Obama and Hillary were around for the Titanic disaster, they would have advised that the ship was not sinking: that it merely needed the passengers and captain to engage in meaningful dialogue.
Posted by As’ad at 7:23 AM
Don’t be nervous
Some people I know are expressing worries regarding the US and Israeli attempt to abort the Egyptian uprising. Don’t worry. Even if they, temporarily, set up an extension regime, the political culture of Egypt has been altered. The ability of the regime to impose discipline, “order”, submission, has been undermined.
If Egyptian now demonstrate in solidarity with the Palestinians now, for example, no security forces would prevent them from leaving the Al-Azhar or the Cairo University. It is a different country even if the head of the secret police, `Umar Sulayman (the candidate of reform and democracy according to Obama and Clinton), takes over in a transitional period.
Posted by As’ad at 5:32 AM