Egyptian revolution continues

November 22, 2011 at 8:15 am (blogging, democracy, Egypt, Human rights, Jim D, liberation, Middle East, revolution)

The best and most reliable coverage of Egypt (and the Middle East as a whole),  I’ve yet come across, from Juan Cole‘s well-named Informed Comment:

Egypt is virtually rudderless as morning breaks on Tuesday.  Interim prime minister Essam Sharaf and his cabinet tendered their resignations in protest against the use of violence against protesters in Tahrir Square.  The demonstrators had been demanding that the military withdraw its “Silmi Communique,” which pledged military oversight of the next Egyptian government, put the military budget off limits to the civilian authorities, and gave the military veto over articles in the new constitution before they went to the electorate for a referendum.

Sharaf’s cabinet apparently is willing to stay on for a short period until another interim government can announced.

One possibility being considered by the military, according to one Arabic newspaper, would be to appoint Mohammed Elbaradei (a presidential candidate and former head of the IAEA at the UN) to former a government of national unity.

Some 20,000 protesters were in Tahrir Square on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, smaller crowds of protesters had gathered again in in downtown Cairo.  In Alexandria late Monday, 5000 protesters surrounded a central security building.  In the port city of Ismailiya, an angry crowd of 4,000 gathered, and two were killed when police fired on them.

Aljazeera English reports that protesters are calling for a million-person march on Tuesday afternoon.

But the powerful Muslim Brotherhood party, Freedom and Justice, announced that they would not join the demonstration. They said they did not want to see the confrontation ratcheted up.  Typically when the Muslim Brotherhood does not join a demonstration, the rally is smaller and less successful than it would have been otherwise.

In the wake of the killing of some 33 protesters around the country (some 24 of them in downtown Cairo) since Friday, crowds in Tahrir Square have started chanting “The people want the fall of the Air Marshall [al-Mushir],” i.e. they are calling for the outster of Air Marshall Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who is de facto Egypt’s interim president.  

Protesters also called for the formation of a government of national unity by the New Year, and the election of a civilian president no later than April (the current plan, backed by the military, is for staggered parliamentary elections to be held for the lower and upper houses through March, after which a constituent assembly will draft a constitution.  Next year this time, presidential elections would be held.

A credible new civilian government needs to be established as soon as possible.

Pictures and brief eye-witness report from Tom Dale here

There seem to be pickets at the Egyptian Embassy every day this week from 5-7. Today there is an appeal to bring student / trade union banners.
Saturday 26 November UK, March to Egyptian Embassy. Meet Paddington Green, 12noon
Details here: http://snuproject.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/egypt-appeal-for-international-solidarity-mobilisation-mena-solidairty-network/ including links to Facebook groups.
Also a link to EFITU statement on why they are going to Tahrir: http://menasolidaritynetwork.com/2011/11/19/egypt-independent-union-federation-joins-tahrir-sit-in/

14 Comments

  1. brewlrg comoetnarayewrer: Emeritus Professor of Political Sciences and Blllerrghh Studies at the University of Warwick. The word on the street is that Ezra is a thick fucking cunt and a blood sucking social parasite. Fingers crossed he gets some sort of c said,

    ‘A credible new civilian government needs to be established as soon as possible.’

  2. The political temperature rises in Egypt. « Representing the Mambo said,

    [...] are getting extremely spicy in Egypt today. Just thought I’d cross-post this from Shiraz Socialist as it’s very good indeed. Take a look. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to [...]

  3. Jim Denham said,

    I can agree with the first commenter (whoever that may be) that Cole’s conclusion (“A credible new civilian government needs to be established as soon as possible”) is pretty weak. Nevertheless, it’s generally a good piece and Cole’s ‘Informed Comment’ blog is always worth a read.

  4. charliethechulo said,

    That expert on most things, Lenny ‘Seymour’ Tombstone, comments:

    “Last thing, the US has made it clear that it is backing the military to the finish. It has to. Because if the military regime collapses in Egypt, then the US-led attempts to take control of the situation in the Middle East will be in tatters. The initiative would be in the hands of the revolutionary masses, not just in Egypt – the centre of gravity – but also in Syria and Yemen. Israel’s regional power would be further weakened. Even the straightforward, low cost victory in Libya – whose new regime excludes both the Islamists and the Berbers – could begin to unravel.”

    Seymour’s views on events in the Middle East carry great authority, given what he had to say about Libya:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/29/gaddafi-libya-nato

  5. Steveh said,

    I think Seymour is correct, honestly guys the SWP certaintly have more expertise than the AWL when it comes to Egypt

  6. charliethechulo said,

    “I think Seymour is correct”: yes, but then you are very, very thick aren’t you?

  7. Clive said,

    “The SWP certaintly have more expertise than the AWL when it comes to Egypt”

    Resources, for sure. Not sure about ‘expertise’, though. The AWL, for instance, was publicising and trying to make solidarity with the new workers’ movement before the SWP seemed to have noticed it existed. (Their eye witness reports didn’t, for instance, mention it: they were all about the excitement of Tahrir Square – fair enough by itself, of course. Unless there was something I missed).

    In fact, I’m quite puzzled by how *thin* the SWP’s coverage of and work around Egypt is, given that there is a group there, the Revolutionary Socialists, of some influence, which is supposedly linked to them.

  8. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    Libya as well. They were not only pathetic but downright reactionary and counter-revolutionary. Shud never be forgotten. scabs one and all.

  9. Andrew Coates said,

    And what of the influential call by Socialist Unity (JW) for a cross-class government of national unity – led by the Moslem Brotherhood?

    • Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

      the Iran protests as well. what was lenny the loon and stalinist unity saying back then? I know lenny the loon was allowing posts to be posted by a complete tosser and theocratic cunerNT supporter of islamist nutters and murdering scum until he had werkerked out what the correct line was from cent comm. I never really look at stalinnist unity mental shite site but would guess he was calling for catholic calm and pope to restore order by decree or summfink.

  10. SteveH said,

    ChuChuTrain,

    You sound like an old Etonian.

    The SWP have been quite active in Egypt. I remember reading (pop up version) articles about Egypt back in the early noughties which were very prescient (I learned that word at the special school I attended).

  11. Jim Denham said,

    Seamas Milne (from London) in today’s Graun:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/23/egypt-arab-revolution

    “But it was their (the Egyptian army’s) attempt to grab permanent constitutional power that reignited the uprising and brought them into conflict with the powerful Muslim Brotherhood. Now the army junta has once again been forced to make serious concessions and may yet be brought down if it can be prevented from isolating the mass of protesters from the wider population.”

    Ahdaf Soueif (from Cairo) also in today’s Graun:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/23/ahdaf-soueif-tahrir-square-egypt

    “The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood has declared against the protests. This has been a very bad move. They’re perceived to have sided with Scaf against the people. They’ve caused a split within their own ranks: some members of the Brotherhood have disobeyed orders and obeyed their consciences and joined the protests. But the Brotherhood can no longer claim that the numbers in the streets are due to the Islamists – the numbers we’ve been seeing in the streets of Egypt since Saturday night are mostly without the Brotherhood.”

    So who’s right about the role of the Brotherhood? I know who I believe.

  12. charliethechulo said,

    Never mind Seymour’s ‘Graun’ assessment that “Gaddafi is stronger than ever” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/29/gaddafi-libya-nato) in July 2011; how about this, 24 February 2011:

    http://socialistworker.org/2011/02/24/western-fear-of-qaddafis-fall

    “Because the trouble for the U.S and UK governments in this revolt is that they really, really don’t want Qadaffi to fall. Quadaffi is someone with whom they can do business.

    “By contrast, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, long a leading element in the restistence, is less likely to be so pliable, The U.S. and UK invested too much in Gadaffi to lose him now, not least the military hardware they’ve given him, the very weapons of repression which they knew full well would be used for the primary goal of keeping him in power.”

    Seymour really is a sage and master analyst of our time, isn’t he?

    • Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

      a dick by name a dick by nature

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