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February 02, 2011

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it's hardly clear who will end up in charge after mubarak leaves. your post seems a bit premature.

but i liked how hosni finally promised to step down... in september. now all the protesters can go home so he can arrest them and then break his promise later. i wonder why the protesters didn't go for that?

They don't believe it but the military has basically told them if they don't go home now, they'll most regretfully get their faces shot off. Better question: Why would the military believe Hosni? Answer: They don't, but the protests have achieved what they want so now the protesters must go home or else. Of course, if Hosni does renege they can always let the protests resume while not getting their hands dirty. That's quite the catspaw they've got there.

"Of course, if Hosni does renege they can always let the protests resume while not getting their hands dirty. It's quite an effective stalking horse"

I'm not sure I understand your point. Sure, there are always different stakeholders in any uprising, but dictators do what dictators do: Lie, assuage, feint, use subterfuge, then lung. It appears the Egyptian public understands that; they have been fooled by jury rigged elections before, and I think you underestimate their resolve. I can't see the military spending their capital of good will with the public and then betraying their trust. Doesn't make sense given the current situation.

"I'm not sure I understand your point."

That happens to me a lot, and since I am the common factor in these situations, I am sure that's not your fault.

"I can't see the military spending their capital of good will with the public and then betraying their trust."

Me either. I'm suggesting they're tricking the people into thinking they're getting democratic change when actually they're deposing Mubarak and replacing him with someone the army has selected. I'm not suggesting the army will turn their guns around and start shooting demonstrators; instead, they'll let thugs and government supporters do it for them, as described here:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2045788,00.html
It's like when Iliescu invited the miners to come into Bucharest, only more clever. Either the demonstrators go home or the army can let things get increasingly violent and then step in to restore order, which will necessarily involve a curfew enforced at gunpoint that will get the anti-Mubarak people off the streets. This paves the way for the former intelligence chief V.P. to take the reins in the fall.

What I am saying is that this looks to me like a palace revolution that's adroitly manipulating popular support.

"What I am saying is that this looks to me like a palace revolution that's adroitly manipulating popular support."

I see your point ... but, but, but, it can also be said that events started in Tunisia making Egypt appear more like a spontaneous uprising than an inside job.

I agree that the Egyptian protests started spontaneously. But I think the protests presented an opportunity for institutional forces to hijack the people's anger to increase their own power.

i don't see how can possibly say that "this looks to me like a palace revolution that's adroitly manipulating popular support" at this point. it's not clear at all where this is going. it could be that he will be replaced by someone in the military, or someone who is the military's guy. or maybe there will be a government that isn't run by some military toady. it could be someone from the muslim brotherhood (they are the official political party with the most support), who are not exactly the military's buddies. we just don't know yet where this is going.

the only thing i'm pretty sure of is that mubarak is done. the military knows it too. that's why they refused to crack down on the protesters.

Noz-
You may be right, and I would have agreed with you that anything was possible up until (a) the army told protesters to go home, and (b) pro-Mubarak protesters then showed up armed and started attacking peaceful anti-Mubarak protesters, while the army stands aside and does nothing after having declared itself allied with the people over the past week. It's a crackdown by the army's proxies. I really doubt the army would do that unless they had a deal that they liked. Perhaps the deal means Mubarak can stay, but as Octopus says, that would burn the military's bridges with the protesters, so that seems unlikely. So, the most likely reading of this situation is that the army believes Mubarak will go and whoever replaces him will be to their liking. As you point out, the Brotherhood are not their friends, so I doubt that the plan is to let them into power.

i still think though you might be right, it's still too early to tell. but for what it's worth, robert springborg has come to the same conclusion as you.

the link i tried to embed in my prior comment didn't take. here's the springborg piece: http://tinyurl.com/5uhep58

booman tribune disagrees with springbord, says he's too despondent and needs to cheer up.

The military's motivations are clearly aimed at their own self interest - however, it is interesting that they have not insisted on full control. Can you imagine a South American junta operating with such restraint as the Egyptian military has demonstrated so far? They are, oddly, avoiding the limelight of total control, although there is really nothing preventing them from a total take over. They seem to think that walking the thin line of neutrality in this upraising is in their ultimate interest. Perhaps that is a clear recognition of the fact that their real funder and boss is the USA Congress. If the Egyptian military plays their cards carefully they will continue to be funded while, serepdiciously, supporting regime change.

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