Powered by WebAds

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Latest from Egypt (including many pictures)

Israel Radio reports that things are relatively 'quiet' in Egypt, that there is a curfew in Egypt, so there are very few cars and people in the streets, and that Foreign Minister Omar Suleiman has been appointed Vice President. That is apparently not enough for the demonstrators.

The BBC reported that Gamal and his wife were both in London, but al-Jazeera is reporting that both of Hosni Mubarak's sons are in Cairo, although both have left their homes.

The pictures in this post are of vandalism in the Cairo Museum - those broken artifacts that you see are priceless. They were posted originally by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, a columnist for The National (an Emirati newspaper) and posted to YFrog by Blake Hounshell (one of the editors of Foreign Policy Magazine).

Unfortunately, looters have destroyed many of these priceless artifacts.
Looters broke into the Egyptian Museum during anti-government protests late on Friday and destroyed two Pharaonic mummies, Egypt's top archaeologist told state television.

The museum in central Cairo, which has the world's biggest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, is adjacent to the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party that protesters had earlier set ablaze. Flames were seen still pouring out of the party headquarters early on Saturday.

"I felt deeply sorry today when I came this morning to the Egyptian Museum and found that some had tried to raid the museum by force last night," Zahi Hawass, chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said on Saturday.

"Egyptian citizens tried to prevent them and were joined by the tourism police, but some [looters] managed to enter from above and they destroyed two of the mummies," he said.

He added looters had also ransacked the ticket office.

The two-storey museum, built in 1902, houses tens of thousands of objects in its galleries and storerooms, including most of the King Tutankhamen collection.
Laura Rozen has more on the Suleiman appointment.
Meantime, Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman was named vice president Saturday -- the first to hold that post in Egypt since 1981, Egypt state television reported.

The appointment of the veteran Egyptian security official who has dealt extensively with Washington on the peace process, Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks, counter-terrorism, and other security matters, came hours after embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced overnight that he would dissolve his cabinet and implement political and economic reforms.

President Barack Obama said he called Mubarak after his speech last night and pressed him to make good on his pledges for reform, and said violence is not the way to deal with the grievances that have built up in Egyptian society.


The appointment of Suleiman, a more technocratic figure (and non Mubarak relative) who has developed a strong working rapport with Washington and other Middle Eastern capitals, to the Vice Presidential post, suggests a potential transition figure and bulwark against instability as Mubarak's exit is envisioned, from Washington's perspective.

"The message [of Suleiman's appointment] is intended to be, even if Mubarak goes, the system remains," Jon Alterman, an Egypt expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Saturday.

"I don't think Suleiman seeks the presidency," Alterman continued. "That being said, it's hard to imagine Mubarak is president in a year."

Foreign policy scholar Robert Kagan, who co-chairs a bipartisan Egypt working group that has been urging the Obama administration to prepare for the post-Mubarak era and press for reforms, writes that he thinks Obama's statement last night after his conversation with the Egyptian ruler was pretty good.

"They're not as on the fence as people think," Kagan, of the Brookings Institution, said by e-mail Saturday, referring to the U.S. administration. "I think the administration knows there has to be some kind of transition soon."

Kagan envisions a possible transition scenario under which Mubarak would agree to move now to allow free and fair, internationally monitored presidential elections in September, open up the press, etc. that would make way for Mubarak's peaceful departure in the next six months.

"The only way out for Mubarak is to allow free and fair, competitive elections, including inviting international monitors to come in," Kagain said. "And right away, because they have to monitor months of campaigning leading up to the elections." It also requires, he said, "changes to constitution to allow candidates not currently approved to run ... [a] completely free press, etc."

"If Mubarak announced this right away, it could prevent him from being toppled," Kagan said. "It is possible that Egyptians would still want Mubarak out even if he made these concessions, but I think it could work."

From Washington's perspective, CSIS's Alterman said, "peaceful change is most likely to lead to a more inclusive government, and violence is likely to lead to an extended period of tension and instability and radicalize both sides. The clear U.S. interest is in avoiding a bloodbath in the streets."
Hope they're not too late to the party.

Labels: , , , ,


At 7:39 PM, Blogger M Brueschke said...

That damage and looting seems pretty minor compared to what one could do. If it were Islamists who want idols destroyed, wouldn't they just have burned the place down?

My money is on the Egyptian security forces doing it to turn opinion against the protestors.

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

so, better leave Egyptian antiques in NY, London, Paris, Berlin etc

At 2:52 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Egypt is a country in chaos and no one knows who is really in charge of the country. Everything is in flux there right now.

The Mubarak regime is trying to ride out the storms but events are snowballing faster than it can control them. And the MB is waiting in the wings to take over.

Good news!


Post a Comment

<< Home