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Egypt

Watch the revolution as it happens: Al Jazeera English: Live Stream.

Dr. Cole is uncharacteristicly brief while Sean Paul at the Agonist is live blogging.

From the BBC: Egypt severs internet connection amid growing unrest

According to internet monitoring firm Renesys, shortly before 2300 GMT on 27 January virtually all routes to Egyptian networks were simultaneously withdrawn from the internet’s global routing table.

That meant that virtually all of Egypt’s internet addresses were unreachable.

Egyptian authorities seem to have managed this by shutting down official Domain Name Servers (DNS) in Egypt. These act as address books and are consulted by web browsing software to find out the location of a site a user wants to visit.

Messages circulating in Egypt pointed people towards unofficial DNS servers so they can get back online.

Mobile services are also affected.

A statement issued by Vodafone Egypt said it had been instructed to suspend services in some areas.

“Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it,” it said.

The main BBC article reports that Egypt protests escalate in Cairo, Suez and other cities

Cairo, Alexandria and Suez have been placed under curfew effective from 1800 to 0700 local time (1600 to 0500 GMT). State television said President Hosni Mubarak had decreed the curfew to stop riots, lawlessness and attacks on property.

Internet and phone services – both mobile and landline – have been severely disrupted, although protesters are using proxies to work around the restrictions.

Reports say Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei has been placed under house arrest. Earlier, he was soaked by water cannon and surrounded by police as he joined protesters on the streets of Cairo.

At least eight people have been killed and dozens injured since the protests against unemployment, corruption and rising prices began on Tuesday. Up to 1,000 people have been arrested.

Overnight there was also an apparent crackdown on the banned Islamist opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, after it said it would back the Friday protests.

A lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood told the BBC that tens of its members had been arrested.

The short version:

  • The Tunisia actions were the spark, not the reason;
  • The revolution doesn’t need electronic social media at this point, because people are talking to each other face to face in the streets;
  • Unemployment, increases in food prices, repression, corruption, stolen elections are at the root of these problems. Mubarak hasn’t been providing enough in the way of “bread and circuses”;
  • No single group is “in charge”, not Mohamed ElBaradei, and not the Muslim Brotherhood;
  • No one knows what will result, or who will take over. This is an actual popular revolution, and not a planned event.

The Mubarak regime doesn’t have a plan. He hasn’t been seen. The Cairo headquarters of his party is in flames. The army has been sent in because the police can’t handle it. They are so panicked that they are confiscating cameras from tourists and beating up foreign journalists.

People are complaining that Elbaradei has been watching things from Austria and came in late, and the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t join in until Friday, so both would have a problem forming a government.

All I know for certain is that by now some neo-con has been on Fox explaining how Obama is doing things wrong, and probably calling for bombing something before the Islamic terrorists attack the US from cells inside the Pyramids, or some such garbage, the Village elders are having the vapors.

Leaders in Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and even Saudi Arabia are probably checking their numbered bank accounts, travel documents, and having the utilities turned on at “vacation homes”. Interesting times.

Oh, yes, you might want to look at 1848 and what was going on in Europe.

Update: Walt at Blonde Sense noted the resemblance to 1848 last night.

4 comments

1 jams o donnell { 01.28.11 at 5:48 pm }

This has all been quite a surprise. I hope that the protests bring something better and not just a different set of corrupt scumbags at the top.

2 Bryan { 01.28.11 at 7:36 pm }

It isn’t going to be easy to find out what people want beyond Mubarak gone and new elections. Those seem to be the basic points that everyone agrees on. Elections are great, but who will run? Who will be in charge until the elections happen? Will whoever that is put in charge willingly give up power to those who are elected?

As the Paris Commune found out, getting rid of a government is easy, but then you have to govern.

3 Badtux { 01.28.11 at 10:18 pm }

Unfortunately what I am thinking is that we are leading up to a Jimmy Carter moment for the failed Obama presidency. Jimmy Carter threw the Shah of Iran under the bus like Obama has thrown Mubarak under the bus, but that wasn’t enough given the many crimes and atrocities which the U.S. had funded under the Shah’s regime. We’re giving more money to Mubarak *per year* than the Shah got during the entire time of our support for him… and the folks who take over, whoever they end up being, are as likely to be friendly to the U.S. as the Iranians were after they kicked out the Shah.

Sunni Islam is not organized like Shia Islam (they’re like the Baptists to the Shia’s Catholics, organization-wise, i.e., every mosque is at least nominally independent and answers to no central authority other than Allah Himself), so we aren’t going to see direct rule by mullahs. But the Islamists are currently the only force in the Middle East that has any credibility, everybody else is viewed either as hopeless idealists or as pawns of the West. My guess is that we’re going to end up with a hostile regime in Egypt and that Preznit Hopey Changey is gonna deal with it about as well as he has dealt with every other crisis during his Presidency — i.e., he’s going to make a great speech, and that’s pretty much it. He makes Jimmy Carter look practically competent, yo….

— Badtux the WASF Penguin

4 Bryan { 01.28.11 at 11:42 pm }

I don’t think it makes any difference if the end product is secular or religious, the US supported Mubarak for 30 years, and Mubarak is the problem. A problem for the Islamist is the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood waited so long to join the protests, apparently stung by Elbaradei’s return. They have been on a very short leash under Mubarak, and that may hurt their credibility.

The worse case is if Israel does something stupid, then the defecation will definitely impact the ventilation.

There is nothing the US can do that will make things better, and the best option at this point is to be seen as doing nothing. Bland statements about “this is an Egyptian problem, that Egyptians will solve in their own way” is a better stance than seeming to support anything or anyone. Alas, the Republicans will be spouting off, probably on all of the Sunday talk shows, about supporting Mubarak and his importance to Israel.

I think that Gamal should take the family on “vacation” and reserve a room for his “Dad”, because people have overcome the “fear barrier” and they aren’t likely to come down from the “adrenalin rush” quickly. Once you make the decision that chancing death is a better option than the status quo, you aren’t going to be bought off cheaply.