On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Egypt Update

The soprano isn’t even warming up in the wings. This will continue.

Mubarak has appointed Omar Suleiman as his Vice President, the first one he has had since coming to power. Generally people refer to him as Mubarak’s intelligence chief, but his brief seems to be broader than that, and National Security Advisor is probably a more accurate description for Americans, but in the sense of Kissinger, not Rice.

The new prime minister is Ahmad Shafiq, the former head of the Egyptian Air Force, adding a more military feel to the government.

The police have withdrawn from the streets. They weren’t able to deal with the protests, but it is also appears to be a psyops move, making people afraid for their safety, as there is no police presence anywhere in the major cities. There are reports that, in case the normal criminal element was laying low, plain clothes Interior Ministry officers have been out and about looting. There has also been a rash of jails that someone forgot to lock.

Egypt has a draft, and the military is tied closely to the population. There have to be serious doubts in the minds of the military leaders as to what would happen if they were ordered to fire on the protesters. Draftees are not an ideal force to use against the population. The Soviets and Chinese organize their military by regions, and don’t allow draftees to serve in their own region, or to interact a great deal with the civilian population where they do serve. I doubt that the Egyptians have a similar policy, so the lower ranks of the military units being deployed probably have friends and relatives in the crowd, and want to be able to go home at the end of their service.

I heard some Republican Congresscritter on the news at my Mother’s saying that the US wouldn’t accept an Egyptian government controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Yeah, right, like we wouldn’t accept Hamas winning the elections in Palestine. News flash: Egypt isn’t ours, so we don’t get a say. At this point, talk like that from US officials will probably help the Muslim Brotherhood in the polls. They were very late endorsing the protests, and they might succumb to a Mubarak offer to join a “national unity government”. Such actions would seriously erode their popular support, which was never great. I don’t doubt that a significant number of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood are employees of the Egyptian Interior Department.

January 29, 2011   Comments Off on Egypt Update

Double Trouble

From the ABC: West readies to take first hit as cyclones close in

Australia’s east and west coasts are preparing to be hit by two tropical cyclones in the next two days, as a third, larger system continues to lurk off the coast of Fiji.

Tropical Cyclone Bianca is forecast to hit south-west Western Australia on Sunday and Tropical Cyclone Anthony is expected to cross the coast north of Townsville, in Queensland, on Monday.

Bianca formed on the North coast of Australia and then headed West. It has now curved around and is expected to come ashore near Perth on the Southwest corner. It is of Tropical Storm strength, but the rains could be a problem.

Anthony headed East after forming in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast and then degenerated to a low due to wind shear. It has now regenerated and is headed towards Queensland, which definitely does not need any more rain at the moment.

Update: Bianca has weakened and will come ashore as a weak tropical depression [Cyclone warning cancelled for WA]

Anthony is on track to come ashore as a strong tropical storm [Cyclone Anthony barrelling towards Queensland]

Be aware when reading the articles that a category 1 Cyclone is the equivalent of a Tropical Storm. The Australian and US systems of categories are different.

January 29, 2011   Comments Off on Double Trouble

What A Great Idea

Over at the Agonist Quiet Bill wonders After Egypt, Will U.S. Get ‘Internet Kill Switch’?. This was another brilliant idea by LIEberman, the genius behind the Department of Homeland Security.

I think this is greatest idea since the neo-cons under the Reagan regime decided to train and fund a bunch of religious whackoes to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Much better than the neo-con idea to fund Saddam Hussein and give him weapons of mass destruction to oppose Iran. With genius ideas like those, what could go wrong?

Of course, if you install the “switch”, you will need to test it. April 15th and June 30th would be good test dates, because people really seem to want to use the Internet backbone on those days.

Naturally, as ‘Noz points out, there are always naysayers, like the Technolog at MSNBC: Net-less Egypt may face economic doom Monday

Egypt’s government must return Internet access to the country by Monday or perhaps suffer massive economic damage, as banks and other economic institutions return to work without the ability to conduct commerce.

Hey, if I’m willing to sacrifice I Can Has Cheezburger? for a few days, Wall Street can absorb a little financial pain. Come on, you really didn’t want to use your credit or debit cards.

We have seen how effective Egypt’s “Internet Kill Switch” has been in controlling the protests.

[Yes, this is sarcasm about unintended consequences. Note there is a lot of traffic on the Internet backbone that is not part of the World Wide Web.]

January 29, 2011   4 Comments