Friday, February 4, 2011

The beginning of the end (of the beginning)?

It looks like we are reaching the endgame for this particular phase of the Egyptian upheaval.

Excellent piece over at the Arabist on the heady and disorienting experience of existing simultaneously in the two time zones of Egypt – pre and post Mubarak. This disjointed picture of the schizophrenic aspects of daily life in Egypt was first described in an NYT piece by Amr Shalakany.

For me, following minute by minute social media updates and streaming news feeds, while also following analysis and editorial exposition that is already a day old by the time it hits the page (or the screen) has given me a strange sympathetic feeling. I get up in the morning and half the day has already passed in Cairo. Disjointed simultinaity.

Today is Friday, and two things are bound to happen – the white house is in the process of negotiating an exit from power for Mubarak, and the protesters are getting ready for the post-Friday night prayer rally. This may be one of the biggest nighttime crowds yet, and although the plainclothes police thugs will certainly be out again – hopefully the army is going to do a better job as buffer and chaos control.

Foreign Policy has in interesting piece on how the Egyptian constitution will come into play during the likely power transfer.


Republican response to Obama’s actions have been all over the place - McCain said that we haven’t been moving fast enough to remove Mubarak,  while Huckabee says we’re being reckless. Santorum has called the Obama admin “clueless”, while Boener has actually spoken positively of the actions taken by the White House.

Was this a US intel failure? Dunno.  If no one else saw it coming it may be a bit much to expect our intel people to catch what everyone else missed - though that is their job.


A quick word on the twitter protest timeline that I mentioned before – Jan 30 was the date for Sudan, and some protests did happen there (though they got smacked down pretty hard). Feb 3 was date for Yemen, and there was certainly some craziness there yesterday.  -  Tomorrow is Syria, and there are already reports of heightened security at some key government buildings...

1 comment:

  1. Intel is only as good as the folks passing it up the chain. If some desk jockey at the Egyptian desk has been standing on his chair for months ranting about the impending upheaval and his supervisor thought he was the equivalent of a street-corner "the end is near" type or was trying to make his bones and take said supervisor's job, it may not have made it out of some level of group meeting. The selection process in passing intel up the chain is still very human. Then again, everyone may have been focused elsewhere. We probably won't know for years (if ever) who knew what and when.