Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yemen, Egypt and this blog - three short updates.

Three quick updates to bring to your attention:

Yemen: Yesterday I briefly mentioned that President Saleh offered to step down by the end of the year and hand has authority over to a worthy successor, while expressing doubts as to his sincerity. As it turns out, he has withdrawn the offer, which leads me to suspect that he was never all that sincere to begin with.


Egypt: Egyptian presidential elections have been pushed back to 2012. Although this sounds ominous on the face of it, the reasons for postponement are quite encouraging – given the lively debate over the constitutional amendments, the military Council decided that the constitutional revisions themselves needed more time and needed more involvement by a wider spectrum of people (this was one of the primary complaints about the way in which the constitutional amendments were undertaken) they have brought in several additional voices to participate in further revisions. (Parliamentary elections will still be held this year)

An article on the issue can be found here, a Google translated version is here (though it is a bit garbled, the essential point are fairly clear).

Postponing the presidential election gives the fledgling reform movements more time to solidify their base and establish their platforms. In the meantime, some major divisions are coming to the surface in the Muslim brotherhood and among some of the more conservative religious elements. If incidents like this persist, the fundamentalists will rapidly lose their public support.


The third item relates to this blog - Last night I noticed that today marks two months since I started writing here. Overall I’d say it’s going pretty well – I’m averaging about a hundred visits a day, mostly from the US but also from all over the rest of the world. We’ll have to wait and see if my new Twitter account generates additional hits. Most importantly for me, it has forced me into the habit of writing on a daily basis, something that I’ve tried to do in the past but had serious problems with until now.

In the interests of ongoing improvement, I’d love to get your feedback on the blog – is there anything you’d like more of? Is there an area that I’m not covering fully? Do you have questions about my methodology or my sources? Let me know so that I can address those areas.


  1. I keep hearing forces loyal to Gahdafi are doing this and/or that- do you know, O most awesomest of bloggers who post about this sort of thing, what the demographics of these loyalists are? African mercs, regular Libyan military, or militia/regular joe types?

  2. From what I've seen, the pro-Gaddafi forces are a mix of hard-core loyalist Republican-Guard types (led by one or two of his sons) and mercenaries. A recent report specifically mentioned 3000 mercs from Chad, but as with so many things, I'm not 100% sure of what the actual case is.