Monday, January 31, 2011

Big news from Egypt

The New York Times is reporting that the Egyptian Army has announced that it will not fire on the protesters, as long as they use peaceful means.
The political forces aligned against President Hosni Mubarak seemed to strengthen on Monday, when the Army said for the first time that it would not fire on the protesters who have convulsed Egypt for the last week. The announcement was followed shortly by the government’s first offer to talk to the protest leaders....

The Army’s announcement — delivered on state TV with no elaboration by its official spokesman — declared that “freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody,” and promised to recognize the “legitimate demands” of the protesters.

While the carefully worded statement was seen by some as a veiled threat to use force against those who do not use peaceful means, an associate of Mr. Mubarak’s said it should be taken at face value.

“The Army is not a puppet in the hands of anybody,” including Mr. Mubarak, said Mahmoud Shokry, a retired diplomat and a friend of Mr. Suleiman. “The Army does not want to make any confrontation with the youth.” He said the generals would “ask Mr. Mubarak to leave” before they would accept orders they think could lead to civil war or risk their credibility with the public.

Still, opposition leaders said they were not prepared to celebrate the announcement as the turning point it proved in Tunisia, where the government collapsed after the military refused to shoot at its own people.
Although I'm apprehensive for Israel about what could happen if Mubarak does finally resign and a new government is established, it is very exciting to see thousands and thousands of people demonstrating for freedom and democracy.

The report I'm hearing tonight described members of the Muslim Brotherhood involved in the demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo. I hope that any government that's formed after Mubarak falls (if that happens) will not be dominated by the MB. My main apprehension about them would be what would they do with the peace treaty with Israel. Also, of course, if they get into power, would democracy continue in Egypt? Would they be willing to leave power if they lost an election? Questions that I don't think anyone has the final answers to.

1 comment:

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