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New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by ImLawBoy » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:45 pm

From what I've been reading, the Egyptian military is probably the best bet for a transition to democracy. They're very closely aligned with and dependent on the US military, and they'd be fearful of losing that support if they took over long term. The military, which has been remarkably restrained throughout the conflict, is probably the group with the greatest ability to maintain peace until new elections can be established.

Of course, if a high ranking general decides he wants to control everything, all bets are off.
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:20 pm

The military offers better odds for a transition to democracy than Mubarak + cronies did, that's for sure. And there have been successful transitions from military to civilian governments (for example, there have been three military coups in Turkey that led to relatively prompt transitions back to civilian rule). However, on balance the history is not good - you won't get rich betting on military governments peacefully giving up power.

The next steps are huge: will the military lift the emergency powers law that's been in place for 30 years? Will they invite civilian opposition leaders into the transition team? When will they target for the next elections?

In particular if they don't lift the emergency law relatively soon they might start to lose the masses. They could cling to power - and most troublingly, since they have privileged economic deals they might try to lest they lose those in a democratic government - but if they do so they'll have to be willing to fire on protesters.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by tgb » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:37 pm

El Guapo wrote:The military offers better odds for a transition to democracy than Mubarak + cronies did, that's for sure.
You're forgetting that a lot of Mubarak's cronies came from the military. And when I hear the term "Supreme Military Council", the first word to pop into my head is not "democracy".
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:51 pm

tgb wrote:
El Guapo wrote:The military offers better odds for a transition to democracy than Mubarak + cronies did, that's for sure.
You're forgetting that a lot of Mubarak's cronies came from the military. And when I hear the term "Supreme Military Council", the first word to pop into my head is not "democracy".
Oh no, I'm not forgetting that at all. I'm not trusting the military to hand over power peacefully, as the rest of my post makes clear. I do think that the new military government is more likely to hand over power than Mubarak, however. Mubarak's cronies have more to fear from a democratic government - namely charges and retributions. The new government comes with high approval from the Egyptians, and if it does transition to democracy then those officials will not only not face charges, but they'll be immensely popular for many, many years to come. Indeed, high ranking military officials could come out of this in a great position to run for President in the near or long term.

Again, I'm not saying that George Washington is running the Supreme Council here. Just that this bodes better than Mubarak running the show.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:07 pm

The Times has a bit on the Supreme Council and the generals involved. The two main people appear to be:
Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan

Armed forces chief of staff

The general appeared in Tahrir Square before the council meeting, pledging to meet the demands of the protesters and to safeguard their security. In response, the protesters roared with approval.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi

Defense minister

The 75-year-old commander, known by some officers as "Mubarak's poodle," has appeared among the protesters to encourage them to leave. The minister led the supreme council meeting in the absence of President Hosni Mubarak.
The involvement of "Mubarak's poodle" doesn't sound so promising.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:16 pm

Obama's speech on Mubarak's resignation:
There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments; this is one of those times. The people of Egypt have spoken. Their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same. By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people’s hunger for change. But this is not the end of the transition, its the beginning. I’m sure there will be many difficult days ahead and many questions remain unanswered. But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers, and do so peacefully, constructively and in the spirit of unity that has defined these last few weeks. For Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.

The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people. That means protecting the rights of Egypt’s citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free. Above all, this transition must bring all of Egypt’s voices to the table, with spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change.

The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt. We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary and asked for to pursue a credible transition to a democracy. I’m also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity, jobs, and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight. And I know that a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership not only in the region but around the world.

Egypt has played a pivotal role in human history for over 6,000 years, but over the last few weeks the wheel of history turned at a blinding pace, as Egyptian people demanded their universal rights. We saw mothers and fathers carrying their children on their shoulders to show them what true freedom might look like. We saw a young Egyptian saying, “for the first time in my life I really count, my voice is heard.” Even though I am only one person this is the way real democracy works. We heard protesters change Salmeai Salmeai we are peaceful again and again.

We saw a military that would not fire bullets at the people they were sworn to protect. We saw doctors and nurses rushing into the streets to care for the people that were wounded. Volunteers checking protesters to make sure they were unarmed. We saw people of faith praying together and chanting – Muslims, Christians chanting “we are one.” And though we know the strains between faiths still divided too many in this world, no single event will close that chasm immediately. These scenes remind us that we need not be defined by our differences; we can be defined by the common humanity that we share.

And above all, we saw a new generation emerge. A generation that uses their own creativity and talent and technology to call for a government that represented their hopes and not their fears. A government that is responsive to their boundless aspirations. One Egyptian put it simply “most people have discovered in the last few days that they are worth something.” And that can not be taken away from them anymore. Ever. This is power of human dignity. And it can never be denied. Egyptians have inspired us and they’ve done so by putting the lie of the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, the moral force that bent the arc of history to moral justice once more.

And while all of the sights and sounds we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can’t help but hear the echoes of history. Echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets. Ghandi leading his people down the path of justice. As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana, while trying to perfect his own “There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom.” Those were the cries that came from Tarhir Square.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Grundbegriff » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:43 pm

This is a great day for everyday Egyptians who, for too long, have been under the thumb of a guy Romney was too gutless to call, as is fitting, a dictator.

This is also a great day for Condoleezza Rice and an extraordinarily awkward fortnight for Obama's so-called 'smart diplomacy'.

It'll be more fun than usual to teach about Egyptian art next week. :)

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Exodor » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:12 pm

Why do do so many on the right (Glenn Beck, Rush, etc) seem so afraid of freedom in Egypt?

I mean, look at Drudge

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Really?

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Grundbegriff » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:19 pm

Exodor wrote:Why do do so many on the right (Glenn Beck, Rush, etc) seem so afraid of freedom in Egypt?
I would guess their concern boils down to this set of issues:
  • The analogy with the Iranian Revolution, which started with a pretense of trading the Shah for democracy, but cashed out in Khomeini's Islamofascism.
  • The risk of a resurgence of orthodoxy in the Muslim Brotherhood, which plays nicely with others when powerless, liberalized, and corrupt, but which has a history of violent jihad (e.g., assassinating Sadat).
  • The fact that Egypt is central to Unitedstatesian intelligence activities.
From what I've seen these past few days, the hysterical media have taken to emphasizing whichever position seems opposite to Obama's stance-du-jour, so that's likely the pragmatic explanation for the weight they give these concerns.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Rip » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:39 pm

and I called it on day one. I wish I had a fraction of the ability to pick fantasy football teams. :?

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Crabbs » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:53 pm

Rip wrote:and I called it on day one. I wish I had a fraction of the ability to pick fantasy football teams. :?
Maybe you could start up a rotisserie league for selecting dictators and be commissioner :)
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Exodor » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:12 pm

Grundbegriff wrote:This is also a great day for Condoleezza Rice and an extraordinarily awkward fortnight for Obama's so-called 'smart diplomacy'.
And yet some praise Obama's approach
The Obama administration also deserves a great deal of credit, which it probably won't receive. It understood immediately and intuitively that it should not attempt to lead a protest movement which had mobilized itself without American guidance, and consistently deferred to the Egyptian people. Despite the avalanche of criticism from protestors and pundits, in fact Obama and his key aides -- including Ben Rhodes and Samantha Power and many others -- backed the Egyptian protest movement far more quickly than anyone should have expected. Their steadily mounting pressure on the Mubarak regime took time to succeed, causing enormous heartburn along the way, but now can claim vindication. By working carefully and closely with the Egyptian military, it helped restrain the worst violence and prevent Tiananmen on the Tahrir -- which, it is easy to forget today, could very easily have happened. No bombs, no shock and awe, no soaring declarations of American exceptionalism, and no taking credit for a tidal wave which was entirely of the making of the Egyptian people -- just the steadily mounting public and private pressure on the top of the regime which was necessary for the protestors to succeed.

The Obama administration also understood from the start, and has consistently said, that removing Mubarak would not be enough. It has rejected "faux democracy," and pushed hard for fundamental systemic reforms. Over the coming days and weeks, it should push for specific changes on a clear timetable: lifting the emergency reform, amending the Constitution, appointing a credible and nonpartisan commission to oversee elections, securing a guarantee from whoever acts as the interim head of state that he will not run for re-election, preventing retaliation against protestors, ensuring the inclusion of opposition figures in the process, and more. The outcome will be judged on what emerges over months and years to come, not only by today's exhilerating turn of events. I hope that everyone thrilled by the downfall of the dictator remains attentive and committed to helping bring about the democratic transformation which Egyptians deserve, which serves real American interests, and which could help change the entire region.

By the way, for those keeping score in the "peacefully removing Arab dictators" game, it's now Obama 2, Bush 0. The administration has been subjected to an enormous amount of criticism over the last two weeks for its handling of Egypt, including by people inspired by or who worked on the previous administration's Freedom Agenda. It was also attacked sharply from the left, by activists and academics who assumed that the administration was supporting Mubarak and didn't want democratic change. In the end, Obama's strategy worked. Perhaps this should earn it some praise, and even some benefit of the doubt going forward. And now, a day to celebrate before rolling up the sleeves for the hard work to come.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Grundbegriff » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:47 pm

Exodor wrote:And yet some praise Obama's approach
The world is full of sycophants. Does this surprise you?

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:08 am

Grundbegriff wrote:
Exodor wrote:And yet some praise Obama's approach
The world is full of sycophants. Does this surprise you?
Is anyone who praise's Obama's approach a sycophant?

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Grundbegriff » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:21 am

El Guapo wrote:
Grundbegriff wrote:
Exodor wrote:And yet some praise Obama's approach
The world is full of sycophants. Does this surprise you?
Is anyone who praise's Obama's approach a sycophant?
Naturally not. But Exodor's "and yet" suggested that the existence of such has some sort of evidential value, and the proliferation of sycophants demonstrates why it doesn't.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:30 am

Grundbegriff wrote:
El Guapo wrote:
Grundbegriff wrote:
Exodor wrote:And yet some praise Obama's approach
The world is full of sycophants. Does this surprise you?
Is anyone who praise's Obama's approach a sycophant?
Naturally not. But Exodor's "and yet" suggested that the existence of such has some sort of evidential value, and the proliferation of sycophants demonstrates why it doesn't.
Sure. I do agree that one person approving Obama's approach doesn't really mean much (beyond what arguments said person makes). Your response implied that he must by definition be a sycophant, so I was curious about that.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Grundbegriff » Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:43 am

El Guapo wrote:Your response implied that he must by definition be a sycophant, so I was curious about that.
Not only did my response not imply or entail that, but I removed all links to the particular person he referenced to make clear that my point was general.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:06 pm

Grundbegriff wrote:
El Guapo wrote:Your response implied that he must by definition be a sycophant, so I was curious about that.
Not only did my response not imply or entail that, but I removed all links to the particular person he referenced to make clear that my point was general.
I suppose I did rule out the possibility that your response was a non sequitor.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by GreenGoo » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:00 pm

El Guapo wrote:
Grundbegriff wrote:
El Guapo wrote:Your response implied that he must by definition be a sycophant, so I was curious about that.
Not only did my response not imply or entail that, but I removed all links to the particular person he referenced to make clear that my point was general.
I suppose I did rule out the possibility that your response was a non sequitor.
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Alefroth » Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:33 pm

Grundbegriff wrote:
El Guapo wrote:Your response implied that he must by definition be a sycophant, so I was curious about that.
Not only did my response not imply or entail that, but I removed all links to the particular person he referenced to make clear that my point was general.
Yeah, right.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Grundbegriff » Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:24 pm

I see logic is not a strength in this arondissement.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Victoria Raverna » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:27 am

El Guapo wrote: Also - it's all but impossible to be a dictator for more than 5, 10 years and have majority support from the population. Since the job description is essentially repression, violence, and corruption, that tends not to translate into being the life of the party.
Dictator that ruled for over 30 years and had majority support from the population.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:35 am

Victoria Raverna wrote:
El Guapo wrote:No, there's really no reasonable doubt on that. You can see this in part from the total lack of pro-Mubarak action on the streets (aside from the violence of a week or so ago, and there's pretty good evidence that that was thugs paid by the regime). It's not *impossible* that there are tens of millions of pro-Mubarak supporters sitting at home...but that doesn't seem at all likely.

Also - it's all but impossible to be a dictator for more than 5, 10 years and have majority support from the population. Since the job description is essentially repression, violence, and corruption, that tends not to translate into being the life of the party.
Dictator that ruled for over 30 years and had majority support from the population.
I can't say I know much about Singapore and know essentially nothing about Lee Kuan Yew, so I can't comment on him unfortunately. It's interesting that the Wikipedia article refers to winning a series of landslide elections rather than him being a dictator, but one tends not to win landslide elections over several decades unless you're rigging the game somehow.

In any event, there are exceptions to every rule - one might also point to Ataturk in Turkey, who ruled there for a couple decades with dictatorial powers, but who was (and remains) very popular. It can get dodgy to get an accurate sense of majority support in a dictatorship, but it is possible. Regardless, popular dictators very much remain the exception rather than the rule, since the job does entail killing / torturing / threatening people on a more or less daily basis.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:37 am


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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:37 am

FWIW the Egyptian military on Sunday promised to uphold the treaty with Israel. Though of course it remains to be seen how long they'll be in charge.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Teggy » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:51 pm

Here's how they handle it in Bahrain:
For the last year, Bahrain's marginalized Shiite majority has been protesting the rule of King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa, a Sunni who succeeded his father in 2002. But in the wake of the dramatic events elsewhere in the region, the protests have gained momentum and turned violent. In an effort to quell the unrest, the king has announced that the regime will give every Bahraini family $2,700 in cash.
Cash is king.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by SpaceLord » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:00 pm

I'll totally stop protesting in the streets of Bahrain if I get 2700 clams. 27.00 would work, too. :ninja:
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Grundbegriff » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:18 pm

Looks as if this is at risk of becoming conventional wisdom.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by El Guapo » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:52 pm

Grundbegriff wrote:Looks as if this is at risk of becoming conventional wisdom.
Interesting. I take it that you disagree?

I'm skeptical that the U.S. training program at issue had a decisive role in the protests, but it seems plausible that it could have had a significant impact.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Holman » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:32 am

El Guapo wrote:
Grundbegriff wrote:Looks as if this is at risk of becoming conventional wisdom.
Interesting. I take it that you disagree?
I think he's suggesting that the risk is to our comfortable, lazy dismissal of everything Bush did.
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Matrix » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:52 am

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110215/ap_ ... af_tunisia" target="_blank

This is what i am expecting in Egypt pretty soon.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Kraken » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:32 pm

Holman wrote:
El Guapo wrote:
Grundbegriff wrote:Looks as if this is at risk of becoming conventional wisdom.
Interesting. I take it that you disagree?
I think he's suggesting that the risk is to our comfortable, lazy dismissal of everything Bush did.
When the Boston Globe runs something positive about Bush, even liberals have to take notice.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by AWS260 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:23 pm

CBS just reported that their chief foreign correspondent was beaten and sexually assaulted during the "celebration" after Mubarak announced he was stepping down. Ugh.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by LawBeefaroni » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:36 pm

AWS260 wrote:CBS just reported that their chief foreign correspondent was beaten and sexually assaulted during the "celebration" after Mubarak announced he was stepping down. Ugh.
CNN wrote:Lara Logan, 39, was covering celebrations for a "60 Minutes" story, the network said, when a frenzied mob of about 200 people surrounded her, her crew and their security team. Separated from the others in the chaos, Logan was surrounded, beaten and sexually assaulted, the statement said.

A group of women and about 20 Egyptian soldiers intervened to rescue the correspondent, the network said.
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Grundbegriff » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:42 am

Kraken wrote:
Holman wrote:
El Guapo wrote:
Grundbegriff wrote:Looks as if this is at risk of becoming conventional wisdom.
Interesting. I take it that you disagree?
I think he's suggesting that the risk is to our comfortable, lazy dismissal of everything Bush did.
When the Boston Globe runs something positive about Bush, even liberals have to take notice.
In general, life, politics, and policy are more complex than partisans of any stripe prefer to claim/suggest/admit.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Teggy » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:44 am

LawBeefaroni wrote:
AWS260 wrote:CBS just reported that their chief foreign correspondent was beaten and sexually assaulted during the "celebration" after Mubarak announced he was stepping down. Ugh.
CNN wrote:Lara Logan, 39, was covering celebrations for a "60 Minutes" story, the network said, when a frenzied mob of about 200 people surrounded her, her crew and their security team. Separated from the others in the chaos, Logan was surrounded, beaten and sexually assaulted, the statement said.

A group of women and about 20 Egyptian soldiers intervened to rescue the correspondent, the network said.
Yeah, I just read that article on Yahoo. The words they are using to describe it make it sound like something really, really horrible happened to this woman.

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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:56 am

Teggy wrote:Yeah, I just read that article on Yahoo. The words they are using to describe it make it sound like something really, really horrible happened to this woman.
Yeah I read something to the effect that she was savagely beaten and subject to sustained sexual assault for something like 30 minutes. Friggin' savages.
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by The Meal » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:15 am

That Lara Logan experience makes Monday night's Daily Show's Act I funnies not so funny any more. :(
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Enough » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:07 pm

Wow, Mubarak ordered Tiananmen-style massacre of demonstrators, Army refused.
But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.

Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.
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Crabbs
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Re: New Egyptian Unrest: Tunisia Part II?

Post by Crabbs » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:39 pm

Enough wrote:Wow, Mubarak ordered Tiananmen-style massacre of demonstrators, Army refused.
But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.

Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.
That is amazing.

Too bad I don't think the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Secret Police will have any doubts about killing their own population.
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