Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Egypt Descends Into Chaos

Less than 24 hours after millions celebrated the early stages of the end of the hated Mubarak era, the regime has struck back. Thousands of so-called "pro-Mubarak" protesters swarmed on to Tahrir Square menacing the peaceful anti-Mubarak protesters. Suddenly, groups of men mounted on horses and camels armed with clubs and iron bars charged into the square attacking the anti-government protesters. Fistfights erupted. Pitched battles of the two sides hurling stones at each other followed. Pro-Mubarak gangs stormed rooftops. From there they hurled stones, concrete slabs, petrol bombs and satellite dishes 11 storeys down on anti-Mubarak protesters.

Anti-government protesters confiscated the identity cards from the pro-Mubarak thugs which indicated they were police officers. Al Jazeera reported seeing trucks carrying pro-Mubarak thugs driven by uniformed police agents. The UN has an estimated toll of 500 injured and 300 killed  in today's clashes. This is on top of the estimated 150 people killed over the past 9 days since the revolution began.
As this blog warned yesterday, Mubarak's announcement that he was stepping down in September was simply a ploy to buy time and regroup. Apart from the security forces acting as a counter-revolutionary force (the police mysteriously disappeared off the streets of Cairo today), it's also likely that the security forces have paid thousands of poor and desperate men to attack the anti-government protesters. One cannot rule out the possibility that the regime has released violent criminals from prison on the condition that they go on the rampage.
Mubarak is instigating the violence to foster anarchy. This enables him to pose as the man of law and order stability, thereby setting up a false dichotomy: Keep Mubarak in power for order and stability or overthrow him letting the country descend into chaos. One mustn't forget the role of the United States. The U.S. must draw the line on Egypt. Egypt is the linchpin of American domination of the Middle East. The Suez Canal is not only the main sea lane for oil tankers between the Persian Gulf and the West, but more importantly it's indispensable for US, European and Israeli naval operations in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. It's quite possible that the US and Mubarak are fostering instability to justify US and Israeli military intervention and occupation.
The Egyptian revolution has reached its most critical moment to date. Live coverage here.

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