Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt: repression increases but it's so obviously desperate

There's something everybody agrees about: Egypt is a zillion times more important than Tunisia, Algeria or Yemen.

I'd dare say that it is also a much more clear case of untenable government, so untenable that the USA itself has been coyly supporting option B: El Baradei.

Whatever the case if Mubarak is ousted as he will be (surely in few hours), a lot of people will get very nervous, from Washington to Riyadh, from Brussels to Tel Aviv, from Rabat to Tehran.

Al Jazeera is mapping the latest news from Egypt and reports that a curfew has been imposed, along with communications blackout and that the army is on the streets in Cairo and other cities. 

Demonstrations seem permanent or almost so in Alexandria, Damietta (buildings burned), Port Said, Ismailiya, Suez (police station taken, prisoners freed), Mansoura, Mahalla, Luxor and Cairo. A person killed in Cairo and another in Suez is the latest body count for today only.

Most of the action is happening in Cairo, where the army and special operations police forces are struggling to keep the demonstrators in the west bank of the Nile, a bridge away from the city's center. However demonstrators have been reported near the Presidential Palace less an hour ago or so.

I'd dare forecast that all looks like Mubarak is heading to the airport right now. Otherwise he should not last more than a couple of days in the most optimistic case. It's a very interesting moment: a lot of gates are being opened... we certainly need some air.

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