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اتوار، 30 جنوری، 2011

Power pyramid falling apart in Egypt

The continuation of anti-government protests has put the tottering regime of President Hosni Mubarak in a limbo. According to reports, Mubarak's two sons, including Jamal, who was being groomed to take over from his aging father, have fled Egypt for London, along with their mother Suzanne and their families. Mubarak has appointed Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman, as his deputy, the first time in 30 years that he has named a vice president. He also appointed as prime minister former Air Force Chief Ahmed Shafiq, who served as civil aviation minister in the dissolved cabinet, as part of desperate efforts to calm down the protests. The US-Zionist-supported state apparatus has also launched a media campaign against the protests by labeling them 'saboteurs.'
Meanwhile, police continued to arrest women in large numbers. This is noteworthy because young Egyptian women, many wearing the veils, are taking part in the demonstrations despite the violent crackdown by the police. The brutal measures of the police show how nervous the regime is. Egyptian cities look like battle scenes with scores of armored vehicles deployed around important buildings such as the TV and Radio headquarters overlooking the River Nile and several ministries. There will be more beatings and arrests; more injuries and deaths. The Egyptian regime hasn’t responded to any of the demands of the protestors. It has cut or removed subsidies on many staple goods in a country where millions survive on less than two dollars a day. Just before the protests broke out on Tuesday, the government was preparing to cut energy subsidies, a move that would have hiked prices even further. The health ministry was also planning to cut public healthcare coverage, limiting the hours at public hospitals where patients are charged nominal fees. The ruling regime has always ignored calls for change.
In related news, Mohammad al-Baradei, former Egyptian head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told France 24 television today from Cairo that President Hosni Mubarak "must go," saying that protests against his rule would intensify. He said "President Mubarak doesn't seem to understand the message of the Egyptian people," underlining that "Mubarak's speech was totally disappointing and that the protests will continue with even more intensity until his fall."
Meanwhile, influential Egyptian religious scholar, Yusuf al-Qardhawi, who lives in the Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar, urged Mubarak to step down for the good of the country, saying his departure is the only solution to Egypt's crisis. The Sunni Muslim cleric also encouraged Egyptians to keep up their protests demanding an end to Mubarak's three-decade rule. He said the ruler has become "blind, deaf and dumb."
Also as per the coming reports, ministers close to the ruling pyramid are leaving the country with their families, while there appear sharp divisions among them. Even the West led by the US, which has propped up Mubarak for the past three decades, will not be able to bail him out this time in view of his gross violation of the Egyptian people's rights and his iron-fisted rule of the past 30 years.
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