Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Counterpunch on the Egyptian Revolution

Counterpunch has a remarkable wrap-up of the Egyptian Revolution, courtesy of one Esam El-Amin, that goes beyond self-congratulating and self-justifying spin to deliver just-the-facts-ma'am reporting of what happened, combined with trenchant analysis.

Here's the link to When Egypt's Revolution Was at the Crossroads.

Here's a taste:

February 2: Displaying Courage and Steadfastness in The Battle of the Camel

Once Mubarak lost control of his security apparatus and could not rely on his military, he turned to his third and last circle of protection, his political party, the NDP. But for the past five years he had turned the day-to-day management of the party to his son, Gamal.

On Jan. 29, Gamal convened the major political figures and business tycoons of the NDP to devise a plan to end the sit-in and the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. They had a two-track plan. Mubarak would give a speech, on Feb. 1 that would draw sympathy, as he recalled his service to his country for over six decades while pledging to oversee major reforms. In the speech, he promised not to seek re-election, to leave in September and die in Egypt.

This ploy actually made inroads within many segments of society and threatened to split the opposition. The small pro-government “loyal opposition” actually welcomed the speech, while the youth rejected it out-of-hand.

But Gamal’s second maneuver backfired badly. He was hoping that by splitting the opposition through his father’s speech, he could finish off the remainder through direct attacks in Tahrir Square. By the morning of Feb. 2, he sent a few thousand people demonstrating in support of his father, led by some famous actors and sports figures.

Around 2 PM that day, the unexpected and brutal attacks by the goons of the NPD was in full force, but was faced with stiff resistance by the protesters. For sixteen hours the demonstrators in the Tahrir Square were attacked by clubs, knives, horses, camels, Molotov cocktails, and live ammunition ...Dozens lost their lives while thousands were injured.

At certain crucial moments, this wild idea, whose objective was to empty Tahrir Square, might have succeeded, especially as the protesters were under siege by midnight and being pushed outside the square. While the protesters were pleading with the army to intervene and protect them, it stayed true to its promise of remaining neutral.

It was thousands of members of the MB that descended on the Tahrir Square (estimates range from three to five thousand), led by major MB figures, El-Erian, Mohammad El-Biltagy, and Safwat Hegazy, that broke the siege, fighting and pushing back the NDP attackers for the entire night. By dawn, the battle of the Camel, as it is now dubbed in Egypt, had fizzled and Tahrir remained firmly in the hands of the revolutionaries.

All youth and opposition groups have since acknowledged that if it were not for the courage and skill of the MB, the outcome of the attacks might have been different.

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