Well, this was embarrassing.

AL JAZEERA: “Has anyone in the Administration spoken to Pres. Mubarak?”

P.J. Crowley: uh… hummena… hummena… hummena… Oh, but “We’re seeing a fascinating dynamic unfold in the Middle East.” This man needs a vacation.

It’s as bad as Sect. Clinton’s first statement after the protests erupted, bolstering Mubarak against the people who have been tied to wide unemployment and poverty, corruption and the U.S. propping him up. Clinton is still being criticized by Egyptians even after she tried to undo it.

Like Israel, the initial response from the Obama administration was very 20th century.

It’s fitting here to mention Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller is blasting Micheal Oren’s prognostications on the Middle East and the Palestine Papers, teasing an interview with him for next week. Tucker’s headline is the same thing I began reporting from Middle East forums out of Washington since 2009, which means that time has actually run out.



Reuters reported that El Baradei was on his way back to Egypt and he’s now landed in Cairo.

For what it’s worth and if you want to believe an anonymous source saying so, Obama is now gearing up to challenge Pres. Mubarak. Always enjoining after the push. We can only hope Obama won’t do for the people of Egypt what he did for the Palestinians on settlement building in Israel. The man has no plan beyond delivering grand pronouncements.

The Obama administration needs to move cautiously, said Anthony Cordesman, a senior defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.

“There isn’t just the morning after to think about, there is the decade after,” he said in a telephone interview. “For the U.S. to get out in front now would be premature and potentially dangerous.”

Shadi Hamid, an expert on Islamist politics and democratic reform in the Middle East at the Brookings Institution, said the large pro-democracy protests may have broken the “psychological barrier of fear” among Egyptians.

“The U.S. does not want to see the Egyptian regime fall any time soon,” Hamid said in a telephone interview. “But people who are protesting, the tens of thousands, do want to see the regime fall some time soon. They are diametrically opposed interests.”

The place to watch is Suez.

“In Suez we have, today, petrol companies…, we have factories, we have customs and we have the Suez Canal. And despite all of that, there is enormous unemployment in Suez,” said 40-year-old local lawyer Kamal Hassan.

A 55-year-old man in glasses and a sweater who declined to be identified sat at the restaurant he ran downtown. He said he was born in Suez in 1956, the year of Egypt’s Suez War with France, Britain and Israel.

He pulled an empty tear gas canister from the latest protests from his desk and held it up: “American,” he said, smiling. “The Americans and Israelis are experts in destruction.” He said the tipping point came for many people in late November when the NDP secured a crushing victory in parliamentary elections denounced by rights and opposition groups as blatantly rigged, something the government denied.

Sean Paul raises the thing I’ve been wondering about, the Muslim Brotherhood. Right now there are reports of the MB joining the protests at Friday prayers. If they do Mubarak will be really up against it and so will everyone backing him, including the U.S, because even as the youth lead in the streets, the Muslim Brotherhood still has power.

The government is now accusing the youth protests of being infiltrated by “outlawed groups.”

Meanwhile, protests in Yemen have also broken out.