The Senate on Thursday passed a resolution supporting democracy in Egypt and calling on President Hosni Mubarak to begin the process of transferring power and creating a caretaker government as attacks on anti-government protesters entered their second day. — Senate passes resolution calling on Hosni Mubarak to begin transfer of power in Egypt
I cannot start without first sending some sort of energy to the brave reporters on the ground inside Egypt. ABC News has complied a list of all those who have been threatened, attacked or detained. What they’re enduring to get this story is the stuff of real heroism, no doubt inspired by the brave Egyptian people. The pact these two very different groups have with one another to tell this historic story is something for which we are all indebted and grateful.
That sets the stage for a dangerously fraught atmosphere for Friday prayers.
On one screen you have Pres. Mubarak talking to Christiane Amanpour saying he cannot step down for fear that the country would sink into chaos.
On the other screen is the Obama administration reportedly negotiating with V.P. Omar Suleiman, the intelligence man in charge of rendition.
The New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration is supposedly discussing an exit plan for Pres. Mubarak. They should be fired if they’re not looking at everything, all contingencies. There is one problem or actually two challenges that stand out:
Some officials said there was not yet any indication that either Mr. Suleiman or the Egyptian military was willing to abandon Mr. Mubarak.
But the story is being blasted everywhere.
One point worth noting in the Times article is that Sen. Feinstein is questioning why intelligence agencies didn’t pick up what was coming. It all sounds so eerily familiar.
“At some point it had to have been obvious that there was going to be a huge demonstration,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who is chairwoman of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence.
She said that intelligence agencies never sent a notice to her committee about the growing uprising in Egypt, as is customary in the case of significant global events.
Stephanie O’Sullivan, the C.I.A. official, responded that the agency had been tracking instability in Egypt for some time and had concluded that the government in Cairo was in an “untenable” situation. But, Ms. O’Sullivan said, “we didn’t know what the triggering mechanism would be.”
It should be noted that Sen. Feinstein was one of the principles who were against a resolution on Egyptian democracy last December. Her office said at the end she didn’t object, but it’s not a coincidence that after she went along secret holds by two Democrats were placed on the bill, according to Josh Rogin.
A similar intelligence story in Haaretz recently talked about the head of Military Intelligence in Israeli missing the moment, too. This was the story Sunday:
On Tuesday, the day the unrest began that led to the collapse of the Egyptian cabinet, Israel’s new head of Military Intelligence told a Knesset committee that President Hosni Mubarak’s government was not under threat.
The new MI chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, made the comments in his first appearance in his new role. He also said Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was not sufficiently organized to take power and was not closing ranks significantly.
Shooting 50% in the intelligence business isn’t good enough.
To add another element, the plight of the Palestinians has been playing out on Al Jazeera for years, but that may not have anything to do with the uprisings. But it’s a cinch the Netanyahu government wouldn’t be freaked if they’d made an agreement for peace with the Palestinians instead of relying on one man repressing 80 million Egyptians as a security strategy.
The enemy you know as opposed to the one you don’t doesn’t cut it anymore.
Sen. Leahy has tempered his statement that Egyptian aide could be on the table, likely because of the credits for military purchases, but also that it’s tied to the Israeli – Egyptian peace deal, as former Sect. Madeleine Albright discussed with Rachel Maddow tonight. But even Sect. Albright said it is one of the tools that could be utilized.
After Pres. Obama’s statement Tuesday Mubarak chose to ignore Obama and bear down and unload violence inside Egypt to force his will. A new phase began, with the U.S. now rightly trying to create a requisite plan to change the dynamics that leaves Mubarak no way to stay.
Tomorrow brings even more energy to a situation already lit. The anti-government protesters are calling it the “Day of Departure.”
The world is growing up, but the process isn’t pretty.