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The POMED Wire Archives
Category: Egypt
Nelson Calls on Mubarak to Execute Free and Fair Elections and Resign
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
Writing at The Hill’s Congress Blog, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) discussed the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and stated that while Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s naming of Omar Suleiman as his vice president is a step in the right direction, change must be made. “He cannot afford to clamp down again, as he initially tried to do,” Nelson says, “Instead, Mr. Mubarak will have to go — but not without an exit strategy that prevents the government from falling and leaving the door open for extremists.” Nelson goes on to say that if “President Obama pushes for Mubarak’s departure, the Egyptian government might fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood” and we may see a repeat of the Iranian revolution of 1979. To quell protesters, he states that Mubarak must “guarantee the people the right to vote in free and fair elections” which are open to international observers and to also give his written assurance that he will not submit his name for candidacy.
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Protests, Reform | Comment »
EU Leaders Call for Dialogue and Reform in Egypt
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
On Monday, European Union foreign ministers met to discuss the events in Egypt and called for “peaceful dialogue” between protesters and the government. They called for democratic reform that pave the way for “fair and free elections” and for an “orderly transition” to a broad-based government in Egypt. EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Ashton called for immediate talks with opposition saying, “It’s absolutely critical that the government engage in open, frank, direct dialogue.” Foreign ministers urged Hosni Mubarak to embark on reform but stopped short of demanding he leave. Several ministers, including British Foreign Secretary William Hague and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle​said it was important that Egypt did not fall into the hands of extremists.
Posted in EU, Egypt, Elections, Protests, Reform | Comment »
Gibbs Calls on Mubarak for Concrete Action and Discusses Muslim Brotherhood’s Role
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs dismissed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s move to appoint a new government saying that the situation in the country called for action not appointments. Gibbs called for negotiations “with a broad cross-section of the Egyptian people, including the current government” and said that the transition will “have to address the freedoms that the people of Egypt seek” including free and fair elections, scrapping the emergency laws, and changes to the constitution to allow greater democracy. When asked whether the US government was comfortable with and could work with the Muslim Brotherhood in power, Gibbs stated, “I think, from what we can see, it’s not accurate to say that those protesting are made up of one particular group or one particular ideology. I think it is clear that an increase in democratic representation has to include a whole host of important non-secular actors. We do not have contact with [the Muslim Brotherhood], and we have, as we have throughout the world, standards for that contact… adherence to the law, adherence to non-violence and a willingness to be part of a democratic process and not simply use those process [to win power].”
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Protests, Reform | Comment »
US Sends Special Envoy to Egypt
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
On Monday, the State Department announced that former ambassador to Egypt (1986-1991), Frank Wisner, is now on the ground in Cairo and will be meeting with Egyptian officials to urge them to embrace economic and political changes, which can pave the way for free and fair elections. State Department Spokesman Phillip Crowley stated that Wisner “has the ability” to talk to Egyptian leaders.
Posted in Egypt, Reform | Comment »
Voices From Tahrir Square
January 31st, 2011 by Alec
Despite an internet blackout by the Egyptian government, POMED has been regularly in touch with contacts on the ground in Egypt by telephone.  Now that the cell phone networks are mostly back up, we are now able to speak with a variety of human rights activists live in Tahrir Square.  Three of our contacts today gave us permission to share audio of their comments, which are available here:
Esraa Abdelfattah - Egyptian Democratic Academy (EDA)
“They don’t care about any change in the government […] they want Mubarak to go first.”
“Until Mubarak leaves, we cannot move.”
“All Egyptian people don’t want Mubarak as President!”
Gamal Eid - Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
“The people were calling and screaming against Omar Suleiman and against Ahmed Shafiq, we refuse.”
“We’ll never forget who can support the dictator.”
Soha Abdelaty - Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
“People don’t care about the new ministers, they just want to see him [Hosni Mubarak] gone.”
“They want the U.S. to come out and say it, that he needs to go.”
“It’s not about the government, it’s about him. It’s very personal.”
Posted in Egypt, Protests, Public Opinion | Comment »
White House Prepares for a Post-Mubarak Egypt
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
Josh Rogin writing at The Cable, spoke with National Security Staff experts who attended a White House meeting on Monday morning over the events in Egypt. The experts stated that the meeting was “intense and constructive” and that “a real debate over the path forward for U.S. policy ensued,” with White House staff implying that they believed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was on his way out. While they have not directly told Mubarak to leave, they have made the United States’ expectations clear; ”We can’t be seen as picking a winner. We can’t be seen as telling a leader to go,” said Ben Rhodes, NSS Senior Director for Multilateral Engagement. While the White House staff is skeptical that new Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman will take over they do see him as an influential force during the “transition period. ” Rogin states that “transition” is the administrations new buzz word which allows them “to position themselves on the side of the protesters without throwing Mubarak completely under the bus.”
Michele Dunne, senior associate in the Middle East Department at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and member of the bi-partisan Egypt Working Group, also urged the White House to make swifter and more forceful statements to prevent misperceptions in Egypt that the U.S. tried to prop up Mubarak’s regime: “What we were trying to tell them is that change is coming, the status quo is passing away, and the question is do we want to shape that change constructively or not.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Protests, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
Egypt: Omar Suleiman Pledges Reform
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
New Egyptian vice president Omar Suleiman announced​: “I have been asked by the president to contact all the political parties regarding constitutional reform.” Suleiman also promised to investigate the results of the last elections and called for implementation of Constitutional Court orders to re-run certain districts’ parliamentary polls of November 2010 in coming weeks. He also stated that the government “will fight unemployment, poverty and corruption.”
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Reform | Comment »
Head of Arab League Calls for Multi-Party Democracy in Egypt
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
On Sunday, the head of the Arab League Amr Moussa said he wanted to see a multi-party democracy emerge in Egypt and called on President Hosni Mubarak to respond to protesters’ demands for reforms rather than reshuffling ministers: “This new government should be just the beginning, just a new prime minister and new ministers does not necessarily mean a change, clear lines of policy will have to be declared.” And while he is not seeking presidency, he did not rule out playing a role if the country did move to a multi-party system. He also called on Arab leaders to take note: “The Arab world now is on the path of change. This is the motto now, reform, change, modernisation.”
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Protests, Reform | Comment »
Reactions to Egyptian Crackdown on Al-Jazeera
January 31st, 2011 by Alec
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley expressed ”concern” at the Egyptian government’s shutdown of Al-Jazeera and the arrest of six of its correspondents on Monday stating: “Egypt must be open and the reporters released” [the reporters have since been released].  Officials from Human Rights Watch have denounced the Egyptian government for its actions and praised Al-Jazeera’s coverage as “invaluable.” Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa director, said that the shutdown, “is a sign of just how desperate the government has become to cut Egyptians off from news, information and communication.”  Egyptian and Saudi media, and some local Egyptian officials, have insinuated or outright accused the network of trying to foment revolution and of having “Islamist vendettas.”
Posted in Egypt, Journalism, Protests | Comment »
More Photos from Tahrir Square - Continued
January 31st, 2011 by Alec

Protesters pitch tents in Tahrir Square.  Photo courtesy of Ramy Raoof.
Posted in Egypt, Protests | Comment »
Egypt: Army Says Will Not Use Violence Garnering U.S. Praise
January 31st, 2011 by Alec
The Egyptian army has pledged not to use force against demonstrators.  A statement from the army said that freedom of expression was guaranteed for all citizens, recognized the “legitimacy” of their demands, and reiterated that its primary goal was to protect the people, primarily from looters and criminals.  The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen praised the army’s “professionalism” in not cracking down on protesters.
Posted in Egypt, Military, Protests | Comment »
POMED Notes: “Tunisia and the Arab Malaise”
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
On Tuesday, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a discussion on the uprising in Tunisia and the prospects for the Tunisian example spreading across the Arab World. Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, Director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center moderated the event and introduced the speakers: Alan Goulty, former British Ambassador to the Republic of Tunisia and current Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and David Ottaway, Senior Scholar at the Wilson Center and former Cairo Bureau Chief of the Washington Post.
To read full notes continue below or click here for pdf.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Egypt, Event Notes, Jordan, Protests, Reform, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen | Comment »
More Photos from Tahrir Square
January 31st, 2011 by Alec
From Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish: Face of The Day
A protestor with an eye bandage saying ‘Go Mubarak’ in Arabic stands in Tahrir Square on January 31, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. By Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.
Posted in Egypt, Protests | Comment »
Ros-Lehtinen Statements on Protests in Egypt
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
In a statement released on Friday, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said, “For far too long the democratic hopes of the Egyptian people have been suppressed. Their cries for freedom can no longer be silenced.” She also voiced concerns over the government’s use of force and that “certain extremist elements inside Egypt will manipulate the current situation for nefarious ends” and called for the U.S. and others to support the “pursuit of freedom, democracy, and human rights.” On Saturday, Ros-Lehtinen also called for new elections: “The Egyptian people need to be afforded a peaceful venue to express their will. Mr. Mubarak should listen to the demands of the Egyptian people for freedom and immediately schedule legitimate, democratic, internationally-recognized elections.” She also added that “the U.S. should learn from past mistakes and support a process which only includes candidates who meet basic standards for leaders of responsible nations: candidates who have publicly renounced terrorism, uphold the rule of law, recognize Egypt’s international commitments including its nonproliferation obligations and its peace agreement with the Jewish State of Israel, and who ensure security and peace with its neighbors.”
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Protests, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
White House Not Ready to Cut Ties with Mubarak
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
As reported earlier, White House officials met with members of the Egypt Working Group on Monday. Laura Rozen, writing at her Politico blog, spoke to an attendee who summarized the meeting saying they “rolled key ideas around and know there is no quick reform package that works with Mubarak.” The administration, he said, is considering various options, including the possibility of telling President Hosni Mubarak, privately, that it’s time to leave. However, the attendee stated, “I don’t think they are there yet.”
Posted in Egypt, Protests, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
Threat of Islamist Takeover in Egypt Exaggerated?
January 31st, 2011 by Alec
Chris Harnisch, writing for The Daily Caller, argues that U.S. fears of a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood are overblown.  He argues that the U.S. has a chance to, “fundamentally change the political fabric of the region,” but calls current U.S. response, from both sides of the aisle and the administration, “shockingly slow and apprehensive.”  Harnisch states that Mubarak has carefully crafted the illusion that there is no moderate opposition in the country and that the Muslim Brotherhood is the only alternative to his National Democratic Party by silencing nearly all secular and moderate political opposition through the Political Parties Law.  Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood’s alleged Islamic extremism and ties to Al-Qaeda are false as the group has been heavily criticized by Al-Qaeda for “not recognizing the authority of Shari’a” over the Egyptian constitution. The group, Harnisch says, is an Islamic social movement representing a variety of views and also has a number of detractors within Egyptian society, including the military and business community.
Posted in Egypt, Islamist movements | Comment »
Photo: Protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo Defying Curfew
January 31st, 2011 by Alec
Thanks to SultanAlQassemi on Twitter for the screenshot.
Posted in Egypt, Protests | Comment »
Mubarak Appoints New Finance Minister, Defense Minister Remains
January 31st, 2011 by Alec
Hosni Mubarak appointed Samir Radwan as the new Finance Minister on Monday replacing Youssef Boutros-Ghali​, according to  Egyptian state television.  Mohammed Hussein Tantawi remains as Defense Minister.
Posted in Egypt, Reform | Comment »
Egypt Working Group Warned Administration on Egypt Crisis Months Ago
January 31st, 2011 by Alec
Laura Rozen, posting at her Politico blog, states that contrary to a popular belief amongst commentators that, “no one had seen it coming,” several former US officials and scholars have been warning the administration for months about the possibility of the end of the Mubarak era and the instability that would accompany it.  Referencing one of her own posts from September, she highlights how experts on the issue such as Michele Dunne from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Brookings Intitution’s Robert Kagan, both co-chairs of the Working Group in Egypt, had been pushing the administration to insist on election monitors for the then looming Egyptian parliamentary elections in November and prepare for the “looming end” of Mubarak’s rule.  According to Rozen, Dunne, Kagan, Elliott Abrams, and Marc Lynch have been invited to the White House to discuss the crisis.
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Protests, US foreign policy | Comment »
Egypt: Protesters Making Their Way To Tahrir Square (Video)
January 31st, 2011 by Alec
Hundreds Marching to Tahrir Square, Cairo from Ramy Raoof on Vimeo.

Protesters are gathering in Tahrir Square in defiance of a curfew (Monday, January 31).
Posted in Egypt, Protests | Comment »
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Nelson Calls on Mubarak to Execute Free and Fair Elections and Resign
EU Leaders Call for Dialogue and Reform in Egypt
Gibbs Calls on Mubarak for Concrete Action and Discusses Muslim Brotherhood’s Role
US Sends Special Envoy to Egypt
Voices From Tahrir Square
White House Prepares for a Post-Mubarak Egypt
Egypt: Omar Suleiman Pledges Reform
Head of Arab League Calls for Multi-Party Democracy in Egypt
Reactions to Egyptian Crackdown on Al-Jazeera
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