Monday, January 31, 2011

The Military Joins the Mubarak Cabinet

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek has formed a new cabinet, including a retired general as his Minister of Interior. The military is also out on the streets, maintaining security and “stiffening” the police forces.

Protestors are still filling the streets of Cairo, but the protestors are non-violent, and there have been no serious clashes with the military or the police. They are calling for a million-person march for Tuesday.

This move by the Mubarek government means that they do not have a political solution to the protests—which is an ominous development. The retired general they have brought into the cabinet, Mahmoud Wahji, has strong ties to the Egyptian security and intelligence apparatus.

So at this point in time, it looks both sides are lining themselves up for a confrontation: Whether it will be violent or remains to be seen.

But the fact that the Mubarek government’s first move was to bring the military into the cabinet means that violent repression is the most likely outcome for these protests.

Al Jazeera has consistently delivered the best coverage and analysis of the Egyptian crisis—check them out here.

The New York Times and the rest of the U.S. mainstream media is focussed on Israel’s reaction (which is deliberately keeping quiet), and trying to create a narrative around Mohamed ElBaradei as a possible opposition leader, despite the fact that he has wafer-thin support among the people.

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