Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt

I usually like to blog every day or close to it. It's been since Monday since I've been able to sit down at the computer for more than just a little bit. Part of it is that the late afternoons and eveningtimes, which is usually when I am at my most creative, I have not been able to carve out computer time of any length. I am learning to write faster but I ain't fast yet!

What looked like a localized rebellion against a corrupt and greedy dictator in Tunisia has spread with rapidity to the less corrupt but still dictatorial government in Egypt tonight. The streets have been full of protests and violence, with calls for President Mubarak to step down. One aspect of this that has been interesting to note is the shut down of the internet in Egypt. The world wide web, which was a spark in Iraq and a definite aid in Tunisia has been muted in Egypt. Here's a pretty good article on that, with a h/t to Drudge. Note the chart showing the amount of internet traffic in and out of Egypt by date. The cut off means no Facebook, no blogs and no Twitter. BlackBerry service (and its encrypted email) has been suspended. Egypt's internet community is muted. They have been able to get some service going old school as this article describes.

The United States' position in this conflict is difficult. Egypt has long been regarded as an ally of the US in the middle east, a bulwark against radical governments. The US has also been in favor of creating more democratic governments--governments that are elected by the people, representing them, and not repressing opposition. Yet, the work of the people in rebellion can set up a country to become like Iran, a radical and repressive government that is a hazard to the entire world.

We will have to wait and watch carefully what happens. There was stuff in the Wikileaks material that indicated that America was involved in cultivating leadership that would overthrow Mubarak--that certainly is interesting.

And to go back to the internet thing, remember that an "Internet Kill Switch" was considered by the United States government at one point. Check this archival news story out for details.

3 comments:

Capt. Schmoe said...

I wonder who is really behind the unrest in Egypt. We tend to view revolutions as uprisings against tyranny, but the reality is that revolution in that part of the world is rarely what it seems.

I can safely guess that we aren't behind it, maybe Iran? Regardless the House of Saud, the Jordanians and a host of other governments are nervously watching this unfold.

If things don't quiet down over there, we are going to be screwed as far as energy goes.

Thanks for the post.

Bob G. said...

T.O.:
I'm w/ the Capt. here...something THIS widespread has got to have something or someone beneath it all.
(Maybe it's George Soros? Wouldn't surprise me...he's got a good track record at screwing up other governments)

Makes me long for the days of Anwar Sadat.

The BIG question is:
Could anything like THAT happen HERE?
(sure as heck hope not)

Good post and link.

Stay safe out there.

the observer said...

Guys--

Something called the Muslim Brotherhood appears to be working in these protests and events--the situation is still in major flux. Now it is complicated by common thieves and turn coats looting. Even their national museum came under attack--thankfully almost all the antiquities came away unhurt.

I bought gas today before I really needed it--I was afraid the price would spike. Currently, about 2.90 on the Missouri side around these parts.

Wow, our world, changing at a breakneck pace with news of that change flying around at a similar rapid rate!

The Observer