Links 27 Janaury 2011

  • Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The White House is prepared to step up its criticism of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a key Middle East ally, if his government intensifies its crackdown on protesters, said an administration official. President Barack Obama privately pressed Mubarak in a telephone call last week to embrace democratic changes, said the official, who requested anonymity. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday said Mubarak, in power since 1981, has an “important opportunity” to enact economic, political and social reforms.
  • Slogans used during protests. Some great ones there.
  • Le pire, c’est le bon tour joué aux experts en poussées islamistes. Amis Tunisiens, où avez-vous donc rangé l’islamisme ? Tout de même, ils auraient pu aligner, en tête des manifs, quelques barbus photogéniques, pour faire plaisir à Sarkozy et Pujadas qui, d’une seule voix, avaient classé Ben Ali à l’inventaire mondial des «remparts contre l’islamisme». On n’en demandait pas beaucoup, deux ou trois, même avec barbe fine, mais si possible en costume typique, pour la photo. Elle fait peine à voir, la déception à peine dissimulée des présentateurs, depuis le début des «événements». Il fallait voir Pujadas, en direct de Tunis lundi soir, cherchant ses islamistes à la lanterne, à la sortie d’une mosquée. Mais il n’y trouvait, hélas, que de simples fidèles, expliquant tranquillement que oui, bien sûr, des islamistes aux élections, au gouvernement, pourquoi pas, s’ils n’embêtent personne. Alors, ces islamistes ? Ce n’était donc qu’un fantasme ?"
  • Against Ali Abdallah Saleh (president for 30 years), corruption and more.
  • Rachman slams Amr Moussa - it might be time to speak out and say something meaningful, Mr Moussa! 
    Events on the streets of Cairo meant that this afternoon’s session on security issues was packed out. That is because one of the participants was Amre Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League and a former foreign minister of Egypt. The bad news is that I am not allowed to report what Moussa said. The good news is that he actually said nothing worth reporting, so it’s no great loss. If this the calibre of political leadership on offer, I can see why Egypt is in trouble.
  • Sarah Carr: 
    Later politician Ayman Nour appeared and, in a grand fashion, presented a riot police officer with an Egyptian flag. He and his acolytes assaulted the officer with kisses. Happy Police Day and all that. The bewildered officer held the flag awkwardly, like it was a turd, before returning it.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,