Something very fishy is taking place — the Egyptian people are being manipulated and terrified by the withdrawal of the police yesterday, reports (some of them perhaps untrue) of widespread looting, and yesterday's (during the day) relatively low military presence in the city. I can only speak about central Cairo, I suspect the situation is much worse in the Suez Canal cities, Alexandria and the Delta, and perhaps most of all the Sinai. I spoke to my former bawaab (doorman) who is near Aswan, where is he the police is still out and there is no military, although the local NDP office was ransacked and set on fire. So the situation is different from place to place, and there is very little national-level visibility.
There is a discourse of army vs. police that is emerging. I don't fully buy it — the police was pulled out to create this situation of chaos, and it's very probable that agent provocateurs are operating among the looters, although of course there is also real criminal gangs and neighborhoods toughs operating too.
For me, Omar Suleiman being appointed VP means that he's in charge. This means the old regime is trying to salvage the situation. Chafiq's appointment as PM also confirms a military in charge. These people are part of the way Egypt was run for decades and are responsible for the current situation. I suspect more and more people, especially among the activists, are realizing this.
I hope to have more steady internet access later. For now, the questions are:
- Why was the NPD building fire not put out even though it risks spreading to the Egyptian Museum?
- Why is Egyptian state TV terrifying people with constant pictures of criminal gangs?
- Why was there such a small military deployment during the day yesterday?
- Why were all police forces pulled out, and who made that decision?
- What is the chain of command today in the military? Is Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Enan still in position?
- If the reports about prison breakouts are true, how come these facilities have not been secured?
- Why are we getting reports of intelligence offices burning documents, CDs and tapes?
The situation is obviously very confusing at the moment. All I can say is that I have a hard time believing that Mubarak is still in charge, and that the hard core of the regime is using extreme means to salvage its position.