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World Military Says Mubarak Will Meet Protesters' Demands


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
By MAGGIE MICHAEL, Associated Press Maggie Michael, Associated Press –

Story is continuously updated. So check the link periodically.

CAIRO – President Hosni Mubarak will meet the demands of protesters, military and ruling party officials said Thursday in the strongest indication yet that Egypt's longtime president may be about to give up power and that the armed forces were seizing control.

Gen. Hassan al-Roueini, military commander for the Cairo area, told thousands of protesters in central Tahrir Square, "All your demands will be met today." Some in the crowd held up their hands in V-for-victory signs, shouting "Allahu akbar," or "God is great," a victory cry used by secular and religious people alike.

The military's supreme council was meeting Thursday, without the commander in chief Mubarak, and announced on state TV its "support of the legitimate demands of the people." A spokesman read a statement that the council was in permanent session "to explore "what measures and arrangements could be made to safeguard the nation, its achievements and the ambitions of its great people."

The statement was labelled "communique number 1," a phrasing that suggests a military coup.

Footage on state TV showed Defense Minster Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi chairing the meeting of two dozen top stern-faced army officers, seated around a table. At Tantawi's right was military chief of staff Gen. Sami Anan. Not present was Mubarak, the commander in chief and a former air force chief, or his vice president, Omar Suleiman, a former army general and intelligence chief named to his post after the protests erupted Jan. 25.

The head of the ruling party, Hossam Badrawi, told The Associated Press that he expects that Mubarak will "address the people tonight to respond to protesters demands."



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Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
The suspense over the fate of Egyptian president remains mired in confusion as first came news from various outlets -- the BBC quoting the Egyptian Prime Minister and the U.S Director of National Intelligence separately saying that Hosni Mubarak "may step down" as the president tonight.

The news was then contradicted soon thereafter with the country's military announcing on national television that it has stepped in to "safeguard the country".

BBC quoted the Secretary General of ruling NDP party, Hossam Badrawi as saying that he had told President Mubarak in person to 'step aside' and that he would be 'surprised' if President Mubarak is still in office tomorrow

Meanwhile Egyptian state TV says President Mubarak will address the nation tonight amid mounting speculation that he's stepping down



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
This is probably the most important sentence in the entire article

The statement was labelled "communique number 1," a phrasing that suggests a military coup.

If power automatically transitions to VP Omar Suleiman, the the CIA's top man in Egypt and former head of Egyptian Intelligence, who has been known to torture political dissidents personally, nothing would be accomplished in the eyes of the protesters. The army is the only institution that has any credibility. So a couple of inferences make sense:

1. The army may be taking a page from Tunisia's recent example. Or the military may be playing kingmaker, and moving its pawns forward.
2. Mubarak has to be "persuaded" to do a few things, before he steps down. For example, he must dissolve Parliament and call for elections, because under their constitution that is the only legal way to get to a new government. Such would be the preferred scenario. If he refuses, then other measures need to be taken.
3. "Arrangements" have to be made to keep vested interests (current and former officials) from causing a stir -- e.g., resolve who has to be kept under house arrest and who can be permitted to fly out of the country without too many serious ramifications for other countries (e.g., remember it was not easy to get Reza Pahlevi out of Iran).

To pull this off a cloud of confusion is often helpful. Confusion provides cover.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
This article is very distressing

Egyptian army 'torturing' prisoners

The Egyptian military has been secretly detaining and torturing those it suspects of being involved in pro-democracy protests, according to testimony gathered by the British newspaper the Guardian.

The newspaper, quoting human rights agencies, put the number of people detained at "hundreds, possibly thousands," since protests against Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, began on January 25.

While the military has said it is playing a neutral role in the political unrest, the newspaper quoted human rights campaigners as saying this was no longer the case, accusing the army of being involved in an organised campaign of disappearances, torture and intimidation.

Egyptians have long associated such crimes with the country's much-feared intelligence and security services, but not with the army.

"Their range is very wide, from people who were at the protests or detained for breaking curfew to those who talked back at an army officer or were handed over to the army for looking suspicious or for looking like foreigners even if they were not," Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told the Guardian.

"It's unusual and to the best of our knowledge it's also unprecedented for the army to be doing this."

The country's army has denied the charges of illegal detention or torture.

"The armed forces denies any abuse of protesters. The armed forces sticks to the principle of protecting peaceful protesters and it has never, nor will it ever, fire at protesters," an armed forces source told Reuters.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Safwat El Zayat, a retired general in the Egyptian military, categorically denied the allegations made in the Guardian report, saying that the report was "aimed at damaging the reputation of the army, which always stands by the people and not the regime".

'Foreign enemies'

The report said that the detained included human rights activists, lawyers and journalists, and that human rights groups have "documented the use of electric shocks on some of those held by the army".

Click here for more on Al Jazeera's special coverage

The newspaper quoted a man who said he was detained by the army while on his way to Tahrir Square, the focal point of protests in Cairo, with medical supplies.

The man said he was accused of working with "foreign enemies", beaten and then hauled to an army post, where his hands were tied behind his back.

In addition to hitting him, the soldiers also allegedly threatened him with rape.

Bahgat told the Guardian that it appears from the testimony of those who have been released that the military is conducting a campaign to try and break the protests.

"I think it's become pretty obvious by now that the military is not a neutral party," Heba Morayef, a researcher with Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Cairo, told the newspaper.

"The military doesn't want and doesn't believe in the protests and this is even at the lower level, based on the interrogations."

HRW says it has documented 119 cases of civilians being arrested by the military, but believes the actual number is much higher, as the army does not acknowledge the detentions.

The organisation told the Reuters news agency that it had documented at least five cases of torture, while one released detainee said he had seen at least 12 people given "electric shocks" on February 1.

'Aggresive manner'

Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Cairo who was held by the military for several hours on February 6th, also witnessed scenes of violence during his detention.

Mohyeldin was held by the military while trying to enter Tahrir Square when he told soldiers at a checkpost that he was a journalist.

They questioned him regarding why he was there, and then, having tied his hands with plastic handcuffs, took him to a make-shift army post where he was interrogated and his equipment confiscated.

"I can tell you from what I saw and what I heard that a lot of [the detained] were beaten up, the military was dealing with them in a very aggresive manner," Mohyeldin said.

"They were slapped, they were kicked. The military was trying to essentially subdue them.

"In essence the military was dealing with these people as prisoners of war. These were individuals who were trying to plead for their safety, for their innocence.

"Many of them were crying, saying that they were simply just caught up in the wrong moment, but the military showed no mercy."

Mohyeldin said that some prisoners were quite badly beaten, while a soldier also used a taser gun to threaten prisoners. He said others showed evidence of having been whipped.

He said that prisoners at the post he was being held at were being treated aggresively by soldiers despite the fact that they were not being disobedient.

Mohyeldin also described how one protester, when initially detained, had claimed that he was an active member of the pro-democracy movement against Mubarak.

However, in just a few hours, the protester had broken down in tears and was willing to promise the soldiers that he would not return to Tahrir Square and that he was not really involved in protests.

All detainees who were released were made to sign a document that said that they would not attempt to return to Tahrir Square unless they obtained prior permission from the military.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
You can see in this article what Soul-jyot ji is referring to as far as "contradictory" is concerned.

The Supreme Council of Egyptian Armed Forces has met to discuss the ongoing protests against the government of Hosni Mubarak, the president.

In a statement entitled 'Communique Number One', televised on state television, the army said it had convened the meeting response to the current political turmoil, and that it would continue to convene such meetings.

Thurday's meeting was chaired by Mohamed Tantawi, the defence minister, rather than Mubarak, who, as president, would normally have headed the meeting.

"Based on the responsibility of the armed forces and its commitment to protect the people and its keenness to protect the nation... and in support of the legitimate demands of the people [the army] will continue meeting on a continuous basis to examine measures to be taken to protect the nation and its gains and the ambitions of the great Egyptian people," the statement.

The army's statement was met with a roar of approval from protesters in Tahrir Square, as tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters poured in. Thousands also gathered in Alexandria, Egypt's second city, our correspondent reported.

Earlier, Hassan al-Roweni, an Egyptian army commander, told protesters in the square that "everything you want will be realised".
Click here for more on Al Jazeera's special coverage

Protesters have demanded that Mubarak immediately stand down as president.

Hassam Badrawi, the secretary general of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), told the BBC and Channel 4 News on that he expected Mubarak to hand over his powers to Omar Suleiman, the vice-president.

"I think the right thing to do now is to take the action that would satisfy ... protesters," Badrawi told BBC television in a live interview.

Ahmed Shafiq, the country's prime minister, also told the BBC that the president may step down on Thursday evening, and that the situation would be "clarified soon". He told the Reuters news agency, however, that Mubarak remained in control, and that "everything is still in the hands of the president".

However, Anas el-Fekky, Egypt's information minister, denied all reports of Mubarak resigning.

"The president is still in power and he is not stepping down," el-Fekky told Reuters. "The president is not stepping down and everything you heard in the media is a rumour."

State television has announced that Mubarak is due to deliver an address to the nation on Thursday night from the presidential palace in Cairo.

It also reported that Mubarak was meeting with Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, at the presidential palace.

'Witnessing history unfold'

Mahmoud Zaher, a retired general in the Egyptian army, said that Mubarak's absence from the army meeting was a "clear and strong indication that [Mubarak] is no longer present", implying that the Egyptian president was not playing a role in governance any longer.

In short comments ahead of a scheduled speech at Northern Michigan University, Barack Obama, the US president, said the US was watching the situation in Egypt "very closely".

"What is absolutely clear is that we are witnessing history unfold," he said, adding that this was a "moment of transformation" for Egypt.

"Going forward, we want ... all Egyptians to know that America will continue to do everything that we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy."

Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who has played a key role in helping protesters get organised, said on the microblogging site Twitter on Thursday evening: "Mission accomplished. Thanks to all the brave young Egyptians."

He added shortly after, however, that protesters should "wait and see" before reaching any conclusions.

Jacky Rowland, our correspondent in Tahrir Square, described the atmosphere as "electric", with "standing room only" in the central Cairo area. She said that thousands gathered there were "celebrating a victory which has been anticipated, rather than actually achieved".

In Alexandria, Jamal ElShayyal, our correspondent, described the atmosphere as "festive and joyous".

Some opposition groups, however, have said that they are concerned about how Mubarak would hand power over to, were he to resign.

"It looks like a military coup," said Essam al-Erian of the Muslim Brotherhood, the banned but tolerated group which is the biggest organised opposition party in Egypt. "I feel worry and anxiety. The
problem is not with the president it is with the regime."

Hosni Mubarak 'may step down'

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Amin Eskander, the leader of the Karama opposition movement said that he believed that Mubarak would stand down. He also said that he was not concerned if power was handed over to the military for an interim period, as he said the army was working in the interests of the people.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, responded to reports that Mubarak may resign by saying that he hoped whoever replaced him would uphold Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, according to an Israeli radio report.

More at this link http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/20112101653445426.html
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Egypt's Mubarak pledges to stay

Vows to stay until September elections

Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reiterated he will stay in office until scheduled presidential elections in September, defying the demands of thousands of anti-government protesters that he resign after 30 years in power.

"I will not nominate myself for the next presidential elections...so that powers will be transferred to whoever the electorate chooses in fair and square elections." Mubarak said on a live state television broadcast Thursday night, local time.


Live Updates from our reporters in Egypt

Mubarak made the announcement during a televised address on Egyptian state television, in the midst of the 17th consecutive day of protests.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators had called for Mubarak's ouster, camping out in Cairo's Tahrir Square for days and clashing with the Egyptian regime's backers.

Human Rights Watch said earlier this month that more than 300 people have been killed in the unrest since Jan. 28.

An estimated 40 per cent of the North African nation's 80 million people live below or near the poverty line, according to the World Bank. Opposition groups had wanted Mubarak to relinquish his post before agreeing to enter negotiations to chart a way forward for political reforms.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004

The Army has scripted today's events in their totality. He is reading from a script.
"I will not nominate myself for the next presidential elections...so that powers will be transferred to whoever the electorate chooses in fair and square elections." Mubarak said on a live state television broadcast Thursday night, local time.

The other way is to stage a coup. The army can do it either way. This way for now.
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Today 12:49 PM Mubarak Speaks:

"I am speaking to all Egyptians in Tahrir and beyond," Muabark begins. He mentions the "martyrs and injured" will not be forgotten and that those who are responsible will be punished. "Your demands are legitimate and just demands," he adds.

"I will never accept 'foreign' dictations," he said.

He said that he will not run for president in September as he promised, but that he will continue the oath of his office. He says that he will "continue to shoulder" his responsibilities and will work for a peaceful transition of power.

He says confidence needs to be restored, and points out that the protests have affected the economy.

"It's not about me, it's not about Hosni Mubarak. It's about Egypt," he added.

I have spent my life defending this country, witnessed its wars, lived through its defeat, and victories. I have faced death several times.

Mubarak says he will transfer ( SOME ) powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Tahrir Square is erupting into chants of "Leave, Leave, Leave"

- huffingtonpost



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
This article from the New York times seems to have captured the fluid situation with considerable detail. I admit to some surprise because to date the western media has misunderstood and misreported a lot. The article reports disconnects between Mubarah's speech and behavior (he now has fled Cairo) and progressive developments in the role of the military.

The entire article is not posted and you can read the remaining pages at the link at the bottom of the article.

Mubarak Leaves Cairo as Crowds Surge

CAIRO —Amid an ongoing crisis, President Hosni Mubarak left the Egyptian capital for his resort home in Sharm el-Sheik, amid indications that a transfer of power was underway, Western officials said Friday. State television said Mr. Mubarak would issue a statement later.

The Egyptian military issued a communiqué pledging to carry out a variety of constitutional reforms in a statement remarkable for its commanding tone. The military’s statement does allude to the delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman and it suggests that the military will supervise implementation of the reforms.

Angry protesters, who had swarmed by the thousands into the streets here Friday morning, were hardly mollified by the news of Mr. Mubarak’s exit and an accompanying statement by the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces over state television and radio indicating that the military, not Mr. Mubarak, was in effective control of the country. They said they would not believe he was gone until he had formally relinquished his title as president, and until his handpicked successor, Vice President Omar Suleiman, had been ousted as well.

Mr. Suleiman himself has not made a statement. The military also did not indicate whether it intended to take the kinds of fundamental steps toward democracy that protesters have been demanding. This was the second direct statement from the military in two days, and it was not clear if the military was asserting more direct leadership or if it intended to signal that it stands behind the vice president.

Nor was it clear whether Mr. Mubarak is definitely relinquishing power, although Western diplomats said they had received a barrage of calls from senior Egyptian officials assuring them that was the case.

Although Mr. Mubarak said in his speech Thursday that he was “delegating” his powers to his vice president, he did it in an aside that was easy to miss. He apparently referred to a provision of the Constitution that would have allowed him to reclaim those powers. And the rest of his speech sounded very much like he was an active president with no intention of resigning, and ina patronizing tone that further enraged protesters.

Western diplomats said that officials of the Egyptian government were scrambling to assure the public that Mr. Mubarak had flubbed his lines, and that his muddled speech had in fact signaled his irrevocable hand over of presidential authority.

“The government of Egypt says absolutely, it is done, it is over,” a Western diplomat said, suggesting that the Egyptian military and government officials had expected Mr. Mubarak to make his exit clear last night, but that the president failed to deliver those lines. “That is not what anybody heard.”

The Army announcement and diplomatic scrambling appeared intended to forestall the potential for violent confrontations as hundreds of thousands of protesters, angered by Mr. Mubarak’s refusal to step down on Thursday, flooded the streets demanding his full resignation — if not also his public trial for violence against them.

By about 1 p.m., state television was reporting that thousands had gathered around the state television building and were threatening violence against employees who entered. Their rage had been stoked when, after a day of mounting official signals that he was about to make an exit, the president failed to convey any such conclusion in either the tone or literal meaning of his speech.

The statement Friday by the military’s Supreme Council struck a very different tone and appeared to assert that the military, not President Mubarak, was now in control. The military said that it would end the 30-year-old emergency law — often used by the government to detain political opponents without trial— “as soon as the current circumstances are over.” The protesters have demanded that the law be eliminated immediately, before any talks about ending the uprising.

The military also said that it would oversee the amendment of the Constitution to “conduct free and fair presidential elections.”

“The Armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people,” the statement declared, and it vowed to ensure the fulfillment of its promises “within defined time frames with all accuracy and seriousness and until the peaceful transfer of authority is completed toward a free democratic community that the people aspire to.” The military further promised the protesters — “the honest people who refused the corruption and demanded reforms” — immunity from prosecution or “security pursuit.”

The statement urged a return to normalcy but made no threats to enforce it. Western diplomats and American officials say that the top military commanders, including the defense minister and the chairman of the armed forces, have told them for weeks that the Egyptian Army would never use force against Egyptians civilians to preserve the regime. And on Friday morning the military said that the defense minister, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, was presiding over the military’s Supreme Council, which appeared to have taken control of the state.

It has been “increasingly clear,” a Western diplomat said Friday, that “the army will not go down with Mubarak. “



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004

12:44 P.M. |Mubarak Speech Was Not Cleared by Military, Report Says

Ahram Online, the English-language arm of the state newspaper Al Ahram, reported on Friday that a former senior Egyptian intelligence official told the newspaper that "both of last night's addresses by Mubarak and Suleiman were in defiance of the armed forces."

As we wait got the military authorities to issue a new statement, here is the Egyptian newspaper's fascinating report in full:

Maj. Gen. Safwat El-Zayat, a former senior official of Egypt's General Intelligence and member of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs, asserted, in an interview with Ahram Online, that the address delivered by President Mubarak last night was formulated against the wishes of the armed forces, and away from their oversight. He claimed that Vice Preisdent Omar Suleiman's address, which came on the heels of Mubarak's address, was equally in defiance of the armed forces and away from its oversight.

Attributing this information to his own sources within the Egyptian military, Maj. Gen. El-Zayat said there was now a deep cleavage between the armed forces, represented in its Supreme Council, and the Presidential authority, represented in both President Mubarak and his Vice President, Omar Suleiman.

According to El-Zayat, communiqué #2 issued this morning by the Supreme Armed Forces Council was not, as many people in Egypt and elsewhere understood it, an affirmation of the addresses of Mubarak and Suleiman, but rather an attempt to avoid an open conflict, while at the same time underlining that the army will act as guarantor for the transition to full democracy. He adivced that people should listen carefully to the anticipated communique #3.



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