Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt VP Omar Suleiman: We need to keep Parliament, to discuss reforms

BBC reports that new appointed VP (but Old Guard intelligence chief) Omar Suleiman has rejected anti-Mubarak demonstrators demand that parliament be disbanded.  His view: we need a parliament so that we can meet to discuss reforms.

This is crap.

The new Parliament, which was "elected" (and I use that term in the most loosely defined sense; the elections were rigged) in December, is essentially a single-party parliament. It consists of representatives completely approved by the ruling NDP - and are NDP members themselves, bound to defend and advance the interests of the Mubarak regime.  The electoral system has become so corrupt that candidates who were shut out by all the rigging actually came together in a parallel "people's parliament" - completely powerless, and now probably marked men - as an expression of protest more than anything else.  Any debates in the "real" parliament would be little more than window dressing, a dog-and-pony show of "reform" that will only end up confirming the current political order, albeit without Mubarak or his son.

I don't believe that the demonstrators who still throng Tahrir Square (and now Abdul Moneim Square) in Cairo will stand for this. Unfortunately, it seems that the Egyptian army may be positioning itself to force the demonstrators to disband; and security forces are also rounding up and in some cases detaining foreign journalists (like CBS's Lara Logan as well as 2 from the NY Times).  According to al-Jazeera, Tahrir Square has become a no-go zone for camera crews, and Mubarak supporters are accusing some reporters of being Israeli spies (calling them "yehudi" - Jew).

When security forces round up and detain journalists to get them off the streets (away from the action), it seldom bodes well for anti-government demonstrators.

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