Monday, February 7, 2011

Mubarak's Going Nowhere

WaPo's report of late this afternoon indicates that Mubarak plans to stay put, and that the US is not pushing back.  Protesters are still keeping vigil in Tahrir Square in Cairo, but things have settled down somewhat.

Mubarak is also going to try to buy some loyalty - and some time - with an announcement that starting in April, the 6 million Egyptians on the public payroll will be getting a 15 percent pay raise - which will cost a little shy of $1 billion.  My first thought was, where's the money coming from?  Silly me.  The US wants to keep things stable; so perhaps we can use our China credit card again?  Or, even simpler, the Saudis likewise want stability more than anything else - and with the price of oil moving upward so steadily - hey, Hosni, you need a billion bucks to help keep the lid on things? Not a problem.

If there's to be any faster movement toward a more democratic system, the impetus will need to come from the protesters on the street.  But I think that the military's view will now be, you guys have had your chance to vent.  Any more major outbursts though, we may need to take the gloves off, to get you off the streets.

I would so love to be so wrong on this.  But when people are this angry, and begin to sense that they're being played and are once again going to be stiffed (by a combination of their own military and the acquiescence of the US and the European powers (who seem to be letting the US call the tune), it provides an opening for "radical" groups who are ready to resort to violence as a way of saying that the people will no longer be ignored.

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