While Al Jazeera's coverage of events in Egypt has been outstanding, over the past 24 hours reporting has changed from, “just look at this,” to, “where are the leaders?” Gleefully, they are now reporting that former IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei is enroute to Tahrir Square in Cairo amid statements from several authoritarian groups (including the Muslim Brotherhood) that they have empowered him to negotiate with Hosni Mubarak.
Indeed, one talking head just said demonstrators are, “desperate for someone to lead this defiant opposition movement.”
That is completely out of phase with the statements of people who are actually on the ground over the last three days. Peppered with demands for freedom and their rights, every voice has been unified in saying that, “Mubarak must go.” No one – not one person – has said, “Mubarak must be replaced.”
The phrase “regime change” has only been used by news commentators. Anything else is heresy to the religion of statism, even on a news network that bills itself as “journalism without borders.”
Mubarak's security forces (police) disappeared Friday, as military tanks, APCs and conscripts rolled into Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez. On Saturday, the security forces reemerged in civilian garb to loot businesses and homes, and otherwise cause havoc, hours after the military chief warned “looters and thugs” would be out that night.
This has the dual advantage of discrediting the uprising while reducing the crowds, who formed watch groups to challenge unfamiliar vehicles and persons entering their neighborhoods. As Reason's Jesse Walker notes, this turns the Hobbsian story of the state on its head.
I suppose it is taken as an article of faith that, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, a return to normalcy must automatically include a return to government control. However, according the war party in Washington D.C., neither the Egyptian people nor the opposition parties have the last say in the matter.
Despite jubilation in the streets and the, “feeling that Mubarak is already gone,” Hillary Clinton is taking to the Sunday morning talk shows to tell the world that Barack Obama hasn't granted permission for Mubarak to depart the fix (emphasis added):
"What we're trying to do is to help clear the air so that those who remain in power, starting with President Mubarak, with his new vice president, with the new prime minister, will begin a process of reaching out, of creating a dialogue that will bring in peaceful activists and representatives of civil society to, you know, plan a way forward that will meet the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people," Clinton said on CNN.
While people in the Obama administration are delusional, they nevertheless say exactly what they mean (you hear me antiwar movement of 2008?). Unsurprisingly, Obama has decided to continue the trend of the US government since the 1920s of speaking democracy but supporting fascism, just not fascism that isn't a sock puppet of the State Department and CIA.
Neither the Muslim Brotherhood (Islamists) nor Mohamed ElBaradei, who effectively proved the negative with regard to Iranian nuclear weapon ambitions, are acceptable options to the war party in Washington D.C. As the ark of state must have a rudder, the only choice for Obama is Mubarak.
But, while Robert Gibbs, John Kerry, Chuck Schumer, and Joe Biden maintain the situation is too complex for mere mundanes to understand, their certainty that the universe revolves around the Maryland swamp is going to make them look very, very stupid. Again.