They are starting to celebrate in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi as the news of the decisions taken at the meeting of the Libya International Contact Group earlier today in Doha, Qatar began to filter in. They see most of the decisions taken are supportive of their struggle to overthrow the 42 year old regime of Mummar Gaddafi and they expect that soon many more nations will join France and Qatar in recognizing the Transitional National Council as the sole legitimate government of Libya.
At the end of the one day summit, the group issued a statement calling for Gaddafi to step down. "Gaddafi and his regime has lost all legitimacy and he must leave power allowing the Libyan people to determine their own future," it said. The meeting which was hosted by Qatar and chaired by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Qatari prime minister, Hamed bin Jassem included representatives of NATO countries, Middle East and African countries and a number of international organizations. Ban ki Moon represented the United Nations. At this meeting were representatives of the Transitional National Council that has emerged as the leadership of the Libyan rebels. For many in the contact group it was their first opportunity to meet with the rebel leadership. Also in Qatar, ahead of the talks was Moussa Koussa, Libya's former foreign minister who became the most prominent member of Gaddafi's regime to deflect when he fled to London last month. Just how he got to Doha and what he was doing there remains something of a mystery. He had no formal role in the summit and the opposition Transitional Nation Council said they had no connection to him but he was reported to be having some meetings outside the summit.
Many mysteries remain and questions still go unanswered about what just happen in Egypt last week, particularly with regards to Mubarak and Sulieman. Who even knows where they are and what they're doing now?
It is now well established that Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak was suppose to have stepped down when he spoke on state TV, 45 minutes after the announced time, late Thursday evening. That's why NBC News reported the 'scoop' early in the day, why various U.S. government sources were making assurances and even the supreme council of the Egyptian army, and that is where the power really lies anyway, all but proclaimed it.
The fix was in. Mubarak had promised to resign and turn his powers over to his new Vice President Omar Suleiman. Then at the last moment he threw the hook again. This was the third time that he had spoken publicly since the mass protests began on January 25th and it is being said that on each of the previous occasions be had been expected to resign but twice, on Jan. 27th & Feb. 1st, he had failed to do so but this time it was for sure.
Defying the will of the people that have come out in their millions throughout Egypt in premature celebration of President Mubarak's widely rumored resignation.
Mubarak announced in his speech on Egyptian state TV tonight that we would not step down as president as the people have been demanding.
"I will not relent in punishing those responsible for the violence."
"The blood of those killed in the violence will not be wasted."
"I will not bow to outside pressure"
"I will remain in office until elections."
The tyrant remains! They have changed nothing! They have learned nothing!
The anger of the people in the streets is incredible.
The Revolution starts tomorrow! The turn out of Egyptian people this Friday will be awesome!
But what will the army do?
Egypt's Supreme Military Council has had only three public meetings in it's history. The first one was in 1967, the second was in 1973 and the third took place today. In it they announced that they had convened the meeting in response to the current political turmoil and that they would continue to convene such meetings. It is most significant that Mubarak didn't chair the meeting as he normally would have. Instead the meeting was chaired by Defense Minister Mohamed Tantawi. The statement says
"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,"
Mubarak has stepped down as Commander-in-Chief of the Army!
When Google Marketing Executive for Middle East and North Africa [MENA] Wael Ghonim went missing amidst the chaos that was enveloping Cairo in the first week of the uprising in Egypt, Google started a search. So did friends and family.
He took six days off from Google, saying he had to take care of some "personal business." The day before the big January 25th protest he tweeted "Heading to Tahrir square now. Sleeping on the streets of Cairo, trying to feel the pain of millions of my fellow Egyptians. #Jan25"
His last tweet, before he went missing was on Thursday, 27 January. He was helping another Internet user get around Egypt's web censorship:
@Ghonim how can you tweet when its blocked??
@SweetOwl proxy servers
At first Google refused to confirm that Wael was missing, In an email, a spokeswomen said "We care deeply about the safety of our employees, but to protect their privacy, we don't comment on them individually."
More Egyptians than ever turned out demand an end to the Mubarak regime today, putting to rest speculation that the protest movement was running out of steam. Thousands of new faces were to be seen among the protesters that turned out for massive Tuesday demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and many other Egyptian cities. Many observers said the crowds in Tahrir (Liberation) Square in Cairo were even larger than they were for last Friday's protests. And they turned out not only in Liberation Square but in other areas of Cairo and all over Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians gathered again in Alexandria and thousands protested outside the parliament building a short distance from Tahrir.
Vice President Omar Soleiman warned ominously that his government "can't put up with continued protests" and then added emphatically that there would be no resignation of Mubarak and "no ending of the regime." For three decades the Egyptian people lived in fear of the Mubarak regime and especially the police state apparatus that [EGIS] Egyptian General Intelligence Service Chief Omar Soleiman constructed and then headed. Now the fear is gone. So the struggle between a growing number of Egyptian people and the Mubarak regime settles into a siege on this the 16th continuous day of demonstrations with protesters still holding Liberation Square.
Even though Tunisia's dictator for 23 years, President Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali has been forced to flee the country and is currently a fugitive from an Interpol international arrest warrant with his assets frozen in Tunisia and Europe, the very difficult task of thoroughly rooting out the old regime and building a new Tunisia continues.
While many are still troubled by the fact that long time Ben Ali crony Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi remains the head of government, there haven't been many street protests in recent days. After a major government reshuffle purged it of Ben Ali loyalists, most people seem to have adopted a wait and see attitude and started to get back to normal life.
“I think the pressure that was put on the government has borne its fruit, meaning that we have obtained good concessions,” was the way Kamel Ben Hamida, a resident of Tunis, put it. “It would be more reasonable to stop asking for the government to fall.”
Al Jazeera says this about the video piece which they showed for the first time this evening and put on YouTube minutes later, describes how "Tunisian members of Anonymous, the same group of hackers that targeted anti-WikiLeaks sites" are now supporting the struggle in Egypt. The piece features an interview with the Tunisian hacker anon.m. It is less than 2 minutes long:
4:00pm Cairo - In the face of unrelenting violence from Mubarak's thugs, protesters have come roaring back with a massive "Day of Departure" demonstration today as the White house scrambles to work out a deal in which Mubarak would leave immediately. Waving Egyptian flags and chanting the national anthem, protesters in their thousands are filling Tahrir or Liberation Square in Cairo as Friday pray lets out. More than a million people are reported to have flooded into Liberation Square, another million are reported in Alexandria and the numbers are still growing. Thongs of protesters can still be seen crossing the Nile River at the October 6th Bridge into Liberation Square. In the face of all the death, destruction and injury cause by the Mubarak regime in the past few days, the masses remain steadfast in their demand that "Mubarak must go now!"
While Egyptians continue to maintain their uprising against President Hosni Mubarak with a “Day of Departure" today, it is worth looking at what happened in Yemen yesterday. An opposition coalition of Yemenis mobilized in defiance of a plea from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to not protest, rally or engage in any sit-ins, and held their own "Day of Rage."
The protests were considered to be the largest anti-government demonstration that Saleh has “faced in his 32-year rule.” The Guardian reported protesters chanted, “Together we fight against poverty, corruption and injustice.” Given what has been happening in Egypt, the protesters hoped to mobilize in their Tahrir Square, but the government “beat them” to the Square and sent “hundreds of tribesmen to camp out there overnight.”
Protesters called for Saleh to “form a new government” and “let the Yemeni people decide who will rule them in clean, fair elections.”
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika promised through official APS news agency that he would lift the state of emergency which has been in force for the last 19 years in Algeria "in the very near future," Government opponents, who have been inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have been pushing for its end. The promise to lift the banned on public demonstrations is seen as a bid stave off unrest.
Opposition groups in Algeria are calling a major protest on February 12 and they have recently made repeal of the emergency powers one of their main demands. As the anti-government forces in Tunisia have given an example, hundreds have been willing to publicly protest the ban on public gatherings in Algeria.
‘The chant is يسقط يسقط حسني مبارك – Tell the world he is killing us’
As the Sun rises in Cairo on the tenth day of the Egyptian uprising, the protesters opposed to the government of Hosni Mubarak still hold Tahrir Liberation Square. They still hold it in spite of a night of horrific violence by pro-Mubarak thugs that attacked the peaceful protesters with machine guns, other guns and fire bombs. Overwhelming evidence is already mounting that this murderous gang was composed of police in plain clothes, NDP functionaries and loyalist and hired thugs. The army, which in previous days made sure all the protesters that entered the square were unarmed, stood by and did nothing while the assault took place.
The goal of the thugs was to drive the protesters from the square. In this they were not successful.
Jordan's King Abdullah II sacked his cabinet Tuesday after being confronted with the on going protests by thousands of Jordanians over high unemployment and high food prices. Jordan's Royal Palace announced that the Monarchy had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai, who many blame for rising fuel and food prices and poor economic performance. The King has asked ex-army general Marouf Bakhit to form a new government. Bakhit has been prime minister before and also has been an ambassador to Israel so while this change may be prompted by the demands of the people in the streets, it is not seen as any real change in the status quo.
Everything changed forever in Egypt today.
In Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez hundreds of thousands of Egyptians defied a government-imposed curfew to continue their protests, which have grown to involve every section of the country. Many of the police have come over to the side of the people, and the military had to be sent in. The army was welcomed by the protesters.
The headquarters of the ruling NDP party was burnt down in Cairo. The government headquarters was burnt down. Around Egypt more than twenty police stations were set afire. In some places police stations were seized by the people and armories were looted.