Friday, February 4, 2011

Egypt: Second Friday (Updated)

First off, a clarification: in yesterday's thread, I commented that the Army will likely intervene in cases of violence by pro-regime groups against anti-regime groups. *This is probably only true at the rank and file level.* The troopers out in the streets making the decision at the moment they are caught in the path of any onslaught. I am told that they, and most mid-rank officers, really do take their reputation as 'defenders of the people and the nation' seriously. Where this may be going awry is at much higher levels... there are at least a couple of reports that some elements of the leadership in both the security services and the military may have signed off on letting the pro-regime crowds gather and motivate. Whether that means there are pro- and anti- regime elements inside the military command structure, or simply that the old patronage and relationship links bind a (hopefully) few serving higher level officers more closely to chums in the NDP than to their national service, or something else... remains to be seen. It isn't institutional, however. The Defense Minister and other military leaders joined the forces deployed at the Tahrir Square demonstration and the demonstrators were heard to chant "The army and people are united." (see article, below)

Now then, on to today: I can do no better than to direct your attention to the BBC's coverage today... 'Day of departure' rally in Egypt. There will also be updates on their "breaking news" ticker as well if something goes sideways... although reports are Friday Prayers passed with far less rabblerousing than occurred last week.


Updates, late Friday 'blog time:

The number of attacks on journalists has continued to rise, and not all the claims blame rioting mobs... there are signs that security force members (Interior Ministry, in particular) are party to some of the attacks. RSF (Reporters sans Frontieres; Reporters without Borders) is keeping tally and trying to get someone to listen.

There may have been an assassination attempt against Vice President Suleiman. The reports seem clear enough, but the sourcing is still pretty weak. More about this is watching for, however...

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