Report: Obama to step up criticism of Mubarak if he cracks down on protesters

posted at 4:16 pm on January 27, 2011 by Allahpundit

True or false? We’ll know pretty soon: Tomorrow is prayer day in the Muslim world, and prayer day has a habit of turning into protest day with so many people out in the streets after services at the mosque. The Muslim Brotherhood has already ordered its followers to turn out, and Mohamed ElBaradei — whom you may remember from his days at the IAEA as a useful idiot for Iran — is vowing to participate on behalf of secular dissidents. In case you’re unfamiliar with Egypt’s political dynamics, bear in mind while you’re following the news tomorrow that it’s entirely possible for protesters to be pro-democracy and pro-Islamist, at least in the short-term. Egypt’s religious fanatics are counting on westerners to fail to grasp that point and to rally behind the Brotherhood as the righteous populist response to Mubarak-brand fascism. Read this excellent post by Claire Berlinski about how their mouthpieces are already using American media to wave the banner of, ahem, “freedom” in the name of religious totalitarianism.

Anyway. Big standoff coming and Egyptian police aren’t likely to play nice given the risk of destabilization from ongoing massive demonstrations. Your move, Mr. President:

The White House is prepared to step up its criticism of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a key Middle East ally, if his government intensifies its crackdown on protesters, said an administration official.

President Barack Obama privately pressed Mubarak in a telephone call last week to embrace democratic changes, said the official, who requested anonymity. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday said Mubarak, in power since 1981, has an “important opportunity” to enact economic, political and social reforms…

The message that White House officials want Mubarak to hear is that he should seize the protests as an opportunity to reform state institutions and not use them as a pretext to strengthen his grip on power, the administration officials said yesterday.

Ah, but the Tunisian dictator Ben Ali also “embraced democratic changes” at the eleventh hour, replete with a promise of elections within six months, in his desperation to defuse the protests. Result: The crowds didn’t believe that he’d follow through (why should they?) and pressed on, and he ended up bugging out the next day. I’m not sure why The One thinks Egyptians would react differently. Squeezing Mubarak to the point where he’s forced to make concessions will only encourage the demonstrators — which, incidentally, is also why I’m skeptical of the rumors going around about his son/heir apparent supposedly having escaped to Britain. (There was a similar rumor during the Iranian demonstrations in 2009 about Khamenei readying a jet to carry him away.) The regime can’t afford any provocative shows of weakness. It’s an incitement to their opponents and a confidence-killer in the military they’re counting on to protect them. The likely outcome here, I think, is some sort of nasty crackdown followed by token concessions aimed at easing public anger.

Meanwhile, a good question via our Greenroomer Karl: How come The One took his time speaking up on behalf of Iranian protesters, who were unquestionably more pro-American than the ruling regime, whereas in this case he’s pressuring Mubarak to make concessions even though the Muslim Brotherhood stands to benefit? Two answers to that, I think, one of them offered by Karl himself. First, Obama may figure that concessions are the best way to keep the Brotherhood frozen out of real power. If the public is placated by a democratic reform package proposed by Mubarak, the MB may benefit incidentally from some of the reforms but the regime itself will have been preserved. And in the meantime, hopefully, the new reforms will give liberals a political foothold to appeal to young Egyptians who might otherwise opt for the Brotherhood as the only alternative to Mubarak. Second, I think it’s a simple question of leverage. In the case of Iran, where the regime was hostile to the U.S., calling for democratic concessions would have achieved nothing; on the contrary, had Obama spoken out, it would have given the mullahs a pretext to claim that the protesters were props of the American Zionist cabal or whatever. With Egypt, the government is not only an ally (sort of) but depends on us for foreign aid, and needless to say, no one thinks the Muslim Brotherhood is a proxy of the CIA. We’ve got a bit of muscle to flex here, so we’re flexing it.

I just hope The One doesn’t think he’s going to earn some sort of goodwill within the region for backing the local democrats, because, er, that’s not how Middle Eastern politics works. America’s always the villain eventually. To wit:

Hours later, many of us were back home, checking our Twitter and Facebook feeds for news and wondering what would happen next. Would there be a curfew, would the president release a statement, would the state concede anything? What would tomorrow’s papers say? People joked that the ruling family had just landed at Heathrow, a hundred bags in tow. Ayman Nour tweeted that his son had been detained. Activists slammed Hilary Clinton’s remarks describing Egypt’s government as “stable and looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.” A picture of an empty tear gas canister circulated, the zoom focusing in on ‘Made in USA’. Organizers circulated a message that the protests would continue, tomorrow, the next day, and Friday after midday prayers.

If Mubarak falls, the storyline on Al Jazeera presumably won’t be “American support helps demonstrators topple tyrant,” it’ll be “American-backed tyrant finally toppled.” Exit question: Er, what do we do if protests break out tomorrow — again — in Yemen too? Is Obama prepared to support a reform movement in the planet’s new jihadist hot spot?


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Cuz criticism is such a scary thing.

Badger40 on January 27, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Why would Obama criticize Mubarak for using Obama’s tactics?

Is Mubarak using non-union thugs to attack protesters?

malclave on January 27, 2011 at 4:20 PM

DUH……….COMMUNITY ORGANIZER….WTF!!

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 4:20 PM

The White House is prepared to step up its criticism of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a key Middle East ally, if his government intensifies its crackdown on protesters, said an administration official.

The head bustin’ mass arrests going on now aren’t so bad that Obama has an opinion on them but if they get worse, you’d better believe Obama will step right up to those TV cameras and express him self.

Skandia Recluse on January 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Right now, he’s just present and unaccounted for.

Chip on January 27, 2011 at 4:23 PM

That’s kinda ironic coming from Mr. Thin Skin.

beatcanvas on January 27, 2011 at 4:23 PM

DUH……….COMMUNIST ORGANIZER….WTF!!

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 4:20 PM

FIFY

Chip on January 27, 2011 at 4:25 PM

“A picture of an empty tear gas canister circulated, the zoom focusing in on ‘Made in USA’.”

Now we know where all the STIMULUS jobs went…

Seven Percent Solution on January 27, 2011 at 4:27 PM

He certainly is the WTF President. In waaaay over his head.Trouble is we the People are gonna be the WTF’ed generation not sputnik.

sandee on January 27, 2011 at 4:27 PM

He’d be more effective if he’d tell his buddy Chavez to stop the squatters from the producers’ homes…wait…that wouldn’t be in line with redeistribution, equalization, ‘fairness’ and other Obama menus.

What a wuss!

Schadenfreude on January 27, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Superior Smart Power….and a failed Middle East
Peace Progressive Mindset Clusterf*ck,

by the Peace Awarded,Liberal Propaghandaized,Foreign Policy
Propped up by the MSM Obama..”Cairo Speech Failure”!

For over 8 years,under Bush,this crap wasn’t going on,because
heaven forbid,that the “CowBoy” might do something stupid
over there,meanwhile,were watching Obama policies of,

“CHICKENS COM’N HOME TO ROOST!!!

Israel,is slowly being surrounded,WTF…HELLO!!!!

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 4:28 PM

I’m expecting a courageous “present” vote.

natch

ted c on January 27, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Breaking News: Pence not running for President in ’12.

portlandon on January 27, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Btw,I bet,in the last two years,Team IRAN have been busy,
Eygpyt,Tunisa,Yemen….sh*t is hitting the fan,and Lebanon
is in the hands of Islamic Goons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 4:30 PM

I DARE you to name one people who’re free, or freer, since Obama was sworn in.

I know that naming the SEIU, the Quadafi cancer thug, and a few others individuals is fun, but I’m looking for substance.

I DARE the lefties, especially, you true liberals.

Liberalism and progressivism is as foreign to you as is knowledge/talent sans prompter to Obama.

Schadenfreude on January 27, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Breaking News: Pence not running for President in ’12.

portlandon on January 27, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Who found the bones?

Schadenfreude on January 27, 2011 at 4:31 PM

Moderate this.

Bye.

hillbillyjim on January 27, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Obama may now be a worse president than Carter. Carter lost Iran to Muslim radicals. Obama may lose the entire region. The only good thing about the Brotherhood taking over in Egypt is that it will allow us to stop throwing $3 billion in aid into that stinking toilet. The bad is the that Brotherhood will probably agitate for another round of Egypt vs. Israel.

fleiter on January 27, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Trying to out Carter, Jimmah the great…

Kuffar on January 27, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Someone help me out. If Mbarak is ousted, then the MB takes over? And would the MB be a theocracy and implement sharia law? Or are they the “peaceful” faction of Islam? Wouldn’t that be going from bad to worse? Isn’t there an option “C”?

conservative pilgrim on January 27, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Missed in all of this, these dictatorships who have received support from the USA have not hit the level of vicious oppression that characterized the Iranian regimes. For all the talk of “propping” up tyrants by left wingers and al jazeera types it should be noted that a bare minimum of decent behavior is required to be an american ally in this day and age.

rob verdi on January 27, 2011 at 4:35 PM

BTW,part deux,

what makes anyone think,that Obama is going to lift ONE FINGER,Hopey wants out of Iraq and Afghanistan,ASAP,

Georgia was on its own,

Green Party in Iran was left to litterally,parish

Gave Isreal the finger…..

and theres nooooooooooooo way,Obama wants any form,of
Military protection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Give him 4 more years,and Iran will own Irag,Afghanistan
and Puck EE Stan,for starters,

oh…and Iran is building up warheads,just like after WW2,
except,Iranian Goons want to parish,and own the planet!!

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 4:36 PM

First, Obama may figure that concessions are the best way to keep the Brotherhood frozen out of real power. If the public is placated by a democratic reform package proposed by Mubarak, the MB may benefit incidentally from some of the reforms but the regime itself will have been preserved. And in the meantime, hopefully, the new reforms will give liberals a political foothold to appeal to young Egyptians who might otherwise opt for the Brotherhood as the only alternative to Mubarak.

Brought down from headline thread.

As I recall, the Ayatollah was more than happy to use Iranian Communists and other secularists as foot soldiers until he consolidated power.

Sekhmet on January 27, 2011 at 4:02 PM

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 4:36 PM

“A picture of an empty tear gas canister circulated, the zoom focusing in on ‘Made in USA’.”

Now we know where all the STIMULUS jobs went…

Seven Percent Solution on January 27, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Seven Percent Solution:Typical:)

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Looks like Iran is making its play, and 0dumbass is to stupid to see it.

Sekhmet on January 27, 2011 at 4:40 PM

Ed reviewed a book last year authored by a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The name of the book was “A Time to Betray”.

Well – in that book – the author describes that – at the time the Shah was overthrown, the crowds in the street were mixed Islamists and Democratists (some Marxist actually). Their combined forces were enough to overthrow the Shah (with a bit of help from Jimmy Carter) – but, immediately the Islamofascists gained the upper hand.

With the West sinking into irrelevancy and economic turmoil – we’re probably witnessing the rise of the unified caliphate here. I see NO WAY that non-secular democracy will rise, or survive in Egypt – it’s Islamofascism all the way! Looks like it’s spreading now throughout the Arab world.

HondaV65 on January 27, 2011 at 4:41 PM

I think that any sovereign leader in any remote island in the any part of the middle of nowhere in the world would laugh at Obama. Everyone is laughing at him.

Obama has no .. no nothing. Nobody listens to him. Nobody takes him seriously. If he were to become a barker at a flea market people would simply pass by and keep picking up strawberries, throw rugs or old coffee cups and bad art work.

Obama. Uh, Uh, Uh.

Key West Reader on January 27, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Hezbollah’s move into power in Lebanon, “spontaneous” general strikes in Egypt, and bogus “Palestinian Papers” claiming the Fatahs are trying to sell out “right of return.”

If you think this is coincidence, you are fooling yourself

Sekhmet on January 27, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Someone help me out. If Mbarak is ousted, then the MB takes over?

No, at least not immediately. At present, the MB is illegal in Egypt.

And would the MB be a theocracy and implement sharia law?

Yes

Or are they the “peaceful” faction of Islam?

No

Wouldn’t that be going from bad to worse? Isn’t there an option “C”?

conservative pilgrim on January 27, 2011 at 4:35 PM

There is no Option C.

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Zero is just looking for another Peace Prize…

PatriotRider on January 27, 2011 at 4:44 PM

Allah, how did you resist this headline?

Report: Barack to step up criticism of Mubarak if he cracks down on protesters

MadisonConservative on January 27, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Someone help me out. If Mbarak is ousted, then the MB takes over? And would the MB be a theocracy and implement sharia law? Or are they the “peaceful” faction of Islam? Wouldn’t that be going from bad to worse? Isn’t there an option “C”?

conservative pilgrim on January 27, 2011 at 4:35 PM

While the MB wouldn’t take over immediately, the concern is that the group would use the occasion to take power. As previously noted, the group and its institutions are strong. It’s a very likely outcome.

The MB would be a theocracy, though they’d talk up democracy at first. Sharia law is a must.

Not seeing an Option C right now.

amerpundit on January 27, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Looks like Iran is making its play, and 0dumbass is to stupid to see it.

Sekhmet on January 27, 2011 at 4:40 PM

He might just be relying upon his moslem faith. My muslim faith.

Key West Reader on January 27, 2011 at 4:47 PM

If you think this is coincidence, you are fooling yourself

Sekhmet on January 27, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Tunisia, Tunisia, Tunisia. Tunisia proves the fundies aren’t behind this. They’re just a group of unemployed young folks who set themselves on fire.(wink)

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 4:48 PM

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Thanks.

conservative pilgrim on January 27, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Wait, WTF does this have to do with Sarah Palin being unelectable? Am I on the wrong site ;)

elcapt on January 27, 2011 at 4:51 PM

“Embrace democracy I will give a speech.” BO

mwbri on January 27, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Tunisia, Tunisia, Tunisia. Tunisia proves the fundies aren’t behind this. They’re just a group of unemployed young folks who set themselves on fire.(wink)

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Tunisia is far enough away from the mess that we wouldn’t be looking that way, or have much in the way of interests that would cause us to back the old regime. They have to test their plan out somewhere…

Sekhmet on January 27, 2011 at 4:52 PM

While the MB wouldn’t take over immediately, the concern is that the group would use the occasion to take power. As previously noted, the group and its institutions are strong. It’s a very likely outcome.
The MB would be a theocracy, though they’d talk up democracy at first. Sharia law is a must.
Not seeing an Option C right now.
amerpundit on January 27, 2011 at 4:46 PM

and
@a capella–

Forgive me for me naïveté, but why is Obama criticizing Mbarak knowing that the radical MB would take over? i.e., Is obama that incompetent or is there another reason for his actions?

conservative pilgrim on January 27, 2011 at 4:53 PM

MadisonConservative on January 27, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Dang, isn’t there a way to slip Ehud Barak into that headline too?

Buy Danish on January 27, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Forgive me for me naïveté, but why is Obama criticizing Mbarak knowing that the radical MB would take over? i.e., Is obama that incompetent or is there another reason for his actions?

conservative pilgrim on January 27, 2011 at 4:53 PM

AP addressed that well up top, although I think there is another reason also. I think he took enough heat over his dithering on the Iranian revolt, that he is trying to neutralize the image of voting “Present” when the going gets tough. I think his administration has no idea of the complexities involved in Egypt. Same old State Dept.

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Just frakking perfect. The libs claim supporting tin-pots makes terrorists. Maybe terrorists make tin-pots.

Good luck reasoning with the primates, libs. We all will need that good luck.

Limerick on January 27, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Update VI:Facebook/Twitter Revolution: Protests in Egypt
=========================================================

■The April 6 Youth Movement, which has been one of the main organizers of the protests, called for mass demonstrations after Jummah prayers. The Muslim Brotherhood has also joined in the protests. Human Rights organizations fear that army may open fire

http://muslimmatters.org/2011/01/25/facebooktwitter-revolution-protests-in-egypt/
================================

Linky’s and videos!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Just frakking perfect. The libs claim supporting tin-pots makes terrorists. Maybe terrorists make tin-pots.

Good luck reasoning with the primates, libs. We all will need that good luck.

Limerick on January 27, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Limerick:Spot on,and well-nailed!!:)

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 5:12 PM

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 5:11 PM

It’ll all come down to which way the army jumps. As things stand right now, I’m pushing in a big stack of chips on the Mubarak side.

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Barry needs to mind his own business.

Wade on January 27, 2011 at 5:21 PM

With the West sinking into irrelevancy and economic turmoil – we’re probably witnessing the rise of the unified caliphate here. I see NO WAY that non-secular democracy will rise, or survive in Egypt – it’s Islamofascism all the way! Looks like it’s spreading now throughout the Arab world.
HondaV65 on January 27, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Ironic-funny that, Honda, the only forces left standing against the worldwide caliphate will be the Chicoms and the Russians. The United States is just too culturally correct, and afraid to be thought of as ‘crusaders’ to call and act on what is really happening…particularly not our lily-livered ‘president.’

marybel on January 27, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Tunisia, Tunisia, Tunisia. Tunisia proves the fundies aren’t behind this. They’re just a group of unemployed young folks who set themselves on fire.(wink)

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Watch out for The Left. What we see in Tunisia is what we see The Left doing everywhere else.

Key West Reader on January 27, 2011 at 5:30 PM

2 + 2 = 1

Religious Extremists plus Marxist Extremists = 1

Key West Reader on January 27, 2011 at 5:32 PM

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 5:11 PM
================
It’ll all come down to which way the army jumps. As things stand right now, I’m pushing in a big stack of chips on the Mubarak side.

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 5:16 PM

a capella:It ain’t gonna be pretty!

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 5:48 PM

I guess this means that Junior has to head back to Cairo to deliver some more golden-tongued oratory. Do you think that he can reprise “Together We Thrive”?

onlineanalyst on January 27, 2011 at 5:59 PM

We can’t just show blanket support for Democracy in that region because of the real possibility of Islamists taking over. You have to take a good, long hard look at the situation and see if this is like the American Revolution or the French Revolution.

Funny how Obama is thinking of coming down hard on an “ally”, and in support of potential Islamists, when he sat silent while true freedom fighters were getting shot in the Street in Iran by our enemy.

Daemonocracy on January 27, 2011 at 6:04 PM

O will embrace any situation where more Islam is in the wind.

Sounder on January 27, 2011 at 6:06 PM

If the Muslim Brotherhood had a brain, they would relabel themselves as a Worker’s Socialist Party. Bammie would send in the Airborne to support them.

slickwillie2001 on January 27, 2011 at 6:13 PM

If the Muslim Brotherhood had a brain, they would relabel themselves as a Worker’s Socialist Party. Bammie would send in the Airborne to support them.

slickwillie2001 on January 27, 2011 at 6:13 PM

slickwillie2001:Close!:)
==========================================================

Tunisia purges government, wins union endorsement
***************************************************

TUNIS (Reuters) – The Tunisian government ditched loyalists to its ousted president on Thursday — a move which won backing from the powerful labor union and could help defuse protests which have inspired people across the Middle East.
———————————

http://www.newsmeat.com/news/meat.php?articleId=90223748&channelId=2951&buyerId=newsmeatcom&buid=3281

canopfor on January 27, 2011 at 6:20 PM

It’ll all come down to which way the army jumps. As things stand right now, I’m pushing in a big stack of chips on the Mubarak side.

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Hmmm. Can I have a do over on my bet?

http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2011/01/27/dustbins-i-have-known/#more-12333

a capella on January 27, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Well, I guess Obama is gonna have to castigate the Egyptian Government: there are reports coming from Egypt that the government has shut down the internet.

This will only backfire on Mubarak. The MB will probably now assume control of the protests, and the government. This is a disaster.

Cr4sh Dummy on January 27, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Why would Obama criticize Mubarak for using Obama’s tactics?

Is Mubarak using non-union thugs to attack protesters?

malclave on January 27, 2011 at 4:20 PM

+1000

Eren on January 27, 2011 at 6:36 PM

I haven’t read the thread…El Boffo is returning to Egypt to back the Muslim Brotherhood…El Boffo is for an Arab nuke…The MB are the ones that assassinated Anwar Sadat…

Gohawgs on January 27, 2011 at 7:09 PM

What makes you think Muslims have a western mindset and can see the rationality of things you might see? Where is the Muslim well of Democracy to draw from that is as deep , as ancient and as hard won as the Western Well of Democracy? How can you be naive enough to think you can graft our treasure on to that which has to reject it on religious principal?

The vast majority will believe Islam is the remedy. The tiny fringe group of “liberal democrats” (frustrated Academics and elites), will disappear when their usefulness is done.

Allahu Akbar Baby!

BL@KBIRD on January 27, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Hmmm, crack down on the Brotherhood or face the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Egyptian Edition. Quite the dilemma. We sometimes are left facing two less than desirable choices. The less UNdesirable choice is to use this opportunity to completely CRUSH the Muslim Brotherhood once and for all. In fact, I might even actually approve of that choice. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I do. Gotta start somewhere and those turds keep showing in the punchbowl.

Big John on January 27, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Well Obama came down hard on A’jad when he had those protesters in the street in Iran didn’t he? Oh I forgot we don’t meddle into internal affairs of another country. Sorry

Herb on January 28, 2011 at 10:13 AM