Egyptian army siding with protesters?

posted at 2:55 pm on January 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, McClatchy ran an article wondering why the Egyptian army had not taken action to quell street demonstrations.  They have their answer now:

Egypt’s military says it recognizes “the legitimacy of thepeople’s demands” and promised to guarantee “freedom of expression” ahead of a planned escalation of the country’s week-old anti-government protests.

A military spokesman, Ismail Etman, has appeared on state TV saying the military “has not and will not use force” against protesters, but he urged them not to commit acts harming security or damage property.

The statement was the strongest sign to date that the military will allow week-old protests to continue and even grow as long as they are peaceful. The statement did not specify what demands the military views as legitimate — but the main demand by protesters is the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

That statement sounds like a death knell for the Mubarak regime.  The military had propped him up for the entirety of his dictatorship, after the assassination of Anwar Sadat left Mubarak in charge.  The lack of intervention by the army to this point could have been interpreted as a way to keep all options open, but endorsing “the legitimacy of the people’s demands” goes much farther than that.  It is at least an implicit endorsement of the demand that Mubarak flee into exile, and very much a signal that short of violence, the army will no longer keep him in power.

The news may have been lost among those now stampeding towards airports and other means of exit today, but the overall message hasn’t been missed at all:

Cairo’s international airport was a scene of chaos and confusion Monday as thousands of foreigners sought to flee the unrest in Egypt and countries around the world scrambled to send in planes to fly their citizens out.

Nerves frayed and shouting and shoving matches erupted as thousands crammed into Cairo airport’s new Terminal 3 seeking a flight home. The airport’s departures board stopped announcing flight times in an attempt to reduce the tension — but the plan backfired, fueling passengers’ anger.

Making matters worse, check-in counters were poorly staffed because many EgyptAir employees had been unable to get to work due to a 3 p.m.-to-8 a.m. curfew and traffic breakdowns across the Egyptian capital.

Anyone with means to flee and a destination to reach wants out of Egypt.  Don’t be surprised if Mubarak doesn’t join them soon.


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OT.

Fox reporting that Florida judge just ruled Obamacare unconstitutional. He said individual mandate was unconstitutional and since it was not severable the whole law was unconstitutional!

Cecil on January 31, 2011 at 2:58 PM

The revolution is over.

Now for the counterrevolution.

NeighborhoodCatLady on January 31, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Egyptian army siding with protesters?

Umm, are they not also of the muslim faith?!

upinak on January 31, 2011 at 3:00 PM

The Egyptian air force gots them F-16′s….

Akzed on January 31, 2011 at 3:00 PM

I’m surprised Mubarak doesn’t just say he won’t stand for election. Aren’t there supposed to be elections in September anyway?

Rush just had a great caller who said if only a fraction of a percent of the people of Egypt come out and the government must fall, what should happen when 60% of the American people come out against Health Care Reform?

Iblis on January 31, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Fox reporting that Florida judge just ruled Obamacare unconstitutional. He said individual mandate was unconstitutional and since it was not severable the whole law was unconstitutional!

Cecil on January 31, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Saw that. Congress exceeded its authority. Involves AGs of 26 states.

a capella on January 31, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Cecil on January 31, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Freedom rings?

d1carter on January 31, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Iran Part Deux.

kingsjester on January 31, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Anyone with means to flee and a destination to reach wants out of Egypt. Don’t be surprised if Mubarak doesn’t join them soon.

Friends of mine got out on a boat, then a plane to Jordan, then another plane to Israel. It’s like a James Bond movie, without the semi-cute British guy.
My friends were pretty freaked out until they got to Israel. Now they’re okay…

mjk on January 31, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Yes but, from the Army will be come the Revolutionary Guard, answerable only to the imams of the Supreme Religious Council.

But that’s two or three years down the road.

Akzed on January 31, 2011 at 3:09 PM

I hear that the pyramids are quite lovely this time of year…

/

Seven Percent Solution on January 31, 2011 at 3:09 PM

So, the people are demanding a power vacuum, the army is going to respect that as a legitimate demand, and the Islamists are just going to bide their time. Sounds like the people and civil society have really thought this process through.

Christien on January 31, 2011 at 3:10 PM

If there were to ever be a rv(0)lotion here, I don’t think the military would do anything to the American people. Where do they come from? You really think they will take action against Dad and Granddad?

Mirimichi on January 31, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Just wait until the Islamists issue civil society a deadline to choose sides.

Christien on January 31, 2011 at 3:15 PM

But that’s two or three years down the road.

Akzed on January 31, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Get out of the way!

Shy Guy on January 31, 2011 at 3:16 PM

“The military had propped him up for the entirety of his dictatorship, after the assassination of Anwar Sadat left Mubarak in charge…”

Don’t forget who those assassins were/are…

… The Muslim Brotherhood.

Seven Percent Solution on January 31, 2011 at 3:16 PM

I hear that the pyramids are quite lovely this time of year…

/

Seven Percent Solution on January 31, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Maybe the Mayan ones…

JetBoy on January 31, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Umm, are they not also of the muslim faith?!

upinak on January 31, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Sure.

And they have guns and stuff.

JetBoy on January 31, 2011 at 3:22 PM

And they have guns F-16s and stuff.

JetBoy on January 31, 2011 at 3:22 PM

FIFY

Shy Guy on January 31, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Egyptian army siding with protesters?

The other spin I’ve heard is that the military is being very careful not to cause a “martyr” incident that will give more initiative to the Muslim brotherhood and being responsive instead of active in order to try and separate the islamists from the non-islamists. If the average Egyptian can see the military as not being a threat, while seeing the muslim brotherhood as being provocative and violent then the Mubarak regime will be more able to separate the Muslim Brotherhood from the general populace, and kill it.

EasyEight on January 31, 2011 at 3:28 PM

FIFY

Shy Guy on January 31, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Fighter jets are…stuff…

:)

JetBoy on January 31, 2011 at 3:44 PM

So, the people are demanding a power vacuum, the army is going to respect that as a legitimate demand, and the Islamists are just going to bide their time. Sounds like the people and civil society have really thought this process through.

Christien on January 31, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Couple of threads back were questioning the same reasoning. Well, they want the power vacuum; do they want their borders threatened for invasion? Do they want other countries to also use their MIG’s or F-16′s to bomb bomb bomb, bombbombbombomb the Sphinx and the pyramids?

That’s why I support an organized exit strategy. It’d be nice if someone in the ME, Obama or whoever explained our position to the world that we’re not haters blah blah blah, but who cares?

I am getting out of my dang illness so when I feel good enough to see an organized protest, I will be asking them some q’s. I know they were protesting right in front of the tear gas cans factory in the same town Mr. PPF used to live in.

I have to monitor Puerto Rico’s media, since there’s a decent size Arabic community-middle Eastern. They’d protest in San Juan, where I used to live-they are such nice people! Heh.

I wish someone had the cojones to tell Mark Levin that he looks like a Muslim. Tons of Latinos look Middle Eastern, too. Very resourceful when in war; these guys could blend in in a snap in case chit hits the fan. Imagine him dressed up like a prince. *priceless* – *ducks and hides*

ProudPalinFan on January 31, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Maybe the Mayan ones…

JetBoy on January 31, 2011 at 3:17 PM

You mean the ones surrounded by Mexican drug gangs?

Lily on January 31, 2011 at 4:12 PM

You mean the ones surrounded by Mexican drug gangs?

Lily on January 31, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Touché

JetBoy on January 31, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Fighter jets are…stuff…

JetBoy on January 31, 2011 at 3:44 PM

I was thinkin’ Harpoon missiles are “stuff”.

Shy Guy on January 31, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Rush Limbaugh – Obama Had An Egypt Moment

“The Savior Of The Muslim World Barack Hussein Pharaoh Obama.”

Nearly Nobody on January 31, 2011 at 4:41 PM

The Egyptian Army is no great force to have behind you anyways. If we had to tangle with them, I’d probably just send one of our militias from the MidWest and still feel bad because I didn’t give them a sporting chance.

hawkdriver on February 1, 2011 at 5:30 AM