Juan Cole, boldface emphasis added:
Max Weber distinguished between power and authority. Power flows from the barrel of a gun, and the Egyptian state still has plenty of those. But Weber defines authority as the likelihood that a command will be obeyed. Leaders who have authority do not have to shoot people. The Mubarak regime has had to shoot over 100 people in the past few days, and wound more. Literally hundreds of thousands of people have ignored Mubarak’s command that they observe night time curfews. He has lost his authority.
The Egyptian tanks, the delirious protesters sitting atop them, the flags, the 40,000 protesters weeping and crying and cheering in Freedom Square and praying around them, the Muslim Brotherhood official sitting amid the tank passengers. Should this be compared to the liberation of Bucharest? Climbing on to an American-made battle tank myself, I could only remember those wonderful films of the liberation of Paris. A few hundred metres away, Hosni Mubarak’s black-uniformed security police were still firing at demonstrators near the interior ministry. It was a wild, historical victory celebration, Mubarak’s own tanks freeing his capital from his own dictatorship.
In the pantomime world of Mubarak himself – and of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Washington – the man who still claims to be president of Egypt swore in the most preposterous choice of vice-president in an attempt to soften the fury of the protesters – Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s chief negotiator with Israel and his senior intelligence officer, a 75-year-old with years of visits to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and four heart attacks to his credit. How this elderly apparatchik might be expected to deal with the anger and joy of liberation of 80 million Egyptians is beyond imagination. When I told the demonstrators on the tank around me the news of Suleiman’s appointment, they burst into laughter.
The Guardian, on a page updated every minute, earlier said that Egypt has taken Al Jazeera off the air:
Al Jazeera has denounced the closure of its Cairo bureau. In a statement it said:
Al-Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people…
Al Jazeera Network is appalled at this latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt.”
The latest post as of about 18.05 UT:
European Union officials have said that the unrest in Egypt will top the agenda at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday in Brussels, AP reports.
The Dutch foreign ministry urged its nationals to “seriously consider leaving,” while Switzerland advised its citizens to leave until further notice. Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported that the Turkish government is evacuating about 750 nationals.
From The New York Times:
In a stunning collapse of authority, most of the police force has withdrawn from major cities and thousands of inmates poured out of four prisons.
The United States said it was organizing flights to evacuate its citizens, urging all Americans in Egypt to “consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so.” The American statement underlined a deep sense of pessimism among Egypt’s allies over Mr. Mubarak’s fate.
From the BBC:
Tension is mounting in the Egyptian capital Cairo after the military staged an apparent show of strength during a sixth day of anti-government protests.
Two air force jets and a helicopter repeatedly flew low over Tahrir (Liberation) Square, the main gathering point for demonstrators.
A column of tanks arrived there only to have its path blocked by protesters.
Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei made his way through swarming crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Sunday. an appearance that signaled a defiant gesture against the current military curfew.
His appearance could also signal a possible attempt to position himself as President Hosni Mubarak’s leading opponent.
Earlier Sunday, ElBaradei called for Mubarak to “leave today and save the country.”
“This is a country that is falling apart,” ElBaradei told CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”
Iran is the only country in the Middle East to have no diplomatic ties with Egypt. Nevertheless, the protests rocking the region’s most populous nation could carry monumental implications for Tehran. Iran’s Islamic government is eyeing developments in Egypt warily, projecting a spin on events in Cairo that only underscores Tehran’s anxiety.
“An Islamic Middle East is being created, based on Islam, religion, and religious democracy,” declared Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami at Tehran’s Friday prayers, celebrating Egypt’s popular uprising by claiming it for the Islamist cause. Iran’s conservatives have echoed this line since protests in Egypt gathered momentum last week, likening the mass protests to Iran’s own 1979 Islamic revolution.
Mother Jones has pictures, and several articles:
Egypt’s powerful military stepped up its presence across the anarchic capital on Sunday, closing roads with tanks and sending F-16 fighter jets streaking over downtown in a show of force after days of looting, armed robbery and anti-government protests.
The army made no attempt, however, to disperse some 5,000 protesters gathered at Tahrir Square, a plaza in the heart of downtown that protesters have occupied since Friday afternoon.
Crooks and Liars reminds us that that former CIA agent Bob Baer once said:
“If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear – never to see them again – you send them to Egypt.”
Foreign Policy has a post on the scene outside the Egyptian embassy in Washington:
and wonders if Sudan is next:
Sudan Tribune reports that activists in Khartoun have called protests for Sunday, looking to emulate recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt:
The Huffington Post currently has Egypt as its headline:
The link has a slideshow and notes that
Talking Points Memo:
Mubarak held talks with Vice President Omar Suleiman, whose appointment on Saturday has possibly set the scene for a transition in power,Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Chief of Staff Sami al-Anan and other senior commanders.
An earthquake of unrest is shaking Mubarak’s authoritarian grip on Egypt and the high command’s support is vital as other pillars of his ruling apparatus crumble, political analysts said as protests entered their sixth day.
Daily Kos has a Mothership blog here: