A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
January 31, 2011 Army Says It Will Not Shoot Demonstrators. Jewish Leaders Putting Foot in Mouth
The final word is in. The army announced this evening that the they will not fire on the protesters. As I have been saying repeatedly, the only way for a dictatorship to maintain power is if the army is willing to kill its own people. The Egyptian army's announcement is the final nail in the coffin of the Mubarak government. He may hang on for a few more days, or possibly a few weeks, but he is clearly a dead man walking.
What comes next is down right scary. Some of the demonstrators are now bringing Israel to the forefront of their protests. It is not ubiquitous yet, but it is clearly there. It's still not clear who opened the gates of Egypt's prisons, but whoever opened those gates allowed many of the key figures of the Muslim Brotherhood who had been imprisoned to go free. They are holding back, for the moment, but there is a fear that the Brotherhood may try to bring about a violent confrontation as part of the planned million person demonstration tommorrow
The future is certainly troubling. Unfortunately, Jewish leaders, both in America and Israel, are making it worse. Malcolm Hoenlein, the professional who has been running the President Conference for the last 25+ years, attacked Mohammed ElBaradei, as a "stooge for Iran". At the same time, the Israeli press reported that the Netanyahu government has been trying to get the Western governments to tone down their criticism of Mubarak. I understand both their fears and share them. However, it is too late. It is time to try to make the best of what may be a very bad situation-- which we best not make worse.
The only silver lining in the events going on in Egypt is that while the Iranian government is officially hailing the events, they seemed to be running more scared than usual. The Iranians are trying to cut off all mention of the Egyptian popular uprising in their media. The same media repression is happening in China.
Two other nuggets about Egypt: The average marriage age in Egypt is now 36, very problematic in a strictly Muslim country. Finally, to follow up on yesterday's statistics, Egypt adds 1 million new college graduates to its population every year.