Persistent claims were heard Saturday, Jan. 29 in various Egyptian and informed western circles that the popular uprising against president Hosni Mubarak, still going strong on its fifth day, was secretly prepared three years ago in Washington during the Bush administration.
Saturday morning, people rage across Egypt gathered steam from Mubarak's speech after midnight, in which he declined to step down. After defying the night curfew, tens of thousands of protesters, estimated at 50,000, crowded into central Cairo's Tahrir Square and began marching on the state TV building, calling on the soldiers in tanks ranged quietly around the square to oust the president. They shouted that the people and army were one.
Law and order is breaking down in Egypt's cities. In Cairo looters are roaming through shops and smoldering public buildings and seizing empty residences. Rioting inmates are confronting armed warders and getting shot in Egypt's biggest prisons. Political prisoners are escaping.
In defiance of the extended nationwide curfew, fierce clashes also erupted in Alexandria, Suez, Ismailia, Rafah and El Arish, with security forces firing live ammunition on surging protesters. By the afternoon, 100 people were dead and 2,000 injured across the country. The death toll Friday was estimated at 74 and more than a thousand wounded.
In Cairo, the hated Mahabharat security forces vanished off the main streets after failing to quell four days of protests. The military tanks and infantry units posted at strategic points in the capital have so far not fired a shot or interfered in the clashes. But the Interior Ministry's elite security force fired live ammo on demonstrators attempting to storm the building.
The London Daily Telegraph headlined a story Saturday, apparently confirming confidential US documents released by WikiLeaks, which claimed that since 2008, the American government had secretly backed leading figures behind the uprising for "regime change."
The US embassy in Cairo reportedly helped a young Egyptian dissident secretly attend a US-Sponsored summit for activists in New York. "On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and Install a democratic government in 2011," the Telegraph reported.
The activist whose identity the paper is protecting is already under arrest.
debkafile: If this is true, the Western observers who have concluded that the protesters have no leaders and are propelled into the streets purely by rage against the regime may not have the full story. The movement does have a leader whose identity is known to Washington and the demonstrations' ringleaders – but not to Mubarak or his security services. They show every sign of being cut off from the prevailing currents in the street. It would also explain the steadfast insistence of President Barack Obama and all his spokesmen on forcing Mubarak to do the virtually impossible, i.e. to refrain from force against the opposition movement and introduce immediate reforms by means of national dialogue. His successors would be waiting in the wings to move in when they could expect to be embraced by the opposition.
Saturday, as the violence on the streets of Egypt mounted, the Muslim Brotherhood called for the peaceful transfer of power, thereby offering a bridge to span Obama's call for national dialogue and the people's demand for change.