Entries in President Hosni Mubarak (30)


Egypt: Mubarak's Arrest 'Calmed' the Streets


(CAIRO) -- It's a relatively quiet Friday in Cairo so far.

The military’s move against the Mubarak family worked. It calmed the streets. For now.

The arrest of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and his sons was widely seen as another revolutionary milestone here -- a first in the long history of Egypt: A ruler facing justice.

A few score protesters have gathered in Tahrir Square, which has become a kind of Speakers Corner for this city. As the traffic snakes and snarls and honks by, people chant, holler, proclaim and discuss their opinions. It's a scene full of good feeling, actually, full of natural dignity.

And their message Friday may surprise you: the people and the army are still one.

The idea of President Mubarak on trial is deeply stirring to Egyptians, and a lot rides on what happens next. If the trial is a vicious farce, like Saddam Hussein's trial, it will damage this revolution. But people here seem to want true justice, and President Mubarak's arrest and his (fair) trial can be, it is hoped, a cornerstone of a new Egypt.

While human rights activists can point to specific and disturbing violations by the military government here -- especially the case of blogger Mikeil Nabil, sentenced to three years in prison for "insulting the military"-- most people still seem willing to give this awkward process towards democracy more time, and give the generals the benefit of the doubt. For now.

The bottom line: The military has power. But so do the people in the street. And there is a tricky, sometimes tense balance between the guns of the soldiers and the demands of the people.

So it wasn't really the military that arrested President Mubarak. It was the people.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Did Former Egyptian President Mubarak Have Heart Attack?

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may have suffered a heart attack while preparing to undergo questioning into allegations of corruption, according to reports by Egyptian State TV. He was forced out of office in February following 18 days of protests.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Military Cracks Down on Protesters, Kills Two

AFP / Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Hundreds of Egyptian troops used guns and electric batons to break up several hundred protesters Saturday in Tahrir Square. The crackdown left two people dead and at least 15 wounded.

The troops came in around 3 a.m., targeting overnight protesters in a tent camp who were violating a 2 a.m. local curfew time. Most overnight protesters were still in the area from a peaceful protest that took place Friday.

The protesters tried to form a human chain upon the troops' arrival, but most scattered when troops began firing weapons.

The violence comes as tensions continue between pro-democracy groups and the military rule that has led the country since Hosni Mubarak left office in February.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Snubbed! Egyptian Youth Groups Won't Meet with Hillary

Win McNamee/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- A coalition of six youth groups that emerged from Egypt's revolution last month has refused to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in Cairo on Tuesday, in protest of the United States' strong support for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who was ousted by the uprising.

A spokesman for Clinton had no immediate response to the snub. Another State Department official, who would not speak for attribution, confirmed such a meeting had been slated for Tuesday and noted that she still plans to meet with members of civil society and transitional government officials during her visit, during which she will urge Egyptians to continue on the path towards democracy.

Mubarak was one of the United States' strongest allies in the Middle East over successive American administrations. He enjoyed a cozy relationship with top U.S. leaders, which courted Egypt with massive military aid packages as thanks in large part for its support for Israel and intelligence help in the War on Terror.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newly Released Al Qaeda Message Blasts Mubarak

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images (file)(WASHINGTON) -- A new audio message from Osama bin Laden's terrorist deputy was released on the Internet Friday, the first message from al Qaeda since the unrest in Egypt began. The 34-minute message from Ayman al-Zawahiri addressed the corruption of the Egyptian regime and denounced the government of President Hosni Mubarak for resisting Islamic law.

"The constitution of the regime in Egypt claims that it is democratic. But it's truth that it's a suppressive regime that rules the people with suppressive forces and fake elections and corrupt media and unjust law," Zawahiri said. Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born doctor, served three years in prison for his role in the 1981 assassination of Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, and helped found al Qaeda after his release from prison.

The audio message was produced by al Qaeda's media arm, as-Sahab, meaning "of The Cloud," and posted on radical Islamic internet forums Friday as part of a video, according to the IntelCenter, a terrorism monitoring group. The audio message gives no date or indication of when it was recorded, and makes no reference to the 18 days of mass protests that began in January, but the still images featured in the video include a reference to an Islamic month that ended one week before Mubarak's Feb. 11 resignation.

Since the Egyptian uprising began last month, regional analysts had noted al Qaeda's lack of response. Overthrowing the Egyptian regime had long been a stated goal of al Qaeda. Zawahiri's message comes faster than typical al Qaeda releases, but not in time to claim any effect on the unrest in Egypt.

Mubarak had been in power for 30 years, taking over after a militant group led by Zawahiri, Islamic Jihad, assassinated Sadat. Egyptian authorities quickly arrested and convicted several members of the Islamic Jihad, including Zawahiri. He has accused the government of systematic torture while he was imprisoned.

After his release in 1984, Zawahiri quickly left Egypt for Saudi Arabia and then Pakistan, where he provided medical aid to the mujahedeen then fighting Soviet occupation in Afghanistan. It was in Pakistan that Zawahiri befriended Osama bin Laden, and eventually merged Islamic Jihad into the Saudi scion's organization, al Qaeda.

During his years in exile, Zawahiri was behind several terrorist attacks targeting Egyptian government officials and buildings, both inside Egypt and abroad. During the recent uprising and protests, Egyptians demanded that the government end the country's Emergency Rule, which had been enacted shortly after Sadat's assassination to protect against the threat of Islamic militants. Egyptians complained bitterly that the rule allowed the government to make arbitrary arrests and indefinite detention with no access to the Egyptian legal system.

Officials for the Central Intelligence Agency told ABC News that as a rule they do not publicly confirm the authenticity of al Qaeda audio and video messages.

Zawahiri last released an audio message in November 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt Protesters Gather in Tahrir Square for 'Victory March'

Photo Courtesy - Chris Hondros/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Tens of thousands of people are gathering on the streets of Egypt Friday, but this time, it's not in protest.

Exactly one week after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, protesters are returning to Cairo's Tahrir Square after Friday prayers for what they are calling a "victory march."  Protesters, complete with a military marching band, will be celebrating the ouster of Mubarak and the revolution they helped create.

In a symbolic move, Sheikh Qaradawi, one of the most influential Sunni clerics, will be presiding over Friday prayers at the square.  Qaradawi was previously banned from entering the country under Mubarak and has been instrumental in urging the Egyptian people to rise up against the regime.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Attacks Iran's Gov't, Defends Administration's Voice On Egypt

Photo Courtesy - Pete Souza/The White House (file)(WASHINGTON) -- In his first news conference of the year, President Obama assailed the Iranian government's response to the recent protests that have erupted since the uprising in Egypt overthrew its 30-year-long president, Hosni Mubarak. He said it's "ironic" that the Iranian regime has hailed the Egyptian revolt while suppressing its own protests.

"What's different is the Iranian government response, which is to shoot people and beat people and arrest people," the president said. "My hope and expectation is that we're going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government, understanding that American cannot ultimately dictate what happens inside Iran."

The White House drew some criticism for its measured response in the initial days of the uprising in Egypt, and for not denouncing Mubarak, who refused to step down despite protesters' demands. Mubarak was a longtime ally of the United States who has played a key role in Israel-Palestine negotiations.

The president also defended the U.S. message on Egypt, saying it was consistent.

"We were mindful that it was important for this to remain an Egyptian event, that the United States did not become the issue, but that we sent out a very clear message that we believed in an orderly transition, a meaningful transition, and a transition that needed to happen not later, but sooner, and we were consistent on that message throughout," he said.

While the president hailed the reforms the military is planning to make in Egypt, he expressed concern about stability in the greater Arab world, where the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings have sparked a number of protests, from Jordan to Yemen to Algeria.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt: Gov't Will Maintain Regional, International Deals

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egypt’s Supreme Military Council says it will respect all regional and international agreements.

While the statement released by the Council on Saturday failed to mention the Camp David Accords by name, the peace deal between Egypt and Israel – signed in the late 1970s – would appear to be included under that umbrella of agreements.

The military also said it asked the current government to stay in place until a new one is formed.  It gave no timetable for the transition.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt: With Mubarak Out, New Sense Of Purpose In Tahrir Square

Photo Courtesy - Aaron Katersky/ABC NewsREPORTER’S NOTEBOOK

(CAIRO) -- After 18 days of protests that succeeded in ousting president Hosni Mubarak, a sense of civic pride has overcome the people of Egypt.

They're still celebrating here in Tahrir Square, but where they were carrying flags and placards, now they're carrying brooms, dustpans and garbage bags. The people here have a new sense of purpose – they are cleaning up the Square, actually picking up garbage.

“I've decided that I'm going to work, and plan and dream and get inspired,” one woman told me. “Starting cleaning the streets until building another pyramid.”

Such is the hope that was unleashed here with the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and, for the moment, it trumps any apprehension Egyptians may have about how their country will be governed going forward.

People say they want to build a new Egypt and thousands have come, many with their families.

“This is a historic moment in our time and I want them to feel this,” another woman told me, referring to her children whom she brought with her to help clean the Square. “I need this to be in their memory when they grow up.”

Though her children will grow up with almost no recollection of the country’s former president, she told me that she just wants them “to remember that we did something in this country.”

Over the last three weeks or so this square has seen bullets and bottles, violence and death, and celebration.

“Something within me says it has to be cleaned,” a third woman in the Square told me. “Now I feel it's an obligation.”

“This is my country,” she said. I have to clean it with my own hands. This is my own responsibility now, and everyone else’s.”

She told me it feels like she’s coming home after a 30-year absence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt: Jubilation In Cairo As Transition Begins To Take Shape

Photo Courtesy - Getty ImagesREPORTER'S NOTEBOOK

(CAIRO) -- As you cross the Nile Bridge into Tahrir Square, you are carried along by a sea of humanity: red, white and black Egyptian flags are being held high, people are singing and chanting and hugging -- celebrating the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power here.

You can hear the celebration echoing all throughout downtown. Horns are honking, people are cheering all over Cairo.

The army is now in control. That's not what the demonstrators wanted, but they now hope a new era of democracy can be ushered in here in Egypt. There are many uncertainties ahead. Will the army usher in the democratic reforms these demonstrators have been seeking or will they seek to preserve a system which has served the generals well for six decades?  The answer, thus far, is unknown.

But for now, it feels like the entire city of Cairo is out partying.  A river of people, crossing the Nile Bridge into Tahrir Square. Many are hugging each other, children are on their parents' shoulders, waving Egyptian flags -- young and old, all walks of life, celebrating a moment many of them thought they could never live to see.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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