Lord Soley

Trouble in Egypt puts trouble in the Lords into perspective!

At the time of writing the President is still clinging onto power. I rather fear this is going to have a violent end. The army either has to let people power take its course or they have to impose the Presidents will.

So is the outcome going to be as it was in China or as in East Europe? Keep you fingers crossed!

25 comments for “Egypt

  1. Carl.H
    29/01/2011 at 7:10 pm

    The experts seem to have mixed feelings, some worried that Islamification could happen whereas the President, as in other Arabian states, is allied to the West more firmly. Personally I don’t feel Islamification will happen to any extent in Egypt but I’m no expert.

  2. Gareth Howell
    29/01/2011 at 8:42 pm

    ” I rather fear this is going to have a violent end”

    I wish very few such an end except those of systematic violence throughout their life, who surely expect it? I try hard with pacifism but it is not always easy.

    What is the link between Egyptian demos and Tunisian ones? Is it the same brand of Arabic Islam; a domino effect?

    • Lord Blagger
      31/01/2011 at 10:32 am

      What is the link between Egyptian demos and Tunisian ones? Is it the same brand of Arabic Islam; a domino effect?


      Nope. Its a government that dictates and doesn’t allow the electorate a say on any matters.

      It’s a government that is corrupt and looks after its own cronies rather than prosecute them.

      Sounds familiar.

  3. Matt
    30/01/2011 at 9:50 pm

    The regime’s forcing Internet infrastructure down, aside from the ISP which serves the stock exchange, shows the dire need for infrastructure decentralisation.

    The Internet was designed such that a nuclear war could not cause information flow to be shut off. Each peer could route any others’ data–shut one peer down and the data would take another route. In recent times however, there has been a tendency towards increasingly centralised infrastructure–few ISPs, few backbones and few cables.

    The situation in Egypt shows that it’s absolutely pivotal for future infrastructure to become more decentralised, not even more centralised. We need not predict a despotic regime becoming the executive here–the task for any rogue group now coveting the information situation in Egypt is made easier by there being few points of failure, or rather attack.

    With focus on Egypt: Currently, PTSN/phone lines are still up, through which one French ISP is offering dial-up access (directed to which no praise can be too great). Hearsay has it that Al Jazeera is using satellite connection to get information in and out of the country. There are also a group of >100 HAM radio operators (, through which information can also be passed.

    Of note, by implication the protesters are terrorists: Associated Press reported that the regime had “deployed an elite special counterterrorism force” ( It appears that Icelandic banks are not the only unorthodox terrorists.

    It should come as no surprise that another, familiar “terrorist” is helping those on the streets: ‘Anonymous’, of Cablegate fame, has been distributing leaflets around Cairo (

    One can only look on and despair–how long until a younger generation of politicians sits in parliament, a generation which is the slightest bit aware of key technological issues?

    • Twm O'r Nant
      31/01/2011 at 10:29 am

      100 HAM radio operators (, through which information can also be…

      There is no doubt that Radio Tunis was at one time a hub for political, and military news, as one nonegenarian ham/mod operator pointed out to me some years ago.

      I am not sure how convincing Matt’s argument is, except to concur with the Nuclear threat aspect of what he has said.

      The power of the users, ie Wikipedia, can not be in doubt viz Iran Facebook election and so on, but can the Internet structure also be a root cause of unrest, or a medium for causing it?

      There is no doubt again that all these things have their origin in USA now though, if not California. The greater or less political dependence of smaller nation (states)is quite certain.

      Diplomacy and espionage is not necessary.
      Internet control is, either with software or Structural hardware.

    31/01/2011 at 4:35 am

    I do wonder myself the outcome of this affair, though I must wonder also if this “People Power” is all its cracked up to be. I seem to recall another Middle Eastern “Dictator’ who was ousted form power in the name of Democracy. He was the Shah of Iran, which now has become a rather less-than-Free Islamic Republic.

    Its easy to drape oneself in the contemporary Values of the World, and use those as Justification or ones actions, and this has been done Historically. Todays unquestionable Ideal is Democracy, as as much as we look back with Disdain for those who killed in the name of Kings or their Religion, we are really no different, in that we will rise up for some abstract notion and try to impose our will based upon the Justification of some new platform.

    But, siply declarign that lie will be better once I kill you and take whatever power you have because I’d be better for the People doesn’t mean much. Its certainly not a better world for you, is it? And what if, once I seize power, those who disagree with me are called the enemies of the People? Fairly easy it would be to simply make them Enemies of the State or Enemies of the Revolution.

    I do not Trust mass protesters, and don’t trust those who back this one, least of all Iran who see’s in many of those rebels Kindred Spirits.

    Egypt is in Turmoil, as is Tunisia, and he Turmoil is fueled as much by our modern perception and narratives about Democracy and People Power as anythign else.

  5. Lord Soley
    Clive Soley
    31/01/2011 at 10:50 am

    Some interesting popints here. Matt, the efforts to stop the information flow is becoming the battle ground between those who want open and accountable government and those who don’t. It’s difficult territory but you make a powerful point.

    Gareth, I think Tunisia was important and there are obvious similarities but the core question is whether the army will be prepapred to act as the Chinese army did or will it stay neutral. An interesting and undiscussed point here is whether western military leaders (mainly the US)are in contact with senior Egyptian officers. The Egyptian army does have to take into account their overwhelming reliance on western military supplies.
    Zarove. I really do feel you are missing a crucial point. Free and fair elections allow a people to get rid of a government. That is why democracy is different to other systems.

    • Gareth Howell
      31/01/2011 at 10:04 pm

      There are times when political movements gather pace in a way which few, or no, leaders can control, as if they ever could any way. They may merely stand at one side and observe, what is likely to happen, even in the light of history. Thatcher was competent like that; her powers of analysis.

      I do not find our middle East envoy to have any such similar powers at all. “It is a volatile region”. Well. yes.

      We are dealing with the (AL)Arab League.

      Europe fortunately now has the noble Lady on leave of absence from the House to deal expressly with European foreign affairs; Baroness Ashton.

      She will doubtless express her opinion forcefully to her employer, the President of the EU.

      “It is a volatile region” but if the volatility extends further than the political entity of the AL, weak as it always is, it is my contention that we should begin to look to Turkey to ensure some greater security in the region.

      The very long stop is the history of the Ottoman Empire, and its dominance over Palestine until 1917, and points westwards.

      When lists of countries/states begin to get rattled off by politicians, in their statements, something rather bigger is happening.

      The very short stop is to remind ourselves that Israel is ,if not a colony of the City of New York, heavily dependent on the benevolence of the US govt of the day.

      I don’t believe that, however great the power of the Jewish lobby, the USA would not be prepared to take a very different stance to
      Israel in the future.

      It would.

      • Maude Elwes
        01/02/2011 at 1:22 pm

        Israel is another US state. Have you seen the inhabitants lining up for their ballot papers when the US elections are under way?

        Israel has more voter turn out for US elections than some of the North American based states.

        The Jewish lobby is in control of Washington.

  6. JSDM
    31/01/2011 at 1:48 pm

    Simply put, by a would-be Earth or ‘global’ citizenry “people-member”, we have no time to cross fingers, not even of opposite hands.

    Clearly Egyptians are not wasting energy, time, things, places, money, and life by such self-impairment as crossing fingers, neither.

    The positive and quantum-leap fowards miracle of organised peaceful and non-violent protestation, in favour of good-and democracy-like governance in Egypt, must have been skilfully planned and organised: to which Britain’s traditionally de facto Two-Party State can hold no candle.


    • Maude Elwes
      01/02/2011 at 3:30 pm

      You are so right.

      I wonder if we, in this Western democracy, could have been so tolerant of it’s people? Would the Armed Forces or our Police have refused to harm the democratic voice of the demonstrators had we taken such direct action?

      Sadly, I don’t think so.

  7. JSDM
    31/01/2011 at 4:04 pm

    Lord Soley, I must strongly disagree with your rebuttal of Zarove’s relevantly good if somewhat hidden points.

    Really, these masses of Egyptian people are assembling in collective pain and privation, in support of a new and non-corrupt, non-authoritarian government – ‘democracy-like’ if you will.
    That the next most necessary & sufficient vital step must surely (and perhaps alas!) be the stepping-down of the 30 years longstanding, but increasingly evidently utilitarianly-and-humanitarianly-failed regime, under the nigh-dictatorship of one ill-suited, incompetent, and un-humanitarian president, called ‘Mubarrack’ (?) is no post-hoc-propter-hoc peoples’-mind-functional fault.

    Mind you, I think Zarove would have made truer sense if in his last paragraph he could have included an essential qualification such as that “our modern perception and narratives about Democracy and People Power” is a mere ‘spin-bubble’, of dangerously deceptive and puffed-up ‘myths’*.

    * “True myth must be distinguished from
    1 Philosophical allegory…
    2 Aetiological explanation…
    3 Satire or parody…
    4 Sentimental fable…
    5 Embroidered history…
    6 Minstrel romance…
    7 Political propaganda…
    8 Moral legend…
    9 Humourous anecdote…
    10 Theatrical melodrama…
    11 Heroic saga…
    12 Realistic fiction … .”
    Robert Graves “Greek Myths” vol 1 .
    Matt’s hope is forlorn: youth is not being prepared – nor even preparing itself – for governance-responsibility nor for ‘Earth-citizenship’ response-ability; not anywhere in the visible nor reported Worlds.
    I ‘intuit’ the same as Carl H – -Egypt is more ‘West-rationality’ hooked than ‘Islamist-arrogated’.

    Our own Houses lack order: isn’t that evident from the proceedings of the scrutiny committee into Britain’s non-existent ‘Grand Strategy’ alone ?

    238 words.

    31/01/2011 at 6:25 pm

    Thank you JSDM.

    And my point is that I am wary of any volatile situation. Iran, we were told years ago, was under a Dictatorship of the Shah, and those who would want him removed Stood for Democracy. They were the good guys. Does anyone say that now about the Ayatollah Konini?

    While I don’t know the Future obviously, I do know the past, and quiet often revolutions lead to worse Government with ore oppression than the ones they overthrow. Our Romanticising them has lea us to sympathise with the Protestors and blind us to the possibility that should the current government of Egypt fall, it will simply create a Power vacuum in which anyone may step, including a Militant Shi’ite Government ala Iran. In which case, the Egyptian Christians, Jews, and Non-Shi’ite Muslims may easily face Persecution, and the Laws become far more strict and unjust.

    Or, what about the possibility of a New Saddam Hussein or new Fidel Castro? Would that be better?

    People who react based on a groundswell of Emotion, who riot in the Streets and cry out in Angry, often find themselves susceptible to simply hating the Old Regime and accepting anyone who steps in to replace it on the Promise of a Better Life, without examining what the Newcomers will do when in Power.

    I simply advise Caution in dealing with such, for in events like this the Outcome is hard to predict.

  9. johnrdkidd
    04/02/2011 at 12:42 am

    What is good for Israel is no longer good for America.

    Israeli politicians are now openly critical of their principal funder and arms supplier, the United States, by alleging that President Obama should be supporting the failed dictatorship of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak – and that calling for human rights and democracy, in Egypt, is a grave error.

    That stance is not unexpected considering Israel’s continued contempt for the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions. What is surprising, however, is the willingness to criticize America openly, presumably in the perceived knowledge that, in reality, it is the American Israel Lobby that formulates and implements US foreign policy in the Middle East, not President Obama.

    And that brings the problem into stark relief. Israel cannot direct this US administration as they did the last administration and it desperately wants a right-wing, Republican government, which, it believes, will be more sympathetic to Israeli demands for a ‘Greater Israel’ that includes the whole West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    The current popular, civilian uprising in Egypt is, unfortunately, deeply unpopular in Israel where they prefer Mubarak’s often brutal regime, as the status quo ante suited the Israeli agenda very well. Without Mubarak, Israel would not have been able to mount the siege of Gaza in which 1.6 million are still denied the free movement of people and goods, including essential food and medical supplies. Mubarak colluded in this illegal restriction by keeping closed the border crossing at Rafah in order to meet Israeli demands.

    Clearly, what is good for Israel is no longer good for America, and that lesson needs to be learned. As for Egypt, let us hope and pray that it can really change to become the only true democracy in the Middle East.

    • Maude Elwes
      10/02/2011 at 11:44 am

      One of the off shoots of this Egyptian march against tyranny, is the exposure of US duplicity.

      A warning to all states world wide. Take notice. They pay you while they think you will go along with their questionable agenda. When you want to be free of them, under the true form of what they tell you they wanted, Democracy, they withdraw their ‘tacit’ support.

      Mind you, Mubarak, akin the one T Blair, is walking away the US tax payers bounty.

      How come no one is mentioning reclaiming funds this Egyptian ruler has gleaned out of Western tax payers for the last thirty years? Why hasn’t his assets been frozen?

      Where did he make all this money and how and from whom? What is the official salary for Egyptian President? Not over a billion a year, I’m sure.

      This is yet another example of how leaders are robbing their voters clouded with secrecy.

      And governments are worried about wikileaks! They should be concentrating on what wilileaks is trying to tell us all, openly. But then, that would stop them having the hand in our till.

      It really boils down to being run by people who manage our affairs akin to the Mafia. We are paying them protection money, yet, they fail to protect us and in the end, finish us off when we tell them we don’t like their modus operandi.

      Blood money.

  10. Carl.H
    04/02/2011 at 8:41 pm

    I am concerned.

    Western leaders have jumped on the bandwagon calling for Mubarek to go on the back of a protest by possibly a hundred thousand or more in a Country of millions more than the UK.

    The protests were started over unemployment and the financial state of the Country. In March/April protests are due to take place in this Country. If the protesters call for David Cameron to stand down will he heed that call ?

    In Egypt a supposedly less civilised Country, and less free than here there has been no kettling, no official cavalry charges.

    The existing Government in Egypt have a constitution, they require time because of that constitution to make changes and yet the call from World leaders is change now.

    We have no way of knowing if the protesters in Egypt do actually represent a majority. There appears a large amount of hypocrisy involved here and I’m not convinced by World leaders.

    A vacuum in Government and leadership will do Egypt no good whatsoever. It will take a long time for Egypt to financially recover from this, talks are ongoing with opposition leaders. Egypt has relied on the west for financial support, it will need that more than ever now. It is time not for leaders to shout in support but diplomatically help Egypt.

  11. ZAROVE
    04/02/2011 at 9:15 pm

    John Kidd, I can tell you really hate Israel, but don’t you think being a bit more fair to it, and balanced in your views, would be helpful?

    That said, Mubarack was not a Dictator till about three weeks ago. No one really saw him as a horrible Leader who greatly abused Human Rights. Now he is. Its purely a media creation and depends entirely upon whose point of view is being given. As to the Protestors demanding Democracy, we’ve discussed that, but as Democracy is nowadays the Universal Value System, its really not impressive. The Egyptian protestors claim Mubarack is a Dictator and they want Democracy to lend themselves the Legitimacy the word “Democracy” brings with it to our modern minds, and contrasting their Democratic Aims against the Dictator Mubarack is a way to make themselves the Heroes in the eyes of the world. Its Rhetorical, though. Mubarack also claims to want Democracy, and even Iran claims to be a Democracy.

    Meanwhile, amongst the best Governments in the Middle East are the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, both Monarchies with strong Monarchs who have real Power.

    Democracy is not the end all be all solution for everything, and doesn’t ensure Human Rights, nor is it True that a Protest that demands Democracy is really Heroically Struggling against the depths of Oppression and Tyranny to achieve it.

    My problem with the situation is, we don’t know who will replace amberjack, and if it’s a Hard line Wahabi, for example, then Egyptian Democracy will amount to Terrorism supporting Government officials and a strict adherence to a very strict interpretation of Islamic Law.

    I do not wan tot see Iran turned into Iran 2, I don’t know about you.

  12. johnrdkidd
    06/02/2011 at 11:47 am

    ZAROVE, your personal comments are unhelpful.

    My family has given much time and money over the years to Israel – but not so that it could be transmogrified into a brutal occupier of other’s lands.

    Please do not assume that all Jews support the current right-wing extremist Likud government. Many, many thousands of us find it to be abhorrent, particularly so in view of our history. Furthermore the corruption that is well known to be widely endemic within Israeli politics, is unacceptable to those of us who believe in integrity and human rights.

    Of course, Mubarak is a dictator and will get into bed with anyone provided that he, personally, benefits. Currently, he sleeps with Netanyahu, because the American-Israel lobby pays him US$1.5 billion every year, to do so.

    However, when Egypt eventually installs a democratic government, then its prime minister will undoubtedly refuse to sleep around, notwithstanding the effect that may have on US ‘aid’. And that will mean the end of the illegal blockade of Gaza, giving back freedom, food and medical supplies to a half million families – families just like yours and mine.

    That is why Binyamin Netanyahu fears democracy.

  13. Maude Elwes
    06/02/2011 at 3:25 pm

    One of the biggest insults to mankind, in this move of the people, is the voice of T.Blair speaking on radio regarding the Egyptian move toward a ‘peaceful’ democracy.

    ‘Who’ was the genius who gave him a job as ‘peace’ envoy for the Middle East? How could anyone, on any part of this planet ‘trust’ a guy who would be a traitor to his own people and its young soldiers.

    The man is a disgrace and should be hiding his face in shame, not pushing himself as some kind of messiah in the hope of a later ‘come back.’ He’s very fortunate not to be standing in the Hague dock charged with war crimes, including sanction to torture.

    How does such a cretin get away with it?

  14. ZAROVE
    07/02/2011 at 8:48 am

    John Kid-

    My family has given much time and money over the years to Israel – but not so that it could be transmogrified into a brutal occupier of other’s lands.

    That’s nice but, this topic is not about Israel and I don’t really think incessant Criticism of Israel is valid. That doesn’t mean I think that it should never be Criticised at all, but its unrealistic to posit this situation as an America VS Israeli affair when its really Focused on Egypt.

    Please do not assume that all Jews support the current right-wing extremist Likud government.

    I never said anything about all Jews. In fact, I simply asked to stop making rather obviously biased comments about Israel in a topic about Egypt. I hear Jews live in Egypt too, you know… for that matter, there are Muslims and Christians who are Israeli.

    Many, many thousands of us find it to be abhorrent, particularly so in view of our history. Furthermore the corruption that is well known to be widely endemic within Israeli politics, is unacceptable to those of us who believe in integrity and human rights.

    But how does this Anti-Right wing Attitude really differ from an Anti-Left Wing attitude? And how does the Lukid Government really matter in a topic about Egypt and he Protestors there?

    Its rather like discussing French Politics when dealing with Spain.

    Of course, Mubarak is a dictator and will get into bed with anyone provided that he, personally, benefits. Currently, he sleeps with Netanyahu, because the American-Israel lobby pays him US$1.5 billion every year, to do so.

    As I said, Mubarack was not seen as a Dictator till about a Month Ago, and selling out for Money is a Politicians Game from ages ago.

    However, when Egypt eventually installs a democratic government, then its prime minister will undoubtedly refuse to sleep around,

    You know this as a fact because why? This is why I said earlier that our stupor in regards to the word “Democracy” really must end. We act as if it’s a Magic Cure all, when clearly its not. Do you honestly think Corruption never happens in Democratic Governance?

    Does the name Rod Blagojivitch mean nothing to you?

    Just because something is Democratic doesn’t make it void of Corruption, just like Democracy doesn’t ensure Freedom, or the Liberal Values of the Western World.

    notwithstanding the effect that may have on US `aid’. And that will mean the end of the illegal blockade of Gaza, giving back freedom, food and medical supplies to a half million families – families just like yours and mine.

    I don’t see how. EG, if Mubarack is Replaced by a Pro-Palestinian, Anti-Israel leader who sides with Iran, Israel is more likly to step up its defences than to scale back.

    That is why Binyamin Netanyahu fears democracy.

    Or, why he fears the outcome of the current Egyptian Protest. The big problem is. No one really likes Democracy unless they personally get their way. That’s why Referendums are seldom held by Politicians when they know the Vast Majority of the Population disagrees with them.

    • Maude Elwes
      07/02/2011 at 6:11 pm

      ‘The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.’

      Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.’

      Winston Churchill

  15. COLINDALE London
    08/02/2011 at 12:06 am

    Hitler was elected in 1933, to the ultimate detriment of both Germany and the world.

    George W Bush was elected president of the US, twice, and yet he represented, if anyone, the minority American-Israel lobby to the detriment of Middle East peace and the US electorate.

    The lesson being that a powerful minority political group can exert disproportionate influence in a democratic society owing to the inherent defect that a majority of the electorate is too often apathetic in valuing hard-won democratic benefits, which are immediately seized upon by vested interests to enrich and empower themselves at the expense of everyone else. They will claim that they are only acting in a democratic manner. Which they are, technically.

    To avoid such misuse and subversion of democratic systems, the people need to be very aware how easy it is for powerful minority interests, with money, to subvert the system to their advantage.

    Democracy is good, but it needs policing.

  16. ZAROVE
    08/02/2011 at 7:21 am

    maude, regarding Blair: he is a Politician. Lie, cheat, commit criminal fraud, you won’t do Jail Time, ad half the time you will be lauded as a hero.

    heck, you can outright murder people if your politically connected enough…

    Blair old out Britain to the EU, sold out Ulster to the Nationalists, and sold out the world to personal ambition, but he looks great on camera and has appeased the proper people, so he won’t be accountable, and many of those things will be applauded.

    Plus, his avarice is so great that he even presumes to tell the Pope hoe to run the Catholic Church after two or three months membership…

    Cos he’s Tony, the Democratically elected former Prime Minister and all around grand political Guru, so of course he can solve all Problems in the Middle East, and look good on Camera for it.

    What else do you expect? A PM in the Docks?

  17. ZAROVE
    12/02/2011 at 11:22 pm

    COLINDALE London,

    I don’t buy the endless Bush Bashing, and really can’t contrast him to Hitler. He really wasn’t that bad, and keep in mind the same level of Vitriol is given to the current President Obama.

    But that is a real problem for Democracy; Whoever wins 51% of the Voters rules 100% of them. The leader never really represents “The Will Of The People”. Do you think Obama does? If so, how do you account for him not securing more than 53% of the overall vote?

    No, the problem with Democracy is that it leads to endless social division, with people always at each others throats, and [political parties capitalise on this and stir the pot as controversy galvanises the electorate, thus securing their “Democratic Mandate”.

    This is why I prefer the Mixed Constitutional Monarchy we have, and wish we’d take it back to a time when the crown could exercise real power, and so could the Lords. This leads to a system of Checks and Balances that also depends on different houses composed of members form different Franchises.

    Elections should be for a Lower House, the middle should be either appointed or Hereditary, and the same is true of the Head.

  18. COLINDALE London
    15/02/2011 at 9:52 am


    Unfortunately, you have completely missed the point.

    AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AKA the Israel Lobby, has 100,000 registered members out of an electorate of 3.8 million. Yet they have a hugely disproportionate influence on American foreign policy in the Middle East, and elsewhere.

    That’s democracy? A government of the people, for the people?

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