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Egypt News July 13, 2011…أخبار مصر ١٣ يوليو ٢٠١١

1. Protestors discuss why they have returned to Tahrir Square. However after occupying the square for nearly two weeks and rejecting SCAF’s increasing concessions, the collection of popular committees, political parties and youth coalitions cannot agree on the end game.
2. Despite the pleas of many officers, the Minister of the Interior has announced the largest ever internal reform for his ministry.
3. Due to yesterday morning’s attack in which six were wounded and one attacker incarcerated via a citizen’s arrest and a second altercation this morning, protests have kicked street vendors out of Tahrir. Is this really the people’s revolution? These images are disturbing.
4. After announcing the imminent formation of a committee to draft constitutional principles on Tuesday, the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) announces that parliamentary elections will likely be delayed until November. While the first is central another concession aimed at appeasing those liberal groups in Tahrir (at the expense of the wishes of the Muslim Brotherhood), the second is likely more of a logistic decision. At the moment SCAF lacks the control over the streets, number judges to act as electoral observers and planning to pull off elections in September.
5. Useful background reading on the situation in Suez as protestors there now threaten to block the tunnel to the Sinai

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Egypt News July 12, 2011…أخبار مصر ١٢ يوليو ٢٠١١

1. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) released its first statement since the beginning of the sit-in this morning. After the statement angered rather than mollified the protests, SCAF held a press conference this afternoon. The conference was taped rather than recorded live but Al-Jazeera English’s Middle East correspondent tweeted the event. Neither mollified the protestors who marched to the Cabinet to present their demands. They are now calling for the resignation of Essam El-Sharaf. However, their proposed replacement Mohammad El-Baradei has declined their overtures.
2. Deputy Prime Minister Yehia El-Gamal resigns.
2. Thugs attacked the Tahrir Square sit-in this morning wounding eight.
3. After much deliberation, those in Tahrir Square have decided to reopen the Mugama` (the large government bureaucratic building). Maybe this means I will finally get my student visa?
4. Another day, another bombing of the Egypt-Israel natural gas pipeline. This marks the fourth time since the January 25 Revolution that the pipeline has been sabotaged. The pipeline was just reopened on July 11, 2011 after the July 5, 2011 bombing. Aspects of Egypt’s foreign policy with Israel appear to be changing despite the efforts of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
5. Islamic groups ranging from Salafists to the Muslim Brotherhood (arabic) to the Gamayia al-Islamiyya (arabic) – have all released statements supporting SCAF and the government of Essam El-Sharaf and condemning chaos caused by sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience. This serves as a pleasant reminder that those dominating the headlines are a minority representing a specific political slice of Egyptian society that is in constant conflict with SCAF and other political players over the allegiance of the silent and nonaligned Egyptian majority.

Prime Minister Essam El-Sharif’s Statement: July 11, 2011 بيان رئيس الوزراء عصام الشرف ١١ يوليو ٢٠١١

Tonight after meeting with the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces, Prime Minister Essam El-Sharif gave his second statement in three days. More concessions have been awarded to the protestors. The emotive concessions for the deceased revolutionaries’ families have been carried over from the speech on Saturday July 9, 2011. Despite the fact this second speech actually contains potential for political reform, the wording is still very vague. Which cabinet posts will be reshuffled? Who will assume the new posts? Civilians or generals? Will the Interior Minister remain in power?

Moreover, after watching the speech (arabic) a couple of times, I’m struck by the rigid posture and monotone voice of the Prime Minister. He lacks both emotion and energy. In fact he seems resigned to a fate determined by events outside of his control and purview. He is not ruling but responding and thus his legitimacy is in danger. While twitter fails to present an accurate pulse of Egyptian society (as most Egyptian twitter users are young and liberal – i.e. the vanguard of the revolution), it appears that these concessions have failed to mollify the protestors. The large protests are still on for tomorrow and another collection of bands is slated to play in Tahrir Square (the Egyptian Woodstock) tomorrow evening. Dare I say that this echoes back to the events of January and February where repeated vague statements on the behalf of Mubarak and Omar Suleiman failed to mollify those gathered in Tahrir? Or am I blinded by my emotions?

Anyways, translation of the speech is below (and I’m off to bed):

In the Name of God the Merciful and the Compassionate

Brothers and Sisters. The Masses of the great Egyptian people.

I think you all agree with me that we are passing through a historical moment. This moment requires more communication and the commitment of all of us to continued interaction with the demands of the masses in order to both achieve the goals of the revolution and to preserve its gains. And from this point of departure, I present the following decisions:
1. To reshuffle the cabinet (ministries) within the week in order to achieve the goals of the revolution and reflect the true desire of the people.
2. To appoint governors who agree with the aspirations of the people before the end of the next month.
3. To entrust the Interior Minister to hasten in announcing appointments in the Interior Ministry that guarantee the exclusion of those police officers involved with crimes against the revolutionaries. This action must be completed before July 15, 2011. Also I entrust the Interior Minister to quickly return security and discipline to the Egyptian street. Here, I urge you all to remember our full support and confidence in all the honest leadership and officers of the police force.
4. To implore the High Council of Distinguished Judges to publicly try all the symbols of the previous regime and the murders of the revolutionaries. These trials must meet the ambitions of the people and comfort the martyrs’ families. Also I implore the people to allow the judges to practice their work in the natural manner that allows justice to run its course
5. To reform the press and media bodies and institutions as soon as possible.
6. To appoint myself the head of the president of the board for the January 25 Revolution victims and their families’ welfare fund and to hasten to meet their needs.
7. To demand from the great Egyptian people that they work with us for the sake achieving all of this and that they grant the new government a full opportunity to work for the sake of Egypt’s future and the realization of the revolutions goals. With God’s permission the near future will witness a group of decisions that will meet the revolution’s goals and all else the people demand – in accordance with what good God has for this country and the sacrifices of our righteous martyrs.

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you all.