Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cairo: Israel Vacates Embassy

January - President Hosni Mubarak knows that only a popular fear for chaos and looting now can save him. Not surprisingly, protesters catching looters have established they are indeed police officers.

There is a certain fear spreading among Egyptians not marching in the streets - a fear that the lawless conditions may victimise them. Reports of looting and violence are dominating on state broadcasters, fuelling the fear.

President Mubarak in his speech yesterday evening warned against the chaos too much freedom would cause and staged himself as the only person able to protect the population. The warning has had some effect as several Cairo neighbourhoods now are organising vigilance groups to protect their property.

Reports of looting, which were very scarce yesterday, are indeed growing in number. Also international broadcasters have been able to document looting in central Cairo and other cities. Even the world-famous Egyptian Museum - until now well protected by protesters and army alike - has fallen prey.

But a closer look behind these reports reveals that much of this looting activity is well organised and not spontaneous. At the Egyptian Museum - which indeed has been protected - reports indicate that artefacts are not missing, but that rather a big mess has been created. And everybody in central Cairo is asking how any group of looters could have entered the museum without being noticed.

More and more reports are ticking in from all over Egypt, indicating that the mobs spreading fear indeed are on the government pay-roll. In Alexandria, the protesters themselves attacked a looting group, catching several of them bore police ID cards.

Also in Cairo, demonstrators and the army have been able to catch some of the looters. Also here, police and secret police ID cards were found, according to the protesters.

President Mubarak, while having some success with the create-fear-though-looting strategy, however no longer seems to be sure he can remain in power. Several sources confirmed that both his son Gamal - believed to be next to take over power in Egypt - and his wife have already left the country in private jets.

Also several allies of President Mubarak are reported to either seek distance from him or leave the country. The Israeli Embassy has already be vacated and Israelis have left the country - despite the large confidence exposed in Jerusalem yesterday that Mr Mubarak will be able stay in power. Israel is known to have good intelligence services and analysts.

From here.

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