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TASI     BEN ALI replace Bourguiba (Hedge21)

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Hedge21     posted : 15/01/11   01:30 am


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who will replace him now???




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Please review our website & don\' hesitate to ask your question
Hedge21     posted : 15/01/11   01:33 am


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Corruption, high unemployment, high inflation and high food prices have forced the corrupt dictator Ben Ali of Tunisia fleeing
Please review our website & don\' hesitate to ask your question
    posted : 16/01/11   03:15 pm


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BYE BYE BEN ALI




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Lara     posted : 16/01/11   03:17 pm


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general Ammar said "NO" to BEN ALi (left side)




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Hi vador
Lara     posted : 16/01/11   03:30 pm


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Hi vador
Lara     posted : 16/01/11   03:40 pm


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Hi vador
Lara     posted : 16/01/11   08:29 pm


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Tonight We Are All Tunisians


Yvonne Ridley writes: Over the last few days we have seen some of the bravest people facing down some of the worst.

Armed with nothing more than a revolutionary heart and hopes of a better future they gathered and protested as government forces aimed their weapons and fired live rounds in to the crowds.

But the ammunition and the underlying threats of arrest and torture meant absolutely nothing to the masses – for they had simply lost their fear.

It was the final testament to the brutality of a dictator who has had the support of European leaders and various presidents of the United States.

And that the Tunisian President Zine El-Abedine Ben Ali fled from his country like a rat up a drainpipe after 23 brutal years spoke volumes about the character of the man himself.

If he had one ounce of the courage his own people displayed, he too would have stayed but most of these tyrants are gutless with the moral fibre of a dung beetle. The demise of Ben Ali came when police prevented an unemployed 26-year-old graduate from selling fruit without a licence. Mohammad Bouazizi turned himself in to a human torch on December 17 and died of the horrific burns in Sidi Bouzid, in central Tunisia.

It was the final straw, a defining moment which ignited rallies, marches and demonstrations across Tunisia.

And revelations from Wikileaks cables exposing the corrupt and extravagant lifestyle of Ben Ali and his grasping wife fanned the flames of unbridled anger from a people who were also in the grip of poverty.
I knew it was coming. I saw the burning desire for freedom in the eyes of the courageous people of Ghafsa when the Viva Palestina Convoy entered the country in February 2009 on its way to Gaza.

Our convoy witnessed the menacing secret police intimidate the crowds to stop them from gathering to cheer us on.

This vast army of spies, thugs and enforcers even tried to stop us from praying in a local mosque.

That they stood their ground to cheer us on prompted me to leave my vehicle and hug all the women who had turned out. We exchanged cards and small gifts and then, to my horror, I discovered 24 hours later that every woman I had embraced in the streets of Gafsa had been taken away and questioned.

Human rights organizations have constantly condemened and exposed the brutality of the Ben Ali regime but that has not stopped America and European leaders from intervening or putting on pressure to stop the brutality.

Sadly, it serves western interests to have a people brutalized and subjugated.

Now Tunisia is minus one dictator but it is still in a state of emergency. The next few days and weeks are going to be crucial for the Tunisian people who deserve freedom and liberty. My God, they’ve paid for it with their own blood and we must always remember their martyrs.

None of the politicians, secret police or other odious government forces will emerge from this period with any honor and quite a few are already cowering in the shadows.

But perhaps the biggest show of cowardice in this whole sorry episode has come from The White House.

Not one word of condemnation, not one word of criticism, not one word urging restraint came from Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton as live ammunition was fired into crowds of unarmed men, women and children in recent weeks.

And news of the corrupt, mafia-like regime would not have come as a surprise to either of them. We know this thanks to the Wikileaks cables written by US Ambassador Robert Godec who revealed in one memo: “Corruption in the inner circle is growing.”

But, as the injustices and atrocities continued there was not one squeak from the most powerful nation on earth … until America’s dear friend, Ben Ali had scuttled from the country.

The reality is the US Administration likes dealing with tyrants and even encourages despotic behavior. Egypt is one of the biggest testaments to this with its prisons full of political opposition leaders. Hosni Mubarak is Uncle Sam's enforcer and biggest recipient of aid next to the Zionist State.

Pakistan's treatment of its own people is little better. Remember when US Ambassador Anne Patterson in Islamabad wrote in one Wikileak cable about the human rights abuses carried out by the Pakistan military? Patterson then went on to advise Washington to avoid comment on these incidents.

But now the US has made a comment on the situation in Tunisia ... but only when Ben Ali was 30,000 feet in the air did White House spokesman Mike Hammer issue a statement which read: “We condemn the ongoing violence against civilians in Tunisia, and call on the Tunisian authorities to fulfill the important commitments … including respect for basic human rights and a process of much-needed political reform.”

Unbelievable. Too little, too late, Mr President. Actually that statement could have been uttered any time during the last US presidencies since Ronald Reagan.

But as I say, America couldn't give a stuff about the human rights of the people of the Maghreb, Pakistan, Egypt and Palestine to name but a few.

When US condemnation finally came through the tyrant had fled leaving behind more than 60 civilian martyrs and countless more injured.

Tomorrow I will go to the Tunisian Embassy in London as I have done previously and stand shoulder to shoulder with my Tunisian brothers and sisters and their supporters. We will remember the dead, we will pay tribute to the brave and courageous many who are still in the process of seizing back their country and we will pray that no tyrant will sleep easy in his bed from this moment on.

Tonight we are all Tunisians.

British journalist Yvonne Ridley is also the European President of the International Muslim Women’s Union.
Hi vador
Christina     posted : 17/01/11   11:27 pm


member  
Just consider the following five facts....

#1 Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry every single night.

#2 Approximately 28 percent of all children in developing countries are considered to be underweight or have had their growth stunted as a result of malnutrition.

#3 Every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death and three-quarters of them are children under the age of 5.

#4 "Least developed countries" spent 9 billion dollars on food imports in 2002. By 2008, that number had risen to 23 billion dollars.

#5 A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research discovered that the bottom half of the world population owns approximately 1 percent of all global wealth.

So if things are this bad already, what kind of food riots are we going to see if all of this weird weather continues and global harvests are much lower than anticipated in 2011?

Most Americans have a really hard time even imagining such a thing, but the truth is that we are just one really bad harvest away from mass starvation in many areas of the world.

We are not going to see mass starvation in the United States in 2011, but we could see food prices start to go up significantly. Keep in mind that more than 43 million Americans are already on food stamps. The incredible abundance of food that we have been enjoying for so many decades is not guaranteed to last indefinitely.

Dennis Conley, an agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska, recently told MSNBC that food reserves in the United States are already disturbingly low....

"I haven't seen numbers this low that I can remember in the last 20 or 30 years."

So yes, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned.

The world really is on the verge of a major food crisis, and if global harvests are not significantly better than most analysts are currently projecting, then we are likely to see a lot more food riots around the globe before 2011 is over.
I\'m happy to receive any constructive criticism about my trades. I\'m always ready to learn more.
Lara     posted : 18/01/11   11:24 pm


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Why Tunisia Changed the World


Jan 18, 2011 - 08:34 AM

By: Shamus_Cooke

Tunisia woke up the Middle East with a thundering yawn. After years of domination by western-backed tyrants, the working people of the Arab world are rising from slumber. Once fully awake and aware of their surroundings, they'll shake off the influence of the western nations with a collective flick of the wrist.

The elites of the Middle East and their western benefactors are petrified. The revolution in Tunisia deposed of two Presidents in 48 hours, and the vast energy of the people has already spilled over its borders, immediately affecting the politics of Algeria, Jordan, and Egypt. The Guardian reports:

"Tunisia's "jasmine revolution" sent new shock waves across north Africa today, with a copycat suicide protest reported in Algeria and official dismay in Libya...Egypt, Jordan, Algeria and Morocco are seen as the other countries most likely to face serious popular unrest over unemployment, corruption and hopelessness, though social, political and economic conditions vary considerably between them." (January 16, 2011).

The political implications are enormous. The Middle East and North African states are viewed as the most strategic colonies in the world, thanks to their enormous energy reserves that has spawned two recent major U.S. invasions.

Since World War I the United States, England, and France have worked together to subdue this region, financing an endless string of brutal dictatorships to ensure a seamless flow of billions to western corporations.

Obama had nothing negative to say about Tunisia's recently deposed dictator until he was fleeing the country. The U.S. was happy with the status-quo of brutality, much like Obama remains uncritical of the U.S.-backed dictators of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, etc.

But when the Tunisian status quo became upset, so did Obama. Suddenly, Obama disowns his dictator friend and tells the Tunisians that he applauds their "courage and dignity.” Hypocrisy run amok.

The damage control has already begun, as the U.S. and France are furiously working behind the scenes to prevent any significant progressive change. They are attempting to cobble together a "national unity" government in Tunisia: the same rotten politicians with a few opposition candidates sprinkled in, pursuing the same foul agenda.

But the situation is not so easily controlled in Tunisia and beyond. The New York Times recently commented on the extremely fragile situation in the Middle East, predicting doom for western-backed Arab nations:

"...Arab states looked exhausted, ossified and ideologically bankrupt, surviving merely to perpetuate themselves. Never has the divide between ruler and ruled seemed so yawning, and perhaps never has it been so dangerous."

The article also exposed the role of the U.S. in the region:

"The United States is also blamed here...by failing to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, rejecting engagement with Islamist movements and helping prop up governments like Egypt’s and Saudi Arabia’s that seem incapable of reforming themselves. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton scolded some of those allies last week for that lack of reform, though forgoing mention that some of the most dictatorial are some of America’s closest allies." (January 16, 2011).

To summarize: the western-backed Arab states must reform themselves to survive, but the U.S. does not want any reform. This is because any real reform movement would demand that the dozens of U.S. military bases in the region be shut down, while U.S. economic policies be reversed, so that social needs could trump corporate profits from oil, wars, and U.S.-dominated markets.

An op-ed piece in Al-Jazeera was more blunt, entitled: To the Tyrants of the Arab World:

"The Tunisian uprising...has brought down the walls of fear, erected by repression and marginalization, thus restoring the Arab peoples' faith in their ability to demand social justice and end tyranny... It is a warning to all leaders, whether supported by international or regional powers, that they are no longer immune to popular outcries of fury." (January 16, 2011).

A different reason why the Arab world is especially open to revolution now is the world economy. The two main demands of the Tunisian people revolve around unemployment and food prices, which are both spiraling out of control throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Prices are rising in part due to corporate speculation: food and raw materials like oil are the safe bets of the world economy, where rich investors flock in times of economic uncertainty. Their greed makes matters worse, increasing the odds of revolution worldwide.

But predicting the next uprising isn't so easy. Revolution is a cocktail that no scientist can formulate; it's an aggregate of innumerable sufferings, stirred together in a giant cauldron that has no precise boiling temperature. But boil it does. Especially when unemployment and food prices push up the heat worldwide.

The awakening of the Arab revolution should be fully supported by the working people in America, who have no interest in spending their tax dollars to fight wars and build military bases on the other side of the globe.

While Arab workers are struggling to push out the U.S.-backed tyrants in the region, U.S. workers must be demanding that tax dollars be diverted from war funding to social spending, since food and energy prices, along with unemployment, are too high in the U.S. as well.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/16/tunisia-protests-suicide-algeria-arab
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/weekinreview/16shadid.html?_r=1
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/2011115135046129936.html

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com Shamus Cooke is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Shamus Cooke © Copyright Shamus Cooke , Global Research, 2011

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.


Hi vador
Lara     posted : 18/01/11   11:31 pm


member  
Pay no attention to President Barack Obama’s pious bromides welcoming the revolution in Tunisia. The US, France and their Arab satraps are deeply worried that Tunisia’s popular revolution could spark similar uprising against the dictatorships or monarchies in other members of America’s Mideast Raj, notably Egypt.

It has come to light that Tunisia’s ruling elite had dinners and wine flown in from Paris at government expense for lavish parties in their beachside villas. Shades of the Iranian revolution, when women of the ruling elite in Tehran used to send their dirty laundry to Paris for hand washing, or fly to Paris to have their hair done for a soiree.

In a zesty bit of irony totally lost on the US media, just as a people’s revolution was ousting Tunisia’s brutal US-backed regime, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Qatar piously lecturing local oil monarchs on good government and the need to promote democracy.

Tunisia has not had much strategic importance since Carthage – whose ruins and great war harbor lie in a residential suburb of Tunis – fought Rome in the three Punic Wars. During World War II’s North Africa campaign, Tunisia was battled over by the British, Germans and Italians.

Since then, little Tunisia has been a backwater, known mainly for sunshine, cheap beach vacations, and as a refuge for Italian crooks.

In 1957, Tunisia "gained" independence from former colonial master, France. But it was a sham independence. The French put their own stooge, Habib Bourguiba, in power, who ran the country for France.

After Bourguiba went senile in 1987, the army commander, General Zine Ben Ali, overthrew him and seized power with the blessing of Paris. Ben Ali as ruled with an iron first for the ensuing 23 years.

The US and France have always hailed Tunisia as a poster-boy for "moderation, stability, and democracy. "

Translation: 1. moderation: following orders from Washington and making nice to Israel; 2. stability: crushing all opposition, particularly Islamist-oriented parties, muzzling the media, and paving the way for US business; 3. democracy: holding fake elections every few years. The US media soft-soaped Ben Ali and gushed over Tunisia’s "moderate" virtues. They did the same for Egypt’s Anwar Sadat.

America’s other "moderate" Arab clients, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman and some of the Gulf states, followed precisely the same model of ersatz elections, ferocious internal oppression, and absolute obedience to Washington.

Tunisia closely resembled other Arab non-oil states in having very high unemployment, social and intellectual stagnation, lack of free speech or expression, and no hope for the future unless one had links to the rapacious, self-serving, western-backed ruling oligarchy. On top of this, in most Arab states, over 60% of the population is under 25.

Gen. Ali’s extended family and business cronies followed a pattern of malfeasance, nepotism and plundering public assets common to most Arab nations. In the Mideast, such oligarchies are commonly called "mafias." Their secret police are notorious for torture, murder, mass arrests and sadism. Arab armies are designed to cow their people, not protect the nation’s borders.

After the Bush and Obama administrations felt obliged to make a token appeal to their Arab clients for the appearance of at least sham democracy, General Ali obliged by winning his most recent rigged election in 2009 by "only" a razor-thin 89% victory, rather than his usual 94% or 95% win.

Tunisians are known as an easygoing, even-tempered people. US and French aid was supposed to keep a lid on the country and defuse popular unrest. So just about everyone was caught by surprise when Tunisia went critical.

In a heartwarming finale to Gen. Ben Ali’s brutal dictatorship, he fled to France seeking asylum. France’s president, Nicholas Sarkozy, showing remarkable ingratitude even for this notorious ingrate, refused this faithful, longtime French servant refuge. Two other former western plantation overseers who were dying of cancer, Congo’s late Gen. Mobutu and the ousted Shah of Iran, were similarly refused refuge by their American patrons.

As of this writing, Tunisia is in turmoil. There may be a military takeover, which would greatly please Washington, Paris and Cairo, or further convulsions.

The leader of the most important Islamic-oriented party that was outlawed, Rashid Gannouchi (not to be confused with the current figurehead prime minister of the same name), is due to return and is calling for genuine democratic elections. His party, Nahda, would likely win any free elections. So would Islamist parties in every other Arab country, if the west ever allowed them to hold free elections, which it won’t.

In the only two cases in modern Arab history where truly honest elections were held, moderate Islamists won in Algeria, and the Hamas movement won in Gaza. The Algerian army, backed by Paris and Washington, crushed the election and imposed martial law. After Hamas won the Palestinian election, the US, Israel and Egypt locked up Hamas under siege in Gaza and sought to overthrow it using Palestinian mercenaries.

Mainstream Islamist parties in the Mideast have nothing to do with al-Qaida (which barely exists any more) or anti-Western programs. Their primary concern is getting rid of the western-backed oligarchies that keep the Muslim world backwards and in thrall. Their platform is sharing resource wealth, social welfare, education, uprooting thieving oligarchies and fighting endemic corruption.

The big question now is will Tunisia’s dramatic events be a harbinger of other explosions across the volatile Arab world? All eyes are on Egypt, the home of a third of all Arabs. Egypt’s 83-year-old military ruler, Husni Mubarak, is a giant version of Tunisia’s Gen. Ben Ali.

Mubarak was engineered into power by the US after the killing of longtime CIA "asset" Anwar Sadat. Gen. Mubarak has ruled Egypt like a modern-day pharaoh ever since, crushing both violent extremist and legitimate political opposition. Mubarak’s rigged elections, winked at by Washington, are every bit as egregious as Tunisia’s.

So could the flames of Tunisia’s revolution spread to Egypt? Mubarak’s regime is tottering. Egyptians are as restive and disgusted as their Tunisian neighbors. Egyptians, too, are a famously passive, amiable lot, but Egypt’s repression, grinding poverty and rapacious western-aligned elite have enraged most ordinary people.

Tunisia’s neighbors Libya, Algeria and Morocco are similarly unstable and racked by unemployment, a high birth rate, and ferocious repression by their regimes. Col. Khadaffi’s oil-rich Libya is particularly fertile ground for a major convulsion after five decades of eccentric government.

All these authoritarian regimes have crushed opposition, leaving only underground revolutionaries to replace them when revolution inevitably comes. Islamists will be the last men standing. By encouraging repression and thwarting the emergence of democracy in the Arab world, the US has sown the dragon’s teeth of further violence and rises.

We are now seeing what the "stability" and "moderation" so beloved of Washington in the Arab world really brings. The mighty American Raj is built on such euphemisms that really mean dictatorship, corruption, torture, and subservience.

If Washington really wants to foster the democracy that it preaches, then it should help Tunisia’s people create a truly democratic government rather than engineering yet another cooperative general and his grasping family into power as it has done so often since the 1950s.

Eric Margolis [send him mail] is contributing foreign editor for Sun National Media Canada. He is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World. See his website.

Copyright © 2011 Eric Margolis
Hi vador
Luck i m your father     posted : 28/01/11   11:13 pm


member  
time to egypt now

according Mike Shedlock


Thousands defy Egypt's leader in fresh protests

MSNBC reports Thousands defy Egypt's leader in fresh protests

Egyptian anti-government activists pelted police with firebombs and rocks in a second day of clashes Wednesday that left two dead. Beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas, beatings and live ammunition fired in the air to disperse any demonstrations.

There were signs that the crackdown on protesters was taking a toll on Egypt's international standing. In Washington, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs would not say whether President Hosni Mubarak, the target of demonstrators' anger and a close U.S. ally, still has the Obama administration's support. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the government should allow peaceful protests instead of cracking down.

Tens of thousands turned out for the largest protests in Egypt in years — inspired by the uprising in Tunisia. They demanded Mubarak's ouster and a solution to grinding poverty, rising prices and high unemployment.

"What happened yesterday was a red light to the regime. This is a warning," businessman Said Abdel- Motalib said on Wednesday.

Many in Egypt see these events as signs of the authoritarian president's vulnerability in an election year. There is speculation that 82-year-old Mubarak, who has been in power for nearly 30 years and recently experienced serious health problems, may be setting his son Gamal up for hereditary succession. But there is considerable public opposition and, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic memos, it does not meet with the approval of the powerful military. And the regime's tight hold on power has made it virtually impossible for any serious alternative to Mubarak to emerge.

Egypt and the Internet

Activists used social networking sites to call for fresh demonstrations Wednesday. But Facebook, a key tool used to organize protests, appeared to be at least partially blocked in the afternoon. On Tuesday, Twitter and cell phones appeared to be sporadically blocked as well.

The Interior Ministry warned Wednesday that police would not tolerate any gatherings, and thousands were out on the streets poised to crack down quickly on any new signs of unrest after clashes on Tuesday that killed three demonstrators and one police officer.



Protesters Burn Tires, Throw Molotov Cocktails

The New York Post reports US demands reform amid Egypt riots

Thousands of protesters burned tires, threw Molotov cocktails at a government building and fought riot police in Egypt yesterday in the worst unrest in President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-old rule.

Police retaliated with tear gas, beatings and by firing live ammunition in the air in street clashes that mirrored those that drove Tunisia's dictator from power two weeks ago.

The unprecedented street fury against Mubarak -- a close US ally -- prompted the Obama administration to deliver a rare public demand for change in Cairo.

"We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said.

The 82-year-old Mubarak, who came to power in 1981 after President Anwar Sadat was assassinated, has been the target of growing anger over the country's poverty, corruption and repression.

New elections are scheduled for September, but critics believe Mubarak, who has recently experienced serious health problems, is setting his son Gamal up for hereditary succession.

Yesterday's protests extended well outside the capital. In the city of Suez, an angry crowd of about 1,000 people gathered outside the city's morgue demanding to take possession and bury the body of one of three protesters who died in clashes on Tuesday.

Current protests in Egypt recall "Bread Riots" of 1977

The International Business Times reports Current protests in Egypt recall "Bread Riots" of 1977

The ongoing anti-government protests on the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities represent the biggest public demonstration in the country since the famous ‘bread riots’ which occurred exactly 34 years ago. The current riots, while more dedicated to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, are also partially incited by rising food prices.

Ammar Ali Hassan, director of the Middle East Studies and Research Centre, told the paper: “The atmosphere that prevailed before and during the 1977 bread riots is similar to now, especially in that there is no confidence in the government. The desire to protest has overwhelmed a large sector of society."

Egyptians denounce Mubarak, clash with riot police

Yahoo!News reports Egyptians denounce Mubarak, clash with riot police

Egyptian police fired tear gas and rubber bullets and beat protesters to clear thousands of people from a central Cairo square Wednesday after the biggest demonstrations in years against President Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian rule.

Mobilized largely on the Internet, the waves of protesters filled Cairo's central Tahrir — or Liberation — Square on Tuesday, some hurling rocks and climbing atop armored police trucks.

"Down with Hosni Mubarak, down with the tyrant," chanted the crowds. "We don't want you!" they screamed as thousands of riot police deployed in a massive security operation that failed to quell the protests.

The sound of what appeared to be automatic weapons fire could be heard as riot police and plainclothes officers chased several hundred protesters who scrambled onto the main road along the Nile in downtown Cairo. Some 20 officers were seen brutally beating one protester with truncheons.

Discontent with life in Egypt's authoritarian police state has simmered under the surface for years. However, it is Tunisia's popular uprising, which forced that nation's autocratic ruler from power, that appears to have pushed young Egyptians into the streets, many for the first time.

"This is the first time I am protesting, but we have been a cowardly nation. We have to finally say no," said Ismail Syed, a hotel worker who struggles to live on a salary of $50 a month.

"We want to see change, just like in Tunisia," said 24-year-old Lamia Rayan.

Dubbed a "day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment," Tuesday's protests in cities across Egypt began peacefully, with police at first showing unusual restraint in what appeared to be a calculated strategy to avoid further sullying the image of a security apparatus widely criticized as corrupt and violent.

Protests Spread to Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Yemen

Bloomberg reports North African Unrest May Spread on Record Food Prices

Record food prices may fan social unrest and fuel inflation beyond North Africa as thousands of people take to the streets of Cairo to denounce President Hosni Mubarak, delegates at the World Economic Forum said.

“This protest won’t end in North Africa; it will spread in many countries because of high unemployment and increasing food prices,” Hamza Alkholi, chairman and chief executive of Saudi Alkholi Group, a holding company investing in industrials and real estate, said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland.

Risks of global instability are rising as governments facing budget crunches cut subsidies that help the poor cope with surging food and fuel costs, the head of the United Nations’ World Food Program said two days ago. World food costs rose to a record in December on higher costs for sugar, grain and oilseeds, the UN reported Jan. 4, contributing to the uprising that ousted Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Jan. 14. Protests have spread to Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Yemen.

Higher commodity prices are “leading to riots, demonstrations and political instability,” Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economics professor who predicted the financial crisis, said on a Davos panel. “It’s really something that can topple regimes, as we have seen in the Middle East.”

In Algeria, three were killed and 420 injured at rallies against high food prices and a lack of public housing. Jordanian opposition groups have held peaceful protests against the government, and in Yemen today thousands gathered outside the main university in the capital, Sana’a, demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.

“If you don’t improve people’s lives, you will have social unrest,” Sheikh Mohammed bin EssaAl Khalifa, chief executive officer of the Economic Development Board in Bahrain, said in an interview. “Each country is different, each country is unique. It could spurt up in Latin America. It’s not an Arab thing.”

Obama Tells Egyptian President to "Embrace Change"

In the US, Obama Poised to Intensify U.S. Criticism of Egypt’s Mubarak

The White House is prepared to step up its criticism of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a key Middle East ally, if his government intensifies its crackdown on protesters, said an administration official.

President Barack Obama privately pressed Mubarak in a telephone call last week to embrace democratic changes, said the official, who requested anonymity. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday said Mubarak, in power since 1981, has an “important opportunity” to enact economic, political and social reforms.

‘Potentially Dangerous’

The Obama administration needs to move cautiously, said Anthony Cordesman, a senior defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.

“There isn’t just the morning after to think about, there is the decade after,” he said in a telephone interview. “For the U.S. to get out in front now would be premature and potentially dangerous.”

Shadi Hamid, an expert on Islamist politics and democratic reform in the Middle East at the Brookings Institution, said the large pro-democracy protests may have broken the “psychological barrier of fear” among Egyptians.

"The U.S. does not want to see the Egyptian regime fall any time soon,’’ Hamid said in a telephone interview. “But people who are protesting, the tens of thousands, do want to see the regime fall some time soon. They are diametrically opposed interests."

The White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs created some ambiguity yesterday when asked whether the administration still supports Mubarak. In his response that ‘‘Egypt is a strong ally,’’ he avoided repeating Mubarak’s name.

The Obama administration also has been communicating through the same social media sites that the Egyptian protesters have used to organize themselves. The State Department issued statements yesterday on Twitter, including one supporting the ‘‘universal rights of the Egyptian people including freedom of expression.’’

Social Media

Twitter Inc. of San Francisco, which was used to help coordinate the Tunisian protests, yesterday said access to its services was blocked in Egypt. Facebook Inc., the Palo Alto, California-based owner of the world’s most popular social- networking service, hasn’t seen any major changes in user traffic in Egypt, though it is aware of reports of service disruption in the country. Earlier, some Facebook users reported the site was inaccessible in Egypt, according to Herdict.org, which monitors web access.

Clinton Defends Facebook, Twitter Amid Egypt Protests

Note: The entitre article that follows is on social networking including, Tritter, Facebook, Google, and Blackberry.

Bloomberg reports Clinton Defends Facebook, Twitter Amid Egypt Protests

As Egyptian authorities struggled to quash anti-government uprisings yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the longtime U.S. ally to unblock social networking sites that have been used to organize protests, such as those operated by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.

By urging Egypt’s government “not to prevent peaceful protests or block communications, including on social media,” Clinton in Washington renewed her call for freedom of expression and assembly online, and fueled debate over how to promote those goals without undermining other U.S. interests.

Clinton’s defense of social networking is “a very delicate balancing act,” because of the longstanding U.S. relationship with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, said Ethan Zuckerman, a senior researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “At the same time, we’re starting to see evidence of an anti-authoritarian revolution in the region, and she doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of that either. The safe stance is to be pro-free speech,” he said.

Google, Microsoft Corp., and Yahoo! Inc., are the only technology corporations that have joined the Global Network Initiative, a group of financial services firms, rights groups and communications companies committed to resisting government censorship and demands for private user information.

Blackberry Monitoring

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and India last year threatened to shut down BlackBerry service unless authorities were allowed to monitor messaging, citing concerns about illegal activities. The Saudi and UAE governments eventually backed down; India’s talks with RIM are ongoing.

As with other private talks, it’s hard to determine if the intervention of U.S. officials made a difference. RIM declined to comment.

Egypt Debt Riskier Than Iraq

Bloomberg reports Egypt Riskier Than Iraq in Swaps as Protests Spread

Egypt is riskier than Iraq in the market for credit default swaps for the first time in at least a year after protests denouncing President Hosni Mubarak.

The cost of protecting Egyptian debt against default for five years with the contracts jumped 69 basis points, or 0.69 percentage points, this week to 375 today, compared with 328 for Iraq, according to prices from CMA, a data provider in London. Just last week, Iraqi swaps cost 19 basis points more than Egypt’s, and in June, an average 240 basis points more, as Iraq recovered from the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The unrest, inspired by the revolt that toppled Tunisia’s leader, “does raise political risks,” said Eric Fine, a portfolio manager in New York who helps Van Eck Associates Corp. oversee $3 billion in emerging-market assets. “If this is a revolution, the price of risk for Egypt could go much higher, and if it’s a failed one” the cost will drop to 300 basis points and probably 250, Fine said in a phone interview.

Higher borrowing costs may crimp Egypt’s ability to meet its target of cutting the budget deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2015 from the current 8 percent. Yields at the government’s debt auction climbed this week. The average rate on 91-day bills rose 30 basis points from the previous sale to 9.5 percent, while the yield on 182-day bills advanced 20 basis points to 10.2 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The yield on Egypt’s 2040 dollar-denominated bonds jumped 50 basis points since Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted on Jan. 14 to 7.10 percent, the highest level on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mubarak, 82, has been in power since 1981 and hasn’t said whether he will run in the September elections.

Egypt is rated BB+ at Fitch Ratings and Ba1 at Moody’s Investors Service, the highest non-investment grade levels. Iraq’s 2028 dollar bond isn’t rated and rose for the first time in six days yesterday, pushing the yield down less than 1 basis point to 6.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The assessment of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is that “the Egyptian government is stable,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

The U.S. relies on Mubarak as a mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and Egypt is the second-biggest recipient of American foreign aid after Israel. Relations were strained during the administration of President George W. Bush, who repeatedly called on Mubarak to allow more freedoms.

Mubarak will probably survive the protests as strong ties between the ruling National Democratic Party and the military means that a repeat of Tunisia’s uprising is unlikely, Richard Fox, Fitch’s London-based head of Middle East and North Africa Sovereign Ratings, said in a conference call today.

“The military has long been the lynchpin of stability in Egypt and our base case at this stage would be that stability will be restored in due course,” Fox said.

“One thing that we can all take from the Tunisian situation is that the unexpected can sometimes happen rather quickly,” Fox said. “It would be a brave man who would try to expect what would happen in Egypt between now and the election.”



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Reflections on Social Media

A tip of the hat to Twitter and Facebook.

Information is power and Twitter and Facebook do help spread information. While I do not condone riots, I certainly understand them. Nonetheless, people have a right to the news, and the same thing applies to the US.

Unfortunately, the US is headed down the path of more news suppression more control over media.

North Africa proves it will not work and cannot be done.

Blood on Bernanke's Hands

Most of the increases in food prices are due to droughts in South America, floods in Australia, and poor growing conditions in many places.

However, Bernanke's "Quantitative Easing" policies combined with rampant credit growth in China and India have led to increased speculation in commodities. That speculation has forced up food prices.

If you are tweeting, please tweet this "Bernanke has blood on his hands".

Please note that speculation in commodities is not a cause of anything. Rather commodity speculation is a result of piss poor monetary policies not only the Fed, but central bankers worldwide.

By Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management . Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

Visit Sitka Pacific's Account Management Page to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.

I do weekly podcasts every Thursday on HoweStreet and a brief 7 minute segment on Saturday on CKNW AM 980 in Vancouver.

When not writing about stocks or the economy I spends a great deal of time on photography and in the garden. I have over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Some of my Wisconsin and gardening images can be seen at MichaelShedlock.com .

© 2011 Mike Shedlock, All Rights Reserved.
Hedge21     posted : 30/01/11   07:40 pm


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