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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/9/11

From Stalemate to Checkmate -- Meet Egypt's Future Leaders

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Message Esam Al-Amin

Newly released Wikileaks documents reveal that Suleiman has been a long-standing favorite by the U.S. and Israel to succeed Mubarak for many years. The London Daily Telegraph recently published leaked cables from American embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv showing the close cooperation between the Egyptian Vice President and the U.S. and Israeli governments.

The newspaper described that "One cable in August 2008, stated that "Hacham was full of praise for Suleiman," and noted that a "hot line set up between the MOD and Egyptian General Intelligence Service is now in daily use," in reference to David Hacham, a senior adviser from the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

In another cable, Tel Aviv diplomats added: "We defer to Embassy Cairo for analysis of Egyptian succession scenarios, but there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Omar Suleiman." Moreover, the paper stated that "the files suggest that Mr. Suleiman wanted Hamas isolated, and thought Gaza should go hungry but not starve."

Regardless, the organizers of the revolution declared that they have no trust in the regime. They asked rhetorically how could they trust a Vice President whose loyalty is to a discredited and illegitimate president. Thus they firmly rejected not only Suleiman and his parameters for a way forward, but also the premise that any real change would come from adhering to a constitution that has been shredded many times by an illegitimate regime. They advocated a position that called for the legitimacy of the revolution over any outdated constitutional legitimacy.

The youth leaders maintain that all institutions of state power, except the army, which on the surface declared its neutrality, have lost their legitimacy in lieu of the will of the people to support the revolution. They insisted that the people have already spoken and called for Mubarak's ouster, the dissolution of parliament, the replacement of the government, and the formation of constitutional experts to re-write a new constitution. Therefore, all efforts by the regime to re-constitute itself through promised reforms to maintain its grip on power are illegitimate and rejected. This is a popular revolution not a protest, they maintained.

As the government attempts to weather the storm and deal with Tahrir Square as a Hyde Park phenomenon, a place where people vent their frustrations, the leadership of the revolution has devised new tactics to force the regime to accept their demands.

They have called for massive demonstrations not only in public squares but also called for similar protests around strategic governmental buildings. For example, on Feb. 8 in addition to a million demonstrators in Tahrir Square, hundreds of thousands held huge demonstrations around the Prime Minster's building, preventing him from reaching his office. They also blocked the parliament, preventing any member from going in or out. They vowed that soon the presidential palace would be surrounded.

The protesters were also joined this week with professional syndicates and labor unions. Hundreds of judges stood in Tahrir Square on Tuesday wearing their judicial robes in support of the revolution. Similarly, hundreds of journalists chased away the pro-government head of their union declaring the union independent and free. Likewise, hundreds of university professors from colleges across Egypt showed up at Tahrir Square declaring their full support for the goals of the revolution.

Next week schools and universities will be back from the Spring break. The organizers plan to call on hundreds of thousands of students to participate in the demonstrations that could paralyze the whole education system. Meanwhile, they have also reached out to labor unions calling for massive strikes across the nation, especially in state factories and public industries. When this is fully implemented, Egypt's export business could come to a screeching halt.

Slowly but surely, selected major industries such as transportation, oil, or navigation through the Suez Canal could also be severely hindered. Sports activities have already ceased. The film industry has stopped all productions. There is no end to what activities the revolutionaries could advocate or call for. The initiatives are in their hands. They believe that they have the legitimacy and the support of the people.

In short, the revolution has adapted to the maneuvering of the regime and has adopted a comprehensive program of activities that are creative and extensive. Time is no longer on the regime's side. With the passing of each week more Egyptians are joining the revolution. A culture of freedom and empowerment is on the rise.

Meanwhile, the international community could speed up the inevitable, which is the collapse of the corrupt and repressive regime. Last week the Guardian and several financial publications including the Wall Street Journal and MSNBC, showed that Mubarak's family might be worth between $40 to $70 Billion. Most of this wealth is believed to be in the U.S, the U.K, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. In short, Western governments have access to ill-gotten money that belongs to the Egyptian people. They can start investigations to determine the legality of these assets.

Similarly, they can encourage Mr. Mubarak to go to Germany for his annual (extended) medical check-up, after which he could render his resignation. The people of Egypt would not forget who stood with them during their revolution, who stood against them, and who was on the sideline.

When Mahfouz, the revolution's video blogger was asked what her expectations are now after the massive demonstrations, she answered, "All Egyptians, not only the protesters, have broken through the fear barrier. I expect only one outcome -- protests will continue until Mubarak steps down from power."

Mubarak and his Western backers better take notice. Checkmate.

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