Tunisia, Egypt and Rahm

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Tunisia: We’ll still have to wait and see how this turns out. So far I haven’t seen any radical proposals. With the interim administration removing a number of the prior administrations cabinets and promise of new elections within six months it’s possible that this won’t go too terrible bad. That of course is being very optimistic. We’ll have to see about the call for the head of the police to step down and how that’s handled.

So far we have not seen American or Israeli flags being burnt. This would be the standard site for most regime changes in the area. This is an encouraging sign.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has called for tyrants friendly to the US to be overthrown. This is certainly something to watch.

Egypt: The protest in Egypt is a little different in both the solution and reasons. Mubarak’s regime has probably contributed to the growth of radical Muslims as any, not by way of support but through harsh repression of the citizenry. For the US Mubarak has been a strong ally and it’s honestly more complicated for the administration. The US has been sending oodles of money to him for way too many years.

The police which have had a very harsh history in their dealing with opposition forces in Egypt have been pulled from the streets while the Army has taken their place. The good news in this is that the Army is generally more accepted by the public. But if they are forced to crack down that could change.

The appointment of a Vice President won’t quell the anger.  President Mubarak appointed the Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman as the Vice President in order to calm the protesters.  This is the first Vice President in the entire Mubarak’s thirty year reign.  I doubt this will quiet the protesters.  It will be seen as a simple move to appear as change but hasn’t’ changed a thing. 

Recent reports of criminals being freed is of great concern. Many of these are radical militants. The looting has increases with a number of conspiracy theories being floated. One is that the government purposely released some. I wouldn’t bet on that. It would seem counter-productive in trying to calm things down.

The Obama administration seems to have been surprised by this event as evidence by conflicting statements. The initial statements seem to support President Mubarak while the current statements concentrate more on the change to a democracy and supporting the ideas of the protestors.

Egypt has been a very important ally in this region and the outcome of this event could have a large effect on the region and it’s general stability.

Rahm Emmanuel: I’m not sure that serving in the government is National Service. For a senator who resides part-time in Washington I can see how they retain their residency but for an advisor to the President who moves to DC? Seems like any other government job. Do civil servants get to maintain their residency? I don’t think so. But then I haven’t really looked into it that much. It probably doesn’t matter that much as the politics of Chicago appears so corrupt that this would be a small matter. But if the rules are skirted once more it certainly hurts the rule of law.

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