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February 3rd, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Mubarak forced out now instead of September?

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Egyptian anti-government demonstrators gather in Cairo on this 10th day of protests calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. (PHOTO CREDIT: PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Egyptian people are not buying what Hosni Mubarak is selling.

In fact, the anti-government protesters have only become more emboldened since Mubarak's announcement that he'll step down from the presidency - but not until September.

But they want him gone now. They think 30 years is long enough.

However, that doesn't seem to matter much to Mubarak.

He told ABC's Christiane Amanpour that he's sick of being president and would like to leave office now. But he says he can't for fear of the country slipping into chaos. That's as opposed to what we're seeing in the streets of Cairo right now.

As for the people shouting insults at him, Mubarak says, "I don't care what people say about me. Right now I care about my country, I care about Egypt."

Earlier this week, President Obama seemed to suggest Mubarak step down sooner rather than later, saying an orderly transition to a new regime "must begin now."

U.S. officials say the protest movement isn't going away - it's only getting bigger. They worry that the longer the crisis goes on without a resolution, the worse the economic impact and violence will become. Already there are food and fuel shortages and bank closures.

Other world leaders have also called on Mubarak to step aside, including Turkey's prime minister, who says Mubarak should "satisfy the people's desire for change" without hesitation.

Others are suggesting an interim "caretaker government" that could oversee the upcoming elections.

Here’s my question to you: Should Mubarak be forced out now rather than waiting until his term expires in September?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Egypt • Middle East
February 2nd, 2011
05:56 PM ET

What's next for Middle East?

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A Molotov cocktail thrown by a supporter of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arcs through the air towards government opponents in a side street during a violent conflict between the two groups in Cairo. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Middle East is starting to look like one big game of dominoes.

As the kings, unelected presidents and emirs watch what's going on in the streets of Cairo, they've got to be wondering if they're going to be next.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's days are clearly numbered. At this point, it seems highly unlikely he'll even make it through the rest of his term.

Mubarak would be following Tunisian President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali out the door after similar popular street movements pushed him out of power.

No doubt about it, some sort of genie is out of the bottle.

Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he won't seek re-election when his term ends in 2013. That's after more than three decades in office. He also says he won't hand power over to his son.

Of course, he made that announcement ahead of a "day of rage" protest scheduled for Thursday.

Thousands of people have already been demonstrating in Yemen in recent weeks.

Over in Jordan, King Abdullah has sacked his government and appointed a new prime minister in the face of protests. The king is asking the new government to implement what he calls "genuine political reform."

It’s funny how "reform" has suddenly become a priority in some of these countries after decades of repressive governments.

Meanwhile, demonstrators also are calling for change in Algeria and Sudan. And in Syria, there are protests planned for this week.

Experts say these protests sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa are "unprecedented" and a "watershed event for the Arab world."

For now, the leadership in Saudi Arabia and Libya seems secure, but it's safe to say a new day is dawning.

Here’s my question to you: What's next for the Middle East?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Egypt • Middle East
February 2nd, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Risks if Mubarak is removed from power?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Somebody suggested, "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know."

When it comes to Egypt, Hosni Mubarak is the devil we know.

Ruling for the last three decades, Mubarak has maintained Egypt as a moderate regional force in the face of extreme Islamist nations.

He's also helped keep peace with Israel.

Now Mubarak says he's not running for re-election and it's unclear how much longer he will cling to power.

Which brings us to who's the devil we don't know?

History suggests we might want to watch what we wish for:

Remember when the Bush administration pushed for democratic elections in Gaza and Hamas won?

Or go back a little further: When the Shah of Iran was toppled 30 years ago, the ayatollahs took over and Iran became an Islamic republic.

The Iranian Revolution was originally backed by many groups - much like the one in Egypt - but the extremists took control of the movement - and look where we are today.

Some worry the same thing could happen in Egypt. They fear the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Even though the extremely conservative Islamic organization is banned from Egypt, it's still the largest opposition group.

But not everyone agrees. Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei rejects the idea that Islamic fundamentalists will take over.

The secular ElBaradei says he's reaching out to the Muslim Brotherhood and that they need to be included in any new government.

Here’s my question to you: What are the risks if Mubarak is removed from power in Egypt?


Filed under: Egypt • Middle East
February 1st, 2011
04:17 PM ET

U.S. withhold any of $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt?

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Egyptian protesters take part in a demonstration today on Cairo's Tahrir Square. (PHOTO CREDIT: MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As Egyptian protesters demanding reform fill the streets by the hundreds of thousands, it's worth remembering that the U.S. helps control the purse strings in that country.

American taxpayers give $1.5 billion dollars a year in foreign aid to Egypt, second only to Israel.

Although the White House has said it's reviewing this aid depending on the military's behavior - One top Republican says now is not the time to threaten to withhold any of this money.

Congresswoman Kay Granger - who chairs the house subcommittee in charge of foreign aid - says we shouldn't use the money as a stick to force Mubarak into reforms.

Granger says most of the $1.5 billion goes toward the military - which seems to be a stabilizing force among the demonstrators.

Granger says Congress should only consider withholding aid if there's evidence that U.S. military equipment is being used improperly.

Several top Democrats are on the same page, saying the U.S. should remain committed to assisting Egypt. They point to the close relationship between the two countries.

Nonetheless, some experts think cutting financial aid is the best way to get results.

A bipartisan group of former officials says the administration should suspend all aid to Egypt until the government:

Agrees to elections as soon as possible, allows banned candidates to run, immediately lifts the state of emergency that's been in place for decades, releases political prisoners, and allows for freedom of the media and assembly.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. withhold any of its $1.5 billion in financial aid to Egypt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Egypt • United States
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