Saturday, 29 January 2011

Weekend Update January 29, 2011

Volatility and Conflict.

Baltic Dry Index. 1137 -233

LIR Gold Target by 2019: $30,000. Revised due to QE.

The big story this weekend is Egypt. Will Mubarak cling on to power or will Egypt’s military tell him it’s time to move on? At this point either option looks bad for the west. A unstable wounded regime clinging to power and facing an election ahead that looks certain to be rigged, is a regime unlikely to last very long and an open invitation for another Nasser style 1952 military takeover. But if Mubarak goes, what then? There doesn’t really seem to be a natural successor. If Mubarak is toppled which Arab leader is next?

Below, a scattering of this morning’s coverage starting with the WSJ and ending with an unlikely headline from Al Jazeera.

JANUARY 29, 2011, 6:46 A.M. ET

Cairo Streets Calmer After Mass Protests

CAIRO—Residents of Egypt's capital awoke to a tense calm on the city's main square on Saturday morning, the day after President Hosni Mubarak called the military into downtown Cairo to quell a violent popular uprising.

Mr. Mubarak, whose unpopular 30-year rule has been the focus of nearly a week of demonstrations, told Egyptians in a televised speech last night that he would reshuffle his cabinet on Saturday.

That promise appeared to do little to satisfy demonstrators, many of whom hoped to see President Mubarak go the way of Tunisia's former autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who left his country two weeks ago following a month of street-level protests.


Egypt protests: America's secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising

The American government secretly backed leading figures behind the Egyptian uprising who have been planning “regime change” for the past three years, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

By Tim Ross, Matthew Moore and Steven Swinford 9:23PM GMT 28 Jan 2011

The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.

On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.

The secret document in full

He has already been arrested by Egyptian security in connection with the demonstrations and his identity is being protected by The Daily Telegraph


Robert Fisk: A people defies its dictator, and a nation's future is in the balance

A brutal regime is fighting, bloodily, for its life. Robert Fisk reports from the streets of Cairo

Saturday, 29 January 2011

It might be the end. It is certainly the beginning of the end. Across Egypt, tens of thousands of Arabs braved tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades and live fire yesterday to demand the removal of Hosni Mubarak after more than 30 years of dictatorship.

And as Cairo lay drenched under clouds of tear gas from thousands of canisters fired into dense crowds by riot police, it looked as if his rule was nearing its finish. None of us on the streets of Cairo yesterday even knew where Mubarak – who would later appear on television to dismiss his cabinet – was. And I didn't find anyone who cared.

They were brave, largely peaceful, these tens of thousands, but the shocking behaviour of Mubarak's plainclothes battagi – the word does literally mean "thugs" in Arabic – who beat, bashed and assaulted demonstrators while the cops watched and did nothing, was a disgrace. These men, many of them ex-policemen who are drug addicts, were last night the front line of the Egyptian state. The true representatives of Hosni Mubarak as uniformed cops showered gas on to the crowds.


Without Egypt, Israel will be left with no friends in Mideast

Without Egypt's Mubarak and with relations with Turkey in shambles, Israel will be forced to court new potential allies

By Aluf Benn

The fading power of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government leaves Israel in a state of strategic distress. Without Mubarak, Israel is left with almost no friends in the Middle East; last year, Israel saw its alliance with Turkey collapse.

From now on, it will be hard for Israel to trust an Egyptian government torn apart by internal strife. Israel's increasing isolation in the region, coupled with a weakening United States, will force the government to court new potential allies.


Mubarak’s planning exile to Tel Aviv


29/01/2011 10:50:00 AM GMT

According to sources in the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel is making preparations to welcome Hosni Mubarak into exile after Saudi Arabia rejected overtures.

For now, we can only await developments. Stay long precious metals. Developments in Egypt trump Davos, and rising signs of unrest in Europe. Austerity plus food and fuel inflation is a tinder box in many nations across the planet.

This weekend marks the start of the Chinese New Year celebrations for many, with the actual start on Feb 3. Welcome to the year of the Rabbit, which I am informed is the animal of volatility and conflict. Bah humbug.


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