Monday, January 31, 2011

From the CFR Daily News Brief


Tens of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators remained in central Cairo for the seventh day of anti-government demonstrations demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. The activists have vowed to stay until Mubarak leaves office (FT). Opposition leaders said they were organizing the largest demonstrations yet for Tuesday--a "march of millions" (NYT). The BBC reported that the military has cordoned off Cairo's central square with tanks, but is letting people come and go despite the violation of a government-imposed curfew. Egyptian police failed to put down pro-democracy demonstrations last week, and the army was mobilized Friday night. The U.S. Embassy is preparing to evacuate American citizens (WashPost), diplomatic families, and non-essential embassy personnel. The opposition has tentatively settled on pro-democracy activist and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei as the interim leader in any negotiations with the government (WSJ). ElBaradei told reporters that he has the "popular and political support'' necessary to begin the process of forming a unity government and that he would be seeking contact with the army to discuss a political transition.


Ichiro Ozawa, the Japanese powerbroker who is widely considered the architect of the Democratic party's historic 2009 victory, has been charged with political funding violations (FT). The indictment will fuel disagreement within the DPJ between Ozawa supporters and those of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.


Protesters rallied in several Indian cities to march against government corruption and demand an effective anti-graft law (OneIndia).


Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of a formerly banned opposition party, returned to Tunisia after twenty-one years in exile in the UK. Tunisia's interim government (TunisiaOnline) vowed to allow parties prohibited under now-ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.


  1. There's a lot of agitation in India (and world wide) about the conviction of a leading scientist and human-rights activist, Dr. Binayak Sen, on what look like trumped up charges of sedition, for visiting a jailed Naxalite (Indian term for the banned Maoist party) and allegedly helping open rebel bank accounts.

    This is probably going to be overturned by a higher court, since there's little or no evidence, but, meanwhile, the Indian intelligentsia is in a state of shock, and Sen has become a cause celebre for the left.

  2. Who gave you that dubm idea that Egypt was socialist? Egypt's one-person dictatorsh­ip is the closest American ally in the region. If it had been socialist, there would have been more economic and social justice and no need for people to rebel.