Egypt

There is some chance that 2011 will be the new 1989.  Cutting off the internet should signal to the populace that matters are dire and thus it may prove counterproductive.  Tullock might say it means they will start shooting soon.  It is difficult to put together a "Favorite Things Egyptian," at least for this American, once you get past Mahfouz and music.  Intellectually and culturally, Cairo has been punching below its weight for a long time.  Fortunately, there has been a resurgence in Egyptian cinema since 2007.  When I visited the country in the mid-1990s, I had an overwhelming impression of a cynical populace and a lot of cement.  Timur Kuran's work will rise in status and importance.  "Catch-up" remains the global story of the last ten to fifteen years.

Comments

It is difficult to put together a "Favorite Things Egyptian," at least for this American, once you get past Mahfouz and music.

Really? Damn. You gave me Greece a few years ago before I went on a trip there; I was thinking I'd ask for Egypt before an upcoming trip. Though I'm not sure what the chances are of Egpyt being a good place to go this summer.

Are the dems going to put a muzzle on Joe "foot in mouth" Biden?

Another win for gold standard. Ben Ali's wife grabbed 1.5 tons of gold before their exit. http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2011/...

Does anyone have an idea on how the balance sheet looks for American influence in Tunisia? We supported (but did we prop up?) Ben Ali, but when the youth are chanting 'freedom' on the street part of me thinks America should collect royalties. Thoughts?

Egyptian Cinema:

While it only got a 5.7 on imdb, I saw "Kiss Me Not on the Eyes" at the Arab Film Festival in Dearborn a few years back, and thought that it was excellent.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479901/

Try 1979 - Islamic Revolution instead of 1989.

When has a CIA backed coup not worked (in the sense of overthrowing the regime)? This Egyptian government is as good as done.

I predict The Muslim Brotherhood will not come out ahead in this event. They are late to the party and most Egyptians are sick of their shit. The Muslim Brotherhood will be the useful idiots in this revolution.

dirk and Steve

I certainly hope that they won't! That would be great. However, Steve I wouldn't trust your anecdotal experience too much. I would try to find polls if any exist of Egyptian popular opinion on the Brotherhood. As imperfect as they may be, they'll surely inform. I am pessimistic and believe at least 30-40% solid support for the Ikhwan. I could be wrong, but my minimum is 20% which is a huge number for a determined ruthless cadre.

1989 was the result of a secular decline in commodities prices. 2011 is a result of a secular increase in commodities prices. Since this increase is likely to continue, I suspect that a democratic revolution is soon to spread across all of Arabia, with the notable exception of those Arab countries where U.S. troops are stationed and fucking things up.

Tyler, the food! I know virtually nothing about Egyptian cuisine, other than that what I've eaten, in Cairo and in Astoria, Queens, has been consistently delicious and intriguing.

If you're ever in NYC, Kebab Cafe is absolutely worth a side trip on the N/R train.
http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/kabab-cafe/

The Ikhwan are the formal opposition in Egypt, or at least fronts for them. They have been getting about

20% of the vote, although that probably understates their popularity, which is based in the rural areas, not

in Cairo, just as in Iran. OTOH, El-Baradei has been popularly received, and being surrounded in a mosque by

Mubarak's security forces gives him some Islamic cred, although he is clearly a secular figure. This is going

to be a tough one, down to the finish line, just as it remains unclear who will end up on top in Tunisia,

although the fundamentalists are weaker there than in far more important Egypt.

ChrisA,

Obvously you have not been in Kolkata...

steve - "I did not encounter any of the "poor masses" on my trip and so was not able to get that perspective."

you must have been chauffeured around egypt, otherwise how could you have missed the stark poverty all around the country. you should talked to the copts living off trash in cairo. take a look at the stats. next time, open your eyes.

I believe Steve was being sarcastic.

Is there a mechanism for increasing the expected price of this behavior for the Egyptian government?

One low cost way of shifting it (extremely) marginally is to contact your political representative and the Egyptian embassy petitioning them to take a tougher stance on the behavior of the Egyptian government.

Here's a couple of links that will let you do this in 5 minutes.

This is a pro-democracy movement and the more democratic countries there are in the world the better off we all are.
http://noshockdoctrine.iparl.com/lobby/52
http://www.heartsandminds.org/articles/lobby.htm

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