War of attrition in Tahrir Square, Cairo

Posted: February 3, 2011 in Arab people power, Barack Obama, Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, Kefaya, People power, Tahrir Square

Medan Tahrir

As I write this blog entry, a pitched battle between pro- and anti-Mubarak forces is raging in Tahrir Square (aka Medan Tahrir or Midan Tahrir) in central Cairo and nearby surroundings, including the Museum of Antiquities.  It started yesterday afternoon as pro-Mubarak forces mounted on horses and camel charged into the ranks of anti-Mubarak demonstrators in the square wielding clubs, sticks, and swords.  A number of them were forced off their mounts and were beaten up by the incensed demonstrators.  As nightfall fell, the pro-regime forces started pelting the other side with stones, rocks, and petrol bombs.  And the other side also started returning the favor.

Mubarak supporters on a camel charging anti-Mubarak protesters

The positions of both sides solidified as the night deepened into the dawn and metal barricades separated the combatants.  The contest is now a flurry and counter-flurry of projectiles and Molotov cocktails.  The contested ground seems to be Tahrir itself but the pro-Mubarak forces are not in any way poised to take control over the precious real estate. Especially since the anti-regime forces still outnumber them.

The battle of Tahrir

Meanwhile, the security forces (police and military) are not doing anything to restore order and to stop the hostilities.  Perhaps, their superiors found it prudent to allow partisans on both sides to vent their emotions through the street action.  Perhaps, what they intend is to confine the disorder only within the square. Or better yet, their superiors may believe that sending them into the fray may divide the security forces themselves–leading to a more frightening scenario of street fighting between fire-armed forces.  Better to confine the weapons to stones and fire-bombs!

Present? Absent!

Battle of Tahrir II

Meanwhile, there’s a dire need for medical and emergency personnel to tend to the wounded running into hundreds!

The street fighting is also duplicated in Egypt’s second-largest city, Alexandria.

Street fighting in Cairo

All these developments ensued after a defiant speech by Mubarak on nation-wide television with the strongman declaring that while he will not stand for any position at the coming September 2011 elections, he declared that he intends to die on Egyptian soil.  That he was a soldier and that he will not abandon his post.

A few hours after that inflamed speech came the horse and camel charge of the pro-Mubarak forces.

Apparently, Mubarak is not yet ready to cut, and cut cleanly.  And the US government headed by President Obama is either undecided or unwilling to speed up the process.

So now, Egypt’s future will, rightfully, be decided by the war of attrition in Cairo, Alexandria, and elsewhere within the country.

    • bongmendoza says:

      Dear Haliman,

      I am sorry I cannot understand French and cannot respond to your blog entries. I will try to get them translated and then I will get back to you.

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