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January 29, 2011

If Only Mubarak Had Invested In High-Speed Rail

Egypt updates:

--Mubarak named his intelligence chief and close confidant Omar Suleiman vice president.

Mubarak was widely seen as grooming his son Gamal to succeed him, possibly even as soon as in presidential elections planned for later this year. However, there was significant public opposition to the hereditary succession.

Suleiman has been in charge of some of Egypt's most sensitive foreign policy issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and inter-Palestinian divisions.

His appointment as vice president answers one of the most intriguing and most enduring political questions in Egypt: who would succeed the 82-year-old Mubarak?

--Mubarak's sons just landed in London, according to Allahpundit: "Hosni Mubarak's two sons Alaa and Gamal have arrived in London." Also, Mubarak's wife has left for london.

--Kirsten Powers tweets that Suleiman is a good choice: "Our egyptian uncle in Cairo says Omar Suleiman is well respected and would be a good president. Says his appt to VP is good for Egypt."

Update:

--Looters broke into the Egytian Museum, destroying mummies.

The museum in central Cairo, which has the world's biggest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, is adjacent to the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party that protesters had earlier set ablaze. Flames were seen still pouring out of the party headquarters early Saturday.

"I felt deeply sorry today when I came this morning to the Egyptian Museum and found that some had tried to raid the museum by force last night," Zahi Hawass, chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said Saturday.

"Egyptian citizens tried to prevent them and were joined by the tourism police, but some (looters) managed to enter from above and they destroyed two of the mummies," he said.

--Yahoo reports that the Egyptian army stormed the museum:

The Egyptian army secured Cairo's famed antiquities museum early Saturday, protecting thousands of priceless artifacts, including the gold mask of King Tutankhamun, from looters.

The greatest threat to the Egyptian Museum, which draws millions of tourists a year, first appeared to come from the fire engulfing the ruling party headquarters next door on Friday night, set ablaze by anti-government protesters.

Then dozens of would-be thieves started entering the grounds surrounding the museum, climbing over the metal fence or jumping inside from trees lining the sidewalk outside.

Well, Mubarak did something right.

Update:

--Protestors helped protect the museum:

One man pleaded with people outside the museum's gates on Tahrir Square not to loot the building, shouting at the crowd: "We are not like Baghdad." After the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, thieves carted off thousands of artifacts from the National Museum in Baghdad — only a fraction of which have been recovered.

Suddenly other young men — some armed with truncheons taken from the police — formed a human chain outside the main entrance in an attempt to protect the collection inside.

"I'm standing here to defend and to protect our national treasure," said one of the men, Farid Saad, a 40-year-old engineer.

Another man, 26-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim, said it was important to guard the museum because it "has 5,000 years of our history. If they steal it, we'll never find it again."

Damn right. Next to lives, it's the most valuable thing in Egypt. It's an incredible place. What a nice story. Thanks to some troll in comments.

Update:

--Live streaming video from Al Jazeera in English. They showed some of the damage to the museum. The rioters got some of the priceless stuff, looks like. Thanks to Liberty Chick.

Update:

--Pictures of some of the damage to the museum. Here is one of them:

There are many more at the link, most better than this. You can see that the cases aren't really designed to keep people out. Thanks again to Liberty Chick.


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posted by rdbrewer at 11:15 AM

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