"It was deeply amusing to Egyptians that Obama – in Cairo itself, after his election – had urged Arabs to grasp freedom and democracy. These aspirations disappeared entirely when he gave his tacit if uncomfortable support to the Egyptian president on Friday. "
I thought it strange seeing tanks parked on the streets without paratroopers or marines forming a cordon around them. Surely young tankers being surrounded by protestors would establish relationships amongst the mob and in a day or two would become ineffective, isolated from the command and control structure necessary for military cohesion of a fighting unit. Their officers must know that. What is going on?
Today, there are reports of the police being missing in action, rioters and looters have moved from state targets and are now attacking the private property of business and middle class neighborhoods. Museums and mosques are being looted. There are reports of neighborhood private security being formed to hold back the mobs.
Public support for protesters of injustice will end quickly when the protesters turn to marauding mobs. It is time for a good dictator to fire up the tanks, use the political cover of the rioting and reestablish order. Short of that, get on a plane and get out of Cairo.
Egypt protests - live updates
We advise against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez. We recommend that British nationals without a pressing need to be in Cairo, Alexandria or Suez leave by commercial means where it is safe to do so. British nationals in other areas of Egypt where there are demonstrations should follow the advice below and stay indoors wherever possible.
"I remind you that the peace between Israel and Egypt has lasted for over three decades."
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