The news on Egypt has moved deep into the A section, even as the standoff there grows. I’m not sure if that’s more a testament to the short attention span of the American people, or the fact that we really just don’t much care what happens in Egypt, or that we can’t get too riled up about what’s happening in Egypt until something definitive actually happens. Maybe it’s a combination of all three.
Hey, we’re as guilty as the next guy. We probably wrote nothing but Egypt for four or five days, and then dropped it totally the past week. It’s just hard to get all fired up about it until something breaks (unless you’re an Egyptian, of course.)
Anyhow, nothing huge has broken. The main battle lines are still in place Hosni Mubarak is still holding onto his office despite the protests. It seems he’s learned a trick or two from the western powers, because his strategy appears to be “extend and pretend.”
But it really seems like the opposition is just growing, and you wonder how much longer he can hold on. At this point, it’s all just for pride’s sake; he’s already agreed to step down at the end of his term. He’s finished either way.
The anti-Mubarak movement is growing, in fact. Yesterday’s news was that laborers were now joining with the protesters. This morning, word is that doctors and lawyers are joining the fray as well, also on the side of the protesters. (A plug for WSJ’s Dispatch blog, they’ve been publishing a steady stream of breaking news on the protests. Good place for the latest information.)
What’s also interesting, to outside western observers at least, and probably to inside observers as well, is that, seemingly, the revolt has stopped, for now at least, in Egypt. There have been some protests in Yemen, and Jordan, and Bahrain, but they’ve been smaller and more peaceful, and more importantly, the governments there are trying to blunt any protests by engaging the protesters.
That doesn’t mean the movement is finished. There sure seems to be more than enough inequality and repression across the Middle East to fuel this thing. But you wonder if the leaders in other countries read the handwriting on the tanks.