The Youth Movement Cracks Up

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I don’t have any real comment to make about this, but the LA Times has an interesting story today about Egyptian politics in the post-Mubarak era:

The new breed of professionals who helped topple President Hosni Mubarak is watching its rebellion turn into a political struggle among the country’s splintered opposition forces….The major rift in the youth movement is between the Coalition for the Jan. 25 Revolution Youth and a clique of urban professionals led by Google executive Wael Ghonim and dentist Mustafa Nagar. The two groups had shared strategies in a ransacked travel agency and under a tent during protests in Tahrir Square that began in late January. But talks with the government involving members of the latter group in the last days of Mubarak’s rule angered some members of the coalition.

“The guys from the coalition didn’t like it,” said Nagar, who has a persistent cough after inhaling tear gas during demonstrations. “They accused us of selling out the blood of the martyrs. And now that same coalition is trying to meet and talk to anyone they can. We are split from them completely.”

….The split in the youth movement began when members of Ghonim’s group met with the government to protect protesters from security forces and resolve the crisis in the days before Mubarak fell. It was further aggravated when Ghonim, who was arrested Jan. 27, was released from jail 12 days later and instantly became the new face of the revolution after an emotional television interview.

Unlike a number of coalition members, Ghonim did not have a long history in the dissident camp. One coalition member referred to the Google executive as “just the support” because he posted a Facebook page that helped provide a catalyst for the demonstrations.

I don’t think there’s anything unusual about this. It’s just normal politics. Still, it’s also fairly predictable, and there’s not much question that this kind of infighting gives the Egyptian military a lot more leverage over the future of the country than they’d otherwise have. And since they’d have a lot of influence even under the best of circumstances, this probably means their political role really isn’t going to change much. The whole piece is worth a read.

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