The “non-dictator” Mubarak strikes back – the revolution is live and being televised

What the Obama team cannot seem to cut loose, the Mubarak dictatorship, struck back today against the Egyptian democracy movement with guns, camels and thugs.

The battle has raged all day, and finally this revolution is being televised after a near blackout of the millions of peaceful demonstrators yesterday by US media. It appears as if the Mubarak thugs, resembling the turbas deployed in Nicaragua or in Chavez’ Venezuela, are being routed, but at a significant cost.

As Robert Fisk notes, Obama should suffer deep embarrassment for their alliance with this bloodthirsty regime.

The UK’s Guardian, always so much more sophisticated than US news outlets, has two articles that make the essential point: nothing about today and this evening’s battle on the streets of Cairo, about Mubarak’s counter-attack, is a surprise. It was expected and inevitable. As one Guardian writer, Simon Tisdall, notes:

Mubarak was never quite a dictator in the Saddam Hussein or Robert Mugabe mould. His rule was more akin to the semi-enlightened despotism of an 18th-century European monarch. But at bottom, it always depended on coercion and force. Today, the pretence of reasonableness was torn away. His dark side showed for all to see.

Another columnist, Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif, notes that the nature of the attacks, using professional mobs, was standard operating procedure by the regime: the regime turned loose its thugs on the street. The same tactics that have been used against protesters over the last five years, the same tactics in force at the last elections to scare voters off the streets, appeared and with redoubled viciousness.

So if any intelligent person paying attention knew the violent counter attack was coming, guess what, so did Obama and his national security team. And yet they still have yet to say publicly that Mubarak should go. Proof positive that they fear the alternative to Mubarak more than Mubarak himself. As FDR was rumored to have said about Nicaraguan strong man Somoza, “he may be a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch.” So much for “Hope” and “Change,” folks.