American Morning

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February 3rd, 2011
08:03 AM ET

Egypt a 'heartwrenching' and 'complex' diplomacy issue for U.S.

(CNN) - Heavy gunfire reverberated in central Cairo before dawn Thursday as supporters and foes of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak continued to face off at Tahrir Square, where chunks of concretes and Molotov cocktails were employed as weapons in the escalating crisis. CNN personnel saw wounded people being carried into Tahrir Square, largely held by anti-regime demonstrators, through an entrance that leads to the nearby Egyptian Museum. Several ambulances entered and left the square shortly before 4 a.m. Thursday. Sustained automatic weapons fire, including from what sounded like a heavy machine gun, echoed around the square, the epicenter of nine days of protests calling for Mubarak's ouster. Anti-government demonstrators hunkered down behind makeshift barricades in the square and outside the nearby national museum against the onslaught, which demonstrators said included plainclothes police officers.

With unrest still happening throughout Egypt this morning between anti-Mubarak and pro-Mubarak protesters, what options does Mubarak have, and how should President Obama approach the situation?

Today on American morning, Mona Eltahawy, a columnist who was born in Egypt, and Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State and now professor of diplomacy and international politics at Harvard, discuss Egypt and America's next diplomatic steps with T.J. Holmes.

Filed under: Egypt • World
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. MeLoN

    With Obama pushing Murarak out of power would Obama play by the rules he is attempting on another government? So if Americans took to the streets to protest Obama – he should leave office.

    February 4, 2011 at 7:14 am |
  2. MeLoN

    Americans are surely short sighted not to see what's coming down the pipe if Mubarak if forced out of office – without an orderly transition to a peaceful and democratic government. It will go the same way as Iran did years ago. The new government will be anti-American and will support anti-American forces. With the "domino effect" taking place the US won't have any Arab allies in the Middle East.

    Americans have short memories but the Arab people do not for they remember what American foriegn policy has been for the last 5 or 6 decades.

    February 4, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  3. Julie

    What a legacy that this Mubarak has now made. The world has lost all respect for this tyrant.. While he will go down now in history as being nothing more than that creepy Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and so called spiritual leader Ali Khamenei of Iran that just out and out killing humanity. and what for? mubarack states without him, there is nothing but tyranny? When he is the cause of this tyranny. He does not fool the world in thinking he is not in back of all this.
    mubarack has signed his name in history as being nothing more than what Hitler did. Disgusting man, has destroyed his son's life and name of his family in a blaze of unending senile egomaniac.
    Another insult to mankind, Mubarack and these creepy old men that have no business being leaders of anything.

    February 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    this political curfew shoulld b cleared nd resolved immediately

    February 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  5. Tod P

    This is exactly why people need the right to bear arms. When weapons are illegal only the government and criminals will have them. We can never give up our guns, for then we give up our freedom!
    With an armed public, the governments cannot oppress for fear of reprisal. Really, this is the reason countries with nukes can stand their ground against radical nations. The same goes for the people, guns in the hands of everyone stops the radicals from taking over. The only way is to eliminate all weapons, even the military, but that will never happen, nor should the right to bear arms be taken away, ever!

    February 3, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  6. Cpt_Mike

    I was watching this last night on MSNBC and CNN and it was a good reminder why the Egyptians were peacefully protesting. They want change and this brutal regime refuses to go without a fight. The police officers in that country are cowards, its their job to protect these protestors from harm and arrest those causing trouble. When the police are no where around the people are left to police themselves. Yet as a soldier myself I would not hesitate to protect these individuals that are peacefully demonstrating from harm, especially since the police are no where in sight. So in my opinion the military is taking orders that perhaps are not justful in nature and therefore not required to be followed; this of course assumes the Egyptian military has an honor code.

    When your president is a dictator any commands given against peaceful demonstrations are not justful. I pray for the Egyptian people and hope that a five million man march comes to Cairo and the Mubarak resigns immediately. As an American I know that this foreign relation we have with the existing Egyptian government is not an easy one to right off as there are many economic and security issues at stake for us. However, we supposedly toppled Saddam in the name of freedom and to end his brutal regime. How is Egypt’s Mubarak any different, especially in the wake of these attacks on peaceful protestors? Although our politicians aren’t saying it to the Egyptian people, we Americans stand with you on your cause for FREEDOM!

    February 3, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  7. mike sey

    Egypt is hardly a backwater third world country, although its convenient for people who think the US is the centre of the earth to think so.

    US aid to Egypt is hardly enough to make Mubarek take a vacation let alone step down. After all the US spends about as much in a week on the Iraq war as it gives Egypt in a year, and it is much exagerated what its impact would be on $ 200 billion economy with a $50 billion annual budget with a proportionately smaller deficit than America's.

    Actually its quite understandable that Mr. Mubarek might feel resentful of American pressure. After all, for all his co-operation with America and Israel he's got diddley squat back by way of a settlement with the Palestinians. He probably feels he's been played as a patsy. Nevrtheless, he should realize its time to go.

    February 3, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  8. Fred Robinson

    As democracy unfolds in Egypt, the United States needs to support the Egyptian people. The President of Egypt is a dictator who befriends the USA in exchange for aid. If he does not resign now, all aid to Egypt must be ceased. The crowds will not disperse until this happens, nor should they. A temporary government may oversee the country until a proper election may be held ASAP.

    Stop waffling with this guy. It is time for him to go. Now.


    February 3, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  9. MeLoN

    Once again I repeat myself. The US should stay out of Egypt's internel affairs and let them sort it out for themselves by themselves. Everytime the US gets near anything they totally mess it up. Obama should be more concerned with America and Americans not some backwater third world country. Cut all US aid to Egypt AND the terrorist state of Israel.

    February 3, 2011 at 8:15 am |