Hosni Mubarak resigns: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hails 'a new Middle East'
Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday claimed the uprising in Egypt heralded a new Middle East without the "satanic" influence of the West and that will doom Israel.
Despite suppressing its own opposition movement, Mr Ahmadinejad drew parallels between the protests in Egypt and the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.
"In spite of all the (West's) complicated and satanic designs ... a new Middle East is emerging without the Zionist regime and US interference, a place where the arrogant powers will have no place," he told a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square to make the anniversary of the Revolution.
His comments came before Hosni Mubarak's resignation.
Tens of thousands of Iranians chanted support for Egypt's protesters and burned effigies of Hosni Mubarak.
The embattled Egyptian president has not enjoyed good relation with Iran, who are highly critical of Egypt's close relationship with the US and its peace deal with Israel.
"It's your right to be free. It's your right to exercise your will and sovereignty," Mr Ahmadinejad told them.
White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor denounced Iran's "hypocrisy" for claiming to support Egypt's people protest while clamping down on its own opposition.
Iranian opposition groups have called for marches on Tuesday, but Hossein Hamedani, a senior commander of the feared Revolutionary Guard said any attempt to rally would be crushed. Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi remains under house arrest for trying to organise a protest on Monday.
The BBC said signal for its Persian service was jammed from Thursday in an attempt to block its Egypt coverage.
In Jordan, 1,000 demonstrators called for Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit, appointed just last week by King Abdullah II, to step down and anti-corruption marches continued across Iraq.
In the Gaza Strip, a Friday protest inspired by the Egypt demonstrations – and organised on Facebook – against Hamas rule in the Palestinian territory attracted virtually no supporters.
Authorities in Algeria have ringed the capital Algiers ahead of a planned pro-democracy march today. Public transport has reportedly been cancelled and large amounts of tear gas have been imported by police.
Mid-East contagion fears for Saudi oil fields
Risk analysts and intelligence agencies fear that Egypt's uprising may set off escalating protests in the tense Shia region of Saudi Arabia, home to the world's richest oilfields
"Yemen, Sudan, Jordan and Syria all look vulnerable. However, the greatest risk in terms of both probability and severity is in Saudi Arabia," said a report by risk consultants Exclusive Analysis.
While markets have focused on possible disruption to the Suez Canal, conduit for 8pc of global shipping, it is unlikely that Egyptian leaders of any stripe would cut off an income stream worth $5bn (£3.1bn) a year to the Egyptian state.
"I don't think the Egyptians will ever dare to touch it," said Opec chief Abdalla El-Badri, adding that the separate Suez oil pipeline is "very well protected". The canal was blockaded after the Six Days War in 1967.
There has been less focus on the risk of instability spreading to Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, headquarters of the Saudi oil giant Aramco. The region boasts the vast Safaniya, Shaybah and Ghawar oilfields. "This is potentially far more dangerous," said Faysal Itani, Mid-East strategist at Exclusive.
"The Shia are 10pc of the Saudi population. They are deeply aggrieved and marginalised, and sit on top of the kingdom's oil reserves. There have been frequent confrontations and street fights with the security forces that are very rarely reported in the media," he said.
The Saudi Shia last rose up in mass civil disobedience in the "Intifada" of 1979, inspired by the Khomeini revolution in Iran. Clashes led to 21 deaths. Mr Itani said it is unclear whether the Saudi military could cope with a serious outbreak of protest in the province.
Saudi King Abdullah is clearly alarmed by fast-moving events in Egypt and the Arab world. In a statement published by the Saudi press agency he said agitators had "infiltrated Egypt to destabilise its security and incite malicious sedition".
The accusations seem aimed at Iran's Shia regime, which has openly endorsed the "rightful demands" of the protest movement. There is deep concern in Sunni Arab countries that Iran is attempting to create a "Shia Crescent" through Iraq, Bahrain and into the Gulf areas of Saudi Arabia, hoping to become the hegemonic force in global oil supply.
Goldman Sachs said the Mid-East holds 61pc of the world's proven oil reserves – and 36pc of current supply – which may compel global leaders to make "concentrated efforts" to stabilise the region. The bank said high levels of affluence should shield Saudi Arabia and the Gulf's oil-rich states from "political contagion".
However, a third of Saudi Arabia's 25m residents are ill-assimilated foreigners and the country faces a "youth bulge", with unemployment at 42pc among those aged 20 to 24.
Nima Khorrami Assl, a Gulf expert at the Transnational Crisis Project, said Shi'ites have been "stigmatised as a result of excessive paranoia since Iran's Islamic Revolution" and face systemic barriers in education and jobs. "Should the Gulf states do nothing or attempt to preserve the status quo, social unrest becomes inevitable. The current situation is inherently unstable," he told Foreign Policy Journal.
Exclusive Analysis said Egypt's revolt had gone beyond the point of no return as protesters plan a 1m stong rally on Tuesday, with president Hosni Mubarak likely to be ousted within 30 days.
John Cochrane, the group's global risk strategist, said the regime has so far refrained from ordering the army to crush protesters knowing that many officers will refuse to obey. "If asked to use lethal force, it is questionable whether the army's cohesion will hold together," he said.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the best-organised of the diffuse protest movement, has reached out to the military, praising its "long and honourable history", but it has also begun to set up its own populist militias to protect the streets.
A future government – with the Brotherhood pulling some strings – is expected to renationalise parts of industry, shifting away from "free-market" policies used to weaken the labour unions and steer contracts to an incestuous elite. Ezz Steel and other parts of the business empire of Ahmed Ezz may be seized, as well as infrastructure assets linked to corrupt ministers.
The Brotherhood's "old guard" has so far controlled its hotheads but the organisation is close to Hamas in Gaza. Israel may soon find that it can no longer count on a secure southern border, even if Egypt's peace treaty remains in name.
The outbreak of Arab populism vindicates claims by US neo-conservatives that the region is ripe for change, but this is not what Washington had in mind. "US interests are the first casualty," said Mr Itani.
Fairly or unfairly, America is tarred with the Mubarak brush. Cairo may switch allegiance to the rising powers of Turkey, India, and above all, China. [Telegraph 31/1/2011]
Iran supports Egyptians’ great victory
Tehran Times - Senior Iranian officials have congratulated the Egyptian nation on their historic victory against Hosni Mubarak’s government.
“We congratulate the great Egyptian nation on this victory and we share their happiness,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a statement issued on Friday following Hosni Mubarak’s resignation from the presidency.
The Iranian foreign minister also pointed to the celebrations of the 32nd anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, which coincided with the great victory of the Egyptian nation, and said that the Iranian nation completely supports the “brave movement” of the Egyptian nation.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi called on the Egyptian army to play its historical role at this critical juncture and help the great Egyptian nation realize their aspirations.
The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council also praised the Egyptian people’s victory.
SNSC Secretary Saeed Jalili also said that Mubarak heard the voice of the Egyptian people too late, adding that the United States and Europe should explain why they have supported a dictator for 30 years.
Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani also congratulated the Egyptian people over their great victory, in which they toppled the country’s dictator.
The revolutionary people of Egypt were able to defeat the most powerful “regional and global devils” through unity, patience, resistance, and adherence to the Quran, he said in a statement published on Saturday.
Larijani also said that the events in Egypt and Tunisia are a wake-up call for other dictators who suppress their people and ignore their demands.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian parliament speaker called on the Egyptian army to side with the Egyptian people.
“The Egyptian army is facing a difficult test. If it stands with the people… it will enjoy the Muslim Egyptian nation’s support against the enemies, and if it stands against the people, it will be broken up with shattering blows arising from the people’s faith in God,” Larijani said.
After 18 days of protests and demonstrations by millions of Egyptians who called for the departure of Mubarak and the establishment of a democratic government, on Friday Mubarak decided to step aside and transfer power to the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
The news was received with a roar of approval and rejoicing from a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and later millions of Egyptians poured into the streets in all the cities across the country to celebrate the end of Mubarak’s three-decade rule.
Meanwhile, the main opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, has urged the military to swiftly transfer power to a civilian government
World celebrates Egypt’s historic revolution
Egyptians woke up on Saturday to a new dawn after 30 years under the rule of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Celebrations erupted across the Middle East after the news broke. From Beirut to Gaza, people rushed into the streets, handing out candy, setting off fireworks, and shooting in the air.
Turkey's foreign minister congratulated the Egyptian people on Friday and said he hoped a new system would emerge in the wake of the veteran president's departure.
“Congratulations to the Egyptian people. And we hope that a system meeting the expectations of the Egyptian people will emerge,” Ahmet Davutoglu said in a message on his Twitter page.
In Tunisia, where a successful uprising expelled a longtime leader only weeks earlier, cries of joy and the thundering honking of horns greeted the announcement. “God delivered our Egyptian brothers from this dictator,” said Yacoub Youssef, one of those celebrating in Tunis.
Palestinians in Gaza set off fireworks and shot into the air to celebrate the resignation of Mubarak on Friday, and the Islamic resistance movement Hamas called on Egypt's new rulers to change his policies, Reuters reported.
“The resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is the beginning of the victory of the Egyptian revolution,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.
“Such a victory was the result of the sacrifices and the steadfastness of the Egyptian people,” he told Reuters.
Gaza residents heard gunfire erupt across the city when news of Mubarak's departure spread, and fireworks lit up the sky.
The besieged coastal territory of Gaza shares a border with Israel and Egypt. The Israeli and Egyptian regimes have imposed strict limitations on the movement of people and goods since 2007, hampering its economy.
Abu Zuhri called on the new Egyptian leadership to permanently open its border with Gaza to allow free movement.
Mubarak's departure was also welcomed in the West Bank, which is controlled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“What's happening in Egypt represents strength to us and to all Arabs. This is a peaceful revolution that did not vandalize anything,” said Nabil Shaat, a senior member of Abbas' Fatah faction.
The Lebanese Islamic resistance movement also congratulated the Egyptian people on Friday.
Describing Mubarak's resignation as a “historic victory” for Egyptians, Hezbollah said that the movement strongly supports the Egyptian revolution.
“Hezbollah congratulates the great people of Egypt on this historic and honorable victory, which is a direct result of their pioneering revolution,” Hezbollah said in a statement.
“It is the unity the people showed in this revolution, women and men, children and adults, which marked the triumph of blood over the sword,” it added.
“Hezbollah is filled with pride over the achievements of the Egyptian revolution.”
Hezbollah invited its supporters to join in a mass celebration.
Hundreds of Lebanese also took to the streets of the capital Beirut following Mubarak's resignation and celebrated the occasion by waving Egyptian flags and with fireworks, Press TV reported.
On Friday, many Jordanians on Friday gathered outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman to show solidarity with the people of Egypt.
Chanting anti-Mubarak slogans, Jordanian demonstrators called on Egypt's pro-democracy protesters to continue their protests until all their demands have been met.
The rally, which was organized by the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, was held following Friday Prayers.
“We adopt demands of the Egyptian people because we are one nation and our pain is the same. The Egyptian people want to uproot the corruption regime and we are with them until Egypt is cleansed from traitors and corrupts,” said IAF Secretary General Hamzeh Mansour.
After 18 days of demonstrations at Cairo's Tahrir Square, resisting police assaults and a last-ditch attack by Mubarak supporters, people packed not just the epicenter but, it seemed, every street and neighborhood of Cairo. Similar scenes occurred in other cities and towns across Egypt.
Fireworks lit the night sky, cars honked under swathes of red, white, and black Egyptian flags and people hoisted children above their heads. Some took souvenir pictures with smiling soldiers atop their tanks on city streets.
Everyone cried, laughed, and embraced in the hope of a new era.
Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, reporting from Cairo, said that in the coming days people will have some concerns.
“The obvious thing that is going to be concerning many people is to have some kind of a clear roadmap for the progress towards democratic elections,” she said.
“After all this, was a revolution not only to overthrow President Mubarak, but also to remove the whole system and install it with one where people would have freedom of choice with (regard to) who runs the country.”
The country's new military leaders sought to allay some of those concerns with an announcement on state television on Saturday, in which they promised to hand power to an elected, civilian government. They also pledged to respect all international treaties.
State television reported that the curfew in the country has been shortened and is now in effect from midnight to 6 a.m.
But some protesters vowed to remain in Tahrir Square until their democratic agenda is implemented.
The developments came a day after Omar Suleiman, the vice president, said on Friday in a televised address that the president was “waiving” his office and handed over authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Suleiman's 50-word statement was received with a roar of approval and by celebratory chanting and flag-waving from a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Tahrir Square, as well as by other pro-democracy campaigners who were attending protests across the country.
Iran vows Mideast without US, Israel
Fri Feb 11, 2011
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that a new Middle East will be created in the near future without the United States and Israel.
"I assure you that despite all evil and complicated plans, and thanks to the resistance of nations, there will be a new Middle East but without the US and the Zionist regime [of Israel]," he told the Iranians gathering at Tehran's Azadi Square to mark the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
The Iranian president also urged the arrogant powers not to interfere in the internal affairs of the region's countries such as Egypt and Tunisia.
"What are you doing in Afghanistan? What are these military bases in the region for? Are you compassionate or hypocrite?" Ahmadinejad asked.
He also argued that the West is deceitful in claiming that with the two-state slogan it can pave the way for Israel to dominate the region.
Hailing the revolution in Egypt, the Iranian president warned the Egyptian people to be vigilant, insisting that "It is your right to be free. It is your right to decide your government, and it is your right to freely express yourself about your country and global issues."
"Be united and do not fear corrupt governments, and victory is near," he added.
In Egypt, thousands of people gathered outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Friday after President Hosni Mubarak refused to step down amid repeated calls for his resignation.
Tensions are expected to escalate further on the eighteenth day of pro-democracy protests as millions are to come together at mosques for Muslim communal prayers on Friday.
Iran celebrates 1979 Islamic Revolution
Millions of Iranians both at home and abroad celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on February 11.
Tens of millions of people have started rallies across Iran to celebrate the occasion.
On this day, 32 years ago, the Iranian people's decades-long struggle against the regime of the former dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi paid off.
The Iranian nation toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime 32 years ago, ending the 2,500 years of monarchic rule in the country.
Despite heavy snow in the capital Tehran, people have started their rally to mark the victory of 1979 Islamic Revolution 32 years ago.
A total of 1,100 domestic and foreign reporters cover the epic presence of people of Tehran at the ceremony.
The people were also holding placards in support of the popular uprising of the Egyptians and Tunisians.
The anniversary date of Imam Khomeini's return to Iran on February 1 marks the beginning of 10 days of celebrations (10-Day Dawn), which culminate on February 11 -- the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Iranians mark the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution each year.
Nasrallah encourages Egytians to overthrow their government.
Hezbollah: Egypt Revolution to change the world
7 Feb 2011
Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah says the Egyptian Revolution will leave an impact on all regional and global developments.
“It has always been said that Egypt is the mother of the world. This is right and you (Egyptians) who are there, you are the great people who can, with your will and solidarity, change the face of the world,” Nasrallah said in a speech on Monday.
“You are waging the war of Arab dignity. Today, with your voices, blood and steadfastness, you are retrieving the dignity of the Arab people; the dignity which was humiliated by some rulers of the Arab world for decades.”
He explained that the delay in announcing Hezbollah's stance was not because of hesitance or any confusion.
Hezbollah was afraid if it announced its stance earlier, the protesters in Tunisia and Egypt would be accused of being moved or controlled by Hezbollah or the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and they would be accused of serving a foreign agenda, Nasrallah added.
Now that the people are overcoming the Mubarak regime, “We are gathering here to announce our solidarity and our standing side by side in support of the people of Egypt … We are also side by side with the people of Tunisia,” the Hezbollah leader said.
Nasrallah elaborated on some fundamental points about the Egyptian revolution.
“We are witnessing a real popular revolution; a real Egyptian nationalist revolution. Muslims and Christians are participating in this revolution. Islamic factions, secular parties, nationalist parties and all walks of life are participating,” he said.
“This revolution is the result of the determination and commitment of the Egyptian people,” and contrary to the US and Israeli propaganda that say it is just “a revolution for bread,” the movement is also a “political, humanitarian and social revolution,” he pointed out.
Millions of Egyptians have for two weeks taken to the streets across the country to call for the ouster of the Mubarak regime. More than 300 people are estimated to have been killed since the protests began.
People from all walks of life are flooding into Cairo's Liberation Square and many have been spending nights at the square despite heavy military presence.
Also in Alexandria, people have gathered at the city's main square chanting their revolution will not die.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian revolution coalition has reportedly rejected negotiations with the government of Vice President Omar Suleiman.
On Sunday, millions of Egyptians were out on the streets in the capital and other major cities to honor hundreds of their countrymen killed during the anti-government rallies.
Hostility toward the United States is widespread among the protesters as they hold Washington responsible for Mubarak's grip on power. Demonstrators say they will not leave the streets until Mubarak steps down.
Nasrallah exposes Israel's Egypt plot
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has revealed to the Arab and Islamic world another Israeli “scenario” regarding the Egyptian revolution.
“Israel is putting pressure on every political circle in the world to protect Mubarak's regime,” Nasrallah said in his speech on Monday.
He noted that the recent revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia have made Israel “reconsider its national security strategies” as it finds itself isolated in the Middle East after losing its regional allies, one by one.
Nasrallah warned that some accuse the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions of being the creations of the United States and its military and intelligence agencies.
The Hezbollah chief described such accusations as “unjust and an insult” to both North African nations.
“Who can believe that the US is deliberately trying to overthrow a regime that meets all the demands of the US administration, a regime which is protecting US interests and projects in the region?” he argued.
Nasrallah also warned the people and all resistance movements, “They (the US) are trying to present themselves as if they defend the people and their rights and will, after years of supporting one of the worst dictatorships that we have seen in our region.”
As public opinion polls conducted by US academic institutions show, the majority of the people in the region are against US policies, he pointed out.
Nasrallah noted that as a result, “If people move against a regime in a certain country, the US administration will stand in the middle ground, and it will not support bloody confrontations with the people, because it knows the results will be catastrophic for itself and its allies.”
“It tries to present itself as a protector of the people and tries to guarantee some kind of a transition of power to an authority or to a leadership, which preserves its relationship with it and protects its interests,” he added.
Nasrallah explained that the US has no problem with the ideologies of the regimes and its only concern is that the regime should be committed to American and Israeli interests.
Millions of Egyptians have, for two weeks, taken to the streets across crisis-hit Egypt to call for an end to three decades of the Mubarak regime. More than 300 people are estimated to have been killed since the protests began on January 25.
Hostility toward the United States is widespread among the protesters as they hold Washington responsible for Mubarak's continued grip on power. Demonstrators say they will not leave the streets until he steps down.
Iran: 'Era of US-backed regimes over'
Wed Feb 16
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the era of puppet regimes has passed, and that revolutions in the Middle East are against the US-supported dictators in the region.
Addressing people in Iran's southwestern city of Bushehr during his 86th provincial trip, the Iranian chief executive said there is massive pent-up energy against satanic forces in the region.
“We have always said, and we say it again, freedom of speech, and the right to determine the destiny, and the right to ask for justice and spirituality is the right of all nations,” President Ahmadinejad said.
He further pointed out that the recent revolutions in the Middle East have all been against dictators who had abandoned their nations, referring to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
"The dictator move away from their nations, and thereby become hated by their nations. And the more they do so, the more they become dependent on the arrogant powers," he said.
President Ahmadinejad said the more cruel such dictators, the more US support they have received, adding that the people have, however, awakened and this cannot go on.
The Iranian chief executive also referred to Iran's peaceful nuclear energy program, and warned the West against dragging out of the P5+1 talks.
"Even if you think that by dragging out the [nuclear] issue… Iran will give up an iota of its rights, you are making a mistake, and we are not making a single step back," the Iranian president said.
These countries should know that they cannot stop Iran's progress, he noted.
President Ahmadinejad said Tehran supports justice and law but will not back down from its rights.
'West fearful of Islamic Revolution'
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the West is concerned that the Islamic Revolution is served as a model for the region and the entire world.
“Enemies are making efforts to prevent the Islamic Iran from serving as a model for Muslim nations in the region because public movements will be difficult without a model,” said Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday.
The Leader added that the main reason behind the West pressure on the Islamic Republic is that Iran is promoting a model in the region and the globe, IRNA reported.
“After the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, enemies have been making efforts to weaken the Islamic establishment through imposing various sanctions and the eight-year (Iraqi) imposed war, raising human rights issues and assassinating nuclear scientists,” Ayatollah Khamenei noted.
However, their efforts failed and the Islamic Revolution will continue its path of progress day by day, he emphasized.
He pointed to economic sanctions, assassination of top Iranian scientists and making accusations against the country on human rights and said, "The pressure and propaganda are aimed at stopping the move by the Iranian nation and diverting public opinion of the region and the globe from the Islamic Republic."
The Leader stressed that despite demands by arrogant powers, Iran is becoming "more and more strong and advanced" day by day.
The Leader pointed out that the more enemies move towards weakening the Islamic establishment, the stronger it will become.
“Today, the progress of the Islamic Revolution can be seen in various fields,” Ayatollah Khamenei went on to say.
He pointed to latest developments in Egypt and other regional countries and added, “The Islamic awareness has begun in the Muslim world. This was emanated from the Islamic Revolution.”
The Leader noted that the upward move of the Islamic awareness in the Muslim world is the "sweet outcome" of the resistance of the Iranian nation over the past 32 years.
Ayatollah Khamenei stated that very important incidents that took place in Egypt stemmed from the Islamic awareness and humiliation of the civilized Egyptians for many years.
He said the Egyptian government inflicted humiliation on the people due to its dependence on the US and the Zionist regime until the Egyptian nation and youth finally rose up.