Thursday, 10 February 2011

"..The White House invited several Middle East scholars to discuss the Egypt upheaval Tuesday.
Among those who attended were the Center for Strategic and International Studies’s Jon Alterman, Dan Brumberg of the U.S. Institute of Peace, Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University and the Wall Street Journal, former George W. Bush White House Middle East and democracy advisor Elliott Abrams, Human Rights Watch’s Tom Malinowski, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Michele Dunne, and Scott Carpenter, a former State Department Middle East democracy official now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The one and a half hour meeting, with the NSC’s Dan Shapiro, Samantha Power, and Ben Rhodes, was off the record.
The administration has had a horrible problem with message discipline,” one attendee said on condition of anonymity. “I think the people in the room from the administration are largely in synch, but projecting that out to all the parts of the administration is not working.....They believe they understand how the president sees it," he continued. "But to get the Secretary of State on board and the spokesmen and everyone else – they end up having the policy which they believe is clear which is perceived [on the outside] to be vacillating.”.....

Vice President Joe Biden then took a more forceful posture, pressing Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman in a Tuesday phone call for a series of concrete and immediate reforms -- which were detailed in an unusually lengthy and explicit White House readout of the call.
The NSC officials in the meeting Tuesday were very enthusiastic about Biden’s more forceful message to Suleiman, attendees said, which included among its explicit requests pressing for the immediate lifting of Egypt’s controversial emergency law, under which thousands of dissidents, bloggers and activists have been arrested, and which has been in place since 1981....
“Nobody has any illusions about what Omar Suleiman wants to do," an attendee said. "What is unknown is what Omar Suleiman could be persuaded to do. Can they put in place a process that as it plays out puts Egypt in a different place than it is now... One thing that struck me is a certain optimism that you can’t put the toothpaste back in tube,”....
Posted by G, Z, or B at 11:40 AM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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