World News Brief, Friday February 11

Mubarak refuses to step down despite strikes and international pressure; Doubts over Suez Canal could push up price of oil; Iran opposition leader arrested for planning Egypt-like protests; India and Pakistan to resume peace talks; Chinese hackers and more

Top of the Agenda: Protests Expand but Mubarak remains

UPDATE: Mubarak addresses the nation; after officials had indicated he would step aside, the president refused to go, but promised an end to emergency laws and a "smooth transition" to full elections. Protesters chant "get out, get out".

Thousands of Egyptian workers--including lawyers, doctors, and transit workers--held nationwide strikes (al-Jazeera) for a second day, increasing the momentum of pro-democracy demonstrations demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt's foreign minister rejected US demands to abandon its emergency laws allowing for the arbitrary detention of citizens (BBC), and said the US should not try to "impose" its will. He also stated that the army would "intervene to control the country" if events unraveled into chaos (NYT). Until now, the military has vowed not to use force against the protestors, however, it has deployed tanks and reinforcements across Cairo and controlled access points to Tahrir Square. Egypt's largest parliamentary opposition group, the Tagammu Party, announced it will pull out of reform talks with the Mubarak administration due to a lack of concessions (Haaretz). In statements to the media, Vice President Omar Suleiman reiterated that Mubarak will not resign, urged the opposition to compromise, and said the alternative was a "coup" (WSJ).

The protracted protests raised concerns that the Suez Canal--a major oil transport channel--might be closed and send oil prices skyrocketing (CNN). However, Egypt's finance minister said the government will "do its utmost best" to guarantee it remains open.


As Egypt's opposition movement urges new protests, the Egyptian army has emerged as a key player in questions about a replacement government for Mubarak, says expert Bruce K. Rutherford.

In Foreign Policy, Hugh Miles examines "The al-Jazeera Effect"--the inside story of Egypt's TV wars and how Saudi Arabia could be next.

This issue guide provides a range of background and analysis on the protests in the Middle East and North Africa.


The anti-government protests in Egypt will likely mean a greater political role for the Muslim Brotherhood, analysts say. But this Backgrounder notes the divide in views over whether the Islamist group will choose a path of moderation or extremism.

This CFR Contingency Planning Memo discusses political instability in Egypt and assesses the possibility of a troubled leadership succession or an Islamist push for political power, the implications for the United States, and policy steps the US government might take.

Read a collection of Foreign Affairs articles on Egypt, including essays by Anwar el-Sadat, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and Fouad Ajami.


PACIFIC RIM: Trial of Jemaah Islamiah Cleric Adjourned

The trial of Indonesia's Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (al-Jazeera), adjourned Thursday on a technicality, but is set to resume next week. Bashir is charged with helping launch a terror training camp and funding terror organizations--crimes that warrant the death penalty in Indonesia.

China: According to a forthcoming report from McAfee (WSJ), hackers based in China have conducted a campaign of cyberespionage against five major Western energy companies. The cyberattacks stole highly sensitive internal documents, including proprietary information about oil- and gas-field operations.



- Iran Opposition Leader Under House Arrest
- India, Pakistan Agree to Resume Peace Talks
- Pentagon Will Not Support Contractor Mergers


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on