World News Brief, Thursday February 3

Egypt military urges protesters to go home after Mubarak vows not to stand again (+ protest analysis); Obama tells Mubarak to go sooner; Yemeni president promises to stand down in 2013; Queensland takes brunt of storm; China expected to raise interest rates; and more

Top of the Agenda: Egypt Army Calls for End to Protests

Just hours after President Hosni Mubarak told the nation he would not run for reelection, the Egyptian military urged the thousands of anti-government protesters occupying central Cairo to end the nine days of demonstrations and "restore normal life" (FT). Despite the request, up to two thousand anti-Mubarak activists remained in the city center continuing to demand Mubarak's immediate withdrawal from office. According to the BBC, clashes broke out between protestors and supporters of Mubarak who have surged into the square following the army's request. The army took no immediate steps to intervene, and had previously declared it would not use force against peaceful protesters. Opposition forces now face the question of whether to follow the military's request or continue to protest until the president leaves office (WSJ).

Despite Mubarak's pledge to exit office within months (NYT), US President Barack Obama strongly suggested the concession was not enough, stating that an "orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now." The US ambassador to Egypt met with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei on Tuesday and will speak with leaders of other political movements (CNN), according to a senior State Department official.


With the Muslim Brotherhood poised to gain influence in Egypt, Israel sees itself as almost completely encircled by hostile forces. In this piece for Foreign Affairs, Yossi Klein Halevi asks: Is an Egyptian-Iranian alliance a possibility--and where would this leave the future of a sovereign Palestinian state?

The United States should be quietly pressing for Mubarak to step aside and allow for a transfer of authority in Egypt--either a constitutional reform process or a caretaker government, says CFR President Richard N. Haass.

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


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 U.S. government might take.


PACIFIC RIM: Australia Braces for Category Five Storm

Thousands of Queensland residents fled to evacuation centers in the few hours before Cyclone Yasi (Guardian) made landfall. Tidal surges and winds of up to 180 miles per hour are expected to bring widespread flooding.

China: Amid growing fears of inflation, Beijing will probably raise interest rates again within the month, according to economists. International banks tend to agree that further action on credit tightening is appropriate (NYT).

In this op-ed for Caijing, CFR Fellow John B. Bellinger III examines the potential for greater U.S. opportunities for Chinese investors in 2011.



- Yemeni President Vows to Leave Office
- TSA Unveils 'Less Intrusive' Scanners


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