ONTD Political

Joe Biden says Egypt's Mubarak no dictator

8:46 pm - 01/27/2011
... and wonders what the Egyptian protesters want.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke to the PBS NewsHour tonight with the most direct US governent comments yet about the gathering Egypt protests against President Hosni Mubarak's 29-year reign.

Mr. Biden's comments are unlikely to be well-received by regime opponents, as they fit a narrative of steadfast US support for a government they want to bring down. About eight protesters and one policeman have died this week as Egypt has sought to bring down the heavy hand of the state against opponents. Since the US provides about $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt a year, the repressive apparatus of the state is seen by many in Egypt as hand in glove with the US.

Tonight in Cairo, activists said that internet service was being systematically blocked, as was the use of instant messages on local cellphones, despite repeated calls from the US State Department for Egypt to allow social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to remain available to the nation's people. Egypt is bracing for a showdown tomorrow. Organizers have called for massive protests against the regime after noon prayers on Friday, seeking to build on the unprecedented wave of public demonstrations this week calling for an end to Mubarak's rule.

Whether the protests will be as large as democracy activists hope is an open question. Overnight in Egypt, the government was doing everything it could to head them off.

Ahead of a day that could prove decisive, NewsHour host Jim Lehrer asked Biden if the time has "come for President Mubarak of Egypt to go?" Biden answered: "No. I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that – to be more responsive to some... of the needs of the people out there."

Asked if he would characterize Mubarak as a dictator Biden responded: “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with – with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

He also appeared to make one of the famous Biden gaffes, in comments that could be interpreted as questioning the legitimacy of protesters' demands. Monitor Cairo correspondent Kristen Chick, other reporters in the country, and activists have generally characterized the main calls of demonstrators as focused on freedom, democracy, an end to police torture, and a more committed government effort to address the poverty that aflicts millions of Egyptians.

Biden urged non-violence from both protesters and the government and said: "We’re encouraging the protesters to – as they assemble, do it peacefully. And we’re encouraging the government to act responsibly and – and to try to engage in a discussion as to what the legitimate claims being made are, if they are, and try to work them out." He also said: "I think that what we should continue to do is to encourage reasonable... accommodation and discussion to try to resolve peacefully and amicably the concerns and claims made by those who have taken to the street. And those that are legitimate should be responded to because the economic well-being and the stability of Egypt rests upon that middle class buying into the future of Egypt."

Egypt's protesters, if they're paying attention to Biden at all, will certainly be wondering which of their demands thus far have been illegitimate.


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ladypolitik 28th-Jan-2011 04:51 am (UTC)
What a terrible, terrible claim/remark, Joe.
notgarystu 28th-Jan-2011 05:03 am (UTC)
lmfao that pic

Leonardo DiCaprio has been squinting all over _p today.

@Joe Biden STFD, STFU
sihaya09 28th-Jan-2011 05:03 am (UTC)
rex_dart 28th-Jan-2011 05:10 am (UTC)
chaya 28th-Jan-2011 03:19 pm (UTC)
I'm waiting for one of the banners to include this leosquint tbqh
homasse 28th-Jan-2011 05:14 am (UTC)
Remember, kids! You're not a "dictator" if you're on our side! :Db
acerola21 28th-Jan-2011 05:26 am (UTC)
playthefool 28th-Jan-2011 05:20 am (UTC)
Ugh Biden. No.
(no subject) - Anonymous
escherichiacola 28th-Jan-2011 05:42 am (UTC)
This post made me sad.

That gif made me very happy.
palsmarties 28th-Jan-2011 05:26 am (UTC)
cauliflower346 28th-Jan-2011 05:27 am (UTC)
salienne 28th-Jan-2011 05:27 am (UTC)
“Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. [...] I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

Oh. Well then.
ivysaur 28th-Jan-2011 05:32 am (UTC)
wrestlingdog 28th-Jan-2011 08:49 am (UTC)
This should not have made me LOL as hard as it did.
hazel_belle 28th-Jan-2011 05:48 am (UTC)
Biden... Oh Biden. Oooookay than good sir.
carminaburana 28th-Jan-2011 05:51 am (UTC)
Fucking idiot asshole. But honestly, this is the guy who thought it would be a good idea to balkanize Iraq and campaigned on that.
milkradio 28th-Jan-2011 05:52 am (UTC)
beoweasel 28th-Jan-2011 05:54 am (UTC)
Going to play the Devil's Advocate here.

The likelihood of Mubarak being overthrown by the protests are very unlikely. The United States knows this, they know that despite the raw anger of the people, they won't be able to oust Mubarak in this fashion. So the US is going to play it safe, we're not going to get involved, but we'll use encouraging words for both protesters (Remember, he didn't say they shouldn't protest, just that they do it in a non-violent fashion) and the Government.

Does Biden really believe Mubarak is anything other than a Dictator? I seriously doubt it. Is he going to say it publicly while Mubarak is still in power? Not going to happen.

Politics, especially in the World Sphere, can be an exceptionally ugly thing.
baked_goldfish 28th-Jan-2011 06:08 am (UTC)
Politics, especially in the World Sphere, can be an exceptionally ugly thing.

That's true, but this does go beyond the vague "we're monitoring the situation"-style statements that the administration has been making lately. It's a rather one-sided response, even with the tepid remarks about the government respecting the protesters and listening to their demands.
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