It’s clear now that Hosni Mubarak’s promises for reform yesterday was about as authentic as that awful hair dye job the 82-year-old dictator insists on maintaining. He has now declared war on the protesters calling for him to leave, sending in waves of thugs and uniform-less security forces to rain Molotov cocktails on them, charge them and beat them.
And while there have been more deaths and hundreds of casualties, it’s been a decidedly shoddy operation from Mubarak, whose handling of these protests has, from all perspectives, been astonishingly clumsy. His thugs this morning were unable to drive protesters from Tahrir Square, with the latter quickly adapting, forming barricades and sourcing their own petrol for Molotov cocktails. Some pro-Mubarak thugs have been caught and their police ID held up for all to see. Some of those charging on camels have been pulled off and beaten. And the targeting of journalists seems perfectly designed to increase Western attention on Egypt. You can kill dozens of locals without attracting too much attention, but beat a Western journalist, and look out.