I have enjoyed monitoring and listing the counter attack games of the fallen – falling – Egyptian Regime against pro-democracy protesters; here are the tactics they have deployed so far:
1) Violence – Straight forward violent brutality against protesters
Police – so called security forces – combating peaceful unarmed protesters, who were chanting "peaceful peaceful protests" with expired tear gas canisters made in the USA, rubber bullets, batons, stun guns, metal pellets, and live ammunition. Not to forget bullying, roughing up, physical assaults, and detention.
2) Intimidation and Isolation
- Shutting down the internet and phone services
- Detaining activists and foreign correspondents
- Imposing incapacitating curfews
- Releasing thugs and criminals from police stations and prisons to attack civilians at their homes
- Arsons allover the country
- Vandalism of public and private property
- Shutting down services and facilities including banks, supermarkets, gas stations, shops, and businesses
- Total withdrawal of police officers in an attempt to instill fear and chaos.
3) Distraction and Over-stretching
Young men found themselves torn between protesting in the morning and guarding their homes and properties at night! Local watch groups had to be set up to arrest plain clothed policemen and government thugs who attempted to terrorize people in their homes!
State media did not spare any effort to defame the protesters;
- They are looters!
- They are thugs!
- They are the cause of chaos!
- They are hooligans!
- They are notorious rebels!
- They are ill-mannered spoiled anarchists who have no respect for the elderly father figure president!
- They are traitors!
- They are paid agents from Iran … no no from Israel … no no from the USA … no no no they are Jews!
5) Bait and Switch
A very famous negotiation tactic where one party may use an attractive offer to lure you in for a "real" deal that is less to your advantage.
- Changing the cabinet
- Hiring a vice president
- Appointing a new prime minister
- Changing two clauses from the institution that have nothing to do with the protesters real demands
- Investigating parliamentary fraud reports while intentionally ignoring the protester's demand of the dissolution of the parliament altogether
- The illegitimate president to step down at the end of his term (WHY IS THIS A BAD THING?)
- The dead man walking and his son will not nominate themselves in the coming elections
- National Democratic Party businessmen resigning
- General attorney issuing a travel ban against former ministers who are already out of the country, and so forth!
6) Emotional Blackmail
Resorting to shame and guilt – the glue that keeps this society submissive and subdued! Culture and religion preach blind obedience to keep people numb and under control!
- How dare you insult your president?
- How dare you revolt against your "father" after all those years of public service?
- All "parents" make mistakes and this is no excuse to insult them in their old age!
- Family traditions and deeply rooted Egyptian customs forbid you to rebel against your elders!
- You made a fool out of yourselves in front of the whole world – look at Egypt's image now?
7) Counter Protests
Instead of police forces combating pro-democracy protesters, the regime mobilized an orchestrated counter protest! Unlike the pro-democracy demonstrators, the pro-Mubarak protesters held well pained well printed ready made signs with professional calligraphy and high resolution pictures of the toppled president! They were also armed with knives, sticks, and tasers! It is ironic how those who were captured by peaceful protesters has security IDs on them!
Not all of the pro-Mubarak gang of course were thugs or plain-clothed security officers, some of them were employees (READ HERE)
8- Startle'em Tactic
The power of surprise! Let's make those protesters in Tahrir square question their sanity! Masked men with whips and wooden sticks on horsebacks and camels marched right through the lines of protesters injuring and killing many of those who were startled by such a Frankenstein-ish scene from Arabian nights – the morning after the new prime minister promised protesters safety and security!
9) The Scarecrows
The Muslim Brothers will take over! Egypt will become another Iran! Look at Hamas! Look at Al Khomeini congratulating Egypt on its revolution and welcoming the Muslim Brothers to power!
Chaos! If Mubarak leaves the country will be ruined! If Mubarak leaves the country will lose its stability! If Mubarak leaves you will all starve! Look at Egypt now – since the protests started – look at how miserable you and your families have become! This is just a preview into the future if Mubarak leaves!
10- Media debauchery
State media is next on the revolution's hate/hit list!
I have never seen anything more patronizingly condescending! I have never seen anything more ridiculously stupid!
- In the beginning, state media – print or broadcast – just ignored the uprising as if it is not happening.
- Then they began telling bedtime stories to simple minded Egyptians about how people were out on the streets to greet police officers giving them chocolates and flowers and how the streets are calm and Tahrir square is empty.
- Later on when they had to face the fact that there IS a revolution, they did not air the demonstrations, they just showed pictures of army tanks and military officers in control!
- Over the past couple of days, they outdid themselves!
- Stories about Jews financing the protesters and training them!
- Stories about Pakistanis, Iranians, Israelis, and Ethiopians who infiltrated the lines of the "dumb" protesters!
- Stories about how foreign agents with hidden agendas brainwashed out once innocent youth!
- Images of repentant pro-democracy protesters crying apologetically to the almighty president!
- Images of celebrities protesting for Mubarak!
- Images of ruins and damage everywhere – as if it was post war Lebanon – to scare people of their doom!
- Direct hate speech against protesters!
- Straight forward instigation against anyone who dares set foot in Tahrir square!
What is really sad and pathetic about this manipulative tactic is that it highly impacted many Egyptians who got used to being abused, scared, and detached from Egypt's political or social scene!
Over the years Mubarak has turned them into a herd of sheep bleeping for him, or against him, but their main concern is going to work, coming home from work, eating, drinking, mating, and excreting!
People have confused stagnation with stability, respect with submission, human rights with chaos, and dignified protests with acts of riots!
I think that the regime will resort to another disciplinary action against protesters; when your child "misbehaves" you have one of two options
1) Beat him – but then his screams will grow louder, the neighbors will hear him, you will be scandalized, and eventually accused of child abuse!
2) Ignore him
They have tried the first disciplinary action and the whole world is watching them now!
The second technique is basically send the "bad" kid to his room and when he is done shouting and crying, when he is done stumping his feet and cursing, and when he is ready to talk like a grown up, he could come out of his room, apologize of course, and start talking to his parents!
Now the protesters are in Tahrir square, chanting and shouting, calling for the downfall of the regime and Mubarak, and making their demands heard. They are encircled by army tanks and left in peace! No one is shooting at them anymore! No one is attacking them! No one is stopping them! No one is forcing them out of the square! They will be left there until they wear themselves out and go home!
On Sunday or Monday, businesses will resume their work normally and employees will have to leave the square and go earn their living!
The regime will leave "the mischievous children" to cry themselves to sleep!