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CONNECT THE WORLD
11th Day of Unrest in Egypt
Aired February 4, 2011 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: United in prayer and in protest. Tens of thousands keep Egypt uprising against their president alive before an 11th day.
The Friday of departure hasn't quite worked out. President Hosni Mubarak is still in office with an hour to go until midnight. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
From Cairo's Tahrir Square to these jubilant demonstrators of Alexandria there is no giving up.
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ANDERSON: We're going to go live to Cairo in just in a moment first. We want to show you what a difference a day makes in Egypt uprising after clashes this week killed at least 11 people in Tahrir Square.
Many fear the worse for this Friday. The mood was far different. Protestors were festered happy to have held their ground and hopeful the change is just around the corner.
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ANDERSON: As light broke across Tahrir Square this morning a sense of anticipation filled the air for what many dubbed the day of departure. Government troops in circled the square early after two days of bloody battles between pro and anti-Mubarak protestors.
Security check points was set up to search the 10s of 1000s of people before they were allowed in. By 9:00 in the morning the square was getting full. People who stayed overnight shared breakfast with one another.
Many brought in their own supplies. Next to them piles of rocks in case fighting broke out. According to our reporters there the mood early on was largely optimistic and peaceful. Egyptians stood side by side singing and dancing. Many chanting for Mubarak to finally leave.
At noon, the crowd kneeled for Friday prayers momentarily transferring the square into a place of worship. Many of our CNN correspondents were tweeting photos from the demonstrations. These photos from Fred Pleitgen showed crowds chanting and waving flags.
The demos were largely festive for most of the day. But by 6:00 p.m. local time there were reports of running battles between pro and anti- Mubarak protestors. Gun fire could be heard in the air on the outskirts of Tahrir Square but it last for only a few minutes.
As night fell, 10s of 1000s still remain determined to see through their demands to the end.
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ANDERSON: Well before we go live to Cairo a lot (INAUDIBLE) this hour reports the US wants Mubarak out immediately. We're going to go to Washington for more on that and ask an expert why he thinks that might be a bad idea.
The role of the Muslim Brotherhood remains crucial. Ayan Hirsi Ali will tell us how she was once a part of that group and what they'll mean to Egypt's future.
And later the bigger picture, were going to explore what people in the region have been asking for and what they are really getting. This is the 11th day of protest in Egypt drew to a close demonstrators got a new promise the government.
Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik says force will not be used to clear Tahrir Square. Well let's get the latest on these situations on the ground. Arwa Damon joins us from the Cairo. Arwa?
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ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Becky. Well part of the reason that we did see that relatively speaking a sense of calm over Tahrir Square despite the clashes that happen on some of the side streets is because throughout the day he Egyptian military did maintain a much heavier presence that anything that we had seen in the past.
They were blocking off some of the major routes leading to the square. And we did see the pro-Mubarak group keeping their distance. But that at around 10:00 pm local time around an hour ago we also saw the military with a drop on some of those positions handful of pro-Mubarak groups moving in taking up their usual positions on one of the over passes leading to the square.
And despite that their presence was absence in Tahrir Square it felt for the most part it most certainly was felt once a person ventured past the square as we did today.
We came across small gatherings of pro-Mubarak demonstrators. We squirted past them for the simple reason that it was by in large the pro- Mubarak groups that were those who were attacking the media.
And at this point, it does really appear that attempt to truly diffuse this crisis have fallen flat. The opposition groups denied be by President for political to meet with him over the last few days. There is talk of a group of wise man as its being dubbed up trying to form some sort of an agreement between the opposition and between the governments.
And although speaking relatively of course from the last few nights there is this sense of calm. There is always that overriding concern that violence could erupt at any moment. When we have an interrupt it has happen immediately, suddenly and very surprisingly Becky.
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ANDERSON: All right. Arwa Damon on the ground there in Cairo. Let's bring in anti-government demonstrator. He's become a regular contributor to our show over the past week or so. Gigi Ibrahim has been protesting in Tahrir Square right from the start and she joins us now on the line from Cairo.
How are things at this point? We just heard from Arwa. What's the mood in an hour to go until midnight?
GIGI IBRAHIM, PROTESTOR: The mood is really different today considering the violence that we had in the past two days. Really a lot of people turn out today to for the Friday prayer and it was such an amazing, beautiful, emotional scene.
People were praying and crying for those who died since really the revolution has started and there's a lot of self-organization. You can witness coming into Tahrir you were searched maybe by 10 times by just the volunteers and average citizens who are taking up this role on themselves to make sure that there are not violent intruders within in the Tahrir Square.
ANDERSON: Gigi you think part of what is being quite a remarkable people's revolution as it were. At this point on the 11th day what sort of progress do you feel that you made?
IBRAHIM: Excuse me, I didn't hear you.
ANDERSON: What sort of progress do you think you've made given that Mubarak is still in Egypt?
IBRAHIM: I think the progress is really Egypt had you know gained its self-confidence again. The people, the people have this sense of pride and honor of being Egyptian and that is reflecting in every part in Egypt.
You look at the neighborhoods being protected by its own citizens. And in some sense we taken control back of our country and that's putting a lot of pressure on Mubarak and making those people demand in Tahrir Square even more powerful.
And the world is completely watching and supporting - and completely supporting the Egyptian people. From all the messages have been receiving over you know the course of this whole thing and it's truly, truly remarkable.
ANDERSON: And yet the demands from protestors, well there's simply one demand isn't there, that Mubarak go. He is still there. What happens next? What happens tomorrow?
IBRAHIM: What happens is that really the people over in Tahrir Square will not leave. The determination is persistent and of staying there until Mubarak officially steps down.
Everybody is you know knows that his time is over. Like he's obviously not going to continue to be in power but the more people stay in Tahrir Square and the more violence and the more people that die because of the whole revolution it makes the people more and more determine to fight for freedom and justice and human dignity really by demanding and being more persistent for Mubarak to step down now and not in September.
ANDERSON: The pictures and crowds have been quite remarkable but if he weren't to go - I mean are you confident that he will go? And if he doesn't go will you continue to protest?
How long can you keep this up?
IBRAHIM: I think, I think the people from my own perspective from just how I've been there every day. Every day I see I see it go up a level and the determination and the wiliness of the people to stay there as long as it takes for Mubarak to officially step down.
I don't think it will end peacefully at least. If Mubarak doesn't step down anytime soon these people can be there for weeks and days. And if the government you know will basically force the people to go out of Tahrir Square then it's going to be obviously a massacre because these people are not going to give up easily.
ANDERSON: Remarkable. Alright Gigi you've joined us through the week and one hopes you'll continue to be with us as we move through the days to come. Gigi Ibrahim there from Tahrir Square.
We're staying with this story throughout the hour. Later from Tunisia to Yemen, Sudan and more the feedback loop from the regions protest and where that's headed.
Also Ayan Hirsi Ali joins me to talk about the Muslim Brotherhood. You want to listen to her she's been part of that group. And right after this break why you need to care about Washington imagination in Cairo. Sixty seconds away stay with us.
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UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Will your country ever be ready in your opinion for democratic reforms?
HOSNI MUBARAK, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT: The democratic reform is an ongoing process. We started economic reform, political reform, and social reform at the same time. When you go back to 1981 until now in 18 years so many reforms took place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Egypt's Hosni Mubarak there talking about a (INAUDIBLE) for democracy way back in 1999. Well for many protestors it's not enough their president has agreed to go by September they want him out now.
Well according to the New York Times the White House who has been discussing plans for him to leave immediately. More on that in a moment first listen to this.
We caught up with the foreign minister today. Here's how Ahmed Gheit responded to those claims.
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AHMED ABDUL GHEIT, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We Egyptians were not like oppositions from abroad.
UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: But this is your own people asking you to do this.
GHEIT: No, no, it is not our own people.
UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: There are protestors out there saying we want (INAUDIBLE).
GHEIT: The President to transform the country and we all of us will transform the country. And we will transform the country through chaos but we will transform the country through an orderly transformation.
And I call it transformation and not transition. Because I read the New York Times today and you relinquish power to your Vice President illegally because if you transfer power or your relinquish you relinquish power to the Speaker of parties.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well yes President Obama just spoke in Washington. He didn't directly address the New York Times report but he did hint at a different strategy. Saying any details of a transition needs to be worked out by Egyptians.
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PRESIDENT BARRACK OBAMA: Second, the future of Egypt will be determined by its people. It's also clear that there needs to be a transition process that begins now. That transition must initiate a process that respects the universal rights of the Egyptian people and that leads to free and fair elections.
Now the details of the transition will be worked out by Egyptians. And my understanding is that some discussions have begun. But we are consulting widely within in Egypt and with the international community to communicate our strong belief that a successful and orderly transition must be meaningful.
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ANDERSON: Must be meaningful. Well our next guest pleads there's some major risk associated with any plans to force Mubarak out immediately. Tarek Masoud a professor at Harvard University.
For years he's been a leading scholar and voice on Middle East and politics. He's got a personal stake in this story as well he's of Egyptian origin with family in the country. Sir thanks for joining us tonight.
You say he shouldn't be forced out immediately. Why?
TAREK MASOUD, PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Well I'm not he needs to be forced out immediately. I'm just saying that there are some risks associated with forcing him out immediately.
And the main risk there are two risks. The main one is that if you are forced out immediately the you could imagine that the crowds would dissipate and then it would be much harder for the opposition leaders to actually negotiate anything with the military.
But even more important than that I guess is that it would trigger a new election within 60 days a new Presidential election within 60 days. And the presidency in Egypt is kind of imperial institution.
It's got Victoria powers and one of the things you would want to do before triggering a presidential election is amending the Constitution. And you can't amend the Constitution if the president - unless there's an elected president sitting.
If there's an interim president you can't dissolve the Parliament. I mean you could amend the Constitution but it would have to be the current Parliament that would amend it and that's an illegitimate parliament elected through fraud.
So you need to dissolve the Parliament and only an elected president can do that and set that process in train. So there is that Constitutional issue involved.
ANDERSON: Alright. This sounds complicated but it is important. So let's pursue this. So how should this orderly transition or transformation as the Foreign Minister (INAUDIBLE) earlier on. How would it work and isn't the operative word here then orderly?
MASOUD: Right. So this is but one path of many paths that could be taken and I don't want to you know push to have for one path or the other. But it seems to me that if you want to follow the Egyptian Constitution and get from where we are now to a more democratic order then the first thing you would do is dissolve the parliament.
And that requires Mubarak to stay. Because if Mubarak left whoever succeeded him couldn't dissolve the Parliament and their be an election within 60 days.
So you dissolve this kind of illegitimate Parliament, you have new parliamentary elections within 60 days. This new Parliament amends the Constitution to you know make it easier for independents to run for the presidency, to reduce some the powers of the presidency.
And then Mubarak resigns and an interim President is you know appointed and that would be the Speaker of the new house, the Speaker of the new Parliament. And then you would have new presidential elections for this diminished presidency.
So that's one way to do it is you follow a kind of constitutional process and there are advantages to that. I mean if you want to really deepen this principle of adherence to law, adherence to the Constitution what better way to do that than to you know insist on it hearing even to a Constitution that is really quite flawed.
ANDERSON: Let me throw a spanner into the works here a hypothetical spanner into the works. I'm going to put you on the spot here. There have been talks today, nothing that we can standup but talk that the military could actually takeover at this point.
Whether or not Washington will be prepared to back that is another question entirely. How would that change things?
MASOUD: Well so the military does not have the right to takeover according the existing Constitution. So once the military takes over if that were a possibility now were in a land of extra Constitutionalism outside of the Constitution.
And then we would be really relying on the good graces of the military to relinquish power, to set and train a reform process. And this has happen in other countries. This is not to say that that couldn't work in Egypt.
But in Egypt you have an experience with the military entering politics and taking control. It happens in 1952 and Egyptians have had a devil of a time getting them to go back to the barracks.
And so one worries about that particular path.
ANDERSON: I'm going to put you on the spot again. I'm going to ask you to your mind you're Egyptian so you got of sort you know you got an interest in this more than just the fact that you academically absolutely proficient in what you're saying tonight.
So to your mind at this point given what you've seen and given what you're hearing we have no idea who's talking to who at this point. What do you think going to happen?
MAOUD: That's a very hard question. I will note that we've been paying a lot of attention to Mohammed (INAUDIBLE) the committee that has been put together of leading opposition figures to presumably negotiate with the government.
We haven't spent as much time focusing on this committee of wise men. (INAUDIBLE) who are led by a man name (INAUDIBLE) another gentleman name (INAUDIBLE) who's one of the Egypt's billionaires.
And they're actually, they've got about you know two dozen people on this committee and they've got a plan for a transition that does seem to be a more constitutional path and that might offer a way out.
What they're proposing is that Mubarak delegate to Omar Suleiman, Omar Suleiman.
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ANDERSON: Great stuff, interesting, watch out for the wise men. Obviously something keep an eye on them. I'm sorry that we lost him just at the end there coming out of Harvard for you this evening.
Well it's not just Egypt that's plotting a new future. Across Africa and the Middle East of course protestors are transforming the political landscape. Coming up a look at what they've achieved and ask where it might all end.
Plus, it's not first time we've change sweep across an entire region. Later we're going to hear from one man who's witnessed history in the making first hand. But next, we've heard a lot about Muslim Brotherhood recently but what part could they play in Egypt's future?
I'm going to ask a former member. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Well I see of first support for democratic reform and freedom. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Egypt second largest city Friday to demand President Hosni Mubarak resign.
Nobel Peace surprise winner turn dissident to Mohammed ElBaradei was amongst those taking part in Alexandria's day of departure. Many Muslim Brotherhood members also in the crowd.
You're with CONNECT THE WORLD I'm Becky Anderson in London. There's no doubt this uprising was all in the street reflecting the anger of average Egyptians against an oppressive regime.
With the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood has got some highly concern about what might happen post Mubarak. Well it's hard to say for sure how much support the Brotherhood has. Egypt's largest opposition group is officially band.
It does contest elections with candidates running as independents. In 2005, the Brotherhood gain about 20 percent of the seats in Parliament. But this may not accurately reflect their strength as the elections were not free and fair.
Muslim in Brotherhood has evolved over the years renouncing violence decades ago and clearly condemning groups like Al Qaeda. But its principle goal remains unchanged. It wants Islamic law to Egypt.
Interesting then that it's now teamed up with secular reformer Mohammed ElBaradei of course it doesn't mean it will stay with him long- term. Well the New York Times reports a Brotherhood spokesman told Al Jazeera earlier in the uprising political groups support ElBaradei to negotiate with the regime.
Tuesday that same spokesman said and "it's too early to even discuss whether ElBaradei should lead a transitional government or whether we would join him. Well another Brotherhood spokesman tells CNN they're not a political force to be feared.
Saying, they support freedom of press and freedom of religion for all. Well out next guest says there is plenty of reason for alarm in Egypt secular have better get their act together.
This is somebody you're going to recognize. Ayan Hirsi Ali is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, she's also author of Nomad and Infidel books that describe her own upbringing under Islam.
Thank you for coming tonight there's a reason for this. You were a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as a youngster. Why?
AYAN HIRSI ALI, AUTHOR, "NOMAD" AND "INFIDEL": I was 15 years old and they were the only movement the individuals were offered as a moral frame walk that was familiar. The individuals who came to school were of us, they were among us and they were not corrupt, they gave us life full of purpose.
And compared to all the other organizations who came up with dreams about freedom, my father was a freedom fighter. He was all about democracy. But he and his groups were unable to agree.
They were unable to reach a conclusion of what it is that they wanted once they have driven away the strong man. The Muslim Brotherhood invoked Allah, they invoked the prophet Muhammad, they invoked the hereafter.
All of that was familiar and they provided services that the states did provide and that our tribes and clans did not provide either.
ANDERSON: Say you were of the Muslim Brotherhood it has to be said has legitimized Hosni Mubarak's regime in the west. The president says if he quits the result would be chaos. This is what he told ABC News last night.
And a movement Brotherhood takeover that is what he says. What would a greater role then do you think for the Brotherhood mean for Egypt?
ALI: I think Hosni Mubarak position is the fallacy of presenting the west in particularly America with the binary vision either a tyrant or (INAUDIBLE). But it doesn't have to be that.
Secular movement especially the liberals, I consider myself a liberal would have to organize only present to the people of Egypt their improvement on mobile regime but also the other side the shadow side of the Muslim Brotherhood.
What does it mean when (INAUDIBLE) is implemented and brought to the Egyptian people? What will it mean for women? What is it going to mean for religious minorities? What is it going mean for the economy?
You see a lot of people in the Arab world now demonstrating for bread and butter. Do you think that (INAUDIBLE) is going to deliver? The Egyptian people have an example to learn by the history of a people like Iran.
If you consider the gay movement in 2009 it was not an opposition to a strong man. It was a no to (INAUDIBLE) that's the people of Iran who had voted in I think in a moment of absent mindedness in 1979.
ANDERSON: The difference between a democracy and theocracy of course. A theocracy would be run by clerics. I didn't think anybody is suggesting the Muslim Brotherhood is suggesting that. Amr Moussa he's the Secretary General of course of the Arab League, former Foreign Minister and (INAUDIBLE) of Egypt and (INAUDIBLE) has hat into the ring as far as getting involved in the Unity Government.
Was on CNN earlier on and when he was asked about whether people should fear the Muslim Brotherhood this is what he said and our viewers are just going to have a listen to this.
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AMRE MOUSSA, ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY GENERAL: Fear that the Egypt future will be (INAUDIBLE) within that (INAUDIBLE) either Muslim Brotherhood or left or right. I would assure you that Egypt is looking forward for a more liberal future and that Egypt by nature, by the mood of its people and the mood of country will be part of the 21st Century and look for modernism and the future more than anybody thing.
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ANDERSON: Liberal, modernism a group that wants to be forward thinking that's Amr Moussa's point here. He's trying to put to bed those fears and concerns that people have. What do you think the challenge is for the secular democrats faced with what is you know a movement that could be divisive going forward?
ALI: Well the secular movement need to interview something that is local that is Arab that says yes to Islam but no to (INAUDIBLE). In other words a separation of religion from politics.
I think if they devise with the help of the west or without the help of the west but in any case I would say with the help of the west. If they devise programs and institutions civic and economic institutions that can maintain that separation of church and state, they have religion and state affairs.
They could in the long run defeat the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood offers (INAUDIBLE) law and that is a theocracy. I have had votes. We know from history before Khomeini was elected he was dismissed as a peaceful man and somebody wasn't going to be elected.
Look at the Taliban in Afghanistan, look at the rise of Al Qaeda. Look at the (INAUDIBLE) coming to power. So I think one of the things that is working for the Muslim Brotherhood is the fact that they are systematically underestimated.
ANDERSON: Many people will say they'd only get something like 20 percent of the vote. You say you think that they are systematically underestimated. Would you go so far as to say that they shouldn't be part, though, of a unity government going forward?
ALI: I would go so far as to say, when a new constitution is devised, that clauses have to be put in the constitution, for instance, comparable to that of Kemal Ataturk's, Turkey, that Sharia Law, or a theocracy, that that is not democratic, that that's not constitutional.
So, there have to be safeguards built into the constitution to prevent a theocracy. But I think, once they meet that, they should be able to take part.
And I believe that, if secular groups, especially the liberal groups, if they try and offer a program of liberation and economic prosperity to the Egyptian people, they could win.
ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, always a pleasure to speak to you. We thank you very much, indeed, for coming in tonight. Interesting points.
We're following this story to the very end, but for some of our reporters on the ground, it is a struggle to stop the story from following them. After the break, we're going to show you some of the challenges that go into tracking these remarkable events.
And, of course, we'll be live in Cairo. Do stay with us. You're watching CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Let's get you a check of the headlines this hour.
Tens of thousands of protesters filled Cairo's Tahrir Square again Friday for what they called the "Day of Departure." It didn't live up to the billing, as President Hosni Mubarak is still in power. But protesters are hopeful he'll resign earlier than promised.
Barack Obama says the world is watching Egypt and that the transition process must now begin. In a statement a short time ago, the US president called for free and fair elections and says any negotiations must include a broad representation of the Egyptian opposition.
The ripple effect from the Egyptian protests is continuing across North Africa and the Middle East. Hundreds of demonstrators in Jordan called for political reforms and an end to government corruption, although these protests were smaller than those held in previous weeks.
And Australian prime minister Julia Gillard surveyed the damage from Cyclone Yasi on Friday. The Australian prime minister flew into northern Queensland to promise government and military aid after the huge storm slammed into the region earlier this week.
And the trading week has come to an end on Wall Street. Disappointing jobs numbers meant the Dow only finished slightly higher. The US economy adding 36,000 jobs last month, but analysts expected more than four times that number. There's the closing figure for you, still over the 12,000 mark, so not a bad week.
Those are your headlines this hour.
Well, covering what's been going on in Egypt can be dangerous. Our team on the ground are definitely up against it. But here's a taste of what they've been able to deliver on Day 11 of these protests.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): CNN crews in other locations in this city overlooking Tahrir Square have been ordered by the Egyptian police not to provide live images of what's going on in here.
We are doing it right now, but our neighbors at this location have warned us that suspected secret police are outside trying to get in to shut our -- potentially shut us down. And we have a report from the Al Jazeera news network that a gang of thugs raided their Cairo office today and set fire to it.
So, the effort to crack down on foreign media continues here in the Egyptian capital.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We are seeing the military that moved in overnight taking something of a more proactive role. A complete difference to what we have seen them do in the days past, where they were taking something of a neutral stance, allowing both camps to fight it out, even allowing attacks on international and local media to take place.
There is still great concern about the potential of violence, with many Cairo residents saying they are still remaining under self-imposed house arrest.
The predominant emotion throughout the capital is still fear and uncertainty.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We're right in front of one of the checkpoints leading into Tahrir Square. And, of course, one of the problems the protesters have, here, is getting enough food, water, and enough supplies in to keep all of these people going for such a long time. Because some of them have been here for over a week. And their system is one where everybody brings a little bit and, therefore, everybody has enough to survive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something called in Islam "Takaful." We are all together. You have the bread, we have cheese, we all gather with the food.
PLEITGEN: And you give other people, as well?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. For all. Not for us only.
PLEITGEN: So, it's a spirit of sharing, here, then. Sharing.
UNIDENTIFIED: That's right, it is, yes.
PLEITGEN: Thank you. All right, so, a lot of people are actually coming in, one for the camera woman, as well, and they're giving us and other protesters groceries, food, and bread to survive.
ANDERSON: All right, let's bring in Ivan Watson, who is on the ground for us. Some of our reporting on Day 11. With 30 minutes to midnight in Cairo, Ivan, we've been talking about the mood, and perhaps we should move on and really talk about how you've been reporting this story. It's about as tough as it's got, for you, I guess, in your career?
WATSON: No, no. No. The attacks on the journalists over the past three days, they're substantial. Everybody I've talked to has been harassed or had much worse occur to them. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists over the past few days, more than 100 incidents of journalists being attacked, detained, or having their equipment destroyed. This is not a coincidence, Becky.
ANDERSON: You're there on the balcony, now, I guess. I mean, do you feel comfortable in reporting now?
WATSON: I think among the opposition activists at the time being, the foreign media, the local media is welcomed by them, as they have been struggling to get their voices heard, both in Egypt and in the outside world. And these people have been putting their lives on the line to hold onto this patch of territory, as well. So, for the time being, with these people here, we feel quite comfortable.
It's a different story when you move beyond the barricades to the areas where the Egyptian secret police are operating and the pro- government, as many have taken to calling them, "thugs," who have been carrying out the systematic attacks on the journalists.
ANDERSON: Yes, it is it any clearer just who is behind this intimidation at this point?
WATSON: No, it isn't, and I think government officials have denied even playing any kind of role in the attacks that have taken place on Cairo's Tahrir Square over the course of the past three days. They have even said that they are going to investigate who may have been behind what the vice president called was "a conspiracy."
ANDERSON: Ivan Watson, there, in Cairo for you. Ivan, we thank you very much, indeed.
All right, let's move from Cairo, shall we, to the port city of Alexandria. As you can see from this Google Earth image, Alexandria is roughly 200 kilometers north of the Egyptian capital, and the tensions have reached there and are exposing some divisions in society. Nic Robertson has been talking to some local residents for you.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Divisions in Alexandria are growing, even street corners becoming centers of heated debate.
(MAN YELLING IN MEGAPHONE)
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Inside cafes, the talk is of the violent clashes in Cairo, pausing only to watch as protesters pass by. A week ago, this man was one of the protesters trying to oust the president. Not anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, they are destroying Egypt.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sent my demands to the president, and he agreed with most of these demands, so now, we have to be quiet and give all the responsible people a chance to adjust to all the damage that happened.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Inside the same cafe, anti-Mubarak activists claim pro-government factions stalking Alexandria's streets are paid to attack them and tell me they're not going to give up until Mubarak goes.
By the seafront, far from the protests, patience among this ancient city's fishermen long since ran out. Net maker Ali Farhad (ph) is furious.
"This is wrong," he says. "They're destroying the country, stopping business for all the people. We're with Mubarak. We need calm."
His son, Mohammed Ali is angry, too. "The protesters are hurting our business and bringing armed thugs to the streets."
Battle lines are being drawn, the middle ground evaporating.
TAREK EL-TAWIL, SENIOR JUDGE: The regime is panicking, are frustrated, they don't know what to do. But never -- there have been never used to see this kind of demonstration.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Tarek el-Tawil, a senior judge, thought Mubarak was backing down, until he saw the violence in Cairo. Now, he says, the president should face trial for war crimes.
EL-TAWIL: It's against humanity, what they did yesterday. They massacred -- call it a massacre. Of course, of course. We've seen very recently that international lawyers and stuff like that and human rights organizations will start to push, of course.
ROBERTSON (on camera): And will that convince him to step down?
EL-TAWIL: Of course, of course, if they have no choice.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): It's a very, very uneasy calm. Over there on the corner are Mubarak loyalists waiting for anti-Mubarak demonstrators to come along, waiting for confrontation. So far, at least the anti-Mubarak supporters have been able to avoid violent clashes. Nic Robertson, CNN, Alexandria, Egypt.
ANDERSON: All right. So, in the past week, we've seen two Arab leaders vow to stand down and an entire government dismissed. So, what more can protesters hope to achieve? We're going to discuss a region in turmoil, up next.
ANDERSON: It's about 17 minutes to midnight in Egypt. In just a few short weeks, an entire region has been turned on its head, hasn't it? Its people are finally getting a taste of freedom, and the desire for democracy is spreading far and wide.
In Egypt, anti-government demonstrators forced President Hosni Mubarak to promise not to run for reelection.
Well, their inspiration came, in part, from Tunisia, where a protest against corruption led to the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
In neighboring Algeria, a decades-old state of emergency will reportedly be lifted after demonstrations there.
And in Jordan, public anger prompting King Abdullah II to dismiss his government and appoint a new prime minister to carry out political reforms.
Well, after decades in power, Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, bowed to protesters' demands this week and vowed not to seek reelection in 2013.
Mass protests have been organized online in Syria, but one planned for today saw few people take to the streets.
And in Sudan, students have staged a series of demonstrations over corruption and rising prices.
So, where is this regional unrest heading? Well, I'm happy to say I'm joined to discuss this by CONNECT THE WORLD panelist and regular guest on this show, Fawaz Gerges. I don't even have to say who you are these days, because everybody knows you as well as they know me.
It's not clear, at this point, who is talking to who in Egypt, whether the military may take over, whether the president may go now, or whether he may stay through September. What is, though, clear is that the wall of fear, not just in Egypt, but across the region, has fallen and changed the very nature, the psychology of a culture, hasn't it?
FAWAZ GERGES, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS PROFESSOR: It really has. I mean, you're talking about the barrier of fear has been removed. One of the major reasons why Arab dictators have been able to dominate their populations and subjugate their population is because of the security apparatus. People were terrified. And that's why you had political apathy and fear.
What has happened in the last few weeks, now, is that people have become active and, basically, the barrier of fear has been removed. And you're seeing, now, millions, not just hundreds of thousands of Arabs, now, realize they can own their future, they can determine their own history.
ANDERSON: We are seeing movements across the region, but they don't parallel each other, do they? What we've seen in Syria is really sort of protest-lite, dare I call it that. We see concessions by ruling parties and rulers across the region, but it's not as big as we've seen in Egypt or Tunisia, for example.
GERGES: Not at all, and I think you're absolutely correct about drawing attention to differences as well as similarities. Tunisia is not Egypt. Syria is not Jordan. Jordan is not Yemen. There are some major differences.
But there are also similarities, and the similarities are the following, they are shared by almost every Arab state. Oppressive political systems. Oppressive political systems. Family-based states as opposed to rational, modernizing by various states. And dismal economic conditions. Dismal -- on average, Becky, you have on average between 40 and 50 million -- 50 and -- between 40 and 50 percent of the 300 million Arabs live either in poverty or below the poverty line.
The population -- take Egypt. In 1952, when the military officers carried out their coup, there were 15 million Egyptians. Today, you have 84 million Egyptians. How do you feed, how do you educate, how do you provide for the 84 million people?
And guess what? You also have systems and institutional systems that have been decimated, that have been shattered.
ANDERSON: All right. We know that there is change afoot, change amok, as it were. But history shows, and you and I know this, and most of our viewers will know this, that removing a corrupt, authoritarian leader through people power is, to a certain extent, the easy part. Constructing a new system which is inclusive and transparent, with institutions that work, is much, much harder.
GERGES: In fact, the huge challenge facing the Arab world is the morning after. That is, the morning after you get rid of your dictators. There are no institutions.
Think about it. We have been talking the last few days, the Egyptian military is the most respected institution. It should not be the only respected national institution. What has happened to the parliament? What has happened to other institutions? There are no institutions.
You have to build institutions. Institutional building, Becky, takes decades. How do you feed and provide for the -- how do you create a productive base? On and on, so many difficulties and challenges.
ANDERSON: Which is, perhaps, why we have heard the rest of the world calling for an orderly transition at this point. The people on the streets of Egypt want their president to go. We've seen, as we say, people protest around the region. But is this orderly transition, and "orderly," here, being the operative word, important at this point?
GERGES: Well, Becky, this is the question. What do we mean by "orderly?" Do we mean by an orderly transition, that is the army manages the transition, the army puts its own people to replace Hosni Mubarak. Now you have the vice president, Omar Suleiman. You have the prime minister, a military general. The interior minister, and the defense minister.
So, what kind of ch -- the reality is, even though the challenges are massive, you have to begin somewhere. You have to begin the process of institutional building. You have to give people a say in their political and economic well-being.
ANDERSON: Let's sit back. It is -- we're into the first week of February. We're into the 11th day, and just before midnight in Egypt, the 11th day of the protest in Egypt, we've seen this wave across the region, the sort of shifting sands, dare I call it that, across the region. When you sit back and just take stock of where we are, what's your first thought?
GERGES: Truly, this is historic. If you had asked me a few weeks ago, I would have said never in Egypt. Now, what I call -- I call it the Arab anti-father. The Arab revolution. There is revival. People now realize that the authoritarian role, not just the barrier of fear, has fallen.
This is a critical moment, because people realize they have power. And now -- and what's beautiful about what we're seeing, Becky, you're not seeing American flags being burned. You're not seeing people talking about Western imperialism. They're talking about their dictators. Their tormentors. They want to take charge of their destiny. This is really what matters.
ANDERSON: You just talked about the day after, the day after in the Arab world. Does that worry you?
GERGES: A great deal. There are tremendous risks. Tremendous risks. And this particular transition is not assured. It will be messy, it will be prolonged, you might have some setbacks. But at the end of the day, the Arab world -- the Arab world has been living under dictatorship since the end of colonialism.
You need to begin -- the Arab world must join what I call the democratic wave. The democratic wave had just reached the Arab shores. It's a beautiful moment. If the Arab -- if the Arab intellectual and political and economic elite can manage this particular transition, in two or three decades, I'm willing to -- this would be truly -- it would transform the Arab world and the relationship between the Arab world and the West.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. On a Friday evening in London, and at ten minutes to midnight in Egypt, Fawaz, we thank you very much, indeed, helping us out over the last couple of weeks.
Just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, how scenes from the streets of Egypt are stirring up memories for one photojournalist. A look back at some of the famous revolts against powerful world leaders. You're with CNN, we will be back in 60 seconds with CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Those powerful images from Friday in Egypt. There it's seven minutes to midnight, now. Well, in this evening's Parting Shots, I want to show you how Egypt's demands are reverberating right around the world, not just in the region.
First to Iran, where after Friday payers, worshipers chanted for President Mubarak's removal.
In Turkey, pro-Islamic groups demonstrating in Ankara demanded an end to the ruling regime in Cairo.
A protest in Kuala Lumpur outside the Egyptian embassy was later broken up by police using water canon.
And in Paris, the group Reporters Without Borders campaigned against the attacks on journalists in Cairo.
Regardless of age, Egypt's protests have been gathering momentum. Egyptians in Prague called for the immediate resignation of Mubarak outside their embassy.
In South Africa, this woman marched on Pretoria with around 250 other campaigners for the president to be ousted.
Since January the 25th, the Egyptians' chants have been echoed across many cities. Here in London, a series of rallies have been held supporting the uprising.
While in Rome's Republic Square, around a hundred people gathered to show their solidarity.
And in the US, many Egyptian sympathizers have been out on the streets calling for change. This photo from a gathering outside the UN Egyptian mission in New York.
Well, all of us have been watching events, haven't we, in Cairo, wondering whether, after almost 30 years of rule, Hosni Mubarak might, just might, be on his way out. Well, Peter Turnley is a photojournalist and colleague who told us it not only brings back memories of Mubarak's rule, but it makes him think of all the strongmen like him that he's photographed, all the uprisings, all the turmoil. Take a look at this.
PETER TURNLEY, PHOTOJOURNALIST: Well, what has come to my mind as I have been witnessing these events unfold is that I had a photo session, a one-on-one photo session with Mubarak all the way back in 1986, this was 25 years ago, and he has now been in power for 30 years.
Watching these events unfold, it has occurred to me the quantity of popular revolts against authoritarian leaders. Ceausescu, Erich Honecker, Assad, Khomeini in Iran, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Cedras of Haiti, Baby Doc Duvalier, Fidel Castro, and the list goes on and on.
TEXT: Nicolai Ceausescu
TURNLEY: I first met Ceausescu in 1989. I had a photo session for a cover of Newsweek in August of 1989 at Ceausescu's summer house. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my career. I pushed him around for an hour and a half in a photo session where he literally obeyed me almost like a child.
Four months later, I found myself in his own personal office in the presidential palace in Bucharest with -- watching a television where Ceausescu's dead face was looking up at the screen in his own office on his own set.
TEXT: Erich Honeker
TURNLEY: I recall very vividly that in 1989, I photographed Honeker standing next to Gorbachev on a reviewing stand during the 50th anniversary of the East German state. They both were laughing, chatting leisurely.
No one could have known, that very night in East Berlin, there were huge riots and protests by Molotov-cocktail-throwing young people against the Stasi, which was the beginning of the end of the East German regime, which folded with the fall of the Berlin Wall only several months later.
TURNLEY: I have also experienced popular revolts that started with much passion, much enthusiasm, such as the Tiananmen Square uprising in China that was a very moving uprising of literally millions of young people that simply were expressing a desire for a better life.
That revolt, though, ended being crushed by military hardware when Chinese troops came into Tiananmen Square, as we all know. And the consequences of that uprising, I think, are still yet not known today, this many years later.
TEXT: Hosni Mubarak
TURNLEY: As Mubarak was turning to walk into the presidential palace, I simply called out to him, and I said, "President Mubarak, my name is Peter Turnley, I'm trying to do a photo session for Newsweek."
He turned and he said to me, "When would you like to do it?" And I said, "Right now." And he said, "Let's go."
He chose to take a stance where his hands were folded and crossed in front of him, and it was a rather proud, strong, and possibly somewhat defiant look.
TURNLEY: It has often seemed extremely surreal that some of the world leaders I've photographed, notorious for the iron-fisted manner in which they have held power, have been quite cooperative during a one-on-one photo session. What matters most is how they will be judged by their own people and by history for the manner in which they have wielded power, and for how their regimes have impacted the lives of the citizens of their country.
ANDERSON: Pictures that tell a story. I'm Becky Anderson. That is your world connected. Thank you for watching. The world headlines and, then, "BackStory" will follow this short break. You're watching CNN.