The tactics of autocratic power: Now in Egypt

Al Jazeera has an article on the devices of autocratic regimes that seem to be what the Mubarak regime is doing.

Mubarak’s third force terror tactic
President Mubarak unleashed his ‘personal’ thugs in a failed attempt to silence protesters seeking an end to his regime.

David Africa Last Modified: 03 Feb 2011 17:35 GMT

The apparently sudden and unexpected violence against Egyptian protesters that started on February 2 has an interesting historical ring to it. The date marks the unbanning of liberation movements in South Africa in 1990, and the start of political negotiations between the apartheid regime and the African National Congress. It also marks the start of the most violent period in South Africa’s turbulent political history.

The parallels with Egypt start with Mubarak’s speech to the nation on February 1, ostensibly making a significant concession to the protesters and a commitment to Egypt’s democratic future. The next day thugs, many now clearly identified as members of the security forces, rallied in central Cairo and launched attacks on hitherto peaceful demonstrators.

The tactics of deploying so-called third forces is a tried and tested method of autocratic regimes, usually utilised when the regime realises that it is on the strategic defencive politically. The focus of the regime then shifts from merely ruling as usual to extending its reign as long as possible, while at the same time sapping the material and political energy of its opponents.

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