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.”
Egyptians, long-suffering under a dictator and his torturing, murdering security apparatus, should not have to listen to this contemptible shit. It will be a deliverance when these wretched monsters have to sit and sweat and squirm and bark out fake wisdom as that outpost of US imperialism is overthrown. Today is the biggest day of protests so far. It's not easy to see Mubarak get overthrown as quickly as Ben Ali was. He is much more entrenched, and (I am led to believe) his social base is much wider. As a result, his security forces may feel more at ease with butchering a few dozens or hundreds of protesters. But there doesn't seem to be any turning back either. Perhaps the only thing, the last thing, that could save Mubarak and the comprador regime that supports him is a platoon of US troops. And the final barrier to that would ultimately be unrest in the imperialist countries.
In the interview, Blair also said Egypt should "evolve and modernise", but in a way that ensured stability.
"The challenges have been the same for these countries for a long period of time," he added. "The question is how they evolve and modernise, but do so with stability. The danger is [that] if you open up a vacuum, anything can happen.
"All over that region, there is essentially one issue, which is how do they evolve and modernise, both in terms of their economy, their society and their politics.
"All I'm saying is that, in the case of Egypt and in the case in Yemen, because there are other factors in this – not least those who would use any vacuum in order to foment extremism – that you do this in what I would call a stable and ordered way."
Blair said the west should engage with countries such as Egypt in the process of change "so that you weren't left with what is actually the most dangerous problem in the Middle East, which is that an elite that has an open minded attitude but it's out of touch with popular opinion, and popular opinion that can often – because it has not been given popular expression in its politics – end up frankly with the wrong idea and a closed idea."
Update: Oho... "It is white with gas, but the protesters are pushing the police back," ... "The police have now given up fighting the protesters. The police and protesters are now talking, with protesters bringing water and vinegar (for teargas) to the police. Afternoon prayer has just been called and hundreds are praying in front of the mosque in east Alexandria."
Further update: The revolution is being televised, on Al Jazeera.