Return to Transcripts main page


Egypt's Future

Aired February 3, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: I don't care what people say about me I care about my country. The words tonight from Hosni Mubarak as the future of his country remain unclear. Tonight we look at how an entire region is now in flux.

We'll head to Yemen where thousands have taken part in a day of rage. To Jordan where protestors are expected to take to the streets tomorrow and finally Israel where tensions are high on the border.

First, Hosni Mubarak says he is fed up and wants to leave office but can't because there would be chaos. The Egyptian President spoke today with US network ABC News. He says after 62 years in public service he's had enough but cares too much about Egypt to abandon it in a time of crisis.

Mr. Mubarak is speaking out as his government takes new steps to defuse an unprecedented popular uprising. A standoff still underway in (INAUDIBLE) Tahrir Square after clashes between pro and anti-government demonstrators killed at least eight people and injured hundreds more.

A big difference today though the Army is trying to keep the two sides apart. Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik apologized Wednesday for the chaos. He said he will investigate whether it was an organized attempt to disband the opposition.


AHMED SHAFIQ, EGYPTIAN PRIME MINISTER: I don't understand what has happen. This is not the nature of the Egyptian people. What has caused all that which has happen we will collectively call praise and try to get out of this crisis successfully?


ANDERSON: Well Vice President Omar Suleiman has also making appeal for calm. He says he's opening a dialogue with opposition groups. He's also urging anti-government protestors to go home and give the governments time to carry out a political transition.


OMAR SULEIMAN, EGYPTIAN VICE PRESIENT: The Egyptian has paid its powerful and its trust this people and they are again assuming their power and responsibility. I'm calling on the use continue your last age of go back to your home.

Leave the state to do all what is required from you all your demands so that time would not be lost when we would not be able to perform the duties that should be performed by a state (INAUDIBLE).


ANDERSON: The protestors are coming increasingly dangerous for journalist to cover as many are becoming targets themselves. Dozens say they've been harassed and detained by security forces. Others beaten by pro Mubarak crowds.

This video shows CNN Anderson Cooper coming under attack on Wednesday. Government officials accused the foreign media of inciting protestors taking advantage of the turmoil to broadcast their own agenda.

All right well let's get the very latest on the ground in Cairo. Ivan Watson joining us now on the line. Ivan what do we know at this point?


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORESSPONDENT: Well you know Becky when I came out of Tahrir Square which has been the focal point of this siege and almost like a siege around the demonstrators since yesterday. And was struck this morning at the hundreds of demonstrators bandaged, sleeping on the ground exhausted.

But then they got up today and they engaged in another round of running battles with the pro Mubarak supporters. And their numbers swelled and they managed to capture more territory as well.

Now the Vice President of the new Egyptian government Omar Suleiman he had a message to these demonstrators when he went on the air today on Nile Television. He said that he thank the youth for what they have done for being the light that ignited reform.

And then said now give us a chance the state to protect your families. Give us a chance to do our job and finish up your strike the demands have been met.

Now I've spoken to a few demonstrators as well as opposition leaders and they reject this claim, saying there may have been a reason for dialogue before the clashes erupted on Wednesday.

But now that these battles have taken place there is no reason to sit down and negotiate as one opposition (INAUDIBLE) put it, it was obvious that the attack on the protestors last night was state sponsored.

That's a claim that the Vice President has denied. He says that he will launch an investigation into who could have sent the pro government protestors attacking what had been for day a peaceful demonstration in Tahrir Square.

Meanwhile, Becky it's not just journalist that are being targeted there are two offices the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and the Shaw Mubarak Law Center that according to eyewitnesses was surrounded by pro Mubarak loyalist today.

And then security forces came in, they forced human rights workers there to lie down. They were interrogated and then they were taken away to an unknown destination and have not been able to communicate since then by some kind of shadowing security forces.

Among those detained representatives of Amnesty International as well as Human Rights Watch. So a crackdown that is targeting independent analyst and observers in the Egyptian capitol Becky.


ANDERSON: Ivan Watson reporting. Ivan we thank you for that. So for decades Egypt has banded the Muslim Brotherhood arresting its members for political activities and silencing their agenda. Well now the government says it wants to talk with the country's biggest opposition group.

But is the Brotherhood willing? Well Mohamed Morsy a Muslim Brotherhood spoke and joins us now on the line from Cairo. Before we talk about what you are willing or not to do at this point.

Hosni Mubarak telling a US network today that he has had enough and wants to go but fears the chaos that might or well ensue. Your thoughts.


MOHAMED MORSY, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD: Yes, well, what we been hearing today is contradicting each other. And the message is quite negative because if you want to Muslim Brotherhood you are at the same time denying them and say bad words and bad attitude towards them.

Now, when you talk about dialogue this means that our grandchildren measure the dialogue between two positions and two sides. But when you talk from one side and say we have to make a dialogue in this direction with no basis with no gains and goals then this is a monologue. This is not a dialogue.

ANDERSON: OK. So you're telling me that you went - hang on a minute let's get this clear. So you are saying that you will not engage in a dialogue with the government yes or no?

MORSY: Well we are open to for dialogue for the benefit of the Egyptian people. Now the Egyptian people have said their word. They said this regime is fair already and they do not accept the message. So we want a clear basis and goals for the dialogue.

But we are open for dialogue for the benefit of the Egyptian people and we are among the Egyptian people also.

ANDERSON: OK. So , but as far as I can tell you're not prepared yet to engage with a dialogue with the current government. OK. Do you continue to endorse Mohamed ElBaradei as leader of a transitional govern? Hang on let me ask the questions.

Do you continue to endorse Mohamed ElBaradei as leader of a transitional government going forward?

MORSY: Well, this is also a different direction because we are not talking about the government now. We're talking about the (INAUDIBLE) the President and the Constitution. The Government is (INAUDIBLE) one and that's okay but this is not the main thing the situation now.

The situation now is we should have a leader. We should have - according to the Constitution Article III there should the head of the Supreme Court the Egyptian Supreme Court the (INAUDIBLE) and then the next (INAUDIBLE) is to have free elections for the Parliament according to the Constitution.

And to make Constitutional changes and then (INAUDIBLE) presidential elections. This is the sequential steps that should be followed not talking about just the government.

ANDERSON: I understand that. My question is this would you endorse then Mohamed ElBaradei as the leader of a transitional government?

MORSY: Mohamed ElBaradei is like many other figures in ages. There are (INAUDIBLE) like Mohamed ElBaradei and they are all eligible to become nominees for elections. If there is free elections later.

So we do not reject the (INAUDIBLE) for himself we won't assist him. We want a free system. We want freedom, democracy and justice. We want the system.

ANDERSON: Okay. Last question to you, if you were part of a unity government going forward which is what it seem what you want to be, would you be prepared to continue the peace treaty with Israel? It's an important question that people want the answer to.

MORSY: Well, before talking about the beast treaty Egypt is a big country. It's a Constitution in one. Through the history Egypt has its own wealth. Now we, we think that the people will decide whether or not to have a treaty with a certain country or another.

So the people will decide really what to do for the foreign affairs conditions. Now we do not decide the people well. We are not only in the society. Now in the streets is Egyptian people.

Then if we have the elections for the (INAUDIBLE) then the (INAUDIBLE) will decide what to do. And what I mention before it's already expired because of the act of the (INAUDIBLE) in Palestine now. So what's (INAUDIBLE) somehow looking at in reality we have (INAUDIBLE) Israelis against the people in Gaza and Palestine.

So the people will say the word not the (INAUDIBLE). It's the parliament words, the people words, the people words must be respected by the (INAUDIBLE) by the Christians, by the Muslims and by everyone.

ANDERSON: And that we understand.

MORSY: We, we respect the people well whatever it is.

ANDERSON: Okay. And with that we're going to leave it there. We thank you Mohamed for joining us this evening. A spokesman there for the Muslim Brotherhood,


ANDERSON: Well Western Nations are pressuring Egypt to speed up this surge transition to democracy. Although no major power is demanding that President Mubarak leave office now. US officials urging both the government and our position protestors to stop the violence and start talking.

And five European nations have issued a joint statement expressing their "utmost concern". Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy say only a quick transition for a broad based government console Egypt challenges.

Well I got more on the British government take on the crisis. When I spoke earlier to Britain's Foreign Secretary I began by asking for his reaction to events today in Egypt. This is what he said.


WILLAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I think we've seen some reprehensible themes. We've seen violence against protestors. We've seen I think today intimidation and harassment of journalist and reports.

Abuse of the internet and the mobile phone system and now the Vice President has promised an investigation into some of these things. I think it's very important that investigation is full and open and have the confidence of people in Egypt and the international community.

And I think following these events it's important to restate that the world is watching. And the Egyptian authorities should understand the world is watching how these protest are treated and how there orderly transition that we have called for and continue to call for take place in Egypt.

ANDERSON: Sir on the 27th of January you said and I quote "it is not for other countries to dictate who should be in power or what their tactics should be". Do you stand by that?

HAGUE: Yes we're not (INAUDIBLE). We've determinedly not said who should be in the cabinet or who should be the president on a particular date. But we can say what should be the characteristics of change in Egypt.

We are giving very good advice I think to Egyptian authorities and leaders that having embarked on change. It's very important to make that change in the eyes of the people in the world irrevocable change, real and visible change.

It is for them in Egypt of course to determine exactly what form that takes. Who is in power? When elections are held? Of course they are a sovereign nation. I think we have to urge them in the right direction and lend line with the values that we hold and values we would advocate to any nation.

ANDERSON: If you'd been in power a few years ago would you have made more of an effort to encourage reform in Egypt?

HAGUE: When I visited Cairo in early in November I made the case to Egyptian leaders that they needed a stronger opposition. That in the Parliamentary elections that were held at the end of November they needed to allow and even encourage the development of stronger, secular, democratic opposition.

So that people could expect some alternating in government in Egypt and that that would have through the political system, rather than through violence and attempt to revolution. So actually we have made that case to the Egyptian leaders and I think it was right to do so.

And it's regrettable that that advice wasn't taken.


ANDERSON: William Hague speaking to me earlier. Just ahead some call it the domino effect. First it was Geneva, then Egypt and beyond. Unprecedented protests are sweeping across the Arab world. Up next Yemen, where we've seen both pro and anti-government today.

The president has already said he won't see re-election but to some that is simply not enough. Well CNN Senior Correspondents are right across the region for this hour reporting from the ground bringing you the very latest.

Coming up you're going to hear from Mohammed Jamjoom in Sana'a, in Yemen, CNN Rima Maktabi is reporting from Amman, in Jordan and monitoring Israel's reaction Fionnuala Sweeney is at the Israeli-Egyptian Border.

That is all coming up do not go away.


ANDERSON: Government protestors took to the street in Yemen earlier today despite Wednesday's announcement. The president there won't seek re- election. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom sat right in the middle of the action in the capital Sana'a.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just moments ago the crowd here was chanting for the minister of Yemen to open his eyes and see what's going on in this country. Now the crowd is chanting of agreeing we've heard a lot today.

But for the people of Yemen want there to be change, they want there to be regime change. They are not happy with the pledges made by the president yesterday that he would not seek or appoint himself president for life and he would not seek re-election in 2013.

Many of them say no thank you. Many of them say that he needs to go now. This is a list of the hands that the opposition is putting out today and that their supporters are putting out today. It is a crown clearly involved in by what they've seen happening Tunisia and Egypt.

They say that they want their people to have to the kind of economic opportunity in life that they deserve. Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Sana'a.


ANDERSON: Great government rallies also took place in Yemen. People chanted in the air and streets and held up placards with pro government messages of their own with some attacks on Yemen. It's home to more than 22 million people and its said to be the poorest country in the Arab world with high levels of poverty, unemployment, widespread illiteracy and a high birth rate.

Yemen's economy is closely tied to oil, when revenues have fallen sharply in recent years. The government is struggling with a separatist movement and growing threat from Al Qaeda. And the government of the country is also suffering from a water crisis.

The current rate swells in the capitol of Sana'a could run dry by 2016. And taking in that into account its perhaps not surprising many are on the street. Well earlier I spoke to the country Deputy Finance Minister, Jalal Yaqoub.

He asked whether he was worried that the situation would escalate.


JALAL YAQOUB, DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER: I think what happen today and the situation in general in Yemen is different than places than Tunisia and Egypt. We - there are government parties and opposition parties and they have both fair (INAUDIBLE) their support and that's what happen today.

So these are - there is continual announce of control here of what's happen today on the ground.

ANDERSON: Well given what you've said perhaps understandably people have hit the streets for what was described as a day of rage. Saleh, President Saleh has said that he will step aside in 2013. He's backed out of promises of course stepped down in the past.

But I understand you don't agree that this necessarily the best way forward. That's not necessarily the answer why?

YAQOUB: Yemen, Yemen needs President Saleh to maintain its stability. And that was in response to the (INAUDIBLE) between Yemen and Tunisia and Yemen and his agent in the matters that happen in Egypt.

I think the president today showed that he or yesterday show the high degree of wisdom and courage actually to present this initiative has many sides to it.


ANDERSON: Image of Yemen earlier this Thursday. Well ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD. More protest planned for Friday in Jordan. We're going to take a look at what the main Islamic group there is saying and get some regional perspective on all of this from my guest a regular guest on this show (INAUDIBLE).

Plus on the Israel-Egypt border why Israeli's keeping a very close eye on the uprising there and we'll be back in 60 seconds don't go away.


ANDERSON: We're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. In Jordan the main Islamic group Fair said that it's planning more demonstrations on Friday protest the appointment of a new Prime Minister.

Let's get the latest from Rima Maktabi who is on the phone from Amman in Jordan. Rima?



ANDERSON: Yes go ahead.

MAKTABI: Yes there are demonstrations in Jordan not as big as we've seen in Tunisia or Egypt but people are unhappy with the poor conditions of living here. The economic situation and lack of freedom as they say.

And here in Jordan it's Islamic and leftist parties who are the movers and shakers of the demonstration. And despite that the King has appointed a new Prime Minister and these parties do not seem happy and there are demonstrations planned for tomorrow after the five day prayer. Becky.

ANDERSON: This Islamic group says that Parliament should choose the Prime Minister not King Abdullah. How much pressure is King Abdullah under at this point?

MAKTABI: Well, it's a monarchy. It's different from the rest of the Arab world some of it. And the King Abdullah belongs to the (INAUDIBLE) and they are held above the political process. In the past Becky we've seen in the region monarchs that has been overthrown by revolutions or coos.

But King Abdullah seems to be in a secured position and in no stress on him or the Royal Family. However, he is aware of the threat and he wants to address issues as fast as possible by promising reforms. Becky.


ANDERSON: Rima Maktabi on the ground there in Amman. Although some background for you in Jordan its home to more than six million people, most are Sunni Muslim that include a large Palestinian population of nearly two million refugees.

Jordan supported the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003 but has struggled with spillover violence from the war and has taken about a half million refugees from Iraq alone. It's one of smallest economies in the Middle East and was hit hard by the global economic crisis in 2008.

Jordan also suffers from chronic high poverty, unemployment, inflation and a large budget deficit. The country has few natural resources. So the government relies heavily on foreign assistance.

Fawaz Gerges veteran of Middle East and politics and financial relations of the London School of Economics regular guest on this show joining me now. Sir with reference to Jordan perhaps most importantly sir it's a country that has recognized Egypt of course -- I'm sorry Israel of course as have Egypt whether if a Muslim Brotherhood organization were a part of a transitional government or unity government going forward.

Egypt would continue to honor that peace treaty remains to be seen. What about Jordan? How do you what.

FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: That's a very important point what you're saying. In fact the opposition to the established order in Jordan is based on foreign policy. The idea that Jordan has very close relationship with the United States a very close and intimate relationship with Israel, the Islamist, the Leftist, the Nationalist united against the foreign policy of Jordan.

So not only you have foreign policy grievances that you have object poverty as well. You have huge population. I mean Jordan does not have an economy it relies on foreign aid on rent.

So the problem with Jordan in many ways resembles that of Egypt, Tunisia and other countries. The pressure is overwhelming. There's a ripple effect from Tunisia to Egypt to Algeria to Yemen to Jordan all over the place.

And foreign policy in particular complicates the situation in Jordan and Egypt. The whole idea of dignity that the Egyptian regime and the Jordanian regime do not respect the dignity of the our people, the dignity of the Palestinian.

While Syria, ironically, the Syrian president he said the reason why we don't really suffer from the same problem because our values the foreign policy values of Syria are basically in accordance with the values of the people. We have a strong nationalist pro-Palestinian pro policy.

ANDERSON: What goes on in Egypt goes on in the rest of the Arab world many people say. Interesting to hear what President Hosni Mubarak has said tonight to one US network ABC News. He says he's had enough.

He says he go but he says he would leave the place in chaos. He fears that chaos so he's going to stay. Your thoughts.

GERGES: My thought is that President Mubarak is already gone. He is not in charge. The Army is in charge. And the Army has positioned its people in the right places. The Vice Presidency the Prime Minister, the Interior Minister and the defense they're all Army men.

The question really is what the Army - at this point for the Army an honorable exit for Mubarak. Because Mubarak is part of the Army and the reality is Mubarak is an Army man.

Remember his last speech the defiant speech he said I am a man of the land. I will die on this land. Everyone who knows Mubarak says Mubarak will fight to the end.

He doesn't give a dam about Egypt because he has his own due himself and the nation.

ANDERSON: Are you seeing the building blocks in what we are hearing from the Prime Minister and the Vice President for an orderly transition at the moment given a chance?

GERGES: You know Becky this is really the point. It's not about because the momentum is shifting towards the opposition. I mean today the Vice President said we have invited the Muslim Brotherhood to be involved in the reconciliation talks.

Imagine the Muslim Brotherhood is has been there since 1954. There's a war between the government and the Muslim Brotherhood. It tells you how far the military is willing to go in order to have an orderly and peaceful transition.

The Americans, the Americans are putting a lot of pressure on the Army in order to really engage the opposition and find a way out of this badly embrace.

ANDERSON: Well let's qualify that about when you spoke to a spokesman from the Muslim Brotherhood tonight. It's not clear that they are prepared to talk.

GERGES: Well, the Brotherhood has already accepted the invitation for talks. This is for sure. And remember why should the Brotherhood basically say yes - I mean the momentum is in its favor.

At the end of the day Becky, tomorrow is a huge day. Tomorrow you're going to see 10s of 1000s if not hundreds or thousands of Egyptians on the street and the ideas is they're going to march to the presidential palace.

Momentum has shifted against Mubarak. What the Army is trying to do is to assert control to prevent - I mean the situation from aspiring into basically more chaos and disorder.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. I'm going to get you to stay with us and we'll talk again this week. New through this hour, for days they were welcomed in Cairo with open arms and smiles. (INAUDIBLE) changed yesterday.

Ahead at look at the sudden danger facing journalist and word about who may be responsible.


ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.

Coming up, the street fighting continues in Cairo. Journalists who are covering the uprising become targets, and now the US levels a strong accusation about who's responsible.

Also, the view from Israel, where the government weighs past history in the region against an uncertain Egyptian future.

And our Connector of the Day, Egyptian actor Amr Waked tells us why he's joined the movement to oust President Hosni Mubarak.

That is all ahead in the next half hour. Let's, before we do that, get you a check of the headlines this hour, here on CNN.

And, of course, we start in Egypt. Hosni Mubarak says that he's fed up and wants to leave office, but can't because there would be chaos. The Egyptian president spoke Thursday with the US network ABC News. He blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the violence unfolding in Cairo.

Well, a standoff is still underway in Tahrir Square after clashes between pro and anti-government demonstrators killed at least eight people and injured hundreds more. Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq today apologized for the violence, but blaming unknown infiltrators. He is promising an investigation.

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators protested in Yemen's capital on Thursday. The rally came a day after President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced that he would not seek reelection. The protesters held signs that blamed the government for their poverty.

And Australian towns strewn with debris after being hit by Cyclone Yasi. It came ashore Wednesday, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the country. But Australia is relieved. No deaths, and no major injuries were reported.

Over the past few days, the uprising in Egypt has taken an ominous turn for the journalists who are there covering it. They've become targets. Dozens have been beaten or arrested or both. One of them is Graeme Wood, a correspondent for "The Atlantic." He joins me, now, by phone.

Briefly, describe what happened to you, Graeme.

GRAEME WOOD, CORRESPONDENT, "THE ATLANTIC" (via telephone): There were actually two incidents that I was involved in. There was one yesterday in Tahrir Square not too long after the initial outbreak of violence in the square, where I was picked up by some plainclothes police officers, beaten slightly, not as badly as some, and had the video camera that I was using taken away.

Then, there was a second incident that occurred today where I was targeted, not so much as a journalist, but as a foreigner where, at one of the many checkpoints around the city, I was pulled from a car and, then, dragged for some distance and accused of being a spy. In that case, a spy for Iran.

ANDERSON: So, these were people in uniform? Were they easily distinguishable?

WOOD: The first time, there was no one in a uniform, and the second time, there was no one in a uniform until the final place where they brought me to, which did have an Egyptian police officer there.

And the checkpoints, they tend to be operated by just neighborhood people with batons and homemade weapons. And they're the ones who picked me up and then -- moved me around a bit and, then, brought me to that center.

ANDERSON: Is your ability to report, then, on events being hugely hampered or even denied, at this point, would you say?

WOOD: Yes. It's extremely difficult for me to report under these conditions, because getting to where the main story is, which is Tahrir Square, is increasingly difficult. There are gangs of thugs in every direction from the center of the square.

And there actually are some journalists who are saying that right now, the square is the only safe place to be, because of the concentration of journalists and the attention that's being paid to it. When you're on the outside, you really would have no idea who's watching you, and you don't know what's going to happen to you next.

ANDERSON: What sort of precautions are you taking?

WOOD: There are ways that journalists keep in touch with each other. We certainly -- we use cell phones, SMS, Twitter, et cetera, to keep as good an eye on the terrain as possible. But that only covers so much ground, so -- caution all around.

ANDERSON: All right. Well, good luck, stay safe. We thank you for speaking to us this evening.

All right, a journalist for Egyptian state television quit her job. Shahira Amin says that she is tired of broadcasting lies by the government. She talked about her decision earlier today in an interview here on CNN. This is what she said.


SHAHIRA AMIN, FORMER SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NILE TV (via telephone): It really is the self-censorship, most of -- they have been -- people are too scared to tell the truth. And this is a built-in or inherent feeling that many Egyptian journalists have because of the detention and the arrests, systematic and we hear about -- we hear every day a different story.

But I haven't been intimidated all these years. I have been telling the truth. So, I managed to get away with it until now. But then, I just -- this time around, I just couldn't tell the truth. So, I walked out.


ANDERSON: One journalist who has quit her job.

Well, the targeting of journalists seemed to explode along with the violence in Tahrir Square yesterday. Now, the US, apparently, says that it's -- it knows who's responsible. For more on that, let's turn to our World Affairs Correspondent, Jill Dougherty. What do we know at this point, Jill?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Becky, this is a very big concern and worry here at the State Department. In fact, it's really forced Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to come out and make a very strong statement condemning this violence and calling it a violation of international norms, unacceptable under any circumstances. This is what she said.


HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE: We condemn in the strongest terms attacks on reporters covering the ongoing situation in Egypt. This is a violation of international norms that's guaranteed, freedom of the press, and it is unacceptable under any circumstances.


DOUGHERTY: And she said that the government and the army, interestingly -- she noted the army -- have to make sure that they protect the people and also hold to -- for justice the people who are responsible for these attacks.

And Becky, on that subject, there's been a lot of discussion. We've been talking to officials here and, then, at the briefing today with PJ Crowley, the spokesperson. What they are saying is that this is a concerted effort to intimidate and to stop coverage of these events on the street. They are concerned that it could have something to do with the demonstrations that we expect to happen in Cairo on Friday.

Now, where is it coming from? They say probably from the government and from the ruling party. Where exactly, they are not saying, but some officials did tell us that they believe that it's the ministry of the interior.

ANDERSON: All right. Well, some finger-pointing there from the US. Jill, we thank you for that. Jill Dougherty in Washington for you.

Now, when we return, we're going to head to Israel for you. That nation nervously awaits the outcome of the uprising, of course, in Egypt. And in the meantime, the tension is palpable.


ANDERSON: You're looking at pictures from earlier today in Cairo as day ten of the anti-government uprising draws to a close. The standoff between supporters and opposition -- opponents of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak continuing in Tahrir Square, although the violence from yesterday does not seem apparent.

In an interview with the US network ABC, President Mubarak accused the Muslim Brotherhood group of responsibility for the bloody clashes, which also targeted journalists. The US State Department says it believes Egypt's interior ministry was involved in the crackdown on reporters there.

Well, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak helping keep the peace with Israel for decades. But with his days in office numbered, many Israelis now fear the unknown. And it's not just Egypt's political future that worries them.

Anti-government anger is literally sweeping across the Middle East, from Tunisia and Egypt to Jordan, Syria, and Yemen. Our Fionnuala Sweeney shows us how nerves are frayed along one potentially volatile border.


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Flying the flag at this Egyptian border outpost with Israel. This is where the Sinai meets the Negev. The air is quiet, thanks to the Camp David accords, but deceptively so. Military personnel on both sides are a little more jittery than usual these days.

As we film, we attract more attention than might be normal at any other time. But this is no ordinary time. Egypt is in turmoil, and these soldiers are nervous about potential trouble in the Sinai from Bedouins, and wary of anyone, even if they are on the other side of the border.

A van arrives. The binoculars come out and, not long after, a phone call is made. We continue to film. The Thai laborers, who work legally in Israel, in contrast to the 14,000 or so illegal migrants who cross the Sinai into Israel each year, looking for work. The tomato hot houses of this small farming community, which grows the impossible in an almost barren desert.

Back on the Egyptian side, the van, which had left, returns once more. We are still the focus of a lot of interest. Once more, it leaves and, almost immediately, the cavalry roars up in the form of two Israeli military Hummers. Our filming is halted.

An injunction is served. We are asked to leave. Our live report never happens.

Amid the tensions further north, proof that at least on this front, Israeli-Egyptian military cooperation is holding firm. Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN, the Negev, Israel.


ANDERSON: Well, many Israelis fear the Muslim Brotherhood would be the big winners if Egypt held free elections. Many Egyptians disagree, saying President Mubarak himself has deliberately spread that fear to retain US support for his strongman rule.

Let's talk about what's going on, here. Let's bring in CNN's Senior Political Analyst, Gloria Borger in Washington. And we welcome you to the show, Gloria. Also with us, still, our big thinker Fawaz Gerges from the London School of Economics.

And it's true, isn't it? The fear of the Muslim Brotherhood has, to all intents and purposes, legitimized President Mubarak's reign for as long as it's been. It's been a fear that the Americans have held, Gloria?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the Americans have been pro-Mubarak, as you know, for 30 years. The Muslim Brotherhood is not popular here. And, I might add, not popular with the Egyptian military.

I think at this point, though, the conversations that are going on in Washington, quite frankly, are, at what point can you actually say that the military is complicit with the violence that is going on right now in the square?

The passivity of the military at first was, of course, welcomed by the protesters and applauded over her in the United States. Now, their activity in letting in the hoodlums, the thugs, whomever they are, is seen as some kind of a complicity that the United States cannot accept.

And I think that we're coming to a point where somebody's going to have to say that quite publicly from a very high level.


FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMCS: It's fascinating, now, the shift in Washington, the shift in American foreign policy. Now, the Americans are saying, the interior ministry, the security forces, they're all a party.

This is a fresh, new talk. There is no doubt about it, Becky. Everything we know about the security forces, the thugs within the interior ministry, basically, played a key role in basically violating the universal rights of demonstrators.

But what you said earlier, the question about the military. Here you have the military, basically, not intervening in order to prevent the abuse and the violation of the rights of the protesters. What does it tell you? It tells you a policy, a decision was made at the highest levels to, basically, neutralize the army.

So, the army as a neutral force, you tip the balance in what? In favor of the thugs and the interior ministry. And that's why the Americans today were much more vocal, they blame the interior ministry. This is really quite a very important position --

ANDERSON: Gloria, I've had people say to me, "Has the Obama administration stopped to wonder how their statements over the past few days have played into what we are seeing on the streets today?"

BORGER: Well, I think -- I think they have. And it was very interesting, as you watch the evolution of the administration's reaction. First you had Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coming out and saying that Mubarak was stable. You had the vice president saying that, while Mubarak needed to reform, he wasn't a dictator.

You had the president being a little bit more nuanced, and then, Mubarak came out with his statement saying he wasn't leaving until September, and then the president came out and said, "You've got to leave now."

There was a great deal of concern about how that would affect the people in the square. What they couldn't know, and it's interesting, this shift in the military, they didn't know where the military was. The military was kind of coy at first, right? And there was a little bit of distance between them and Mubarak. They let the demonstrators in.

Now, they're playing a very different role. It's very clear that the military is placing its bets with Mubarak, and is it time for the administration to come in and say, "OK, folks, what about that billion and a half dollars in aid we give you every year? Maybe that's not going to happen again."

ANDERSON: Let's talk about the region. I want you to give us some sense of just how big a priority, now, this regional ripple is for the Obama administration. Let's remind ourselves, guys, that Obama chose to launch himself into the sort of Arab-Muslim world, as it were, with his speech in Cairo 18 months or so ago. This was his outreach --

GERGES: Of course.

ANDERSON: To the Muslim world. Not two years later, we're in a position where he could sort of live or die by what is happening in Egypt, today. It's fascinating, isn't it?

GERGES: It's -- absolutely. And the question is, Becky, what kind of lessons will American foreign policy take out of the upheaval in the Arab world. I call it the Arab anti-father. It's the Arab revolution.

Regardless of if Mubarak remains or goes, this is truly a pivotal moment in the history of the Middle East. Will the United States keep investing its political capital in dictators and oppressive leaders, or will the United States take risks.

No one is saying what's happening in Egypt and Tunisia is not really risky. And messy, and prolonged. But the question is, would you be on the right side of history, as President Obama, or will you be on the wrong side of history, as the United States has been for almost 60 years.

ANDERSON: And your opinion of what Fawaz has just said?

BORGER: Well, look, I think he's -- I think he's right. I think we supported Mubarak because of Gaza. For lots of reasons, OK? Peace treaty -- you name it. Iran, you name it. And he was our guy. I think Barack Obama gave that speech in Cairo, talked about the rise of democracy.

And I think what's so interesting to me, as a longtime observer of Barack Obama, is that here you have a president who's very low-key, nuanced, subtle, privately told Mubarak in 2009, "You need free and fair elections, you need to stop the state of emergency there." His administration was warned about it. But he remained subtle and private about his complaints and his issues, by and large, with Mubarak.

GERGES: Becky --

BORGER: Now, the subtle president has got to be -- lose his nuance, totally, as he did the other day, and had to say to Mubarak, "We want you out now." Publicly. So --


BORGER: He had a half-hour phone conversation with him, privately, and then went out and told us publicly what he had said to Mubarak.

GERGES: Barack --

BORGER: That's a totally different Barack Obama.

GERGES: Barack Obama never wanted to really basically restructure American foreign policy vis-a-vis the Arab police. His basically code word was, "I won't preach to other nations." That is institutional-building and democracy-building was not part of the agenda of --

Obama is a realist -- is a realist. Basically, security, mutual interests. When -- after his Cairo speech, President Mubarak visited Washington. Guess what President Obama told President Mubarak publicly? He said, "President Mubarak has been -- is a wise man and we always turn to him for advice and wisdom." Quote-unquote.

Imagine -- and one of the leading editors of one of -- the "Al-Dostor" newspaper in Egypt, he said, "How can I listen to Barack Obama? How can I take his rhetoric very seriously when he looks President Mubarak in the eyes and said, 'you are a wise man, you have been our strategic ally, we turn to you for advice on the Middle East, not just on Egypt.'" This is what I call the cleavage between rhetoric and reality.

To come back to my final question. The question is, will we -- we, as an American, I am an American -- will the United States of America take lessons, big lessons, out of this particular promising moment and, basically, restructure its foreign policy and take risks? It's OK to take risks on young men and women's aspirations and hopes for open societies.

ANDERSON: I'm being told we've got to move on, we've got to take an advertising break. We thank you both very much, indeed, for joining us. Gloria and Fawaz, here with you tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks, guys.

Up next, we're going to continue our coverage of Egypt's uprising with a star witness. Amr Waked is best-known for his role in the George Clooney film, "Syriana." Remember him? The Egyptian actor speaks to us from Cairo, where he's been playing a part in and documenting the very push for democratic elections. That is up next.


ANDERSON: In the spotlight tonight, both on the stage and on the streets in Cairo, prominent Egyptian actor Amr Waked has joined the millions of protesters calling for an end to the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

Waked is one of Egypt's most acclaimed actors and is best known to international audiences for his role in the film "Syriana," starring George Clooney and Matt Damon. Well, he's also just finished filming "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen," adapted from the novel by Paul Torday.

But he's also got a humanitarian role. Amr Waked is an ambassador for the United Nations' HIV-AIDS program, and he's become known for his strong defense of human rights. And that is what has brought him onto the streets of Cairo over the past week.

I spoke to him a little earlier from Cairo, and began by asking him about the kind of violence that he has witnessed in his hometown. This is what he said.


AMR WAKED, EGYPTIAN ACTOR: When it began on Tuesday, I attended that first demonstration to reform the place, and my brother got arrested. He actually got kidnapped. He was arrested without even reading any rights, without making a phone call to tell anyone where he is. Whenever we asked for him, they wouldn't disclose any information about him.

For 48 hours, they kept him, and we were looking for him everywhere. And I think that kind of was the case for a lot of other people, which made the Friday demonstration a lot more determined than expected. Quite -- quite a huge surprise to everybody that participated in it, and everybody in the regime itself.

I'm an Egyptian, and I should not stand for that, and I should go out there and say that this whole entire regime, the whole mechanism of politics and power in Egypt, has to racially, radically change to favor the Egyptian person that's walking on the street, the simple man. The right to speak, the very basic rights do not exist in Egypt for a lot of people.

ANDERSON: Are you convinced that that will happen?

WAKED: I don't know what kind of sign, languages are not clear, or what kind of size is not clear. We've never seen last Tuesday in thousands of years of history in Egypt. This has never, ever happened, to have eight million people walk the street. Peacefully. Peacefully, actually believe it or not. Eight million people across Egypt walked the street on Tuesday, and not a single person got harmed.

Today, a few thousand are being attacked by thugs, ex-policemen, by the ruling party loyalists.

ANDERSON: Do you fear arrest yourself?

WAKED: I do. As a -- yes. I do. But I'm careful, I'm always with people, I'm trying also not to be -- a leader of level of revolution. I'm a leader of human rights.

ANDERSON: Have you ever been a supporter of Hosni Mubarak?

WAKED: Never. I have never really supported him. But I never really cared about politics, to be honest. That's the kind of regime we had, it's a regime that always prohibited you to even have a say about President Hosni Mubarak particularly.

ANDERSON: OK. Augusto asks, "Are you concerned, at this point, about an escalation of violence?"

WAKED: I think the regime is determined to clutch at everything with all its might. But we have seen on Friday an angry mob that have been attacked by the police force, armed police force, with armed vehicles, with all their might, and it took the Egyptian people one and a half hours to destroy all that. And nothing can stop them, not even the army can stop them. It's unstoppable.

ANDERSON: OK. Gonzalo asks, "Who do you want to see running Egypt going forward?"

WAKED: I'd rather focus on the mechanism that we generate this leadership, make sure that it is a real democracy. Make sure that there is no power within this democracy that is not accountable. Make sure that the president is not a god. I think that will definitely create -- enable the environment for a variety of leaders that you may choose form.

I'm sure there is 100,000 choices today, but the previous regime has completely annihilated them.

ANDERSON: We've seen a lot of anger and -- directed at the international journalists covering this story. I've got a question from Kasey. He says, "Are you concerned about the potential for censored journalism, as it were, going forward?" Are you concerned about the fact that the international eye may be devoid of picture?

WAKED: I don't believe that. We are in a very fast technology age. Everybody films everything. We have access to internet. I don't know why they brought it back, maybe that was a -- that was one of the humble, nice, maybe kind things that they've done, the rare, kind things that they've done in the past ten days.

Which tells you something about what's happening inside, I think it's completely shaken, and I think it's not going to be capable of holing back for much longer.


ANDERSON: Amr Waked, speaking to me earlier. I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected here from London on Thursday. Thank you for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. Stay with us.