Revolution on the Nile: Rebellious Cops, Lethal Aid, and Off Switch Envy


The most hopeful news to come out of Egypt today are the reports of officers fraternizing with protesters, removing their uniforms, refusing to fire their weapons. That's when a popular revolt succeeds: when the storm troopers won't follow orders. The question is how widespread that is—how many cops and soldiers will break ranks and how many will continue to crack down. One odd wrinkle in Egypt is that the protesters think the army is more likely than the police to come over to their side.

The Obama administration says it will "review" U.S. aid to Egypt. Good—the one constructive thing Washington could do right now is to cut off its support for the Mubarak regime. Egypt is presently the fourth biggest recipient of American foreign aid, after Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel.

Meanwhile, Sean Bonner reminds readers that Joe Lieberman wants Washington to have an Internet off switch like Hosni Mubarak's.

Egypt is center stage today, but while you're watching events there don't neglect the rebellions bubbling in Jordan, Yemen, and Algeria. The Middle East may be in a transnational revolutionary moment.