Top of the Agenda: Egypt's Mubarak in Critical Condition; Tens of Thousands Protest in Cairo
Former president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak was rushed to a military hospital yesterday (NYT) after apparently suffering a stroke in prison, and was said to be in critical condition as of Wednesday morning. The news of the longtime leader's deteriorating health--Mubarak was ousted during last year's popular, pro-democracy uprising--came as tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Cairo's Tahrir Square against the ruling military council. The ruling generals moved to consolidate their power in recent days, even as the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi appeared poised to narrowly win this past weekend's presidential runoff.
"Sadly, it is not just Mubarak that is on life support at this moment--Egypt's creaky institutions and its nascent democracy are as well. Its politics are broken, its infrastructure in disrepair, its economy near collapse, its state education system in disarray, and its public health system nonexistent. If anything, this is the legacy of Hosni Mubarak: the evisceration of his beloved country," writes CFR's Steven Cook for ForeignPolicy.com.
"But the Mubarak-led regime was always much bigger than the man who sat on top of it. Its military, one of the largest in the world with half a million troops, is also one of the most autonomous, with its own direct relationship to the Pentagon and a whole mini-economy of businesses and investments. His civilian National Democratic Party weaved a vast bureaucracy and a vaster patronage network across Egypt, and his brutal secret police enforced authoritarianism across a nation of 80 million," writes the Atlantic's Max Fisher.
"SCAF clearly did not want to risk reducing the control they have over the country, and wanted even more power. The Egyptian military controls at least 30 percent of the economy and use conscripts for cheap labour. They also receive billions of dollars from the U.S. that they are not held accountable for, nor do we know what exactly they do with it," writes Hisham Wahby for Al Jazeera.
Cambodian Police Arrest Associate of Bo Xilai's Wife
Cambodian police arrested a French architect (NYT) who was an associate of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai's wife, Gu Kailai, the police chief of Phnom Penh confirmed yesterday. Gu is currently being detained as a suspect in the death of British businessman Neil Heywood.
The Pakistani Supreme Court yesterday disqualified Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani, two months after he was convicted on contempt of court charges (Dawn) for failing to reopen a corruption investigation targeting President Asif Ali Zardari. The National Assembly is expected to choose a new prime minister on Friday.
INDIA: Indian oil companies that import crude oil from Iran are set to move ahead with a rupee payment mechanism (WSJ) that will allow them to bypass U.S. sanctions on trade with Iran, a senior industry executive confirmed today.
Russia Rejects Intervening in Syria
At the conclusion of the G20 summit in Mexico yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated his country's opposition to international intervention in Syria in order to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, insisting that any such move should be left to the Syrian people (NYT).
Violent clashes sparked by the attacks of radical Islamist group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria have killed more than eighty people (Reuters) since Monday, Nigerian police and the Red Cross said today.
RWANDA: The UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (BBC) sentenced to life in prison ex-military officer Ildephonse Nizeyimana, who was convicted of ordering the killing of former Tutsi queen Rosalie Gicanda during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
WikiLeaks Founder Seeks Asylum at Ecuadorean Embassy in London
President Obama dismissed criticism of his foreign policy and handling of the European economic crisis from GOP challenger Mitt Romney's campaign (Politico) during the G20 summit wrap-up. Obama said thatthere is only "one president at a time."