Reading Tea Leaves: Jan 28, 2011
How can a dictator know that his time is over. Let me help..
1. Protesters trash your party headquarters.
There are reports that the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party have been set on fire in Cairo as protestors stay out on the streets despite a curfew. Witnesses have reported tanks on the streets of the capital as the military have been deployed to help the police deal with the protestors.
When people in a dictatorship have lost fear of their “glorious leader” and his security apparatus to a level where they find it fun to trash the ruling part HQ, it is essentially over for the regime.
2. People do not care about your posturing or words.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refused on Saturday to bow demands that he resign, after ordering troops and tanks into cities in an attempt to quell an explosion of street protest against his 30-year rule.
Evidently Cairo, and other Egyptian cities, are under curfew. However protesters and mobs seem to have missed the notice.
3. Every major group hates you, more than they hate each other.
The Egyptian protesters are from many backgrounds but they all seek the same goal, the fall of a despotic regime
The widespread protests that began against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak have spread in the last few days to encompass almost an entire people. It now includes not only the stone-throwing youths who huddled in the fog of teargas below the underpasses near the centre of Cairo, or charged police on the Nile bridges, but Egyptians from all walks of life
It seem that a very large percentage of Egyptians- muslims and copts, young and middle-aged, employed and unemployed harbor deep resentment towards Mubarak’s regime. It is one thing to piss off a few groups at a time, but pissing off almost everyone is not a good idea.
4. The army does not openly stand behind you, but your goons do.
Even as armored military vehicles deployed around important Egyptian government institutions on Friday for the first time in decades, it remained difficult to predict what role the armed forces might play in either quelling the disturbances or easing President Hosni Mubarak from power.
A dictator is only as strong as the people who will enforce his edicts. Under ‘normal’ situations the armed forces are the most important source of coercive power available to a leader. If their support is nebulous or conditional, the guy is screwed.
5. Everything done by the leader to assert his power seems to backfire.
Dictators reach a point where everything they do has the contrary effect. It appears that everything Mubabrak is doing, from shutting off broadband internet to using goons to intimidate protesters seems to be having the opposite effect.
Now it is only a matter of time (hours to months) when he will:
-have to flee
-be imprisoned and tried