Mubarak's strategy for combating the open source protest is now becoming clear. It's to create a vacuum.
Mubarak’s strategy for combating the open source protest is now becoming clear. It’s to create a vacuum. De-escalate and out-wit the protest.
Here it is with more detail:
There have been a growing number of reports of looters/thugs conducting smash and grabs across Cairo. Interestingly, there’s also a growing number of reports that when these thugs are caught, they have police/interior ministry identification on them. If this is so, the reasons for it are:
This above has the potential to set the stage for a harsh response domestically. It could also help provide cover to the regime globally (hitting the Egyptian Museum was smart in this respect, given how many people around the world care much more for the artifacts there than the freedom of 80 m Egyptians).
The question is: will it work? A decade ago, certainly. Today? No way. Too much backchannel.
Open source insurgencies, revolts, etc. operate on very simple premise:
They negate, block, stop, halt, reverse, etc. the status quo.
A dictator. A policy. An occupation. Etc.
They don’t build. They don’t construct. They don’t transition. They don’t rule. They don’t make people in the establishment feel good/safe/etc. NOTE: it’s important to note, as we saw with the people that defended Cairo’s historic museum from looting/fire, they can protect.
Further, as we have seen in Egypt, the ability of the open source insurgency to withstand/shrug off counter-attacks grows as it moves closer to its goal. Even though hundreds have been killed in Egypt by the police (on 29 January, 2010), it hasn’t shaken the movement at all.
Online connectivity is an early enabler of open source insurgencies. Once they are formed, online connectivity is not a requirement for their continued operation over the short term. In Egypt’s case, shutting down the Internet didn’t work (it only made people more upset).
These posts were originally written for John Robb’s blog