Mubarak’s Last Gambit: Manufacturing Chaos

By Ahmed Amr – Cairo

There is a joke making the rounds in Egypt that Hosni Mubarak threatened to demonstrate in front of parliament and self-emulate himself if the Egyptian people refuse to step down and join the deposed Tunisian leader in Exile.

The octogenarian dictator is simply delusional if thinks he can hold onto power. By my estimates, he’ll be gone in a week or two – hopefully sooner. But before he gives up his throne, he means to dole out a severe dose of punishment to the 80 million ‘ingrates’ who have delegitimized his corruption infested regime.

Mubarak is a desperate and stubborn man. The disbanding of the police last Friday was a calculated attempt to manufacture chaos and terrorize the populace. It was supposed to be the perfect state crime. The police suddenly vanished abandoning even the prisons which are administered by the Ministry of Interior. With the gates thrown wide open, the criminal elements were let loose as the state controlled media started spreading false rumors of hysterical citizens being attacked in their homes. The crooks were joined by some members of the police force that were ‘on vacation.’ They obviously weren’t idiots. Instead of using the security void to attack apartments and homes, they targeted the national museum, upscale retailers, the gold market and malls.

Unfortunately for Mubarak, the Egyptian people disrupted the regime’s plan. All around the country, alert citizens immediately took control of security in their neighborhoods and within a few hours of the mysterious and still unexplained disappearance of the police, young men and old banded together to protect their families and their property. Defense committees were set up on virtually every block. It was a splendid show of community values and extremely effective. Put it this way – this was a bad week to be a burglar in Cairo. 

The regime has yet to explain who gave the orders for the police to abandon their stations. When the plot fizzled, Mubarak fired Habib Adley, the interior minister and blamed the chaos on “foreign elements” – no doubt the diabolical Maltese Intelligence Agency working in coordination with Taiwanese drug cartels.

The objective of the government’s plot to foment chaos was to compel Egyptians to hide in their homes while “Daddy Mubarak” came to the rescue. The ensuing disorder was a great excuse to impose a curfew to disband the demonstrators in Tahrir Square and dissuade others from joining them. Mubarak and his henchmen might be creative but their attempt to spread panic was not exactly original. That’s pretty much what the American Army did when they invaded Iraq – they ordered the army and police to disband and unlocked the penitentiary gates.

A few days later millions of Egyptians ignored the curfew and took to the streets demanding that Mubarak step down. In Cairo alone, the crowd was estimated at a million plus and hundreds of thousands marched in Alexandria. Not a single policeman was there to ‘protect’ the peaceful demonstrators and there wasn’t a single casualty – not even a broken bottle. Demonstrators mingled freely with the army and even picked up the garbage. They had one basic demand – the immediate retirement of Hosni Mubarak.

But Mubarak wasn’t about to give up so easily. The next morning, ‘patriots’ from the disbanded police force, party loyalists and hired thugs started their own ‘demonstration’ and made their way to Tahrir square armed with clubs. They could have held a peaceful protest at some other location but they were hell bent on a violent confrontation. These ‘Hosnicrats’ were more or less the same elements that had intimidated voters and opposition candidates in the recent rigged parliamentary elections. Ominously, the Egyptian Army, which has so far played a neutral role, didn’t prevent Mubarak’s thugs from attacking the very same peaceful marchers that a day earlier had demonstrated that a million Egyptians could assemble and protest without throwing a single stone. 

The night before, rumors of an organized attack by Mubarak’s mercenaries had circulated among the demonstrators camped out in Tahrir Square. Many decided to leave but those who stayed were determined not to be provoked.  What followed was proof that the attacks in Tahrir Square were just another part of Mubarak’s plot to orchestrate chaos.  The Army issued orders for both sides to clear the square and go home and refused to intervene to protect the anti-Mubarak protestors. As of this writing, dawn on Thursday, the Mubarak loyalists had started firing live ammo into the crowd. So far, eight demonstrators have been murdered and many more are wounded. 

Mubarak despises his people more than they despise him. All he wants now is for his regime to survive and to restore a measure of ‘legitimacy’ and ‘stability’ – just enough to give his American patrons a fig leaf to allow Obama to turn a blind eye to what’s going down in Egypt. He now says he will step down at the end of his term and he promises to use his remaining time in office facilitating an orderly transition. The obvious danger is that he will also use the balance of his tenure to beef up his internal security apparatus, crack down on the opposition and roll out a red carpet for his party and his cronies to allow them to retain control by the time he leaves office. 

At the very minimum, most Egyptians had expected Mubarak to make a conciliatory gesture and disband the National Assembly. Anyone who paid cursory attention to the last elections knows they were blatantly rigged; the National Democratic Party won something like 97% of the vote and virtually every seat in the chamber. The architects of the electoral fraud were absolutely shameless. The election was a farce and Mubarak and his cronies publicly flaunted their ability to fix the vote. There again, Mubarak didn’t care what Egyptians thought and neither did the Americans.   

It takes a strong dose of repression and injustice to rile up a nation that abides by the law even when the laws are unjustly administered. If there is one thing all Egyptians fear more than a tyrant, it is chaos. And that’s precisely why Mubarak and his cronies are so determined to manufacture as much chaos as possible. The octogenarian dictator needs to be sent packing to Saudi Arabia before he causes more damage.

– Ahmed Amr is an Egyptian-American and the former editor of He contributed this article to

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