Moral Outrage
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Pro-Mubarak push in Cairo orchestrated by Mubarak regime?

Egypt’s prime minister, Ahmed Shafiqm, apologized for the violent attacks on protesters and said the country’s president has asked him to investigate the security chaos. Meanwhile, the military — which had largely remained still in the area of Tahrir Square during violent clashes between supporters and foes of President Hosni Mubarak — took position between the clashing groups.

Prime Minister Shafiq and newly-appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman offered to meet with the opposition — including protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, state media said.

Some opposition groups have rejected meeting invitations. Essam El-Erian of the Muslim Brotherhood said his group was invited, but will not participate in the talks. Mounir Abdel-Nour, secretary-general of the secular liberal Wafd Party, also said that his party will not participate, similarly echoed by Ayman Nour, leader of the Al-Ghad party.

“We refuse to sit with him,” El-Erian said Thursday, referring to Suleiman. To read more on newly-appointed Omar Suleiman

Supporters of Mubarak, who had been largely silent since the unrest began, came out in full force Wednesday — in one case wielding whips and thundering through the crowd on horses and camels.

But some observers said the pro-Mubarak push was likely orchestrated by a regime bent on breaking up peaceful demonstrations.

“These are tactics that are well-known in Egypt,” Michele Dunne, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told CNN’s John King.

Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution said the “rent-a-thugs” were likely sanctioned and paid by the government. This is meant to create an image of chaos so the government can move in to restore order, he said.

On Wednesday, some pro-Mubarak demonstrators who were captured by anti-Mubarak protesters confessed that they were paid 50 Egyptian pounds — or less than $10 — to come out and support Mubarak.

Earlier, anti-Mubarak protesters captured a man, pulled out his identification and learned he was a member of the police — whom anti-government protesters clashed violently with last week.



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