Jerusalem Post is reporting that Egypt has blocked the Internet and is bringing in special forces to help quell the riots.
Internet service in Egypt was disrupted and the government deployed an elite special operations force in Cairo on Friday, hours before an anticipated new wave of anti-government protests. The developments were a sign that President Hosni Mubarak’s regime was toughening its crackdown following the biggest protests in years against his nearly 30-year rule. The counter-terror force, rarely seen on the streets, took up positions in strategic locations, including central Tahrir Square, site of the biggest demonstrations this week.
After midnight, security forces arrested at least five Brotherhood leaders and five former Members of Parliament, according to the group’s lawyer, Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud, and spokesman, Walid Shalaby. They said security forces had also taken a large number of Brotherhood members in a sweep in Cairo and elsewhere.
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Analysis. Obviously the situation in Egypt is extremely fluid. It appears that the Egyptian government is arresting Muslin Brotherhood leaders after they threw their support to the rioters. This is probably an effort to block the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the demonstrations scheduled to occur after Friday prayers. This would be about 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. The Egyptian government is doing its best to keep news of the scale of the protests from getting out to the rest of the World. Even though the blocking of the Internet was most probably aimed at cutting off services such as Twitter and Facebook which help the protesters organize, it has the effect of cutting off news. I suspect that any news form Egypt will be by satellite phone for a while if correspondents are allowed to report anything but what the Egyptian government feeds them.
So far it appears that the Israeli news sources are the best. Asharq al-Awsat has had nothing new on Egypt all day and al-Arabiya’s information is becoming dated. An unfriendly Egypt would not be good for Israel. They start looking at a two front war again. While that is not an immediate threat, it does greatly change all of the calculations for the future and not just the Israeli’s.