There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen. -VI Lenin Victory is accomplished through the perseverance of the last hour. -Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) According to the CIAs declassified documents and records, senior CIA operative, Kermit Roosevelt, paid $100,000 to mobsters in Tehran, in early August 1953, to hire the most feared thugs to stage pro-Shah riots. Other CIA-paid men were brought weeks later, on August 19, into Tehran in buses and trucks to take over the streets, topple the democratically elected Iranian government, and restore Shah Reza Pahlavi to his thrown. It took the people of Iran 26 years, enormous sacrifices, and a popular revolution to overthrow the imposed, corrupt and repressive rule of the Shah. This lesson was not lost on the minds of a small clique of officials who were meeting in desperation in the afternoon of Monday, Jan 31, 2011, in Cairo. According to several sources including former intelligence officer Col Omar Afifi, one of these officials was the new Interior Minister, Police Gen Mahmoud Wagdy, who as the former head of the prison system, is also a torture expert. He asked Hosni Mubarak, the embattled president to give him a week to take care of the demonstrators who have been occupying major squares around the country for about a week. Not only he had to rapidly reconstitute his security forces, which were dispersed and dejected in the aftermath of the massive demonstrations engulfing the country, but he also had to come up with a quick plan to prevent the total collapse of the regime. The meeting included many security officials including Brig Gen Ismail Al-Shaer, Cairos security chief, as well as other security officers. In addition, leaders of the National Democratic Party (NDP)- the ruling party- including its Secretary General and head of the Consultative Assembly (upper house of Parliament), Safwat El-Sherif, as well as Parliament Speaker, Fathi Sorour, were briefed and given their assignments. Similarly, the retained Minister of Information, Anas Al-Feky, was fully apprised of the plan. By the end of the meeting each was given certain tasks to regain the initiative from the street; to end or neutralise the revolution; and to defuse the most serious crisis the regime has ever faced in an effort to ease the tremendous domestic and international pressures being exerted on their president. They knew that eyes around the world would be focused on the massive demonstrations called for by the youth leading the popular revolution while promising million-strong marches on Tuesday, Feb 1. True to their promise the pro-democracy groups drew a remarkable eight million people (ten per cent of the population) throughout Egypt on that day. People from every age, class, and walk of life assembled and marched in every province and city by the hundreds of thousands: two million in Tahrir Square in Cairo, one million in Martyrs Square in Alexandria, 750 thousand in downtown Mansoura, and a quarter million in Suez, just to name a few. It was an impressive show of strength. This time, they demanded not only the immediate removal of Mubarak but also the ouster of the whole regime. An evil plan devised As the fierce determination of the Egyptian people to remove their autocratic president became apparent, governments around the world began pressuring Mubarak to step down and be replaced by his newly appointed Vice President, the former head of intelligence, Gen Omar Suleiman. President Barak Obama, for example, dispatched over the last weekend former US Ambassador, Frank Wisner, a close friend to Mubarak to deliver such warning. Wisner indeed delivered a firm but subtle message to Mubarak that he ought to announce that neither he nor his son would be presidential candidates later this year. He also urged him to transfer his powers to Suleiman. Western governments have been alarmed by the deterioration of the situation in Egypt and were trying to give their preferred candidate, Gen Suleiman, the upper hand before events favor another candidate that might be less amenable to Israel and the West, and therefore shift the strategic balance of powers in the region. On Saturday Jan. 29, The National Security Council advised the president to ask Mubarak in no uncertain terms to immediately step down. However, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, whom the president consulted, strenuously objected and pleaded for time to allow Mubarak to stay in power at least until he finishes his term in September. Openly criticising Obama, former Israeli Defense minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a longtime friend of Mubarak, said, I dont think the Americans understand yet the disaster they have pushed the Middle East into. The Israeli lobby and Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir went overdrive and intensified their lobbying efforts in Congress in order to exert immense pressure on the administration. Reluctantly, the US president relented. Meanwhile, the last touches of a crude plan to abort the protests and attack the demonstrators were being finalized in the Interior Ministry. In the meantime, the leaders of the NPD met with the committee of forty, which is a committee of corrupt oligarchs and tycoons, who have taken over major sections of Egypts economy in the last decade and are close associates to Jamal Mubarak, the presidents son. The committee included Ahmad Ezz, Ibrahim Kamel, Mohamad Abu el-Enein, Magdy Ashour and others. Each businessman pledged to recruit as many people from their businesses and industries as well as mobsters and hoodlums known as Baltagies people who are paid to fight and cause chaos and terror. Abu el-Enein and Kamel pledged to finance the whole operation. Meanwhile, the Interior Minister reconstituted some of the most notorious officers of his secret police to join the counter-revolutionary demonstrators slated for Wednesday, with a specific plan of attack the pro-democracy protesters. About a dozen security officers, who were to supervise the plan in the field, also recruited former dangerous ex-prisoners who escaped the prison last Saturday, promising them money and presidential pardons against their convictions. This plan was to be executed in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said, Damanhour, Asyout, among other cities across Egypt. By Tuesday evening, Mubarak gave a speech in response to the massive demonstrations of the day. He pledged not to seek a sixth term, while attacking the demonstrators and accusing them of being infiltrated, in an indirect reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. Nevertheless, he pledged to complete his term and that he would not leave under pressure. Although he pledged not to run, he was silent about whether or not his son would be a candidate. He ended his 10 minute address by giving his nation a grave warning that the situation was extremely dangerous, and that the country would face either stability or chaos, presenting himself as the embodiment of the former. Leaders of the pro-democracy demonstrators immediately rejected his characterization and insisted that he leave power. Although Sen John Kerry, the Chairman of the Senate Relations Committee, called publicly on President Mubarak two days earlier to disavow any plans for his son to seek the presidency, the Egyptian president ignored his call. However, a former senior intelligence aide, Mahmoud Ali Sabra, who used to present daily briefs to Mubarak for 18 years (1984-2002), said publicly on Al-Jazeera that Mubarak has indeed been grooming his son to become president since at least 1997. Although Jamal had no official title in the government, Sabra stated that Mubarak asked him to present these daily intelligence reports to no one in the government except to him and his son. Sabra also described how Mubarak was disturbed after the first stage of the 2000 Parliamentary elections, when the Muslim Brotherhood won a majority of seats. He then ordered his Interior Minister to manipulate the elections in the subsequent stages and forge the results in order to put NDP on top. Shortly after the besieged presidents address to his nation around midnight on Tuesday, the baltagieswere unleashed on the pro-democracy demonstrators in Alexandria and Port Said beating and clubbing them in a rehearsal for what was to come the following day at Tahrir Square. Esam Al-Amin can be reached at CounterPunch (To be continued)