Today’s main state-owned Egyptian dailies are headlining President Mubarak’s visit to… an agricultural project owned by the army in Sharq al-Owaynat. Because that’s such a more important story than the Doha summit, which he’s not attending.

Pettiness is one of the defining characteristics of authoritarian political systems: you see it everywhere, from the arbitrary treatment of political opponents like Ayman Nour to the veiled and actual threats made against rebellious parts of the establishment (such as judges, who had their bonuses and benefits cut when they were rebelling in 2006).

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