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Egypt: Secretary of State Clinton warns of 'perfect storm'

Secretary of State Clinton warns of a "perfect storm of powerful trends" across the region, including a young population, political repression, economic disparity, and dwindling supplies of oil and water.

Coptic Christians show solidarity by forming a human chain around Islamic protesters during Friday prayers in Tehrir Square on Friday, February 04, 2011.

Ann Hermes/Staff

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As events in Cairo moved steadily – perhaps inexorably – toward a quick end to the 30-year regime of Hosni Mubarak, the United States continued to do what it could to push things in that direction without appearing to orchestrate what is amounting to political revolution in Egypt.

Speaking from a security conference in Munich, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of a "perfect storm of powerful trends" across the region, including a young population, political repression, economic disparity, and dwindling supplies of oil and water.

"This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and cities throughout the region," Clinton said in her speech Saturday.

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"Some leaders may believe that their country is an exception – that their people will not demand greater political or economic opportunities, or that they can be placated with half-measures,” she said. "In the short term, that may be true; but in the long term that is untenable."

Political protests continued throughout Egypt Saturday. In contrast to earlier nights in Cairo, when pro-government thugs attacked protesters and roughed up journalists, the 12-day anti-regime demonstration remained generally peaceful.

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