Friday, February 11, 2011


The Egyptian Military announced today that President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as president of Egypt, effective immediately.

The announcement was made by Egyptian Vice President General Omar Suleiman:

"My fellow citizens. In this difficult time that the country is going through, President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak has decided to relieve himself of his position as president and the Supreme military council has taken control of the state's affairs. May Allah protect us."

(via memeorandum)

Mubarak is now in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheik, and the Swiss have apparently frozen some of his assets. Based on what he had to say last night, it might not have been Mubarak's choice to leave this quickly - although as I pointed out, he never said he wasn't resigning..

This was a military coup, in that fine Egyptian tradition. The Army is going to rule the country, led by a military council headed by Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, who was made 'deputy prime minister' just a couple of weeks ago when the protests started and Mubarak sacked his cabinet. It's not immediately clear whether Vice president Suleiman has 'resigned' as well, or if he will simply assume a seat on the military council. Which it turns out to be will be a good indication of how things are going.

It's quite possible that after Mubarak's statement yesterday, the Obama Administration okayed a coup and gave its contacts in Egypt's military a choice - either Mubarak goes immediately or America's annual $2 billion stipend disappears. Mubarak's television address yesterday could definitely have been taken as a personal rigid gesture in Obama's direction and as we all know by now, our president is both fairly narcissistic and notoriously thin-skinned. or it might simply have been the military deciding that enough was enough and it was time to move decisively.

What to look for now is to watch what and whom emerges.

Egypt's economy was bad before the current turmoil and is now almost in meltdown as strikes against the regime and the current economic conditions rock the country, trains have stopped running and food supplies are running low. It will be the military's first task to break the strikes and get the Egyptians working again.

If this is a normal Egyptian military coup of the kind that brought Naguib, Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak to power, we'll see a certain jockeying for position until the new strong horse emerges. If it's something different, look for renewed unrest that may actually lead to elections or a violent repression. Either way, the Muslim Brotherhood will be able to position itself as the leader of the opposition.

Another key element to watch is the new regime's attitude towards Hamas and the Israel/Egypt peace accord. If that changes, it's a sure sign that an accomodation with the Muslim Brotherhood was made.

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

I doubt America or Mr. Obama "okayed" a coup. We've never really had any control over this thing from the beginning. In order to try and make himself look like some sort of power broker, Mr. Obama talked up a storm about the whole thing. He and us would have been better off to say NOTHING. By the constant blabbering by him and other US government officials we may have alienated all sides in this situation. We'll see how things develop.

Also, I doubt the $2 billion a year to Egypt was ever really in jeporady. This was essentially black mail to keep them from hurting us. If any thing, the amount of the stipend would increase if the Egyptian government moved to take a more hostile stand toward us. Frankly, when the stipend ends, it will likely be the Egyptians who choose to stop receiveing it or when America's lenders order a halt to all foreign aid.