Time to Walk, Like an Egyptian Hosni

To quote the great Scottish International Relations philosopher, Rod Stewart, it would appear that ‘tonight’s the night’ in Cairo. All reports coming out of the Egyptian capital seem to point to an imminent departure from power by President Hosni Mubarak after some 30 years in charge. 

For more than a generation he has been the strong man in the region, ensuring that Egypt holds a pro-western stance in relation to Israel and as a result has ensured that Egypt has continued to receive billions of dollars in aid and in arms from the United States following the Camp David Accords. Regardless of political affiliation, the White House has been a constant ally to Mubarak and as such, U.S. foreign policy in the region is at a potential turning point.  Speaking in Michigan this evening, President Obama was careful to reference the movement for democratic change, whilst moving on quickly to other domestic policies. Behind he scenes, however, the president continues to be kept up to date by his experts at the CIA and the National Security Council.

As the world prepares for a post-Mubarak Egypt, the White House is playing a very careful game; not wishing to be seen to be interfering, but doubtless working furiously behind the scenes with the Egyptian military and intelligence services to ensure a peaceful transfer of power. The question is, to what? Is a military coup underway as some suggest? The irony in such a thought is that Egyptian leaders have traditionally come from the military, so a military coup appears to be  something of a contradiction!

What appears clear is that at 20:00 GMT, Hosni Mubarak will face the world and make an announcement of profound importance. If he announces his departure, a new era can begin. If he delays the inevitable, the possibilities appear to be endless. What is certain is that the risk of violence and potential deadly uprisings will increase the longer Mubarak clings to power and the longer the people continue to clamour for reform. Tonight we will find out if he departs in the manner of Ceauşescu or Gorbachev. The Mubarak regime is over. The only question that remains is over the timing of its demise.

One thought on “Time to Walk, Like an Egyptian Hosni

  1. It looks like Mubarak chose to delay the inevitable. I could not imagine his speech being farther from the mark. Among the many missteps was his request that protesters go back to work in a speech delivered on a Thursday. The weekend in Egypt, of course, is Friday and Saturday. The man is out of touch and most likely out of control.

    On that note, let’s look at this situation from another perspective. Everyone thinks that Mubarak is hanging on to power against mounting protests. Some feel that he may also be fighting a military coup. What if it this is something entirely different? The Mubarak regime has always had a symbiotic relationship with the military. I think that the military needs him as much as he needs them, at least in the short term. By keeping Mubarak in power they may be able to control the transition and shape the future. So my question is this. Could it be that Mubarak wants to leave and is being kept in place by others? He is, after all, more of a figurehead now.
    Just a thought. I would love to be a fly on the wall of that government today.

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