Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hell No, He Won't Go. Mubarak refuses to step down

New York Times: CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak told the Egyptian people on Thursday that he would delegate authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman but that he would not resign, enraging hundreds of thousands gathered to hail his departure and setting in motion a volatile new stage in the three-week uprising.
The declaration by Mr. Mubarak that he would remain president appeared to signal a dangerous escalation in one of the largest popular revolts in Egypt’s history, and some protesters warned that weeks of peaceful rallies might give way to violence as early as Friday.
The 17-minute speech itself underlined a seemingly unbridgeable gap between ruler and ruled in Egypt: Mr. Mubarak, in paternalistic tones, talked in great detail about changes he planned to make to Egypt’s autocratic Constitution, while crowds in Tahrir Square, with bewilderment and anger, demanded that he step down. [MORE]

Tomorrow is going to be an ugly day in Egypt.  The Egyptian people were seriously expecting Mubarak to take a hike.  The new arrangement means Mubarak is now a puppet master rather than president.  This is a total 180 from from what everyone was looking for.
Mubarak's refusal to step down was always a possibility, which is why I never understood why America would openly push for his immediate exit.  Unlike Iran, where there was no love between the US and the Iranian government, choosing sides in Egypt would mean we could risk turn an ally into an enemy.  Should Mubarak find a way to hang on, we will have yet another unfriendly nation in the Middle East.
Say a prayer tonight for the protesters, given the showdown Murbarak set up today, they will need all the prayers they can get.

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