President Hosni Mubarak will not leave office, as was indicated. Get ready for pandemonium in Tahrir Square.
Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak, after weeks of protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, announced today that he has no intention of removing his regime from power, as was previously indicated.
Mubarak, writes the Washington Post, “vowed late Thursday that he would follow through with his plans to transfer authority to an elected government after his term ends in September and would continue efforts to amend Egypt’s constitution in the meantime.”
“Your demands are legitimate and just demands,” he said, addressing the protesters—”I am speaking to all Egyptians in Tahrir and beyond.”
Mubarak is insisting he’ll hand power to his right-band man Omar Suleiman, until an orderly democratic election can be held in September.
This compromise has been rejected as disingenuous by the protesters, who counter that it’s a stall tactic during which the regime will re-fortify its power and prevent truly free elections.
Nonetheless, Mubarak’s decision to favor a gradual transition matches exactly with the Obama Administration’s stated wishes for Egypt. And, as has been widely reported, Omar Suleiman has worked directly with the CIA.
How involved the U.S. is in Mubarak’s decision is an unknown (what Donald Rumsfeld might refer to as an “unknown known”) and so far State Department spokesman PJ Crowley‘s Twitter feed has been silent on Mubarak’s announcement.
But the gigantic, furious protests to Mubarak’s recalcitrance surely about to unfold in Tahrir Square represent a mandate. After 17 days, with a populist mandate made clear, the U.S. should condemn Mubarak’s refusal to leave office if it wants to champion global democracy.