Will Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak Let Freedom Ring Tonight?
February 10, 2011
(ChattahBox World News)—After days of peaceful protests demanding freedom from the yoke of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s hard-fisted autocratic rule, marred by the brutal violence of government thugs, a defiant Mubarak may finally be forced to bow to the inevitable and the will of his people. Multiple, if conflicting reports, all point to Mubarak stepping down from power, as early as tonight after delivering a late night nationally televised message to the country. People from all walks of life, old, young, rich, poor, Christian and Muslim, have been streaming into Tahrir Square in Cairo throughout the day anticipating freedom at long last. If in fact Mubarak does step down tonight, what will happen next is still uncertain. He may turn over power to vice president, Omar Suleiman or prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq. And how strong a role the military will have in Egypt’s expected transition is also a big question mark. It this a military coup? But there is no doubt, no doubt at all, that a major political transformation is about to take place in Egypt, after 30-years of dictatorial rule. President Obama said today, “We are witnessing history unfold,” and that “America will do everything we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy.”
Pressure from the military may have been applied to Mubarak to step down today, after he apparently announced plans to stage another violent crackdown on protesters.
The New York Times writes:
“State television said in a bulletin that Mr. Mubarak would make a statement tonight. The news anchor stumbled on her words as she said Mr. Mubarak would speak “live on air from the presidential palace.” Footage just before then had showed the president meeting with Mr. Suleiman and the country’s prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, in an apparent effort to project an image of an orderly transition.”
“However, state TV said that the country’s information minister, Anas El Fekky, had denied that Mr. Mubarak would step down, raising the possibility that he could hand over power but stay on in a ceremonial role.”
“The character of the military’s intervention and the shape of a new Egyptian government remained uncertain. A flurry of reports on state media on Thursday indicated a degree of confusion — or competing claims — about what kind of shift was underway, raising the possibility that competing forces did not necessarily see the power transfer the same way.”
Despite the uncertainty and conflicting reports, all signs point to Mubarak stepping down tonight.
A military official addressed the demonstrators in Cairo’s streets, saying “All your demands will be met today.”
Additionally, CIA Director Leon Panetta told a congressional Intelligence panel that there is “a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down in Egypt tonight.”
It is now after 10 p.m. in Egypt and Mubarak has still not appeared for his scheduled national address. The Egyptian people on the street with freedom within their grasp, and the rest of the world, are watching and waiting.
If Mubarak does not give up power tonight, the people pouring into Liberation Square may erupt in a rage.
(Update: Hosni Mubarak just finished speaking to his nation. And long story short, the guy is not going anywhere. During a rambling speech, in which he promised to conduct investigations into the violence by government thugs that he himself ordered, Mubarak continued to remain defiant. He said he was transferring some powers to his hand-picked vice president, Omar Suleiman, but in the meantime, Mubarak intends to remain in power.
During his remarks, Mubarak spoke frequently of the “dignity” of Egypt and his rejection of foreign influence, saying he has not and will not be “dictated” to by foreign governments, presumably referring to the United States.
He also spoke of his personal lifelong “sacrifice” for the dignity of his homeland. And he said “It’s not about me…It’s about Egypt.” But it was clear throughout his remarks that it has always been, and continues to be about him; a dictator who has ruled Egypt with an iron fist for three decades who is not about to give up power without a bloody battle.
As expected, the crowd in Liberation Square responded to his speech with rage, shouting “leave, leave,” and “get out, get out.” It’s now after 11 p.m. in Egypt and the angry crowd is showing no signs of giving up.