Egypt in flames: Mubarak orders VP to begin talks with opposition for some reason

posted at 5:09 pm on January 31, 2011 by Allahpundit

What is there to talk about? Is there some as-yet unexplored common ground between the protesters’ “let’s kill Mubarak” position and the regime’s “let’s not”?

Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s recently appointed Vice President, said the government is prepared to start a dialogue with protesters as calls for regime change appear to reach a new level of intensity since the military vowed not to harm protesters that continue to march in defiance of government curfews.

Speaking on State television late Monday, Mr Suleiman said President Hosni Mubarak had asked him to open “immediate” dialogue with the opposition…

A quick transition of power away from Mr. Mubarak to an interim government would likely stem the financial and security concerns that the last week of insecurity has brought, according to Hashem Qassem, a newspaper publisher and political analyst. “Speed is essential,” says Mr. Qassem.

A crisis committee from Egypt’s coalition of opposition parties met Monday afternoon to discuss their strategy in anticipation of Mr. Mubarak’s ouster. People briefed on the meeting said that the focus was to hammer out a negotiating strategy with the army and the newly named Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, the long-time intelligence chief who constitutionally would take over if Mr. Mubarak left office.

Among the members of the “crisis committee” are ElBaradei, liberal Ayman Nour, and our old friends in the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, help me figure this out: What leverage, precisely, does Mubarak have in these “negotiations”? The army’s already said that it won’t fire on the protesters, and it’s inconceivable that Mubarak would be retained as a monarchical figurehead for a new democratic government. The public would never trust him to play nice and his identity as the face of repression would taint the new administration. Maybe he’s negotiating with them on an exit? If he wanted to do that, though, he could just hop a plane. No doubt the Saudis would accept him. Or maybe he’s bargaining for assurances that Egypt won’t prosecute him? Fleeing to the Kingdom would solve that problem too, though, since they could protect him the way they did Idi Amin.

Maybe watching the world around him collapse has sent this guy ’round the bend to the point where he still thinks he has cards to play. If tomorrow’s mega-protest ends up being as big as the organizers hope, that ought to finally snap him out of it. Here’s Gibbsy from this afternoon’s briefing still insisting that “we’re not picking between those in the street and those in government.” Have a look at this old quote from Hillary that Tapper dug up to see why pretending to be against Mubarak would be futile at this point anyway.

Update: Actually, maybe there is one card left to play. The army may be unwilling to crack heads to protect Mubarak but surely there are still plenty of loyalist goons in the state police willing to cause chaos if he’s forced out. In fact, maybe they’ve already started:

The other half of Mubarak’s strategy is to scare Egypt’s upper and middle classes into demanding a return of stability. On Friday, police forces mysteriously disappeared and thousands of prisoners suddenly escaped from several facilities. Reports of chaos and looting in the streets dominated state television, while the army did little to provide security beyond protecting government buildings. Neighborhoods have set up local watch groups, grabbing makeshift weapons like kitchen knives, baseball bats, and even, I saw in one report, lacrosse sticks.

They’re back on the streets today, but after eight years in Iraq, we all know that yesterday’s “policeman” is tomorrow’s insurgent. Mubarak could be holding that over the opposition’s head in negotiations, but would he have any power at all over his goons in exile? And if so, what does he want in return for giving it up?


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$10 says that the “constitutional changes” being bandied about involve legalizing the currently-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood as a concession to getting the protests to stop.

teke184 on January 31, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Latest Leftwing yelling point:

“Muslim Brotherhood is all about democracy.”

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Gibbs: “Way Egypt operates must change.”

Gibbs, moments later (and before): “Way Egypt operates is not up to me.”

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 5:16 PM

You know what could solve everyone’s problems over there?

High-speed rail and solar shingles.

catmman on January 31, 2011 at 5:16 PM

The Mubaraks “friends of Hillary’s family”…

Hillary kissed Arafat’s wife too.

Lefties stand for little and are not liberal at all, nor progressive.

Schadenfreude on January 31, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Well if the muslim brotherhood takes over like we figure they will, that paints a great big bulls eye on Israel.Where will Obama stand then? I think we all know…

sandee on January 31, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 5:14 PM

tru dat…just saw that on msdnc…

cmsinaz on January 31, 2011 at 5:17 PM

It seems like only yesterday that Barack Obama was over there in Cairo making his big community organizing speech.

My, how time hasn’t flown.

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Well if the muslim brotherhood takes over like we figure they will, that paints a great big bulls eye on Israel.Where will Obama stand then? I think we all know…

sandee on January 31, 2011 at 5:17 PM

It might not mean a bulls eye on Israel *yet*… they may wait until they can compromise Jordan before doing anything to Israel.

teke184 on January 31, 2011 at 5:18 PM

who will defend the presidential palace? party thugs, special forces, and will they shoot to kill. If so, will the army intervene one way or the other.

rob verdi on January 31, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Well if the muslim brotherhood takes over like we figure they will, that paints a great big bulls eye on Israel.Where will Obama stand then? I think we all know…

sandee on January 31, 2011 at 5:17 PM

More revelations about why Obama wouldn’t have dinner in the White House with Netanyahu. And why the Dalai Lama was sent out the back door through the piles of garbage.

“Stand with the Muslims…”

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 5:19 PM

What is there to talk about? Is there some as-yet unexplored common ground between the protesters’ “let’s kill Mubarak” position and the regime’s “let’s not”?

This does not sound any more unreasonable than BO’s approach to Iran…

yubley on January 31, 2011 at 5:20 PM

And if so, what does he want in return for giving it up?

A job as one of the WH Administrative something or other.

upinak on January 31, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Hmmm…wonder who was ‘invited’?

Apparently not El B.

CPT. Charles on January 31, 2011 at 5:24 PM

It might not mean a bulls eye on Israel *yet*… they may wait until they can compromise Jordan before doing anything to Israel.

teke184 on January 31, 2011 at 5:18 PM

and after Jordan… a few other semi-friendly nations who are our friends, until they reach us.

upinak on January 31, 2011 at 5:26 PM

I think that part of why the corruptocratic despots of the ME are in such trouble now has a lot to do with the internet and other forms of communication. The man on the street has recently been granted access to unfiltered images, messages and other forms of contact with the modern world. They are learning for themselves that their squalid, miserable existences are not the product of some Zionist plot. Their disgusting condition is not due to the evil Great or Little Satan. Their suffering is caused by the ravages of their own rulers.

The age of scapegoating the Jooze is being eroded by the free flow of information and ideas.

MJBrutus on January 31, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I have an idea. Let’s get Obama over there for one of his always historic speeches and have Mubarak’s people sit next to the muslim brotherhood people! Eric Cantor, Lena Jabroski get right on that, mmmmkay?

SouthernGent on January 31, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Mubarak (“The Smiley Cow”) has plenty of cards to play – how much trouble there is on his way out, how his intelligence guys play their cards, the tens of Billions of dollars he has in Swiss Banks, etc.

Thankfully the Egyptian Army has played its cards well in this situation. I think that late tonight (US Time) some grand compromise will be reached with Mubarak leaving and Suleiman in power, so the announcement can be made that the King is Dead, Long Live the King. Its at a make or break point with food running out for most residents of Cairo and the Army knows it needs to diffuse this fairly quickly.

It took the US Army six months to get an answer from Obama on sending more troops to Afghanistan. Fortunately for Obama, it only took the Egyptian Army six days to swap out governments.

Kaisersoze on January 31, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Much of the supply chain in Egypt is state run. From reports stocks are not moving, imports are building up at borders, fuel is running out, food is in short supply. Is Mubarak going to starve them out?

Omar Suleiman, a military man like Mubarak, English speaking Director Egyptian Intelligence for almost twenty years, is one of the most powerful and connected men of that region. He has had his hand in many events and knows where all the skeletons are buried.

Viator on January 31, 2011 at 5:32 PM

He probably shouldn’t flee to Tunisia. Chickens coming home to roost there.
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110131/D9L33KA80.html

a capella on January 31, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Mubarak could be holding that over the opposition’s head in negotiations, but would he have any power at all over his goons in exile? And if so, what does he want in return for giving it up?

If the state police are loyal to him and think his return, or the return of his people, to power would benefit them? Plenty of influence.

In return for giving it up? Insurgency is one hell of a card to play, especially after witnessing Iraq. Perhaps he’s insisting on a transition that will leave him in power until democratic reforms can take place.

Saving face, in other words.

amerpundit on January 31, 2011 at 5:36 PM

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2014090286_apususegyptmuslimbrotherhood.html?syndication=rss

The White House says the Obama administration has had no contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, the deeply conservative Islamic organization that constitutes the biggest organized opposition group in Egypt.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Monday that before dealing with opposition groups the administration would want assurances that they adhere to the law, that they are non-violent and that they are willing to be part of a democratic process.

Gibbs said there would be no contact with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt unless those assurances were offered.

William Amos on January 31, 2011 at 5:39 PM

a capella on January 31, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Not lookin’ too safe for Hosni in Morroco, either. Lots of folks gettin’ uppity.
http://www.afrol.com/articles/37175

a capella on January 31, 2011 at 5:40 PM

The age of scapegoating the Jooze is being eroded by the free flow of information and ideas.

MJBrutus on January 31, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Nonsense

clnurnberg on January 31, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Morroco,

s/b Morocco. Dang, I knew that didn’t look right.

a capella on January 31, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Mubarak is most likely out.

Suleiman most likely is in.

Suleiman began his career in the Egyptian Army, and upon completion of officer training, further military/intelligence training in Moscow’s elite USSR military school outside the Kremlin. Suleiman served in the Egyptian Army fighting both wars against Israel, after which he earned political science degrees at universities in Cairo. If the Egyptian Army feels loyalty for their own, then they are Suleiman’s ally. He’s been acknowledged by British Intelligence as more powerful than the Chief of Intelligence for Israel’s Mossad. As Chief of Intelligence, certainly has enjoyed his own secret police. Suleiman has been Egypt’s liaison with the outside world for decades while amassing intelligence. He has the goods on everyone, including Mubarak. (Since determining to save both their lives within an armed car suspecting attack, Mubarak may have become Suleiman’s tool some time ago.) At this point, Suleiman is already likely the one calling the shots. There is no way that ElBaradei can successfully wage political battle of wits with Suleiman, touting the Muslim Brotherhood’s demand that the current party in power be totally omitted from ElBaradei’s proposed “unity government”.

maverick muse on January 31, 2011 at 5:52 PM

ElBaradei’s idea of a “unity government” is the Brotherhood of God killing every Coptic Christian in Egypt with him serving as its westernized spokesman and demanding reparations from the UN.

Kaisersoze on January 31, 2011 at 5:56 PM

I think that part of why the corruptocratic despots of the ME are in such trouble now has a lot to do with the internet and other forms of communication. The man on the street has recently been granted access to unfiltered images, messages and other forms of contact with the modern world. They are learning for themselves that their squalid, miserable existences are not the product of some Zionist plot. Their disgusting condition is not due to the evil Great or Little Satan. Their suffering is caused by the ravages of their own rulers.

The age of scapegoating the Jooze is being eroded by the free flow of information and ideas.

MJBrutus on January 31, 2011 at 5:28 PM

EXACTLY RIGHT!

Also applies to the falling of the Leftwing Media in the U.S., although it took their domination of imagery and tall tales to get Obama into the White House, so our “waking up” here in the West is obvious in our own right, same as many of the world’s other areas as you note.

Also why the Left really needs that “internet kill switch” for their dictators “Presidents”.

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 5:58 PM

…Their suffering is caused by the ravages of their own rulers.

(…)

MJBrutus on January 31, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Did anyone read the news that Mubarak is worth over SIXTY BILLION DOLLARS? How is that possible for a “public servant” who came into the job NOT worth even part of that?

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 6:00 PM

You know what could solve everyone’s problems over there?

High-speed rail and solar shingles.

catmman on January 31, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Are solar shingles related to solar chicken pox?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on January 31, 2011 at 6:01 PM

SORRY, it’s NOT “sixty billion” it’s over twenty billion. Silly me.

Dubbed ‘the Pharaoh’ for his 30-year iron rule, President Hosni Mubarak is said to have amassed a fortune of £25 billion for his family.

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 6:02 PM

ok, I have been trying to learn about all of the potential bad things that can happen here from this. Geesh, I never thought I would see a Carter 2.0 presidency again in my adult lifetime.

What exactly is a Caliphate? I read about it on wikipedia, but it sounds like it is the Islamic equivalent of the Catholic Pope, only the dude would be in charge of the government in the ruling areas as well as the church. Is this even possible? Wouldn’t there be competing interests, sects, tribes, whatever, between the different muslim groups in all of these countries that could conceivably fall under a new caliphate’s rule? What do they mean exactly by a caliphate?

Also, forgive my Bible ignorance, I was raised in a Methodist church in the 60′s, we never read the Bible much in church school, but is any of this Biblical prophecy coming into play?

karenhasfreedom on January 31, 2011 at 6:04 PM

The discussion is how many trunkfuls of perloined American cash will he be allowed to flee into exile with.

michaelo on January 31, 2011 at 6:05 PM

SORRY, it’s NOT “sixty billion” it’s over twenty billion. Silly me.

Dubbed ‘the Pharaoh’ for his 30-year iron rule, President Hosni Mubarak is said to have amassed a fortune of £25 billion for his family.

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 6:02 PM

I’m not saying he’s “bad” because he’s a multi-billionaire. I’m just saying, he is one. As a guy in public office, it’s a curiosity since he didn’t come into office with that worth.

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Drill here; drill now um, thirty-eight ago.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 6:08 PM

You would think that a mere 100 million would be enough to live in exile for several generations of this dudes family.

karenhasfreedom on January 31, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Drill here; drill now um, thirty-eight years ago.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 6:08 PM

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 6:09 PM

The discussion is how many trunkfuls of perloined American cash will he be allowed to flee into exile with.

michaelo on January 31, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Has investments in Britain…among other areas, no doubt.

I don’t think his wealth (Mubarak’s) is the issue so much as how he acquired such (huge) wealth while President of Egypt (not in private enterprise to my knowledge – someone correct me if I’m uninformed here).

I tend to think that the “replacement” of Mubarak will be far worse and that Obama’s (obviously though covertly) supporting replacing him is a big, big red flag.

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 6:09 PM

‘Pharaoh’ and his half-Welsh wife are worth £25 billion

Big bucks: President Hosni Mubarak with his wife Suzanne, who is half-Welsh and has a British passport

Dubbed ‘the Pharaoh’ for his 30-year iron rule, President Hosni Mubarak is said to have amassed a fortune of £25 billion for his family.

Mubarak, 82, his half-Welsh wife Suzanne and sons Gamal and Alaa are seen in Egypt as symbols of nepotism and corruption with properties and business interests worldwide, including London.

The First Lady keeps a firm grip on Egypt’s leading social circles and is often pictured at diplomatic and charity events in stylish outfits alongside dignitaries’ wives including Carla Bruni.

Her charity donations total millions of pounds a year, though rumours have swirled that some of this money has found its way into her bank accounts. As her profile in the state-controlled media has soared, critics have likened her to French Queen Marie-Antoinette.

Critics say the closest their sons have got to ordinary Egyptians was when they were driven past them in limousines. Both sons have been linked to arms-dealing.

(– Continued).

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 6:05 PM

He was on the Dean’s list at the Harry Reid School of Public Service.

MJBrutus on January 31, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Lourdes, we can presume most of this guy’s net worth is from American aid that was funneled away from the Egyptian people into his personal bank accounts. I see this no differently than Sadam’s peeps backing semi trucks to the national bank and spiriting tons of dollars out of the Iraqi national bank just before the invasion. They tracked those trucks to Syria via satellite.

karenhasfreedom on January 31, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Egypt soon thinking of changing name to “Iran – Part II”.

albill on January 31, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Obama can’t play ignorant regarding the Muslim Brotherhood’s CIA status report. The MB is a radical international jihadist organization of terrorists sponsored by theocratic Muslim clerics and allies such as Obama himself who AT LEAST provide the Muslim Brotherhood with cart blanche positive propaganda that counter the survival interests of the USA. That “Present” Obama “diplomacy” is treasonous sabotage.

The creation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt by Sheikh al-Banna is described along with the world view espoused by the group. The author writes on pages 109-110:

“Banna subscribed to the Koran’s message that there is no division between state and religion, which was expressed in the group’s most famous slogan: THE KORAN IS OUR CONSTITUTION. JIHAD IS OUR WAY. MARTYDOM IS OUR DESIRE. In one tract, he wrote, “If someone should say to you `This is politics!’ say: `This is Islam and we do not recognize such divisions.’” In another he said, “O ye Brethren! Tell me, if Islam is something else than politics, society, economy, law, and culture, what is it then? Is it only empty acts of prostration, devoid of a pulsating heart?”

Again on page 201 the author writes: “Europe, once outside the Muslim world, became central to its future. And the Brotherhood, after years of laborious organizational work, was suddenly poised to lead it.”

A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, By Ian Johnson.
Eurostan, A History, reviewed by David @ Amazon

Evidently, the Muslim Brotherhood would, via Obama’s administration, successfully monopolize America as their Sharia dogma insists must be.

The Weekly Standard
“The Muslim Brotherhood Is No Friend”
By THOMAS JOSCELYN, Jan.28 ’11

Writing for the Daily Beast, Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and adviser to the Obama administration, argues that the U.S. can coexist with a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egypt. The Obama administration “should not be afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Riedel writes. “Living with it won’t be easy but it should not be seen as inevitably our enemy. We need not demonize it nor endorse it.”

The first part of the first sentence quoted above is flat wrong. The Brotherhood has not renounced violence; it has simply advocated a more selective approach to using it.

First, we must understand that the Brotherhood is not confined to Egypt, but actually operates around the globe, with full-fledged branches throughout the Middle East and influence organizations in the West. Everywhere the Brotherhood has implanted its radical Islamist seed the organization has adapted to its environment.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential theologian, Sheikh Yousef al Qaradawi, has repeatedly justified suicide bombings, called on Muslims to support the insurgency against American forces in Iraq, and justified the killing of civilians.

maverick muse on January 31, 2011 at 6:15 PM

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2014090286_apususegyptmuslimbrotherhood.html?syndication=rss

The White House says the Obama administration has had no contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, the deeply conservative Islamic organization that constitutes the biggest organized opposition group in Egypt.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Monday that before dealing with opposition groups the administration would want assurances that they adhere to the law, that they are non-violent and that they are willing to be part of a democratic process.

Gibbs said there would be no contact with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt unless those assurances were offered.

William Amos on January 31, 2011 at 5:39 PM

OF COURSE the Seattle Times is going to refer to the Muslim Brotherhood as “Conservative.”

Lourdes on January 31, 2011 at 6:16 PM

So all it takes is crowds to start marching in these Muslim countries and Obama abandons them?
Good bye Saudia Arabia and Jordan.

Why was there was more the silence from Obama when the people were marching Iran?

albill on January 31, 2011 at 6:20 PM