Bombshell: Mubarak not stepping down; Update: U.S. officials “taken by surprise”; Update: Suleiman now de facto president, says ambassador; Update: No televised statement coming from Obama

posted at 4:05 pm on February 10, 2011 by Allahpundit

He’s still speaking as I write this and the translation is rough, but it surrrre sounds like he’s planning to serve out his term until September. A money line: No outsiders can give him orders The country’s Information Minister denied earlier (see the 8:03 p.m. update) that he had agreed to step down, but everyone assumed that that was a formality while arrangements were being made for him to leave.

He did say that he’s passed some of his duties to Suleiman and vowed that the much-loathed emergency law will be lifted — but even there, he didn’t give any firm commitments.

After all the media hype of the past several hours, I assume the crowds in Tahrir Square are about to go berserk. And once that happens, given Suleiman’s threats yesterday about a crackdown, the tanks are going to roll. Stand by for updates; all hell’s about to break loose.

Update: Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey says people in the street are “going crazy.” Here we go.

Update: What happened here, exactly? On Twitter, Kirsten Powers is speculating that media reports that he was going to quit were based on nothing more than rumor and wishcasting by journalists. I don’t think so. If it was that thin, Obama wouldn’t have alluded earlier to history unfolding before our eyes and Panetta wouldn’t have gone out on a limb by claiming that there was a strong likelihood that he would quit. Nor would Egypt’s military leaders have risked their prestige by making promises that won’t be kept:

[T]he first confirmation that Mr Mubarak would step down came from Lt Gen Sami Enan, the chief of the Armed Forces, who travelled to Tahrir Square to announce that the stand-off between the regime and the protesters would be brought to an end within hours. Through a loud hailer, he said: “All your demands will be met tonight.”

The change in the mood of the crowd was instantaneous. “The army and the people are one hand,” rose the chant.

By the time a uniformed officer appeared on television to read out “Communique number one” of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, it was clear that Mr Mubarak was no longer Egypt’s key player.

What happened here, I think, was some sort of eleventh-hour power struggle at the top, apparently within the military itself, about whether to push a reluctant Mubarak all the way out or keep him on with his powers devolving to Suleiman. That would explain why his speech was delayed for so many hours: Until the last moment, pro- and anti-Mubarak figures in the regime may have been wrestling over this. The pro- side won, and now we’re in the worst of all worlds — with this guy still on top, repudiating the United States as “outsiders,” and the military set to crack heads now that the crowds are ready to run wild in outrage over Mubarak’s power play.

Update: Protesters are already chanting “tomorrow, tomorrow” in anticipation of the day of prayers and massive demonstrations to follow. Assuming the crackdown doesn’t start tonight, tomorrow it is.

Update: Needless to say, if Mubarak still has enough support within the military to hold on even under pressure this tremendous, there’s no reason to believe he’ll follow through on his promise to step down in September, transfer his powers to Suleiman, etc. Referring to the U.S. as “outsiders” who are trying to dictate to him means our leverage with him is down to nil, especially with the Saudis poised to pick up the slack, so who’s left to push him out?

Update: More evidence that people very high up thought Mubarak was on his way out today. The new secretary-general of his own party was crowing to reporters earlier that he had phoned Mubarak and told him to scram for the good of the country. That’s obviously his way of positioning himself to take credit later, after Mubarak announced his resignation. Oops:

Hossam Badrawy, the new secretary-general of the ruling National Democratic Party said he told Mr. Mubarak in a telephone call that the president needed to step down for the good of the country.

“I came to this decision after many meetings, both with the vice president and with many, many of the beautiful, brilliant young people who are gathered in the square. I discussed this with the president. I told him that this move is what the republic needs,” said Mr. Badrawy…

“I have no definite information, but that is my expectation” that he will step aside,” Mr. Badrawy said. “This is the only way to restore confidence in Egypt.”

Update: Suleiman just finished speaking on TV and fired a shot across the bow of protesters, telling them that change is coming so now it’s time to go home. Crackdown status: Still on pace. Said Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman of Mubarak’s speech, “He just lit the final fuse.”

Update: A little more evidence for my “eleventh-hour power struggle” theory from CNN:

Senior US official on #Mubarak speech: Not what we were told would happen, not what we wanted to happen

NBC has more about U.S. officials being “taken by surprise.” Apparently we’re still relying on assurances from the Egyptian military that they won’t fire on the protesters, even though it was almost certainly assurances from the Egyptian military that led us to believe Mubarak was on his way out.

Update: Here we go: Protesters trying to organize a march on the presidential palace.

Update: Evidently, the spin from Egypt’s diplomatic corps will be that this really is a victory for the protesters because Mubarak formally gave up his powers. Even thought (a) he gave them up to his right-hand man, who’s followed his wishes loyally for decades, and (b) remains in position to reclaim those powers if/when this blows over.

President Hosni Mubarak has transfered all effective powers of the presidency to Vice President Omar Suleiman, making Suleiman the de-facto president of Egypt, the Egyptian Ambassador to the United States said.

“The president did indicate very clearly he was transferring all his presidential authority to the vice president,” Sameh Shoukry told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “President Mubarak has transferred the powers of the presidency to his vice president, who will now undertake all authority as president.”

That makes Suleiman the head of the military, according to Shoukry, attributing the information to the Egyptian government.

Update: Pathetic — but still more proof that they really were taken by surprise on this:

Written stmt coming from White House – no on cam statement

Too bad. I was looking forward to an extra-purposeful “let me be clear” in The One’s comments on this.

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The bottom line is the fact that SOME GROUP gave us Barack Obama.

Key West Reader on February 10, 2011 at 8:46 PM

I don’t know what you are referring to specifically Key West, but it made me think that maybe this intense situation will get some reporters to start really digging into BO.
I know there is a lot out there but I get the feeling that there is a big chunk missing.

ORconservative on February 10, 2011 at 8:52 PM

I’m not worried, I’ve read the back of the book…you know whats interesting about the Anti-christ…is he BEHEADS those who will not bow down…

right4life on February 10, 2011 at 8:44 PM

I know, miss the sarc tag?

And sadly that will include the brave moderate Muslims who stood arm-in-arm with Christians…they’re gonna get it even harder for ‘going off the farm’.

Dark-Star on February 10, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Besides tomorrow being 02/11/2011…

… are we not forgetting about the 12th Imam?

This is getting spooky…

… Hold Me!

Seven Percent Solution on February 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM


cmsinaz on February 10, 2011 at 9:23 PM

… Hold Me!

Seven Percent Solution on February 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Hold yer what?


Fortunata on February 10, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Just watched an interview on CNN with a young, blonde reporter, very casual who went to other region of Egypt and he said Suleiman is blaming US and telling Egyptians that WE are invading Egypt, that WE are telling men and women to go to their houses, that we have plans to take over THEIR country.

As if we don’t have enough crap to deal with already here, and in Iraq/Afgh. Good ol’ man does not buy anything; it’s all Suleiman’s violent political rhetoric/not into civility.

ProudPalinFan on February 10, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Well, first time Obama is too shy to be on camera. Who’ll be the first media toady to declare his non-appearence to be Reaganesque?

RedRedRice on February 10, 2011 at 6:13 PM

I’ve been wondering on how many past presidents Obama and the lsm will use. So far, it’s been three, right>FDR on the beginnig, blame Bush but keep lots of policies, Reagan too. Am I forgetting any Presidents yet? Don’t count MLK.

ProudPalinFan on February 10, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Oops I forgot Lincoln.

ProudPalinFan on February 10, 2011 at 10:39 PM

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 4:55 PM

What’s your Twitter account if you have any so I can follow you?

ProudPalinFan on February 10, 2011 at 10:40 PM

What happened here, I think, was some sort of eleventh-hour power struggle at the top, apparently within the military itself, about whether to push a reluctant Mubarak all the way out or keep him on with his powers devolving to Suleiman.

name the last Arab leader to ‘step down?’

did Saddam Hussein ‘step down?’ nope. these Arabs don’t step down.

ted c on February 10, 2011 at 11:12 PM

This incompetent bunch of jack-asses thinks their job is to out-speculate the media. Watching them conduct foreign policy is like watching a middle school basketball team. Just because they were smart enough to criticize a very good Bush team doesn’t make them smart.

Can anybody anywhere tell me they’d rather have Obama/Biden/Hillary running foreign policy instead of Bush/Cheney/Rice or even Bush/Cheney/Powell?

Now that I think about it, the hallmark of this administration isn’t incompetence or arrogance like I had previously thought. It’s laziness.

rwenger43 on February 10, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Mubarak had conceded too much ground to be able to survive this. While the American people are fooled by the MSM characterizing Barry of helping the Egyptians in bringing down a corrupt dictator and bringing forth democracy (47 vs 32%) approved of Barry;s handling of the situation, other world leaders and allies are not fooled.

Also look for the flood of Egyptians to UK and the US seeking political asylum after Mubarak falls. Great deal!!

bayview on February 11, 2011 at 12:55 AM

Sorry to be so far behind, here on the left coast. Your post is excellent. I have been thinking that we will have a major issue with either gas becoming unavailable or with “student” demonstrations that become violent, the later starting perhaps as early as March. One of those, or both, could provide enough evidence of Obama’s fecklessness that some in the MSM will take notice.

GaltBlvnAtty on February 11, 2011 at 12:59 AM

Regarding Mubarak NOT leaving: Call me Nostradamus…

Khun Joe on February 11, 2011 at 1:04 AM

Maybe we should panic

DarkCurrent on February 11, 2011 at 1:23 AM

Too bad. I was looking forward to an extra-purposeful “let me be clear” in The One’s comments on this.

Obama is transparent. And his mind is clear of anything remotely useful so you get your wish anyway.

Sherman1864 on February 11, 2011 at 7:11 AM

Mubarak no doubt intended to feed the world’s media with opposite happenings to bolster what people already know….the media doesn’t hold grasp of the truths, they make things up entirely , and disguise their opinions, hopes and dreams as facts.
I’ve been chatting to my young Egyptian friends for a week now and not a one supports the rioters in the streets. They say the discontent is driven and embraced by a small minority of the population who are the most gullible and poltically confused .
They say that the notions that anyone would come to blows with the Egyptian military or that the military would crack down on the people, are absurd.
Egyptians love and respect their military as much or more than Americans do their own. The Army was sent in NOT to intimidate the crowd but to calm them , and as it has happened in the past several times.

LeeSeneca on February 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Mubarak has stepped down.

AnninCA on February 11, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Mubarak has stepped down.

AnninCA on February 11, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Yay! and they did it without violence.

fastestslug on February 11, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Yay! and they did it without violence.

fastestslug on February 11, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Another day or three and they would have.

Close shave!

Dark-Star on February 11, 2011 at 11:29 AM

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