Chaos in Egypt: Mubarak about to step down? Update: Transferring power to military council? Update: Army will “act” if protesters reject Suleiman

posted at 11:57 am on February 10, 2011 by Allahpundit

Question mark in the headline because Egypt’s information minister insists it’s not a done deal. As I write this, though, Mubarak’s preparing to speak on state TV (which has gradually turned against him) and Fox News is citing a senior Egyptian official as saying he’s ready to quit.

Gird your loins.

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak is to step down tonight, two sources told NBC News, amid widespread protests against his 30-year rule that have gripped the country.

Following an all-day meeting of the country’s supreme military council, the army said all the protesters’ demands would be met and a further statement was due to be made later Thursday, clarifying the situation.

NBC News reported that a high-ranking source inside the president’s office said that Mubarak would step down and the newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, would take over. This was then confirmed by a second source.

The army statement was labeled “communique number 1,” which the AP took as a sign that a coup was underway. Simple question here: Is this in fact a coup by Suleiman and the military or is it a true capitulation to the protesters’ demands? Already on Twitter, I’ve seen some Egyptian protesters like Wael Ghonim declaring victory and others lamenting that it’s a betrayal of the movement. No one seems to know precisely what’s going on — even Leon Panetta will only say that there’s a “high likelihood” that Mubarak is out — but here’s my half-assed theory. As noted last night, Suleiman has been threatening in heavy-handed ways to crack heads if the protests don’t calm down soon. Tomorrow is Friday, though, the day of prayers and traditionally the day of huge political protests in the region. Given that the crowds in Tahrir Square have grown since Ghonim’s release a few days ago, it stands to reason that tomorrow’s monster protest would have finally forced some sort of bloody confrontation between Suleiman/the army and the demonstrators. Suleiman, under U.S. pressure not to use violence, probably figured that the only way to avert that was to present Mubarak’s scalp to the people, hoping that that would placate them enough to take the edge off tomorrow and finally restore some normalcy. (The BBC’s correspondent thinks demonstrators will indeed see it as a great triumph.) The regime blinked, in other words — but probably only because the White House has guaranteed Suleiman its support in a “soft coup” but not a hard, violent one. And what choice does Obama have, really? If he doesn’t prop up the military regime, the Saudis will.

Mubarak’s set to speak at any moment; if he really was forced out, I’m not sure why he’d bless his overthrow by agreeing to a televised farewell address — unless, of course, there are troops standing behind the camera with their fingers on the trigger. Stand by for updates. While we wait, lest you think the military really, truly has sided with the people against Mubarak, spend a few minutes reading this. Yikes.

Update: Looks like they might bypass Suleiman, at least formally, and devolve power to a junta.

President Hosni Mubarak will step down shortly and transfer authority to the Egyptian Higher Council of the Armed Forces, a senior Egyptian official confirmed to Fox News on Thursday.

The group is comprised of the minister of defense, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi — who stands atop the military hierarchy — along with the military’s chief of staff, the chief of operations, and commanders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Air Defenses.

Under the Egyptian constitution, the speaker of parliament is supposed to take power when the president quits. Is this good enough for protesters, then — an extra-constitutional handover to a military council with no time limit (yet) on their rule?

Update: Assuming that Suleiman will play some major role in the new government, either as president or as the power behind the throne, I’m amazed that some protesters seem to be kinda sorta okay with it. A CIA analyst puts it bluntly:

“Mubarak and Suleiman are the same person,” Emile Nakhleh, a former top Middle East analyst for the CIA, said shortly after Suleiman was named vice president just days into Egypt’s anti-government protests. “They are not two different people in terms of ideology and reform.”

Ron Suskind, author of the book The One Percent Doctrine, called Suleiman the “hit man” for the Mubarak regime. He told ABC News that when the CIA asked Suleiman for a DNA sample from a relative of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Suleiman offered the man’s whole arm instead.

“He’s a charitable man, friendly,” said Suskind. “He tortures only people that he doesn’t know.”

Update: Obama’s supposed to give a statement at any moment, but here’s where he was at as recently as an hour ago: “We’re going to have to wait and see what’s going on.”

Update: Supposedly, Al-Arabiya is reporting that Mubarak’s about to take a nice, long medical leave in Germany. Which means that dumb post from a few days ago … was correct.

Update: Obama’s in Marquette speaking to college students; he offered a few pleasantries about “change” in Egypt, but clearly he’s not going to offer a full statement on this until Mubarak makes his move.

Update: I’m not sure what her source is, but Megyn Kelly’s reporting on Fox that the army plans to “act” against the protesters if they reject the handover of power to Suleiman as not good enough. That’s basically what I argued up above — that they’re handing them Mubarak’s scalp to appease them and end the demonstrations, but that the regime will otherwise crawl on roughly as is.

Update: For what it’s worth, the rumor on BBC Arabic is that Mubarak’s already fled the country and that the speech we’ve been waiting for was recorded hours ago.


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So,Obamas witness to history,CHANGE,on Egypt,
mirrors his Hope/Change,in his speech awile
ago!!

UnF**KBelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The MOST DANGEROUS and CLUELESS PRESIDENT in AMERICAN
HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Yep. Just heard Rush talk about it. My jaw dropped when I heard Obama campaign at the university to the youth using Egypt’s current situation.

Electrongod on February 10, 2011 at 2:16 PM

2nd that Canopfor

cmsinaz on February 10, 2011 at 2:17 PM

UNCONFIRMED REPORTS-HAMAS & MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN EGYPT
*******************************************************

http://americanintelligence.us/index.php?/blog/1/entry-20214-unconfirmed-reports-hamas-muslim-brotherhood-in-egypt/
===========

Red Alert: Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood
**********************************************
January 29, 2011 | 1655 GMT

The following is a report from a STRATFOR source in Hamas.
=========================================================
Hamas, which formed in Gaza as an outgrowth of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB), has an interest in exaggerating its role and coordination with the MB in this crisis. The following information has not been confirmed. Nonetheless, there is a great deal of concern building in Israel and the United States in particular over the role of the MB in the demonstrations and whether a political opening will be made for the Islamist organization in Egypt.
—————————————–

The Egyptian police are no longer patrolling the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt and are closely collaborating with the MB. The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party.
————————————–

Security forces in plainclothes are engaged in destroying public property in order to give the impression that many protesters represent a public menace. The MB is meanwhile forming people’s committees to protect public property and also to coordinate demonstrators’ activities, including supplying them with food, beverages and first aid.

Read more: Red Alert: Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood | STRATFOR

Read more: Red Alert: Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood | STRATFOR

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:18 PM

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Heh. If the timing on this thing works out, he MB should be making a major first move to consolidate their gains about the time the 2012 election campaigns are in full swing here. Should make for some exciting foreign policy debates.

a capella on February 10, 2011 at 2:20 PM

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:18 PM

This is not going to end well.

OBama is unavailable. He’s on the campaign trail giving a speech.

Key West Reader on February 10, 2011 at 2:21 PM

2nd that Canopfor

cmsinaz on February 10, 2011 at 2:17 PM

cmsinaz:)
=========

Stratfor Intell costs money to obtain their analysis,
however,some sites reprint their goodies,above link!
===================

The Egypt Unrest: Full Coverage
********************************

http://www.stratfor.com/theme/egypt-unrest

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Keep truckin there Canopfor

Thanks for all the linkies :)

cmsinaz on February 10, 2011 at 2:27 PM

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:18 PM
===========
This is not going to end well.

OBama is unavailable. He’s on the campaign trail giving a speech.

Key West Reader on February 10, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Key West Reader:I agree,Egypt is getting the Lebanon treat
ment,and Hopey is in 2012 Campaign mode,and
it gets me why he is so concerned about the
MB getting a say,against America’s and Israe
l interests,its nuts!!:)

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:30 PM

2nd that Canopfor

cmsinaz on February 10, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Keep truckin there Canopfor

Thanks for all the linkies :)

cmsinaz on February 10, 2011 at 2:27 PM

cmsinaz:With a “SarahCuda Wink“-U-Betcha,hehe:)

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:32 PM

“We’re going to have to wait and see what’s going on.”

Now we’re waiting to see? I thought Mubarak had to go – last week. Sometimes I suspect think these guys don’t know what they’re doing.

forest on February 10, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Sounds like we’re worrying for nothing. Clapper sez the MB are A-O.K. in his book. Always trust the professionals.

a capella on February 10, 2011 at 2:38 PM

don’t worry OBAMA IS IN CHARGE

right4life on February 10, 2011 at 2:46 PM

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM`
============
Heh. If the timing on this thing works out, he MB should be making a major first move to consolidate their gains about the time the 2012 election campaigns are in full swing here. Should make for some exciting foreign policy debates.

a capella on February 10, 2011 at 2:20 PM

a capella:Hellavu good point,and Obama foreign policy
failure debate too!!:)

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 2:50 PM

All the celebrating could break into chaos of the violent type if Mubarak does anything but shoot himself on TV!

I think the hopes of the people in the street can’t hope but by dashed. It is just not in that government to completely capitulate.

Maybe they are all just really ready to go home and some progress will allow them to claim victory no matter what.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 2:52 PM

I’m not sure what her source is, but Megyn Kelly’s reporting on Fox that the army plans to “act” against the protesters if they reject the handover of power to Suleiman as not good enough. That’s basically what I argued up above — that they’re handing them Mubarak’s scalp to appease them and end the demonstrations, but that the regime will otherwise crawl on roughly as is.

Starting to sound a lot like Iran last year.

Count to 10 on February 10, 2011 at 2:53 PM

The people aren’t going to like Suleiman as leader. I doubt the protests will stop. Maybe… I don’t know.

I do know that Al Jazeera calls Suleiman the CIA’s man.

I think that would be great… but I’m thinking they won’t see it the same as I do.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 2:59 PM

They got rid of their queen, and in 2012, we get rid of ours.

unclesmrgol on February 10, 2011 at 3:03 PM

OH my heck, there are so many people in the square than can possibly be safe.

I pray the news is good.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 3:24 PM

We have total denial of pisslamic naziism at the highest levels:

DNI James Clapper at hearing this morning:

“The muslim brotherhood is largely secular …has eschewed violence…has decried al qaeda as a perversion of islam.”

Liberals are complete bloody cowards.
Western_Civ on February 10, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Actually you are the complete bloody coward since you are so scared of a minority party in Egypt.

lexhamfox on February 10, 2011 at 2:01 PM

The cowardice on the left is evident in their trembling usage of politically correct non-judgement speak. I couldn’t care less how many minority parties any country fields, as long as none of them are NAZI-AFFILIATED GENOCIDAL MARAUDERS, like the Brotherhood is, you lemming douchebag. Get beheaded much?

Western_Civ on February 10, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Those people in Tahrir Square? Test cases. Subjects. Bugs on a petri dish under a microscope.

A revolution-in-a can.

Al-Jizz choreographed much of it, and the usual suspects probably backed it financially.

The predictable lame stream media is doing their part too. Photo yesterday on NY Times page 1: Egyptian super-hipster twenty-something slackers, creating the history of the revolution on their prominently-visible apple notebook. Today’s above-the-fold headline in NY Times: “Wired, Educated and Shrewd, Young Egyptians Guide Revolt”. And Teh Won, speaking at a Michigan college, congratuating the student on how “their generation” would shape the world, as in Egypt.

Get it now? It’s an experiment. A beta-test. A road-show opening for the Obama 2012 (and after) campaign.

bofh on February 10, 2011 at 3:44 PM

HE’S NOT GOING! Oh my gosh. This is terrible. Oh my gosh.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 3:48 PM

HE’S NOT GOING! Oh my gosh. This is terrible. Oh my gosh.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 3:48 PM

petunia:He doesn`t have to go,I`m glad!:)

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM

AMEN,Mubarak isn`t going to listen to outside influnce,

haha,take that,

Burack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 3:52 PM

The Muslim Brotherhood will take over now.

Either that or mass murder.

This is awful.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 3:54 PM

wonder if the protesters are going to turn on the army now

offroadaz on February 10, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Denial is a President in Egypt.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Barack- ” But..but… I made a speech and everything”!

jjshaka on February 10, 2011 at 3:57 PM

The military tried a coup. They failed. Now what? The military was the only hope for a sane transition. Now the power goes to the Muslim Brotherhood.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 3:58 PM

There is going to be blood.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Hot Air UPDATE:
“please ignore the last 6 updates”.

jjshaka on February 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Good investment right now:
Egyptian fan cleaning compound.

Because the feces is about to hit them.

LegendHasIt on February 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

AMEN,Mubarak isn`t going to listen to outside influnce,

haha,take that,

Burack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on February 10, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Obowma can’t hide from that one…

BBBBWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

Seven Percent Solution on February 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

This can’t be good. Anticipation all day to say “too bad, I’m stayin till September?” This may get ugly now.

Ozprey on February 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

If they were on the fence before, now they hate him. These people are going to over turn this government. There are millions of them. They are ready to die. They brought their children with them to die.

They are waving their shoes.

Mubarak is an idiot!!!

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 4:01 PM

He is asking them to kill him. He is begging them to kill him.

This is bad.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Staying until September goes against the media template…

NOW it’s going to get really ugly!

Seven Percent Solution on February 10, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Ummm, while I have been one of the few who has strongly supported not throwing Mubarak under the bus and has strongly supported retaining him until at least summer, if he is not stepping down then things are about to get VERY ugly in Egypt. All day long this has been building and building and building, and to come to a flat conclusion where Mubarak stays in power worries those on the sidelines (like myself) that we are about to TRULY see violence on a wide scale for the first time since this mess began.

Indy82 on February 10, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Mubarak practically begged for the Muslim Brotherhood to take the lead. If the military can’t provide the leadership there is only one other place that people can go.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Word on Drudge is he is staying, telling the world to back off.

andy85719 on February 10, 2011 at 4:05 PM

He’s going, he’s not going, he’s going, he’s not going….

Obviously he is doing exactly what Bammie says.

slickwillie2001 on February 10, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Mubarak is an idiot not to see what is happening. If he cared about Egypt he would not arm the Muslim Brotherhood this way.

He has given the Muslim Brotherhood so much power. This is so stupid.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Uh-oh.

What Mubarak said isn’t exactly what the kids wanted to hear. Nor was it what Obama was telling the college kiddies today.

This may get Iran-ugly.

marybel on February 10, 2011 at 4:07 PM

The coup has failed. Oh my gosh. This kind of anger is not just going to fade away. And there is no way for any one but the Muslim Brotherhood to take over.

The people trusted the military now they won’t. They military lied, or lost. At any rate, the winners are the MB.

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Wait what?

petunia on February 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM

He not leaving right now…so never mind…:lol

dec5 on February 10, 2011 at 4:17 PM

This can’t be good. Anticipation all day to say “too bad, I’m stayin till September?” This may get ugly now.

Ozprey on February 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

I cannot imagine Mubarak or Suleiman staying in power beyond a day or two. Nor can I imagine the army firing on the people. Much more likely is that the army will first see Mubarak and Suleiman out of the country (if they and their billions aren’t already). After that the military will be in charge until who knows what.

MJBrutus on February 10, 2011 at 4:19 PM

MJBrutus on February 10, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Let’s hope so.

Ozprey on February 10, 2011 at 4:23 PM

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