Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mubarak Refuses to Step Down. Release The Cracken!

While everyone waited with bated breath Egyptian President Mubarak's announcement that he would step down tonight as hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, as we watched in anticipation of this generation's Berlin Wall, Mubarak came out and threw the meanest curveball I've ever seen.

...Mubarak announced he is handing his powers over to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, and ordered constitutional amendments. But the move means he retains his title of president and ensures regime control over the reform process, falling short of protester demands.
..."I have seen that it is required to delegate the powers and authorties of the president to the vice president as dictated in the constitution," Mubarak said near the end of a 15-minute address on state TV. The article is used to transfer powers if the president is "temporarily" unable to carry out his duties and does not mean his resignation.
According to reports, the frustrated protesters immediately began chanting, "Leave! Leave! Leave!", tore down the screen that was used to project Mubarak's address in the square and began marching towards the Presidential Palace.

How much longer are these protests going to remain peaceful? Soon afterward, Egyptian law scholar, diplomat and opposition opponent Mohamed ElBaradei tweeted: "Egypt will explode. Army must save the country now."

Nicholas Kristof reports:
This is of course manifestly unacceptable to the Egyptian people. Mubarak’s speech was a striking reminder of the capacity of dictators to fool themselves and see themselves as indispensable. If he thinks that his softer tone will win any support, he’s delusional. As he was speaking, the crowd in Tahrir was shouting “Irhal!” or “Go!” And the Egyptian state media — from television to Al Ahram, the dominant newspaper — have been turning against Mubarak, so he’s losing control even of his own state apparatus.
This is going to get ugly really fast. Perhaps Mubarak's trying to make his statement of dying in Egypt a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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