Monday, February 07, 2011

PoliticsEgypt: Transition: New leader steps in, Mubarak retreats, Army in control

Developments in Egypt include the appointment of old-pro Omar Suleiman as 'vice president' (acting prez); he promptly met with with a delegation heavy with Muslim Brotherhood reps, and select leaders of the 5 youth movements who organized and conducted the protests.  Hardliners, including much of the youth movement, want Mubarak to resign and leave town and country now; Suleiman may be temporarily suitable as negotiation partner, without an Egyptian head of state, mostly becawz the opposition forces need a contact point with the Army (Christian Science Monitor, Ariel Zirulnick).

Vice President Suleiman has now met with opposition leaders, the outcome of which has been a revision of the revolution's primary demand that Egypt's official President, 82-yr old Hosni Mubarak, leave office immediately (so, Egypt woud be without an official head of State), and preferably leave the country altogether.  Here seems to be the revised stance:
The shift by opposition leaders followed the clearest signals yet from the Obama administration that its call for a quick transition in Egypt did not include a demand that Mubarak step aside before elections this fall (Washington Post, Feb7,2k11, Craig Whitlock and Griff Witte).  
I have felt, at my safe distance and lack of depth-involvement, that there's a kernel of wisdom in not knocking Mubarak from the throne of his dictatorship, leaving zero continuity between old and the new which is coming but which coud be worse than at present, were the resulting vacuum to be filled by the Muslim Brotherhood (sharia law, etc).

Among those who joined for the first time in talks with Omar Suleiman ... were leaders from the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement, along with a loose coalition of political parties, intellectuals and protest organizers. Suleiman said the government would agree to consider broad changes, including constitutional amendments and a possible end to Egypt's three-decade-old state of emergency. ...
In a television interview, Suleiman made it clear that the government's willingness to consider the changes was based on an expectation that Mubarak would stay in charge during a drawn-out transition to a new government ... in September.

"If President Mubarak would say that 'I'm leaving now,' who would take over?" Suleiman said on ABC. "I think with this atmosphere, that means that the other people who have their own agenda will make instability in our country."  
The political desire of the mass of demonstrators nevertheless seems not to have been much met, as the experience of unfettered revolutionary action seems to have expanded the desire of a broad spectrum of participants.  The net result is that there is a difference between the leadership which has met with Suleiman,  and the now more-than-ever revolutionary motivation of a large sector of the crowds on the streets.

-- Politicarp

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