As protests become even larger it appears that Egyptian President Mubarak has asked his government to resign:
Embattled President Hosni Mubarak says he has asked his Cabinet to resign in his first appearance on television since protests erupted demanding his ouster.
He says he will press ahead with social, economic and political reforms. He calls anti-government protests part of plot to destabilize Egypt and destroy the legitimacy of his regime.
He may be right according to the BBC:
The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.
On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.~~~
The US government has previously been a supporter of Mr Mubarak’s regime. But the leaked documents show the extent to which America was offering support to pro-democracy activists in Egypt while publicly praising Mr Mubarak as an important ally in the Middle East.
In a secret diplomatic dispatch, sent on December 30 2008, Margaret Scobey, the US Ambassador to Cairo, recorded that opposition groups had allegedly drawn up secret plans for “regime change” to take place before elections, scheduled for September this year.
The memo, which Ambassador Scobey sent to the US Secretary of State in Washington DC, was marked “confidential” and headed: “April 6 activist on his US visit and regime change in Egypt.”
It said the activist claimed “several opposition forces” had “agreed to support an unwritten plan for a transition to a parliamentary democracy, involving a weakened presidency and an empowered prime minister and parliament, before the scheduled 2011 presidential elections”. The embassy’s source said the plan was “so sensitive it cannot be written down”.
Ambassador Scobey questioned whether such an “unrealistic” plot could work, or ever even existed. However, the documents showed that the activist had been approached by US diplomats and received extensive support for his pro-democracy campaign from officials in Washington. The embassy helped the campaigner attend a “summit” for youth activists in New York, which was organised by the US State Department.~~~
The protests in Egypt are being driven by the April 6 youth movement, a group on Facebook that has attracted mainly young and educated members opposed to Mr Mubarak. The group has about 70,000 members and uses social networking sites to orchestrate protests and report on their activities.
Now, the question is, if the protests succeed in toppling Mubarak….is that a good thing? Was that a good thing in 1979? Will fanatic islamists take advantage of this vacuum in power? Lots of questions.
A senior retired CIA agent says this revolution may not be a good thing for the US (not sure of the validity of this person so take this information for what’s its worth):
His assessment (in shorthand:)
1. If Egypt falls, disaster for US. Put succinctly; “the horse we bet all our life savings on may be about to drop dead in the backstretch.”
2. If Egypt gmvt falls, radical Muslim Brotherhood will be the new power, totally.
3. If Egypt falls, Jordan and Saudi are in trouble, but not necessarily gone. Even Syria is not safe.
4. Although Muslim Brotherhood would take over, the cause of revolt is not religion but the lack of jobs, horrible standard of living. Saudi and Jordan citizens have somewhat better conditions, so might be saved.
5. Egyptian Army is the absolute key. If Army stays local, Mubarak may be safe. If they falter, he is absolute toast.
6. Problem is, Army does not like Mubarak. They loved Sadat, he was one of them, but they do not like Hosni.
7. If Egypt falls, biggest winners are Iran and Russia. Iran becomes big kid on block. Russia desperately needs crude oil prices to go up to help economy. They prosper at $90 barrel crude. This could create $220, $250 a barrel crude oil prices
8. Big loser? Surprisingly not Israel. Just more enemies… who all know Israel will take war nuc if necessary to save self…. but due to US aid, Egyptian Army has great American equipment.
9. Biggest loser #2; Western Europe
10. Biggest loser #1; USA. Oil prices cripple economy. Even worse, word in every diplomatic circle becomes “See what happens to America’s friends.”
Bottom line; possible/probable disaster for US
But….if we can back this revolution with REAL backing, and prevent the fanatic islamists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, from interjecting themselves into this new government then this could be a great thing for the Egyptian people and the world but WHO has the organization and power to take control? And is this just a coincidence that Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and now Egypt just happen to have protests break out within days of each other?
Lots of questions.
President to speak in a few minutes
U.S. crude oil futures settled more than 4 percent higher on Friday on concerns that protests in Egypt may widen and threaten stability in the Middle East.
@ChuckTodd: Pres. Obama just got off the phone with Mubarak, spoke for approx 30 mins. POTUS will share highlights in minutes w/public.
Pretty much nothing of a speech from the President except the usual platitudes of hoping for reform and “turn the internet back on.”
“Mubarak became president only after the assassination of his predecessor, Anwar El Sadat (Sadat was hated for making peace with Israel). Osama bin Laden’s lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had worked to overthrow Sadat, and was arrested following the assassination.~~~
Egypt has resisted Sharia law — so far — primarily because the terrain allows secular leaders like Mubarak to fend off Islamist insurgents — unlike in Afghanistan or Pakistan. But make no mistake, Egypt was always the most desired goal for conquest.”
Have to say that I agree with Rep. Thaddeus McCotter here:
The Egyptian demonstrations are not the equivalent of Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution. The Egyptian demonstrations are the reprise of Iran’s 1979 radical revolution.
Thus, America must stand with her ally Egypt to preserve an imperfect government capable of reform; and prevent a tyrranical government capable of harm.
For if Egypt is radicalized, all of the reforms sought by the Egyptian people and supported by the United States with them – including consensual and constitutional government; free elections; open and unbridled media; and Egyptian control of their natural resources – will be lost. Nascent democratic movements in the region will be co-opted and radicalized. The world’s free and open access to the Suez Canal’s vital commercial shipping lanes will be choked. And the Sinai Accord between Egypt and Israel – which must be protected as the foundation and principal example for Mideast peace – will be shredded.
Though many will be tempted to superficially interpret the Egyptian demonstrations as an uprising for populist democracy, they must recall how such similar initial views of the 1979 Iranian Revolution were belied by the mullahs’ radical jackbooted murderers, who remain bent upon grasping regional hegemony and nuclear weaponry.
In this crisis, the American people deserve candor and action from President Obama, and President Hosni Mubarak and General Tantwai.
This is not a nostalgic “anti-colonial uprising” from within, of all places, the land of Nassar. Right now, freedom’s radicalized enemies are subverting Egypt and other our allies.
Inexcusably, this crisis has been hastened and exacerbated by the U.S. Administration’s refusal to whole-heartedly embrace Iran’s truly democratic 2009 Green Revolution. Make no mistake: strategically and cynically, freedom’s radicalized enemy is exploiting a real religion to undermine liberty and true reform just as Soviet communism posed as a secular creed to obtain the same illegitimate ends.
If we fail to meet today’s enemy on the same determined, principled terms, we will too late awake in a nightmare world. But, if today’s enemy is steadfastly met and bested, liberty and the rule of law will be unleashed for millions throughout the world.
This is the crisis; such are the stakes; and I stand ready to assist President Obama in the pursuit of of a policy that defends our invaluable ally; and advances Eyptians’ inalienable, peaceful aspirations