Posted by Curt on 11 February, 2011 at 3:31 pm. 1 comment.

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Suleiman gave a brief statement on Egyptian state-owned television announcing that Mubarak had formally stepped down and assigned the “higher council of the armed forces to run the affairs of the country.” In a telling indicator of the new power hierarchy, the primary spokesman for Egypt’s armed forces was standing directly behind Suleiman as the vice president announced the military council had supplanted him as the country’s top authority.

“This gives us a bit more insight into what happened yesterday: there was some kind of power struggle going on, and Tantawi won,” said Joshua Stacher, an Egypt expert at Kent State University who lived in the country for nine years. “Omar Suleiman isn’t in control anymore. This is now a military government.”

Gates has called Tantawi five times since the protests began and Mike Mullen has spoken to his counterpart, Sami Enan, four times, so there’s a third possibility for why O said what he said today. When push comes to shove, the U.S. won’t support the people or their oppressor; they’ll support the military, the ultimate keeper of the peace in the region. Can’t see how that doesn’t make the Saudis, Jordanians, et al. nervous, and of course it reduces what Obama says here about popular sovereignty to near-farce, but oh well. We’re too deep in the weeds of hypocrisy for rhetoric to matter much anymore.

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