Friday, February 11, 2011

An New Day In Egypt

Hosni Mubarak finally has stepped down ad president of Egypt.  His 30 year dictatorial rule is over and I suspect we will never know all the details, but here is my hypothesis.

Yesterday, the military published a statement called "Communique #1" in which the stated that the protesters demands would be met.  This caused a wave of jubilation to flow through the millions gathered in public spaces in Cairo and Alexandria. The crowds cheered when they heard Mubarak would be making a TV appearance that evening, and everyone, including foreign diplomats and news-people assumed it would be his resignation speech.

The crowds fell silent as Mubarak began his speech, but that didn't last for long.  He began enumerating all the good things he did for his "children" and continued to assert that he would follow his own timeline and wait until September for the new elections.  Meanwhile he would turn some powers over to his Vice President. 

When it became clear that he was not stepping down, the crowd erupted in violent angry shouts.  They waved shoes in the air and tore down the TV screens in a hostile rage.  Luckily, they did not choose to march on the Presidential palace but dispersed, vowing to reassemble in the morning even stronger.

This morning news came that the military would stand behind the transition as planned and most people saw that as an ominous sign.  Finally came the surprising announcement that Mubarak had turned power to the military council and was leaving office along with his Vice President.

My suspicion is that the military council met with the president and explained the reality of the situation.  They had what I would call a "Come to Allah" meeting.  This new Egyptian military has been trained mostly by US forces, and unlike the old military who learned from the Russians, the new Egyptian army didn't want any part of harming their countrymen.  I suspect they told Mubarak he could leave peacefully and immediately, or be placed under arrest.

He chose to leave and the whole story of Egypt has now been set on a new path.  My hope is it will find a way toward democracy and peace.

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