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  • Mubarak Declines Re-Election, but Opposition Inclined to Continue

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced on Tuesday night that he would not run for re-election in September in a last-ditch effort to placate the opposition. Speaking after massive protests paralyzed Cairo and other major cities for the eighth straight day, the embattled president stated: “My first responsibility is providing security to the country to peacefully transition the power in a safe way for Egypt and give the country to those whom Egypt chooses in the coming elections.”

    Mubarak’s limited concession is unlikely to satisfy the demands of opposition leaders buoyed by a tidal wave of popular protest. Opposition activists have insisted that they will accept nothing less than Mubarak’s departure and have refused to enter a dialogue or negotiate with Vice President Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s chief lieutenant. Few observers expect that the opposition is likely to give the unpopular president a face-saving exit, let alone bide its time for eight more months. One popular chant of the protesters remains “He will go, we won’t.”

    But it is the army that still determines whether Mubarak goes or not. The army’s senior leaders appear to be sticking with Mubarak, at least for now. Egypt’s military command has told American officials that they do not intend to crack down on demonstrators but will allow them to “wear themselves out.” A former U.S. official who is in close contact with high-ranking officers said that they are mindful that “a boiling pot with a tight lid will blow up the kitchen.”

    Shortly before Mubarak made his speech, Obama Administration officials told reporters that President Obama had pressed Mubarak not to run for re-election. The message was transmitted to Mubarak by Frank Wisner, a retired diplomat who formerly served as the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and reportedly remains a close friend of Mubarak.

    The prospect of Mubarak stepping down, following the ouster earlier this month of Tunisian President Ben Ali, has helped to fuel protests throughout the Arab world, particularly in Yemen, Algeria, and Jordan. On Tuesday, Jordan’s King Abdullah dismissed his cabinet and appointed Marouf al-Bakhit as the new Prime Minister. A former general who served as Prime Minister from 2005 to 2007, Bakhit was directed by the king to boost economic opportunities and political access for Jordan’s citizens.

    The growing instability within Arab regimes that are aligned with the United States prompted Iran’s repressive regime—which quelled its own popular rebellion in 2009—to cynically welcome the explosion of “people power” in the Arab world as an echo of Iran’s 1979 revolution. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi crowed that protest movements in Egypt and Tunisia had dealt a major setback to the “global arrogance” (i.e., the United States) and “proved that the global arrogance’s era of domination and control of the region has come to an end.” A foreign ministry spokesman taunted the Obama Administration for its vacillating policy on Egypt, saying: “That is why you see an agitation and bewilderment of their foreign policy.”

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    One Response to Mubarak Declines Re-Election, but Opposition Inclined to Continue

    1. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Oh boy! James, you are spot on pointing up the duplicity of the Iranians. They are slap happy about the chaos in Egypt! Did you know that Americans are fomenting chaos in Egypt? Yeah. We are paying for it with our tax dollars! "Change" and "Social Justice" on Egyptian lips is no more Representative than it was on Obama's lips, generalities to get elected (while not Representing American interests). Can you imagine such incredible failure of the Obama operatives to condemn the Muslim Brotherhood! Our guys are supporting the Brotherhood! How crazy is that?

      Mubarak had better go after the Brotherhood! Now! They are exposed and doing crimes in the streets! Get them! Crush them now, while you can! Then hold onto the Presidency until the new Egyptian President arrives in September. I think it is great that the Mubarak people are attacking the Brotherhood! Don't you wish the Mullahs in Iran were crushed before the Shah left? So, Obama is wrong, totally wrong about his "no violence" edict. Now is the time for violence against the Muslim Brotherhood. If they don't contain them, the whole world could go mad. So sure, kill them. That is the right thing to do. But watch. Obama will call for Mubarak to step down very soon and Obama's friends, the Muslim Brotherhood will step into the power vacuum.

      Somehow, Obama will blame Republicans for it. "Oops!" (Again!)

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