Nile Delta Blues

After a day of Will He or Won’t He, Hosni Mubarak has announced on Egyptian television that he won’t — he’s remaining in power.


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Tahrir Square, Tuesday night, via Al Jazeera

Developing story — post being updated as we go…

As of the initial post, it’s about 10 p.m. in Cairo. We’re at the Stinque Remote Office, watching Al Jazeera English on the iPhone. Reports are that Mubarak will be addressing the nation soon — or providing a “statement” off-camera — perhaps to announce that he won’t be running for “re-election” again in September.

Crowd counts are notoriously difficult in the best circumstances, but nationwide the estimate seems to be “millions” on the streets.

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“The political forces aligned against President Hosni Mubarak seemed to strengthen on Monday, when the Army said for the first time that it would not fire on the protesters who have convulsed Egypt for the last week. The announcement was followed shortly by the government’s first offer to talk to the protest leaders.” [NYT]

Our guest columnist this afternoon posted this from the American embassy in Cairo on May 14, 2007.

Presidential succession is the elephant in the room of Egyptian politics. Despite incessant whispered discussions, no one in Egypt has any certainty about who will succeed Mubarak, or how the succession will happen. Mubarak himself seems to be trusting to God and the inertia of the military and civilian security services to ensure an orderly transition. In the current political framework, the most likely contenders are presidential son Gamal Mubarak (whose profile is ever-increasing at the ruling National Democratic Party), [Egyptian General Intelligence Service] chief Omar Suleiman, dark horse Arab League secretary general Amre Moussa, or an as-yet unknown military officer. Whoever ends up as Egypt’s next president likely will be politically weaker than Mubarak. Once Mubarak’s successor has assumed the post, his first priority will be to build popular support. We thus expect that the new president will likely adopt an anti-American tone in his initial public rhetoric, in an effort to prove his nationalist bona fides to the Egyptian street, and may possibly extend an olive branch to the Muslim Brotherhood, as did previous Egyptian presidents at the beginning of their terms…

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