Displaying mule-like stubbornness, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's unpopular and beleaguered president, confounded critics and observers alike by refusing to quit even while his departure was much anticipated throughout the day on February 10.
Feb 10, 2011- 2000 DST
Displaying mule-like stubbornness, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's unpopular and beleaguered president, confounded critics and observers alike by refusing to quit even while his departure was much anticipated throughout the day on February 10. This appeared to be the result of intense power struggle within the ruling circles and for now, the Mubarak faction appears to have held ground.
The showdown was between Vice President Omar Suleiman and the military high command led by Defence Minister, Field Marshal Muhamed Hussein Tantawi. The latter is known to be a Mubarak loyalist and not very bright or brave. Suleiman was able to browbeat Tantawi into submission, at least for now.
In leading upto Mubarak's 11 pm (local time) or 1600 DST address on state television, there was intense speculation and an air of expectancy that he would announce his resignation. In his address, he listed the great things he had done for Egypt and while announcing he was transferring some of his powers to the vice president, Mubarak refused to quit. The euphoria of protesters in Tahrir Square turned to disgust halfway through Mubarak's speech when they realized he was not resigning.
There were chants of "Down with Mubarak", and protesters waved their shoes in disgust. Thousands were reported to be heading towards the presidential palace some distance away.
Mubarak blamed protesters for the worsening economic situation. He conveniently glossed over the billions of dollars stolen by his family, according to one estimate $70 billion, from the country. If this loot were returned, Egypt's problems would be over. This also partly explains why Mubarak thinks quitting is not an option because he and his family would not be able to enjoy the stolen billions. The people will come after them.
The pro-democracy protesters have vowed, with firm conviction, that there is no turning back and they will not go home until Mubarak is driven from power.
Mubarak will ultimately be forced out but whether Suleiman takes over or the military, this will not serve the people's interests. The youth-led protest movement must understand that they must not rely on the military or anyone from the existing system because they are all part of the establishment. The issue is not whether Mubarak resigns or stays but that the entire system and regime must be abolished.
The system is so corrupt that it cannot reform itself. It must be totally dismantled Iran-style and a new system built from scratch. Nothing short will fulfill the aspirations of the people.