February 11, 2011

Mubarak Resigns, Military in Control [UPDATE: Thanks and Congratulats Mubarak] **STICKY**MANY UPDATES**

I'm going to sticky this post, and since things are happening fast all updates will be below the fold.

Drudge is calling it a "military coup", but it's not clear to me yet if he was forced to resign by the military or if he stepped down in an effort to end the protest but leave the regime intact? It should be remembered that the current regime is simply the vestiges of a military coup that took place fifty years ago. Mubarak himself is a military man who was appointed by Sadat to be VP, and when Sadat was killed he filled the vacuum. So, for the military to take over now is not necessarily an indication that the regime is over.

In fact, it was VP Suleiman who made the announcement that the military was in control. Suleiman, like Mubarak before him, was head of the Egyptian Air Force. History repeating itself? We'll see:

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Friday after 29 years in power, bowing to a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands. "The people ousted the president," chanted a crowd of tens of thousands outside his presidential palace in Cairo....

"In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic," a grim-looking Suleiman said. "He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor."

Developing ......

UPDATE: Michelle says that Obama is going to speak @ 1:30 ET. I'm sure he will say that he supported Mubarak's removal all along.

AllahP, like Drudge, thinks this smells like a coup.

I'm watching al Jazeera live, and the crowds in Egypt are partying hard. They seem to be under the impression that replacing a dictator with a military junta (?) is somehow a good thing. Maybe it is, if it leads to a transition to democracy.

What are the odds of that? I'd give it 2:1.

UPDATE: Ellis Goldberg as put up a timely post at Foreign Affairs which is pessimistic enough to merit a link. Here's the summary:

Now that Mubarak has stepped down, the army may step in as a transitional power, recognizing that it must turn power over to the people quickly. More likely, however, is the return of the somewhat austere military authoritarianism of decades past.
Amr Hamazay, speaking on al Jazeera, says that he hears that marshal law is about to be declared and that the Army pushed Mubarak out. If he's right, this is a coup.

What's interesting is that Hamazay says he trusts the army to lift the state of emergency as soon as things calm down. Given that the original state of emergency was declared 30 years ago, don't you think this is kind of wishful thinking?

UPDATE: Someone in the comments noted that Feb. 11th was also the day the Shah's regime fell. I don't believe in numerology, so I'm inclined to go with coincidence.

But coincidences aside, history does have a tendency to repeat itself so I don't think looking to the Iranian Revolution is such a bad comparison. But Iran isn't the only model, there's also -- well, every other Middle Eastern country which ends nearly each and every revolution with a new dictator and/or military regime in place "temporarily".

Even if we look at the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon as the closest parallel the results aren't so wonderful. I'll note that the 2006 war with Israel was after the 2005 revolution and that the current coalition in power is pro-Syria and its main power base in from Hezbollah. Democracy Middle East style.

But Donald Sensing -- via Insty -- adds this bit of pessimism:

I would add that in no more than a week it will dawn on the proles that the eschaton has not arrived. Food will be neither more plentiful nor less expensive. Economically, Egypt is now worse off than it was yesterday since investment capital will no flow in and much foreign capital will likely be withdrawn. There is potential for serious unrest by this date in, say, April. If that happens and is widespread, then comes le deluge.
Let them eat cake!

UPDATE: Via The New Editor, here is an IBD editorial from yesterday. Feel the pessimism.

We've often cited the poll numbers presented in the IBD editorial as cause for pessimism in Egpyt -- 82% want to stone adulterers to death! But I have a feeling that even if the democratic process were to proceed and the most draconian of sharia law were to reach the legislative agenda that the military would intervene, as it has today.

Which would make the new normal pretty much like the old normal.

UPDATE: Hmmmmmm, the Mullahs in Iran seem to be scared. It's the one country in the Middle East where I suspect a popular revolution would mean less political Islam rather than more.

UPDATE: I just saw the military give it's third official statement. The spokesman, speaking on behalf of the Supreme Military Council, thanked Mubarak for all he's done and congratulated him for all he's done for Egypt. You'd think a true "coup" would condemn Mubarak for his "crimes" just before announcing public show trials.

UPDATE: Let me point you to Richard Fernandez's excellent piece. Here's a teaser:

What appears to be happening, as noted above, is that head of the system is changing, but the system itself remains largely intact. Egypt is now in the post-Mubarak period. But whether it is in the post-Army period or moving there, remains to be seen. Recent events may have convinced the Army officer corps that Mubarak had to go, but it probably still believes the Army has to remain in charge.
He also notes that while the US is scrambling to catch up and give money to opposition groups, that the Saudis and Iran are probably doing the same

UPDATE: Egypt's Military rulers suggest they will honor Israel treaty.

......A day after the ouster of Egypt's longstanding president, Hosni Mubarak, the country's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a communiqué saying Egypt "is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties." Those treaties include the country's 1979 peace agreement with Israel.
This is good news although probably premature. TBC (to be confirmed) should be in order.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:44 PM | Comments |