The Egyptian military has just issued "communique number 1". In military speak this is a coup d'etat/military takeover. Prime minister Ahmed Shafiq is quoted as saying "President remains in his position." I know I said it before, but Mubarak is finished. The situation has deteriorated so much with labor unions also agitating, people threatening to head to the presidential compound tomorrow the military fears a total collapse of the country. Either Mubarak voluntarily announces his departure or the military will officially take over.
For those not in-the-know, communique number one is infamous in the Arab world for announcing a military coup d'etat.
Hosni Mubarak has managed to squander any goodwill he may have garnered after his speech. The act of political stupidity witnessed yesterday, complete with a ragtag cavalry on camels and horses, has backfired spectacularly. He won't make it to his September finish line.
There's an apparent climbdown on the part of Vice President Omar Suleiman who said there will be no negotiations until the protests end. We are now told he has begun talks with "political parties and national forces", something I imagine the demonstrators in Tahrir Square know very little about. William Wallace anyone?
The political endgame for Egypt remains completely unclear.
Update: Journalists are now being attacked and/or detained by police and military, equipment smashed/confiscated.
The evacuation of foreign nationals, diplomats, etc continues.
And the anti-regime protesters, besieged and deprived of supplies, are adamant that they will not stop until the regime falls. As one of said, "They will hunt us [down] one by one."
A potentially ugly showdown is in the offing, with the "Friday of Departure" less than 24 hours away.
All the hallmarks of a country in the throes of tremendous upheaval, even revolution.
Update 2: Prime Minister Shafiq has held a press conference in which he announced an investigation into the attack on the anti-regime demonstrators yesterday. Now state TV is reporting that former cabinet officials have had their bank accounts frozen and are banned from leaving the country.
Here's what I think:
The marginalization of Mubarak from within has already begun.
The former air force general's ejection seat is being readied by his comrades-in-arms.
This in no way means that the regime has suddenly become benevolent and benign. Why would the state security apparatus confiscate the BBC's broadcast equipment if it wasn't guilty of something?
The regime is trying to save its ugly self.
Arab regimes need to be taught to accord the people the respect they deserve, the people whom they have oppressed and treated worse than dumb cattle for far too long.
Update 3: Vice President Suleiman interviewed by Egypt TV, claims all the youth's demands have been met, calls on them to go home. Blames a conspiracy. The Hidden Hand.
Regime clinging to its guns, fighting on. Too many vested interests. I doubt his message is going to reach the protesters. Whether it does with those Egyptians sitting at home will become clear tomorrow.
A man on a long journey through a perpetual desert.
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