|Man in a Desert||
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally made an appearance late into last night, fired his cabinet and announced continuing reform Egypt. Today, after 29 years in power he finally appointed a vice-president, setting the stage for a possible organized handover of power, keeping it all in the family. Director of General Intelligence Omar Suleiman is the first Egyptian to fill this post since the late Anwar Sadat appointed Mubarak as his vice-president in 1975.
We are now hearing reports from the BBC that the president's sons Gamal (heir apparent?) and Alaa have arrived in London, something Egyptian TV denied.
Interestingly, the Daily Telegraph today published a report claiming the US government backed activists seeking regime change. The secret American document is here.
But I think it would be shortsighted to claim what is happening in Egypt is a conspiracy hatched in Washington.
On the ground the Egyptian army has either been unable or unwilling to enforce the curfew with continuing protests, chaos and looting. My reading is that the army does not want to resort to lethal force as a means of crushing this uprising.
CNN's Ben Wedeman tweeted: "Almost all police stations ransacked, arsenals looted. Suddenly weapons in the streets wielded by thugs. Where is the army?"
There is obviously a serious breakdown in the function of the state. If it cannot defend the people from thugs, criminals and looters can it defend the president?
I wish I was a fly on the wall and be privy to the various secret phone calls from major world leaders to Cairo. I am certain there are frantic behind-the-scenes exchanges attempting to pacify the situation in Egypt while preserving its vital regional role.
But the longer that this goes on the more untenable Mubarak's position becomes... He is in a lonely, dark tunnel and the way I see it there is no light at the end, not even a twinkle.
A man on a long journey through a perpetual desert.
The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the views of any of my employers, past, present or future.