The crowds anticipated a resignation. They heard, instead, a dogmatic, stubborn man give them political rhetoric and gamesmanship that was hardly suitable to them. Egyptians today are angrier than they’ve been through this 18 day Facebook Revolution.
It was clear, Mubarak’s goal was not to appease, but to entice the revolutionaries to come forth and become violent in what has, essentially been a relatively non-violent revolt. Egyptians are not a violent people, unlike others in the region. Mubarak’s statements in last night’s speech were in anticipation of some sort of police action to scatter the mob, arrest key protesters and regain control. We may see strong police action, or even military intervention today or tomorrow.
Would this be wise? Hardly. But an embattled Mubarak is not one who gives up, or gives in readily. He is more likely to send in military troops against his own people than to accept their demands and resign power. This may seem wise for him personally, but it is grossly incorrect for his nation, and ultimately will harm him and his family.
Mubarak’s zeal to retain power caused him to use a provision of the Egyptian constitution permitting him to “temporarily” cede power to a vice president, while remaining, ultimately, in his present position as President. Politically, ethically, morally, and in every sense possible, this was and remains a very dangerous position to take. He would have been much smarter to have abandoned Egypt with his family and fled somewhere neutral, where he could live his remaining days in exile, with the billions he’s plundered from that historic nation.
Today, not only are Egyptians against him, but world leaders are losing respect for him, and many unwilling to deal with him, which is likely to grow in sentiment. Claiming he does not take orders from anyone outside Egypt, he’s ignoring the will of his own people on a pretext indicating his own personal stubbornness.
Dr. Mohamed El-Baradei, the highly respected former head of the International Atomic Energy Commission said in an op-ed piece in the New York Times today that it would be “absurd” for the United States and other nations to continue to support the government of Mubarak, continuing by praising the political will and resolve of his people.
Mr. Mubarak should take lessons from history, for in cases such as this, there are two options. First, to resign and live to tell the tale, or second, to cause so violent a revolution that leadership not only topples, but is often decapitated, as in the case of Louis XVI and Mussolini, among others. Clearly, Mr. Mubarak is acting like a man who would be king instead of a nation’s president.
Meanwhile, lights burned bright through the night in capitals throughout the region as political leaders met to develop a strategy to deal with Egypt’s revolution, wondering where this is going without Mubarak’s resignation, and who would replace him and his entire political machinery. His failure to leave has every government on edge today. If Egyptians revolt to the point of military intervention by Mubarak’s forces, this generally stable nation will potentially erupt into a battleground for the region, causing fear, and perhaps surprise actions by neighboring nations.
Could a country like Iran or Syria, seeing Israel’s focus on events in Cairo take action against Tel Aviv? Absolutely. So the entire region is in a state of heightened alert. Clearly, for the peace of the world, of his people, and of the region, Mr. Mubarak must follow the will of his people and depart the scene immediately.