Patterico's Pontifications


Mubarak Transfers Power But Doesn’t Resign? (Update: Poll Added)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:06 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

I am going to have to admit I am fuzzy on what this actually means in terms of practical realities.  For instance, read this bit from the New York Times:

President Hosni Mubarak told the Egyptian people Thursday that he would delegate more authority to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, but that he would not resign his post, contradicting earlier reports that he would step aside and surprising hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered to hail his departure from the political scene.

In a nationally televised address following a tumultuous day of political rumors and conflicting reports, Mr. Mubarak said he would “admit mistakes” and honor the sacrifices of young people killed in the three-week uprising, but that he would continue to “shoulder my responsibilities” until September, and did not give a firm indication that he would cede political power.

Even as Mr. Mubarak spoke, angry chants were shouted from huge crowds in Cairo who had anticipated his resignation but were instead confronted with a plea from the president to support continued rule by him and his chosen aides. People waved their shoes in defiance, considered an insulting gesture in the Arab world.

So he will give some of his power, but he won’t resign.  So is this just a symbolic act?  Or is he proposing to be like the Queen of England—a figurehead only?

Honestly, it beats me, and I have little confidence that anyone in the world knows, but the Egyptian government.  But if you have insight, sound off.  Please.

Update: We’ll try this as an experiment, an “inter-blog” poll.  Dana Pico at Common Sense Political Thought is asking people how long Barack Mubarak will survive. If this works right, results from both sites will be tabulated together.

Hosni Mubarak says he’s not stepping down, but will serve out his term until this fall. Will he:
Be gone in a week
Be gone in two weeks
Last longer than two weeks
Complete his term free polls

Personally I vote he will be in there for life. Which might be only two more weeks. *EG*

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

58 Responses to “Mubarak Transfers Power But Doesn’t Resign? (Update: Poll Added)”

  1. he needs time to organize his finances is my guess … he’s probably thinking if he can just hang in there two more weeks he can put x number of millions of sweet sweet American dollars where he can get it later and if he can hang in there a month he can embezzle even more.

    The future fortunes of the Mubarak clan of dictator whores are at a very definite pivot point, cause once he’s out of office what happens is he won’t be a dictator whore anymore – he’ll just be a regular old one.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  2. happyfeet, sadly, Mubarak and his clan have already been investing heavily outside their country for ages. If they can figure out how to be safe, they have a very wealthy life ahead of them.

    Agreed they are whores, but they are our whores. It is a dirty business keeping us safe, and I think we let Egypt fester in dictatorship for far too long. That country has so much extremism. And once again, the Sauds want to see this situation continue to fester for as long as possible.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  3. Our feckless President has managed to take every position possible in this scenario, showing weakness to this not friendly to us, and building distrust amongst our allies. This all from the guy that is supposed to be so freaking smart and rebuild our stature in the world. Meh.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  4. Point of Information !

    Her Britannic Majesty, while *almost* a respected figurehead, retains one significant political power – as Queen, she has the Power to Prorogue Parliament – to require that a General Election by held …

    The most recent time that the Power to Prorogue was used, by the Queen’s Representative in Australia, the sitting Prime Minister was thrown out of office, and the Loyal Opposition was elected as Australia’s new Government … (Gough Whitlam was *not* amused !) …

    Consider it as one of the UK’s “checks and balances” (as contrasted with the financial “cheques and balances” which are entirely different) …

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  5. JD #3 – but the our First Occupant *is* doing his very best to “rebuild our stature in the world” … said stature, per his preferences, to be as dimished as possible …

    Silly JD ! Did you *really* think he meant to build it up ???

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  6. Somehow, I’m not certain that crowds protesting a dictatorship will see the sharing of dictatorial power as that great an achievement.

    The realistic Dana (132cf8)

  7. Jake Tapper had the best line: “He can’t quit you, Egypt.”

    Scott Jacobs (218307)

  8. They are sure to love the Muslim Brotherhood, Dana, a secular organization devoted to social justice.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  9. Everybody loves the secular Muslim Brotherhood. They just haven’t gotten around to dropping the word “Muslim” from their name yet. Any day now according to my sources.

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  10. Barack Obama’s fiddling and fumbling is going to give us Tehran On The Nile, folks.

    As to our illustrious media, I remember how they sang the praises of Fidel Castro, their horse in the the Cuban race. That worked out well, didn’t it? And does anyone remember Time singing the praises of Kolmeni, telling how he would never want to become a political figure, but probably go back to being a teacher? Because I damn sure do, and that worked out well as well, didn’t it?

    What we have is an administration that doesn’t know which hand to use to wipe its butt, and for that, we will all pay. A radical Egypt, influenced by the MB, with a U.S. trained military using U.S. built planes and tanks.

    Oh, and let’s now forget how the American press whet itself when it was determined that there would be free elections in Lebanon and that the Muslim Brotherhood had no influnce there. Gee, guess those rocket scientists didn’t understand that Hamas is a spin off of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    As to Clapper, his ass needs to be fired; TODAY.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  11. On the surfacew it would appear that Mubarek is simply trying to see what he can still get away with, conceding little-by-little and hoping the crowds will be content at some point along the way with him still around in some capacity. But I sure don’t know if that is the case.

    Otherwise he’s buying time, but for himself? For the “right people” to position themselves to take the role of leader?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  12. The attempt at walking it back was laughable in its incompetence, as well as the fact that when viewed in its context, that was exactly what he meant. This is the same clown that was surprised to find out about a terror attack. Intelligence is an oxymoron with leftists.

    JD (d48c3b)

  13. Glenn writes: UPDATE: Mubarak 1, Obama 0. “Obama was just played.”

    Obama’s incompetence – together with the CIA’s – is on full display … again.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  14. Yeah, I get the same tabulation looking at the results for the poll on both sites, so I guess it worked.

    The blogger Dana (132cf8)

  15. hosni mubarak
    born in babylonia
    condo made of stone…ah

    ColonelHaiku (0e3ddd)

  16. A radical Egypt, influenced by the MB, with a U.S. trained military using U.S. built planes and tanks.

    That is pretty close to a worst case scenario. Hopefully it won’t happen, but I don’t see Obama’s behavior as keeping this from happening.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  17. Hosni just gave a big FU to Barcky.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  18. And absolutely Clapper should be fired. He’s saying the Muslim Brotherhood is secular. He’s worse than useless.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  19. Where’s Mubarak and is Egypt Going to be Another Iran? (Posted on CSPT)

    Posted by Yorkshire on 28 January 2011, 5:36 pm

    Just listening to the riots and the move by The Muslim Brotherhood in them sounds ominous. This just inMubarak told his Government to resign and a new Government will be appointed Saturday. Wazzup?

    Yorkshire (4e0dda)

  20. hey does anyone have a cell phone pic of hosni showing off his badass guns or like maybe his ripped rock hard egyptian abs?

    happyfeet (ab5779)

  21. Here are my assumptions:

    1. Hosni Mubarak doesn’t need to stay in Egypt. The bulk of his funds have probably been in London, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, etc., for some time, and his family and close supporters are or soon will be safely out of the country.

    2. I doubt Mubarak feels any loyalty or obligation to the Obama Administration given how they’ve treated him during the protest. On the other hand, the American military probably has offered assistance and Mubarak may well be talking to and cooperating with them. I seriously doubt the American military wants to see Mubarak leave without a plausible consensus government in place.

    3. Mubarak is a strong man. He wouldn’t have been able to rule Egypt for 30 years, especially following Sadat’s assassination, if he weren’t. Thus, I don’t see him folding his tent if or when he doesn’t want to, unless the military does it for him.

    4. I believe Mubarak loves his country and thus he may care about how he leaves it. If that’s correct, then he may try to stay long enough to establish a government backed by the military. If that’s not possible, I assume he will try to transfer power directly to a military council. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen in the coming days or weeks.

    5. Alternatively, the backing of the Saudi government may embolden Mubarak to try to weather these protests and stay in power. Or Mubarak could simply be looking for an exit strategy that lets him maximize his money and safeguard his family and supporters. But if getting out were his goal, I think he would have done it by now.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  22. That’s a fair bet, DRJ, a decent psychological profile, like that previously rendered by Gerrold
    Post, would have revealed, this was exactly the wrong way to deal with him.

    narciso (e888ae)

  23. Barcky was supposed to have th education and the unique judgment that would allow him to heal the wounds around the world, and his Cairo speech was going to heal our relationship with the Muslim world.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  24. I know you were joking, AW, but at some point one of Mubarak’s own adjutants is going to be tempted to off him, just to get the protesters to go home.

    aphrael (b10968)

  25. Has anyone else noticed a strange silence from certain people.

    I just did a quick check and it looks as if the marching orders haven’t been decided, yet.

    Aph, excluded of course. At least he/she is honest.

    When the concentration of power is in one’s hands, it’s hard to message the minions when you don’t know what you’re doing.

    Ag80 (7a9f97)

  26. AG80, was that attached to the correct story? *puzzled look*

    aphrael (b10968)

  27. My take is Ag80 is wondering why the usual left-leaning commenters haven’t shown up.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  28. Fair enough.

    Apropos of nothing in particular, I’m somewhat surprised that I haven’t been seeing conservatives trying to make the case that the Tunisian/Egyptian uprisings – the *spread of democracy through the Arab world* – shows that the *overall strategy* behind the invasion of Iraq was correct.

    aphrael (b10968)

  29. If you were an American ally, why would you ever trust these clowns? And how do they decide which dictators they like, and which ones they don’t? Because from where I sit, it seems like they like the ones that don’t like us, and don’t like the ones that like us.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  30. JD: I’d be all in favor of a statement from our government that we don’t like any dictators. That would clarify the question, wouldn’t it?

    aphrael (b10968)

  31. That is simply not always the case, aphrael. Given a choice between Mubarak and the MuslimBrotherhood, I vote dictator.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  32. I’d say it *should* be the case, except possibly in times of war. We are a republic built on the foundational principle that the people should be free to determine their destiny; we should not be making friends with governments which deny this principle.

    aphrael (b10968)

  33. Well, if he manages to strain our relations with Egypt, and improve relations between Saudi and Iran …

    JD (d4bbf1)

  34. I’m not sure what you want Obama to be doing with respect to Egypt, JD. Do you want him to stand foursquare behind Mubarak? While hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are demanding his ouster because he’s a corrupt dictator whose repressive authoritarian state has been denying them freedom and dignity for a generation?

    That seems like it’s the wrong position for the US to be taking.

    aphrael (b10968)

  35. I want him to not be surprised. I want him to use his unique judgment and qualifications to advance our interests. Every day we get a new position, a new stance. Hell, I would be happy for him to take A position. If he thinks this is restoring our plac in the world, I want to go back to being hated, but respected. Ever since Honduras, and his support of the wannabe socialist dictator against the laws of the country and the will of the people, this administration just seems to be indifferent and reactive and wrong on foreign policy. Aggressively wrong.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  36. The Muslim Brotherhood will advance social justice for all Egyptians.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  37. JD, it’s not clear whether the Muslim Brotherhood will come to power. it’s not clear what they’d do if they did. But … the people of Egypt have the right to withdraw their mandate from Mubarak and vest it in the Muslim Brotherhood, if they so choose.

    I see them as being basically in the same position as the protesters who took to the streets of Iran in June of 2009: people trying to take control of their country away from a dictator and vest it in themselves. Maybe they’ll fail. Maybe they’ll cede it to a worse dictator. But these are risks that are, IMO, worth taking; and they are risks which the people choosing to take them have the right to take on, for themselves.

    aphrael (b10968)

  38. If that is the case, then our feckless leader should have stood behind the protesters from Day 1. Getting ur finger wet and holding it up in the air ain’t leadership, and his little speech out in front of Mubarak giving him the finger is telling to our friends and enemies. Liberty and democracy are not synonymous.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  39. So, here’s the point where I have some sympathy for anyone in the position of US president in the face of what’s happening today.

    American ideals, I think, align pretty strongly with my comment at #38. But Egypt is one of our closest allies in the region. We’ve made a long term decision over three decades to ally ourselves with an authoritarian dictator whose oppression of his people has led to him and us being widely resented … but we can’t just throw him over, because he’s our ally.

    So, do you immediately abandon our (immoral, IMO) alliance as soon as the people start getting restive?

    How do you go about honorably disentangling yourself from a dishonorable alliance?

    aphrael (b10968)

  40. I do not know the answer to that, but I can tell you this, aphrael. What we have seen from the Barcky administration since this began shows that they have not given a minute of thought to how best to go about doing so.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  41. aphrael, you’re right. The President’s job is extremely difficult.

    But part of the job description is breaking bread with bastards. That’s what it takes.

    I don’t know how the hell Obama should handle this. I would be paralyzed, though I know enough to know that I need to think ahead and pick a strategy and stick to it. I know better than to vote present or all of the above. Long term, Obama lost face, and America lost influence, no matter the outcome. That didn’t need to happen.

    Obama could have backed Mubarak, or he could have backed democracy, and win or lose, we would have had a positive in there (that we can be relied on to back allies, or that we are sincere about democracy).

    JD’s right… this isn’t leadership. And if Obama wants to talk about democracy, he might as well do so with regards towards enemies like Chavez and Kim Jong-Il instead of an ally in crisis.

    I guess I’m just restating the obvious here, and you get it.

    One big lesson we need to learn is that by propping up Mubarak, we’ve helped foster a populace that is extreme, without electoral responsibility. I think this is another example of kicking the can down the road.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  42. aphrael,

    It was a grave mistake for President Obama to say last week that Mubarak’s transition to a new government “must begin now,” followed 2 days later by suggestions that Mubarak should leave immediately. That kind of urgency wasn’t necessary and created expectations that could never be met.

    In addition, Obama’s rhetoric was a slap at the government of a long-time US and Israeli ally. All but the youngest and most idealistic democracy supporters would have understood American loyalty to a long-time ally in the short run, if coupled with support for working toward a democratic government. As I read the reports, that’s where the Obama Administration ended up — but the early rhetoric completely undermined that message.

    In sum, Obama’s initial rhetoric displayed his customary unnecessary grandstanding. He has a habit of feel-good or clueless statements in response to crises instead of sticking to carefully crafted, time-tested rhetoric. (Remember the Gates-Cambridge police fiasco? His first statement on the Fort Hood shooting?) By now, Obama should know better and the fact he doesn’t suggests he’s far too full of himself to be effective on the much more dangerous international stage.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  43. So I haven’t been following the US reaction, particularly, because I think it isn’t actually all that important to the resolution of the crisis. Maybe you’re right. I think this is a case where it’s reasonable to cut any administration some slack, because decades of (IMO bad) US policy have left us in a bad position where all of our options pretty much suck.

    aphrael (b10968)

  44. DRJ: I would agree that those are statements which the US government shouldn’t be making in public (although, behind the scenes, I would hope that the US was saying it).

    But … I’m not really concerned about slapping the Egyptian government. The Egyptian government needs to be slapped.

    aphrael (b10968)

  45. Thanks, DRJ, being vague seems to be my lot for some reason.

    And JD is right. This is a difficult situation. It would be nice if someone provided a semblance of leadership one way or another.

    Regardless, military contol at this point would seem to be the best for the U.S., but you know, people do matter. This reminds me of some historical precedents. How we react as a nation is important. So far our national response seems confused.

    This is only my opinion, but our nation seems to have a unique opportunity that seems squandered. I’m not blaming the big O, but something is going wrong and maybe it’s time to stop voting present.

    Ag80 (7a9f97)

  46. One big lesson we need to learn is that by propping up Mubarak, we’ve helped foster a populace that is extreme, without electoral responsibility.

    Yes. I completely agree with this.

    aphrael (b10968)

  47. DRJ has it pegged.

    Democracy is worth care. If Obama wants Egypt to become a democracy, he should take that mission as seriously as Bush did with Iraq. It isn’t something you can just blurt out a demand for, as wolves are ready to take over a country.

    He’s not a pundit, after all.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  48. But … I’m not really concerned about slapping the Egyptian government. The Egyptian government needs to be slapped.

    That government is the first Middle Eastern nation willing to sign a peace treaty with and recognize Israel, a stand that cost Egypt for years and led to the assassination of its sitting President, Anwar Sadat. Egypt’s peace treaty arguably opened the door to Israel’s normalized relations with Jordan and other Arab states in the 1990’s.

    We don’t have to help the Egyptian government maintain power, aphrael, but do we really need to throw shoes at it?

    DRJ (fdd243)

  49. History is long, it is difficult. Sometimes it points the right way.

    Ag80 (7a9f97)

  50. Mubarak is very old, this is aout power, not about democracy, the people – there is no such thing as an defineable entity, the streets are filled with the type who would demonstrate against anything.

    However, the merchant class, which was overthrown in Iraq and earlier in Iran, this class is the power that run Egypt, not the army.

    Sure the army is the instrument for the very short termbut armies cannot survive without merchants

    EricPWJohnson (0c721c)

  51. I will say that I’m inclined to pat Obama on the back for speaking out for democracy. I understand the idea of having a line you won’t cross on human rights, and being willing to suffer serious consequences in the name of freedom (which is why I think W was great).

    If only Obama meant it. If he’s this gung ho for democracy, he has failed to show this when it’s so much easier, and the penalties are so much less severe, than harming such a valuable ally.

    Iraq, Georgia, Honduras, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, even Philadelphia for pete’s sake. Where’s Obama?

    He likes to make sure he is acting against his own interests, because that is dramatic. Only these interests are really America’s. Bowing to China, accepting Chavez warmly, dismissing Iranian freedom rallies, rallying Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (with an administration clamoring to tell me how great they are!).

    I think DRJ is really onto something that this entire shtick is just meant to be feel-good drama. At the climax of every political movie, the beleaguered guy stands up and gives us that speech that was the opposite of what he was expected to say, as he calls for us to rise above the problems the speech is about to bring on (queue patriotic trumpet solo). Obama keeps doing that, and with absolutely no consistency.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  52. Normally I’m not this blunt but the Obama Administration is full of idiots.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  53. DRJ – couple that with Clapper defending the Muslim Brotherhood as a secular organization, and it is pretty clear that they are floundering.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  54. That speech in Cairo changed our status in the world. He was going to fix things that others could not. He was a fraud then, and a fraud now.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  55. DRJ – Yesterday the State Department had the brass to claim that the Administration’s position on Egypt had been the same since day one.

    Perhaps so if you claim with Mubarak, without him, with him for a little while, from day to day, change it during the course of a day.

    Today Barcky broke out a slightly modified version of one of his old catchphrases:

    “As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people.”

    Whenever he used to say “as I have consistently said” you always knew he was lying his freaking a*s off. There he goes again!

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  56. Breaking news: Mubarak has stepped down turning his government over to the military…

    thomas (9f7b7f)

  57. Thomas: his speech yesterday gave no indication that he might do that; this was a shock.

    Congratulations to the people of Egypt. I hope the army coup listens to them. :)

    aphrael (9802d6)

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