(1:30 PM – promoted by TheMomCat)
Update: So not the speech you were looking for. Mubarak defiant. Will not step down. Giving some powers to torturer Suleiman. Protesters outraged. – ek
2nd Update: Suleiman speaks- tells people to go home and back to work. Yup, that will do the trick. Protesters marching on the Presidential Palace.- ek
UN Wire reports this morning:
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will announce today that he is leaving office, sources told NBC News. Vice President Omar Suleiman reportedly is to take his place.
The army leadership is sending signals to demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that it was planning to step in to “safeguard” Egypt during the transition. Mubarak is expected to address Egyptians via state-run TV tonight.
Pepe Escobar this morning: Egypt: Bread, Dignity and Lies
So Omar “Sheik al-Torture” Suleiman has warned that the only alternative to dialogue with the opposition is “a coup”. The suave United States Central Intelligence Agency point man for extraordinary renditions to Egypt, now Washington-anointed “orderly transition” conductor, may be more versed in electroshocks than onanism; otherwise he would have realized that a military dictatorship toppling itself still ends up as a military dictatorship.
Yet maybe that’s exactly what he meant. Suleiman said protests are “very dangerous” – not so subtly implying the interference of hidden agendas by foreign journalists; a subversive coalition of the US, Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and al-Jazeera; the Muslim Brotherhood (MB); and all of the above (and all duly evoked by the regime).
Osama Saraya, editor-in-chief of the pro-government newspaper al-Ahram, who was there when Suleiman uttered his sinister warnings, is assured he meant not only a military coup, but an Islamist coup as well.
The street reaction was swift. The sit-in in front of parliament – a second front beside Tahrir Square – is now permanent; thousands of protesters have already forced military junta member turned Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to relocate to the Civil Aviation Ministry on the other side of Cairo. Recapitulation: the current military junta in power is Suleiman, Shafiq, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi (minister of defense for 20 years now) and Lieutenant General Sami Annan (the army chief).
And what about thousands of workers protesting in front of the Oil Ministry? Blogger Hossam El-Hamalawy is right on the money; the “working class has officially entered the battle”.
The MB for its part is giving the regime a deadline of “one week” to comply with popular demands. The April 6 Youth movement, in an e-mail to all members of its Facebook page, reminded them there are no talks with the regime until President Hosni Mubarak goes. Only then comes the meat of the matter; key constitutional reforms on civil rights, political freedom and judicial independence; and key new economic policies to fight poverty, unemployment, social injustice and monstrous corruption.
As for Sheik al-Torture’s “dialogue” with the opposition, the street as well as a more institutionalized opposition strand has seen it for what it is; a mirage. No wonder strikes are spreading like wildfire; state media employees are abandoning ship; new cabinet appointees are resigning; the regime is trying every trick in the book – from prosecuting former ministers to offering a 15% raise in salaries; and street protests are getting bigger and bigger.
Diaa Rashwan, of the self-described Council of Wise Men, says the negotiations are dead; “The regime’s strategy has been just to play for time and stall … They don’t really want to talk to anyone. At the start of this week they were convinced that the protests were going to fade away.”
Meanwhile, around the Potomac…
That’s what you get when the horse you bet is of the addicted-to-torture kind. Washington’s power players, their dedicated imperial courtiers, their hordes of media sycophants in bad suits, they are absolutely stunned.