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Politics Egypt's Military Backs Mubarak

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Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Egypt's military backs Mubarak

The statement by the Armed Forces Supreme Council is a blow to protesters who had hoped for Mubarak's ouster. Crowds swell, but soldiers take no action to stop demonstrations.

From the Associated Press
3:05 AM PST, February 11, 2011


Egypt's military threw its weight Friday behind President Hosni Mubarak's plan to stay in office through September elections while protesters fanned out to the presidential palace in Cairo and other key symbols of the authoritarian regime in a new push to force the leader to step down immediately.

The statement by the Armed Forces Supreme Council -- its second in two days -- was a blow to many protesters who had called on the military to take action to push out Mubarak after his latest refusal to step down.

But soldiers also took no action to stop demonstrators from massing outside the palace and the headquarters of state television, indicating they were trying to avoid another outbreak of violence.

Anti-government protesters said they were more determined than ever as the uprising entered its 18th day.

"We expected the army's decision, we always knew that it was behind Mubarak. But we know it's not going to harm us," Safi Massoud said as she joined thousands of people packed into Cairo's central Tahrir Square. "We won't leave until we choose a transition president. We don't want Mubarak, we don't want Suleiman."

The military statement endorsed Mubarak's plan to transfer some powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman and promised free and fair presidential elections later this year.

It also promised that the hated emergency laws, in force since Egypt's authoritarian ruler came to office in 1981, would be lifted and gave a somewhat more specific time frame than Mubarak had offered in his Thursday night speech.

The military implied they would be lifted when protests end, saying it could happen "when the current security situation permits."

It also called for public services to resume and urged "the return of normal life in order to safeguard the achievements of our glorious people."

Undaunted, thousands packed into Cairo's central Tahrir Square, or Liberation Square, which has been the center of the uprising since it began on Jan. 25.

A few hundred protesters assembled outside the gate of Mubarak's Oruba Palace. The palace was protected by four tanks and rolls of barbed wire, but soldiers were doing nothing to stop demonstrators from joining the rally and chanting anti-Mubarak slogans.

Others massed outside the Cabinet, parliament and the state television headquarters several blocks away from Tahrir Square.

Hundreds of demonstrators formed a human barricade around the building that houses state TV and radio, checking IDs and turning away those who work there. Tanks and barbed wire surrounded the building overlooking the Nile, but troops did not keep protesters away.

Hopes that Mubarak would resign had been raised Thursday when a council of the military's top generals announced it had stepped in to secure the country, and a senior commander told protesters in Tahrir Square that all their demands would soon be met.

Instead, several hundred thousand people watched in disbelief and anger as Mubarak refused to step down.

Mubarak called the protesters' demands legitimate and promised that September presidential elections -- in which he says he will not run -- will be "free and fair" with supervision to ensure transparency.

He said that on the recommendation of the panel, he had requested the amendment of five articles of the constitution to loosen the now restrictive conditions on who can run for president, to restore judicial supervision of elections, and to impose term limits on the presidency.

He also annulled a constitutional article that gives the president the right to order a military trial for civilians accused of terrorism. He said that step would "clear the way" for eventually scrapping the emergency law but with a major caveat -- "once security and stability are restored."

The emergency law gives police virtually unlimited powers of arrest.

Prominent reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei, whose supporters were among the organizers of the 18-day-old wave of protests, called in a Twitter message on the army to step in "to rescue Egypt," warning the country might "explode."

Another leading figure of the protest movement, Google executive Wael Ghonim, called for caution.

"The situation is complicated. I don't want the blood of the martyrs to be wasted and at the same time I don't want to see more bloodshed," he said in comments posted on Facebook.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best organized opposition group, called the speech a "farce."

"This is an illegitimate president handing power to an illegitimate vice president," said Mohammed Abbas, who represents the Brotherhood's youth wing. "We reject this speech and we call on Mubarak to step down and hand his powers to the army."

In his address on state TV, Mubarak showed the strategy he has followed throughout the days of upheaval, trying to defuse the greatest challenge ever to his nearly three-decade authoritarian rule. So far, he has made a series of largely superficial concessions while resolutely sticking to his refusal to step down immediately or allow steps that would undermine the grip of his regime.

Looking frail but speaking in a determined voice, Mubarak spoke as if he were still in charge, saying he was "adamant to continue to shoulder my responsibility to protect the constitution and safeguard the interests of the people." He vowed that he would remain in the country and said he was addressing the youth in Tahrir as "the president of the republic."

Even after delegating authority to his vice president, Mubarak retains his powers to request constitutional amendments and dissolve parliament or the Cabinet. The constitution allows the president to transfer his other authorities if he is unable to carry out his duties "due to any temporary obstacle."

"I saw fit to delegate the authorities of the president to the vice president, as dictated in the constitution," he said.

President Barack Obama appeared dismayed by Mubarak's announcement. He said in a statement that it was not clear that an "immediate, meaningful" transition to democracy was taking place and warned that too many Egyptians are not convinced that the government is serious about making genuine change.

Suleiman was already leading the regime's efforts to deal with the crisis, though he has failed to ease the protests, which have only escalated in size and ambition, drawing crowds of up to a quarter-million people.

Suleiman has also offered dialogue with the protesters and opposition over the nature of reforms. In a sign that he is sticking to that strategy, state TV reported that he asked Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to appoint a deputy prime minister to be in charge of the dialogue with the protesters and the opposition.

Despite the overwhelming sense of disappointment among the protesters, some noted that Mubarak's immediate resignation would have had unintended consequences. His immediate departure would have triggered presidential elections within 60 days, with most of the restrictions that prevented free voting in the past still in place, said Amr Hamzawy, an Egyptian legal expert.

By transferring most powers to Suleiman and initiating constitutional amendments, Mubarak did the maximum possible under the constitution to meet the demands of the protesters, Hamzawy said.

"He went in a direction that is more preferable to open Egyptian politics in the next few months," said Hamzawy.

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Not exactly. The Western Press has gotten this wrong from the start. I am not saying I know the answers, but Al Jazeera gives a different picture.

This is a short excerpt from a long article

Pro-democracy activists in the Egyptian capital marched on the presidential palace and state television buildings, while many also gathered at Liberation Square, on Friday, the 18th consecutive day of protests.

At the state television building, thousands have blocked people from entering or leaving, accusing the broadcaster of supporting the current government and of not truthfully reporting on protests.

"The military has stood aside and people are flooding through [a gap where barbed wire has been moved aside]," Al Jazeera's correspondent at the state television building reported.

He said it was not clear if they planned to storm the building, but said that "a lot of anger [was] generated" after Mubarak's speech last night, where he repeated his vow to complete his term as president.

"The activity isn't calm, but there are a lot of people here who are tired of not having their demands met," he said.

Outside one presidential palace where protesters had gathered in Cairo, our correspondent reported that there was a strong military presence, but that there was "no indication that the military wants to crack down on protesters ... in Cairo".

She said that army officers had engaged in dialogue with protesters, and that remarks had been largely "friendly".

Tanks and military personnel had been deployed to bolster barricades around the palace.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Now according to Al Jazeera TV live

The army is giving the demonstrators water. And more demonstrators are arriving minute by minute.

Mubarak and his family have cleared out of Cairo and are at Sharm El Sheik (a short trip to Saudi.)

and p/s at this very minute 4 agencies reporting he has left Cairo, with no idea where he is. AJ saying he is in Sharm El Sheik.

The army is holding the crowd back from storming the State TV station.
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
February 11, 2011

Mubarak Leaves Cairo as Crowds Surge


CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak left the Egyptian capital for his resort home in Sharm el-Sheik, amid indications that a transfer of power was under way, Western officials said Friday. State television said Mr. Mubarak would issue a statement later.

The Egyptian military issued a communiqué pledging to carry out a variety of constitutional reforms in a statement notable for its commanding tone. The military’s statement alludes to the delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman and it suggests that the military will supervise implementation of the reforms.

Angry protesters, who had swarmed by the thousands into the streets here Friday morning, were hardly mollified by the news of Mr. Mubarak’s exit and an accompanying statement by the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces over state television and radio. They said they would not believe he was gone until he had formally relinquished his title as president, and until Mr. Suleiman, his handpicked successor, had been ousted as well.

The protesters did let out a cheer at news on state radio that Naguib Sawiris, a wealthy and widely respected businessman, has agreed to act as a mediator between the opposition and the authorities in carrying through the political reforms.

Mr. Suleiman himself has not made a statement. The military also did not indicate whether it intended to take the kinds of fundamental steps toward democracy that protesters have been demanding. This was the second direct statement from the military in two days, and it was not clear if the military was asserting more direct leadership or if it intended to signal that it stands behind the vice president.

Nor was it clear whether Mr. Mubarak is definitely relinquishing all power, although Western diplomats said they had received a barrage of calls from senior Egyptian officials assuring them that was the case.

Although Mr. Mubarak said in his speech Thursday that he was “delegating” his powers to his vice president, he did it in an aside that was easy to miss. He apparently referred to a provision of the Constitution that would have allowed him to reclaim those powers. And the rest of his speech sounded very much like he was an active president with no intention of resigning, and in a patronizing tone that further enraged protesters.

Western diplomats said that officials of the Egyptian government were scrambling to assure the public that Mr. Mubarak had flubbed his lines, and that his muddled speech had in fact signaled his irrevocable hand over of presidential authority.

“The government of Egypt says absolutely, it is done, it is over,” a Western diplomat said, suggesting that the Egyptian military and government officials had expected Mr. Mubarak to make his exit clear last night, but that the president failed to deliver those lines. “That is not what anybody heard.”

The Army announcement and diplomatic scrambling appeared intended to forestall the potential for violent confrontations as hundreds of thousands of protesters, angered by Mr. Mubarak’s refusal to step down on Thursday, flooded the streets demanding his full resignation — if not also his public trial for violence against them.

By about 1 p.m., state television was reporting that thousands had gathered around the state television building and were threatening violence against employees who entered. Their rage had been stoked when, after a day of mounting official signals that he was about to make an exit, the president failed to convey any such conclusion in either the tone or literal meaning of his speech.

The statement Friday by the military’s Supreme Council struck a very different tone and appeared to assert that the military was now directing events. The military said that it would end the 30-year-old emergency law — often used by the government to detain political opponents without trial— “as soon as the current circumstances are over.” The protesters have demanded that the law be eliminated immediately, before any talks about ending the uprising.

The military also said that it would oversee the amendment of the Constitution to “conduct free and fair presidential elections.”

“The Armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people,” the statement declared, and it vowed to ensure the fulfillment of its promises “within defined time frames with all accuracy and seriousness and until the peaceful transfer of authority is completed toward a free democratic community that the people aspire to.” The military further promised the protesters — “the honest people who refused the corruption and demanded reforms” — immunity from prosecution or “security pursuit.”

The statement urged a return to normalcy but made no threats to enforce it. Western diplomats and American officials say that the top military commanders, including the defense minister and the chairman of the armed forces, have told them for weeks that the Egyptian Army would never use force against Egyptians civilians to preserve the regime. And on Friday morning the military said that the defense minister, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, was presiding over the military’s Supreme Council, which appeared to have taken control of the state.

It has been “increasingly clear,” a Western diplomat said Friday, that “the army will not go down with Mubarak. “

The military statement, broadcast first by a civilian announcer on state television and then by a uniformed military spokesman, came as the city — and many other places in Egypt — began noon prayers on Friday, the Muslim holy day and the beginning of the weekend, a moment that has been the prelude for large-scale demonstrations since the revolt started.

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the presidential palace in the suburb of Heliopolis, news reports said, as troops backed by armored vehicles and razor wire barricades did nothing to prevent them from assembling.

In the upscale neighborhood of Mohandiseen, about a thousand protesters spilled out of the Mustafa Mahmoud mosque to march on the Radio and Television Building, even though shouting matches broke out as some Egyptians watching them urged them to call off their protest because Mr. Mubarak had repeated that he would leave in September when elections are scheduled. But one demonstrator, Mohamed Salwy, 44, said: “Mubarak doesn’t understand. I think these protests are going to have to go on for a long time.”

Once they arrived at the broadcasting center, they were joined by thousands of others, facing a ring of steel made up of a dozen armored personnel carriers and tanks forming a cordon. Soldiers with heavy machine guns looked down at them from a balcony.

Outside the capital, television images showed large numbers of protesters gathering under a sea of Egyptian flags in Alexandria, and there were unconfirmed reports of thousands of protesters surrounding government buildings in Suez.

The reaction abroad to Mr. Mubarak’s address was more measured, but also critical. President Obama issued a statement on Thursday night saying that “too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy.” European leaders also called for more fundamental change and urged that it happen faster.

Earlier in the day, even Mr. Obama seemed to believe that Mr. Mubarak would go further, celebrating his belief that Egypt was “witnessing history unfold.”

Instead, Mr. Mubarak, 82, a former general, struck a defiant, even provocative note in his speech. While he acknowledged for the first time that his government had made mistakes, he made it clear that he was still president and that reforms in Egypt would proceed under his government’s supervision and according to the timetable of elections in September.

Mr. Mubarak echoed the contention of officials in past days that foreigners might be behind the uprising, but he cited no evidence to support that allegation.

For hours before Mr. Mubarak’s speech, jubilant crowds, prematurely celebrating their victory, positioned themselves next to large speakers for what they assumed was a resignation speech. At about 10:45, the crowd quieted as Mr. Mubarak started his speech, which was transmitted via a tiny radio that someone held up to a microphone.

Soon, angry chants echoed through the square. People gathered in groups, confused, enraged and faced with Mr. Mubarak’s plea to endorse his vision of gradual reform. Some said his speech was intended to divide the protesters, by peeling off those who thought he had gone far enough. Others said it reflected the isolation of a president they had come to detest.

By midnight, about 3,000 protesters made their way from the square to the Radio and Television Building, which protesters loathe for propaganda that has cast them as troublemakers. In a sign of the confusion that reigned in Cairo, youthful opposition leaders sought to dissect the series of statements from the military command, Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Suleiman. Some believed that the army, long a player behind the scenes, was still intent on seeking power but had not yet mustered the leverage to force Mr. Mubarak from office.

It was unclear whether the military had tried to oust Mr. Mubarak and failed or was participating in a more complicated choreography in Egypt’s opaque system of rule.

Along with the protests, labor strikes have flared across Egypt, organized by workers at post offices, telecommunications centers, textile factories and cement plants. Clashes have occurred in distant parts of the country — from the New Valley west of the Nile to Suez, a city along the Suez Canal, which provides Egypt with crucial earnings.

While organizers have said Friday’s rallies may be some of the biggest protests yet, they spoke in darker tones about what they may represent now, given what many view as the determination of Mr. Mubarak to stay in office, whatever the numbers.

The anger was fueled in good part by expectations that Mr. Mubarak would be making his last address to the nation. For much of the day, people traded rumors about where he might be preparing to go to — Bahrain and Dubai were two rumored destinations — and then by a cascade of official statements suggesting that might be the case.

The first came from the civilian government. Around 3 p.m., Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told the BBC that talks with Mr. Mubarak about his possible resignation were already under way.

Gen. Hassan al-Roueini appeared in Tahrir Square to tell protesters that “all your demands will be met today,” witnesses said, words that were quickly read by crowds around him to mean that Mr. Mubarak was on the way out.
A short time later, the military, still seen as potentially decisive in the conflict, announced that it was taking action in what sounded to many people like a coup.

“In affirmation and support for the legitimate demands of the people, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened today, 10 February 2011, to consider developments to date,” an army spokesman declared on state television, in what was described as communiqué No. 1 of the army command, “and decided to remain in continuous session to consider what procedures and measures that may be taken to protect the nation, and the achievements and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.”

Around the same time, Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, the chief of staff of the armed forces, appeared in Tahrir Square to tell the protesters the same thing, to roars of celebration.

The reports seemed increasingly convincing, to both protesters and even high-ranking officials. Hossam Badrawy, the top official of the ruling party, said in a television interview that he had personally told the president he should resign. And, though Mr. Mubarak did not respond, Mr. Badrawy said he believed he would go. “That is my expectation, that is my hope,” he added in an interview. The news electrified protestors in the square and Mr. Mubarak opened his speech with words that suggested he was staying. “I am addressing all of you from the heart, a speech from the father to his sons and daughters,” he said. He expressed what he described as pride for them.

“Can this man be serious or did he lose his mind?” asked George Ishak, a longtime opposition leader. Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition leader and Nobel laureate, was blunter. “I ask the army to intervene immediately to save Egypt,” he wrote on his Twitter feed. “The credibility of the army is being put to the test.”

David D. Kirkpatrick and Anthony Shadid reported from Cairo, and Alan Cowell from Paris. Reporting was contributed by Kareem Fahim, Liam Stack, Mona El-Naggar and Thanassis Cambanis from Cairo, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Marquette, Mich.

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Vice President Suleiman says Mubarak has resigned from the presidency!

CAIRO Egypt's vice president says Hosni Mubarak has resigned as president and handed control to the military.

Car horns were heard around Cairo in celebration after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV on Friday.
"In these difficult circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave the position of the presidency," Suleiman said. He has commissioned the armed forces council to direct the issues of the state."



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
He has resigned. He has given power over the the armed forces.

Article excerpt from Al Jazeera

As crowds grew outside the palace, Mubarak left Cairo on Friday for the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Shaikh, according to sources who spoke to Al Jazeera.

Army statement

In a statement read out on state television at midday on Friday, the military announced that it would lift a 30-year-old emergency law but only "as soon as the current circumstances end".

The military said it would also guarantee changes to the constitution as well as a free and fair election, and it called for normal business activity to resume.

Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tahrir Square said people there were hugely disappointed with that army statement, and had vowed to take the protests to "a last and final stage".



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
So far in the past 18 days they have kept every promise they made through word and deed. Let's watch and see if they carry forward.

Egypt's army vows smooth transition
Military rulers pledge peaceful transfer of power to elected civilian rule a day after uprising ousts Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's new military rulers have pledged to enact a smooth transition to civilian rule, amid celebrations marking the country's first day in 30 years without Hosni Mubarak as president.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces vowed on Saturday to hand power to an elected, civilian government in a statement that came a day after Mubarak was swept from power following an 18-day public uprising.

The military will "guarantee the peaceful transition of power in the framework of a free, democratic system which allows an elected, civilian power to govern the country to build a democratic, free state", a senior army officer announced on state television.

The council also pledged to honour its international treaties - in an apparent nod to the country's 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

"The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties," the military statement read.
Click here for more of Al Jazeera's special coverage

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, welcomed the assurance, saying the longstanding peace treaty between Israel and Egypt ... is the cornerstone for peace and stability in the entire Middle East".

Later on Saturday, Egyptian state television reported that prosecutors had begun an investigation into three former ministers from Mubarak's government.

Travel bans were imposed on former prime minister Ahmed Nazif and former interior minister Habib al-Adli, who were both sacked by Mubarak before he stepped down from the presidency on Friday.

A travel ban was also imposed on Anas el-Fekky, the information minister, who had been reappointed in a cabinet that had been swiftly sworn in as a concession to protesters. Shortly afterwards, Egypt's current prime minister Ahmed Shafiq told a private Egyptian television station that el-Fekky had resigned and that his resignation had been accepted.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said the bans were likely to be welcomed by pro-democracy activists, some of whom vowed to remain in the capital's Tahrir Square until their agenda for democratic reform is fully accepted.

"People out on the streets at the beginning were very much calling for the end of the regime, they were saying they don't want any of these people to remain in Egypt," she said.

"After the step down of president Hosni Mubarak they will be looking for accountability and that is what Egyptian authorities are now providing."

Concerns for the future

Our correspondent said questions now remain over how the military's transition to civilian rule will take place.

"I’m worried about the future," one Egyptian told Al Jazeera. "Nobody knows what's coming. We need to rebuild our country and economy because we are venturing into the unknown."

Despite the uncertainty, celebrations continued in Cairo and other parts of the country on Saturday a day after Mubarak stepped down, handing power to the military.

Our producer reports scattered fighting as army removes barricades

Al Jazeera's online producer, Evan Hill, reported some instances of fighting between the army and protesters in Cairo as the military worked to dismantle barricades that protesters promptly put back in place in their effort to remain in the square.

For the most part, however, the day proceeded without any major incidents, following 18 days of rallies in Tahrir Square that culminated in a mass celebration on Friday at the news that Mubarak had stepped down.

Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, had announced the news in a televised address on Friday, saying the president was "waiving" his office, and had handed over authority to the supreme military council.

Suleiman's 50-word statement was received with a roar of approval and by celebratory chanting and flag-waving from a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Tahrir Square, as well as by other pro-democracy campaigners who were attending protests across the country.

The highest-ranking figure in Egypt is now Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the country's defence minister and head of the supreme council.

'Dream come true'

The crowd in Tahrir responded to Suleiman's statement on Friday by chanting "we have brought down the regime".

Tahrir Square responds to Mubarak's resignation

Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition leader, hailed the moment as being "a dream come true".

ElBaradei reiterated that Egypt now needs to return to stability and proposed that a transition government be put in place for the next year.

Ayman Nour, another opposition figure and a former presidential candidate, told Al Jazeera that he would consider running for the presidency again if there was consensus on his candidacy.

Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, said that he would resign from his post, one that he has headed for about 10 years, "within weeks".

Some analysts say he may well run for the Egyptian presidency when elections are held.

Suleiman's announcement came after hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took the streets for the 18th consecutive day, marching on presidential palaces, state television buildings and other government installations.

They had dubbed the day Farewell Friday, and had called for "millions" to turn out and demand that Mubarak resign.



Feb 12, 2011
The President needs support from his own military if he wanted to last until the next election. If the military won't back him up he will be force to step down. But what the military are doing right now is just right. They don't want to have some conflict with the civilian and protect the constitution.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The President needs support from his own military if he wanted to last until the next election. If the military won't back him up he will be force to step down. But what the military are doing right now is just right. They don't want to have some conflict with the civilian and protect the constitution.


He has already resigned kikai0725 ji. Is not communicating. Is somewhere in secret, and probably under house arrest in Sharm El Sheik until powers that be can decide what to do about him. Yesterday, "Farewell Friday" was planned to become an outburst of rage at his stubborn refusal to understand. Of course the situation turned around once the military ushered Mubarak off the stage.

The story that the army backed him was the result of western media not comprehending the Supreme Council of the Military's Communique 2. Communique 2 was worded to say that the army would support a transition to constitutional rule. They later commented that the wording was civil to protect the dignity of Mubarak, and keep things from becoming more chaotic.

They never backed him. Sorry to have to be blunt. His speech of Feb 10 and that of Suleiman were in defiance of military orders to the contrary, not to give that speech. After that came a soft coup, and the military took charge. I doubt he will be running for anything in the near or foreseeable future.

Sorry that this has spun out of control. The western media did not get it.
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