Mubarak resigns

I like to quote one of my senior colleagues, who would introduce his predictions about anything in the Middle East by noting that if he was wrong, no one would remember—just one more wrong prediction—but in the unlikley case he was right people would celebrate his insight.

Yesterday in my Modern Middle East class we listened to Egyptian President Mubarak’s speech. I also showed an article from an Israeli newspaper, HaAretz, which predicted that Mubarak would resign and go to Sharm el-Sheikh.

This appears now to be correct: Mubarak just resigned and is said to have left for Sharm. (Of course, there had been reports that he had been in Sharm already—but more denials of these reports stating he remained in Cairo.) The article predicted that Mubarak would leave for Germany after that. I cannot find this article translated on the English version of HaAretz.

Despite Mubarak’s statements about constitutional changes he had begun, the Vice President’s announcement this morning appears to confirm that the military has taken charge of government. The military has, as far as I can tell, not made any statements about how they will or will not continue constitutional reform leading to open, free and fair elections of a new (civilian) President and Parliament responsible to the people of Egypt. has a report about the Sharm al-Shaykh resort.

Yesterday I opined that there was no good outcome for the US, in the sense that Egyptians might blame the US regardless of the outcome.  It appears that at least some Egyptians are grateful to the US Administration for quiet but constant pressure on Mubarak, and the Egyptian Army seems to have strong links with the US.  

Yesterday we noted Mubarak’s reference to “foreign” elements pressuring Egypt—I heard this as his response to pressure from the international community, and perhaps I was right about that as well. Although, most of the “talking heads” noted that the Mubarak administration was trying to pin the blame on the demonstrations themselves on foreign elements. This of course is the “old way”—blame outsiders. The new approach in Egypt seems to be taking and accepting responsibility rather than blaming others; to paraphrase Thom Friedman  “UP with Egypt” rather than “down with the US.”

We’ll see what develops.

Seth Ward

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