Archive for Friday, February 11, 2011

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns, hands power to military

February 11, 2011


— Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Friday after 29 years in power, bowing to a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands. “The people ousted the president,” chanted a crowd of tens of thousands outside his presidential palace in Cairo.

Several hundred thousand protesters massed in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square exploded into joy, cheering and waving Egyptian flags. Fireworks, car horns and celebratory shots in the air were heard around the city of 18 million in joy after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall.

Mubarak had sought to cling to power, handing some of his authorities to Suleiman while keeping his title. But an explosion of protests Friday rejecting the move appeared to have pushed the military into forcing him out completely. Hundreds of thousands marched throughout the day in cities across the country as soliders stood by, besieging his palace in Cairo and Alexandria and the state TV building. A governor of a southern province was forced to flee to safety in the face of protests there.

It was the biggest day of protests yet in the upheaval that began Jan. 25, growing from youth activists working on the Internet into a mass movement that tapped into widespread discontent with Mubarak’s authoritarian lock on power, corruption, economic woes and widespread disparities between rich and poor.

“In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic,” a grim-looking Suleiman said. “He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor.”

Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, whose young supporters were among the organizers of the protest movement, told The Associated Press, “This is the greatest day of my life.”

“The country has been liberated after decades of repression,” he said adding that he expects a “beautiful” transition of power.

Outside Mubarak’s Oruba Palace in northern Cairo, women on balconies ululated with the joyous tongue-trilling used to mark weddings and births.

“Finally we are free,” said Safwan Abo Stat, a 60-year-old in the crowd of protesters at the palace. “From now on anyone who is going to rule will know that these people are great.”

Another, Mohammed el-Masry, weeping with joy, said he had spent the past two weeks in Tahrir before marching to the palace Friday. He was now headed back to the square to join his ecstatic colleagues. “We made it,” he gasped.

The question now turned to how the military, Egypt’s most powerful institution, will handle the transition in power. Earlier in the day, the Armed Forces Supreme Council — a body of top generals — vowed to guide the country to greater democracy.

In a statement hours before Suleiman’s announcement, it said it was committed “to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people and endeavor for their implementation within a defined timetable ... until achieving a peaceful transition all through a democratic society aspired by the people.”

Abdel-Rahman Samir, one of the youth organizers of the protests, said the protest movement would now open negotiations with the military over democratic reform but vowed protests would continue to ensure change is carried out.

“We still don’t have any guarantees yet — if we end the whole situation now the it’s like we haven’t done anything,” he said. “So we need to keep sitting in Tahrir until we get all our demands.”

But, he added, “I feel fantastic. .... I feel like we have worked so hard, we planted a seed for a year and a half and now we are now finally sowing the fruits.”


SinoHawk 7 years, 3 months ago

I would be nervous. A coup d'etat by the military may or may not lead to a more liberal society.

bondmen 7 years, 3 months ago

"According to a major survey conducted last year by the Pew Research Center, adults in Egypt don't crave Western-style democracy, as pundits have blithely trumpeted throughout coverage of the unrest.

Far from it, the vast majority of them want a larger role for Islam in government. This includes making barbaric punishments, such as stoning adulterers and executing apostates, the law of their country. With the ouster of their secular, pro-American leader, they may get their wish."

gudpoynt 7 years, 3 months ago

although the editorial is clearly slanted, it's based in fact:

SirReal 7 years, 3 months ago

hey everyone bondmen is a neo-con glenn beck paid employee who came over here from the star, ignore his nonsense...

firebird27 7 years, 3 months ago

Now we get to see what the Islamic fundamentalists will do. If they succeed, we will encounter an ever-widening expansion of Islamic fascism. Seig Jihad (heil)! Islam uber alles.

Brent Garner 7 years, 3 months ago

And how long will it be before the Muslim Brotherhood controls Egypt and Egypt descends into the kind of hell that is Iran? While Mubarak was clearly not a good man, I greatly fear that we have traded a demon for a devil!

Ron Holzwarth 7 years, 3 months ago

So true. For an historical precedent, take a look at the revolution in Russia in 1917 that got rid of the Czar, and gave the world the U.S.S.R.

And for another, take a look at the Weimar Republic, which gave way to Nazi Germany.

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana

RogueThrill 7 years, 3 months ago

At least it will be what they chose, and not some US friendly, authoritarian proxy. If the US is free to vote in Christian fascists I see no reason why other countries shouldn't be free to vote in their own particular brand of extremist.

I mean, the US is the the beacon upon the hill, the shining example of liberal democracy everyone should follow. Right?

livinginlawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

I think you make an important point here, RogueThrill. Regardless of how closely their new chosen government resembles what anyone here wants it to be, we will have to find a way to coexist.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Fundamentalist Muslims only make up about 20% of the population of Egypt. That's very similar to the percentage of fundamentalist Christians in the US.

We aren't a theocracy (even though many of those fundies would like us to be,) so there's really no reason to believe that they will be, either.

MyName 7 years, 3 months ago

The Muslim Brotherhood has something like a 15% approval rating ( ). All of this scare-mongering is completely pointless. Will they have a voice in the new government? Yes, but so will the other 85% of the population.

The biggest thing we have to worry about right now isn't the islamist bogeyman, but the people who spent decades in the old regime and still want to keep power or keep their old jobs. These kinds of people didn't just disappear in Russia, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, and they won't disappear here. On the bright side, the U.S. doesn't have troops over there, unlike in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Shane Garrett 7 years, 3 months ago

Egyptian military, trained and supplied by the United States, has little to gain by taking control. I really think that democracy has to become the norm in Egypt. I agree that there should be no fear of a "Fundamentalist Muslim" take over of the government there. I have seen that Egyptians have a more worldly view then to revert to a theocracy.
Keep in mind even Iran has had some rumblings of discontent under their current theocracy.

LoveThsLife 7 years, 3 months ago

I agree with other who posters who aren't buying that Egypt will turn into a theocracy. While the Muslim Brotherhood in no doubt would prefer that form of government, I think they also realize that too many young Egyptians wouldn't stand for it. This a really a youth movement and the youth over there are quite secular.

However, I've been following this closely on Al Jazeera and here is an article of those who might end up taking the lead.

Some of you might actually be interested in reading it.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

The VP is a close ally with the USA CIA so things might not be so hot.

The Military Industrial Complex wants the large weapons sales that had been supporting dictator Mubarek. If dictators will buy weapons the USA military industrial complex will sell.

Bush Reagan Iran – Contra Secret Weapons Affair

Did it ever stop?

WE Arm the World ( no matter what)

Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

Iran/Contra sighting!!!! You've not dragged up that ancient history in a least a week, merrill.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

Is the Muslim Brotherhood as evil as some British and USA politicians claim?

Both of these sources have lied many many times.

What could be at stake over and above weapon sales?

The Oil and Natural Gas of Egypt

The newly discovered oil fields in the Mediterranean seabed have opened up fresh opportunities for reviving the country's oil export business. The 3.7 million barrel reserve that Egypt previously possessed, now have more than doubled the reserve figures. The markets of Turkey and Israel are the chief targets of Egypt.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

So bush promised to bring democracy to the Middle East and failed. President Obama seems to have been quite successful in his support of democracy in Egypt.

jhawkinsf 7 years, 3 months ago

Along with the events in Tunisia, the events in Egypt will reshape the Middle East in the same way the Solidarity movement led to events that took down Communism. There will be some bright spots that will make up think of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Violence and anarchy will happen in other areas. But big changes are brewing that no one can predict. All the experts are guessing as to what will happen. Call back in a decade and we will see who guessed correctly.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

Let's hope that in a couple of years, people aren't being lynched in the streets of Cairo for being the wrong type of Muslim.

jade 7 years, 3 months ago

Jimmy Carter managed to conclude the hostage crisis without a single death. That's pretty heroic in my book.

In any case, whether Obama is competent doesn't seem particularly relevant to the fact that the Egyptian people, not Obama, threw out their oppressive dictator. Now the question is whether they can rid themselves of Suleiman and institute the reforms the people deem essential to democratization.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

Exactly how did Carter conclude the Iran hostage crisis? Carter gave the okay for a half-baked rescue operation that got a bunch of people killed. Other than that, the Iranians pretty much told Jimmy to pound sand.

hujiko 7 years, 3 months ago

How exactly has the Obama Administration embraced the Muslim Brotherhood? Where have they explicitly endorsed the Muslim Brotherhood? The only thing they have supported is the Egyptian people in their quest to overthrow a despot. Think before you spew nonsense, dolt.

LoveThsLife 7 years, 3 months ago

Actually the Obama administration has been pretty smart in NOT embracing any one person/group as the potential leader. I think they are waiting and will be reaching out to various individuals and groups in a bid to build relationships with whomever ends up leading.

gl0ckUser 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if the people of lawrence Can do this to City Counsel

monkeyspunk 7 years, 3 months ago

Dear Fearmongers,

The Muslim Brotherhood was one of the only Islamic groups that condemned the September 11th attacks. They are a conservative group, much like any of the thousands of right-wing Christian organizations running around the US.


Common Sense

monkeyspunk 7 years, 3 months ago

rockchalk and snap, you are so stupid there really aren't words to express it.

Why was the Shah overthrown? Who created the conditions for the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Until you two are able to actually gain the knowledge about events in history perhaps you should keep your fat mouths shut about said events in history.

We created the situation in Iran, everyone knows this. We allowed our Interests to outweigh our Ideals and the result was disastrous. Those times need to come to an end.

Democracy prevailed in what turned out to be a somewhat bloodless revolution, in spite of our government's luke warm support for the democracy loving demonstrators. Shame on our government, and shame on you.

camper 7 years, 3 months ago

We drop a couple of trillion dollars to help Iraq and Afghanistan democratize.....and it's not really working.

We encourage Democratic reforms in Egypt, but otherwise sit on the sidelines and watch this remarkable transformation work itself out thru the Egyptians themselves.....the way it should be. And somehow this is wrong. I'm confused.

No doubt, the future is unpredictable and there are no guarantees, but letting the Egyptians determine their own course is the best approach.

FloridaSunshine 7 years, 3 months ago

No kidding! As Agnostick mentioned, we are ALWAYS meddling in other countries' business. We could use those TRILLIONS of $$ right here in our own country! This is maddening to me...
(I do not agree with Agnostick about Carter...he was set up by Reagan and his "tag-alongs" and, of course, other leaders of other countries....all to discredit Carter...seems like it happened just yesterday...I remember it well...and I will never forget. How could I?? Had to look at that face for years, not to mention Nancy looking up at him with big ol' cow eyes as if were God!!! Oh, what HORRID memories...)

camper 7 years, 3 months ago

They also blamed carter for inflation. The inflationary wheels started under Nixon and his Fed chairman Arthur Burns in 1970 well before Carter took office (inflation was 6% in 1970 and rose to 12% in 1974).

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