Friday, February 11, 2011

There is no Egyptian government now.
Having listened to the statement of the armed forces spokesman; I presume that was General Anan. I would say that we now have a military junta in charge in Egypt. HM's departure after resignation leaves no law in Egypt except the will of the Egyptian generals. Under the present Egyptian constitution the speaker of the house succeeds to the presidency on resignation of the president. That did not happen. Mubarak's authority did not extend beyond his resignation. We could have had a constitutional succession but that is dead and gone as a possibility now. Now there is an extra-legal, extra-constitutional regime in charge governing under the authority of NO law. The junta has dissolved the parliament and fired the cabinet. The emergency law is no longer needed. The only law is the will of the generals. Since he was not mentioned in today's statement, I would think that Omar Suleiman will have little or no role. Let us hope that the generals are benevolent. 1952 comes to mind. The Egyptian Armed forces have only two political traditions. 1- They overthrew the monarchy in a similar soft coup in 1952 and 2- They have ruled Egypt ever since.

I just heard someone ask Robert Gibbs if Obama had called anyone in Egypt since the resignation. Who would he call, the head of the junta?
The revolution is not over
One of the least convincing slogans in Tahrir Square has been ‘the people and the army, standing together’. One can hardly blame the protesters for expressing this hope: it was, arguably, a necessary fiction, without which millions of people would not have dared to turn out to call for Mubarak to stand down. The army played its cards well. Under strong pressure from Robert Gates, it did not fire on demonstrators, and, after Mubarak’s non-resignation speech yesterday – a fantastic tribute to the powers of self-deception – it finally decided to wash its hands of him. But the army did not join the movement, either: a critical phase in classical revolutions. And the communiqués issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt have been ambiguous at best, full of vague promises and calls for people to return home. Certainly they indicate no conversion to the principle of civilian rule. The supreme council, now at the helm of power, was chosen and shaped by Mubarak; its chairman is Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, described in a 2008 WikiLeaks cables as ‘aged and change-resistant’. It is not a description that inspires confidence.
As usual:
Arabist, FLC, AA.

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