Don’t Get Too Optimistic About Egypt, But ...

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Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

What actually keeps dictators in power amid a popular uprising? Their control over the military. So when the Egyptian military declared earlier today that it would not fire on the protesters flooding the streets — "freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody," a spokesman said — that was a big deal. It wasn't long before the new vice-president went on TV to announce "that he had been authorized to open a dialogue with the opposition for constitutional and political reforms." This doesn't mean President Hosni Mubarak will step down, but it's good news for anyone who wasn't looking forward to another Tiananmen Square. An enormous "march of millions" and a general strike are set for tomorrow. [NYT]