How does one leave office as dictator ousted by a public uprising with some measure of dignity? Via a luxury clinic near Baden-Baden, of course. According to Der Spiegel, the face-saving exit plan first floated by Hosni Mubarak's self-appointed group of "wise men" (intermediaries between Vice-President Omar Suleiman and the protesters) actually appears to have legs — supple, exfoliated legs. Multiple sources close to Germany's Max-Grundig-Klinik Bühlerhöhe clinic say that talks are being held to find a suitable hospital. The dignified aspect of spa retreat-from-power comes in because Mubarak, who is currently residing in an Egyptian Red Sea holiday villa, takes "annual medical leaves to Germany." The clinic offers "first-class medical care" with a respected oncology department. Last spring, Mubarak had his gallbladder and an intestinal polyp removed at another German clinic, but doctors quashed the cancer rumors at the time. Satellite photos show a complex of buildings with a tennis court nestled in a densely wooded area with nary an open square for protesting as far as the eye can see.
The clinic boasts "four-star rooms" and a housekeeping staff that "will certainly be glad to fulfill any special requests you may have — from special mattresses to your favourite flower arrangements." Based on the staff photos scrolling across its website, bellhop Frank Meuschke is no voluptuous Ukranian nurse, but we bet he'll be willing to lend a sympathetic ear about the good intentions of passing down your 30-year reign to your son.
Yesterday it appeared as though no one gave Suleiman the spa memo. Says the Times:
Vice President Omar Suleiman of Egypt says he does not think it is time to lift the 30-year-old emergency law that has been used to suppress and imprison opposition leaders. He does not think President Hosni Mubarak needs to resign before his term ends in September. And he does not think his country is yet ready for democracy.
But on state TV Tuesday, he agreed to set a committee to recommend constitutional amendments to relax presidential eligibility rules and impose term limits. Max-Grundig-Klinik Bühlerhöhe, prepare your welcoming committee.
*This post has been updated from its original version.
Clinic Near Baden-Baden Considered For Mubarak [Der Spiegel]
In Egypt, U.S. Weighs Push for Change With Stability [NYT]
Egypt: Mubarak forms reform committees [AP via Yahoo]