Egypt’s Mubarak Defies Calls to Resign

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak addressed the country on state TV and announced that he would fire his entire cabinet and pursue economic and political reforms, but ignored protesters’ demands that he resign.

On CNN, Fareed Zakaria said, ” I think that the Egyptian government, Mubarak particularly, has made the decision that the Egyptian state can hold.” Zakaria also offered some insights on what the government’s resignation would mean:

If it’s a reshuffling of the deck, I don’t know whether it would work. The odd thing is that many of the people in his government, the prime minister, the trade minister, the finance minister — these are young reformers who have reasonably clean records. The problem the Egyptian public has is with Mubarak, not his government.

Earlier, the Egyptian military entered Cairo and Suez as protesters, still without a defined leadership, continued their demonstration despite Mubarak’s curfew. Army units secured the Egyptian Museum, which includes artifacts like the death mask of Tutankhamun. The army also made a move to secure critical buildings like the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), which was on fire earlier, and the Foreign Ministry building, which protesters stormed. But the Army has yet to align itself with either the police or with the protesters. As Al Jazeera English reported in its live feed, “The Army is taking a third position.” In the last six decades, it has never fired on Egyptian civilians. One of the WikiLeaks cables shows that it planned for a “smooth” transition of power to Gamal Mubarak back in 2009.

The United States is also attempting to find a middle ground, urging that the demonstrations remain peaceful but also threatening to cut the $1.5 billion in foreign aid that it gives to Egypt every year if the government deals harshly with the protests. Separately, the Telegraph, citing leaked cables from WikiLeaks, reported that the United States “helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.”

Egypt army secures museum with pharaonic treasures: report [Reuters]
The Army Arrives, Ctd [Daily Dish/Atlantic]
LIVE: Mubarak addresses Egyptians [CNN]
America’s secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising [Telegraph UK]

Egypt’s Mubarak Defies Calls to Resign