CNN and MSNBC are reporting that a “senior U.S. official” says Pres. Mubarak is about to hand over Egypt’s government to V.P. Omar Suleiman, solidifying yet another military dictatorship, this time under the C.I.A.’s man on rendition. C.I.A. Director Leon Panetta weighed into this news, saying it’s a “strong likelihood,” via a congressional hearing. John King confirms this story, with one Administration official saying they have “specific information,” but “we need to see it happen” and that it is getting information inside Egypt supporting the rumor swirling.
According to CNN’s Ben Wedeman just a few minutes ago (12:05 pm EST), state run media is now running banners saying “Egypt is changing,” while also showing clips of protesters.
The conspiracy theories on what could happen in Egypt, with the large scale strikes now happening, have also broken out, answering my question from last week about the possibility of a coup being the last solution. CNN reporting that an Egyptian source said this is “a consensus not a coup.” To update, Richard Engel called it “this soft, or elegant, coup.”
Via The Lede (12:45 pm EST):
Statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
10 February 2011
Based on the responsibility of the Armed Forces, and its commitment to protect the people, and to oversee their interests and security, and with a view to the safety of the nation and the citizenry, and of the achievements and properties of the great people of Egypt, and in affirmation and support for the legitimate demands of the people, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened today, 10 February 2011, to consider developments to date, and decided to remain in continuous session to consider what procedures and measures that may be taken to protect the nation, and the achievements and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.
And considering the State Dept. had ample warning going back to the Green uprising in Iran, saying they’re late to the Arabic Twitter party is an understatement, but they have finally arrived.
Its first message? #Egypt #Jan25 Ã˜ÂªÃ˜Â¹Ã˜ÂªÃ˜Â±Ã™Â Ã™Ë†Ã˜Â²Ã˜Â§Ã˜Â±Ã˜Â© Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ˜Â®Ã˜Â§Ã˜Â±Ã˜Â¬Ã™Å Ã˜Â© Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ˜Â£Ã™”¦Ã˜Â±Ã™Å Ã™Æ’Ã™Å Ã˜Â© Ã˜Â¨Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ˜Â¯Ã™Ë†Ã˜Â± Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ˜ÂªÃ˜Â§Ã˜Â±Ã™Å Ã˜Â®Ã™Å Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ˜Â°Ã™Å Ã™Å Ã™”žÃ˜Â¹Ã˜Â¨Ã™”¡ Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ˜Â¥Ã˜Â¹Ã™”žÃ˜Â§Ã™”¦ Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ˜Â¥Ã˜Â¬Ã˜ÂªÃ™”¦Ã˜Â§Ã˜Â¹Ã™Å Ã™ÂÃ™Å Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ˜Â¹Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ™”¦ Ã˜Â§Ã™”žÃ˜Â¹Ã˜Â±Ã˜Â¨Ã™Å Ã™Ë†Ã™” Ã˜Â±Ã˜ÂºÃ˜Â¨ Ã˜Â£Ã™” Ã™” Ã™Æ’Ã™Ë†Ã™” Ã˜Â¬Ã˜Â²Ã˜Â¡Ã˜Â§Ã™”¹ Ã™”¦Ã™” Ã™”¦Ã˜ÂÃ˜Â§Ã˜Â¯Ã˜Â«Ã˜Â§Ã˜ÂªÃ™Æ’Ã™”¦
(Translation: “We want to be a part of your conversation!”)
The new State Department Arabic Twitter feed, @USAbilaraby, joins a growing chorus of Twitter feeds describing and commenting on events in Egypt and across the Arab world, where social media is helping to broadcast political ferment.
The real problem for the Obama administration right now, however, is at this late date they’re still trying to find their voice, with two stories finally widening the lens to important voices combating the old guard realpolitik.
Suleiman’s behavior reinforced the arguments of another camp inside the Obama administration, including National Security Council members Ben Rhodes and Samantha Power, which contends that if President Obama appears to side with the remnants of Mubarak’s discredited regime, he risks being seen as complicit in stifling a pro-democracy movement. – Obama’s advisors split on when and how Mubarak should go
Many of you will remember Samantha Power as the woman who called candidate Hillary Clinton a “monster” during the primary season. She long ago apologized and took her place inside the Obama administration, and now she’s once again on opposite sides of old guards like Biden, Clinton and SecDef Bob Gates.
The LA Times reports reality in their subheading: White House aides acknowledge that the differing views among Obama’s team of advisors has resulted in a mixed message on Egypt.
For fear of choosing wrongly and getting blamed, Pres. Obama is trying to have it both ways, which simply
won’t work hasn’t worked.
POLITICO also has a story of White House spin on the messaging, which isn’t very convincing either. You can follow my columns since Clinton’s “stable” comment back on Jan. 25th that proves there’s been confusion mixed with incoherence at times. Once Mubarak let his thugs out it shifted the entire conversation and everything shifted.
The Obama administration’s issue with Egypt remains what I’ve been writing about for several days now. It’s the difference between realpolitik versus idealism, with many of Obama’s die hard fans never believing he’d be on the side of Kissingerism. Anyone reading here since 2007, however, was at least prepared for it.