Breaking: Egypt Military Seizes Control, Mubarak To Step Down
Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt, will step down tonight, according to NBC and ABC News.
Protesters in Liberation Square
The Egyptian military convened a special council today in which President Hosni Mubarak was not present. He normally would have chaired the meeting, according to Al Jazeera, a media outlet specializing in Middle East politics. Mohamed Tantawi, Egypt’s Defense Minister and head of the military counsel, hosted the meeting instead.
ABC News interrupted regular programing to announce that Gen. Hassan al-Roueini, the military commander for Cairo, appeared in front of protesters. He told the thousands gathered in Tahir Square:
“All your demands will be met today.”
Al Jazeera quoted the phrase as “Everything you want will be realized.” Both phrases suggest Mubarak will call it quits tonight, or within a short period of time, since resignation of Mubarak has been a chief demand.
Omar Sueiman meeting with President Hosni Mubarak
Omar Suleiman, the current vice president of Egypt, will take the reigns if Mubarak leaves, according to NBC. That may not be acceptable to the protesters who may insist power be transferred to the military, although that scenario would not fit exactly within the Egyptian constitution, which calls for the vice president to serve in place of the president.
According to Al Jazeera , the Egyptian army issued a statement they titled “Communiqué #1”:
"Based on the responsibility of the armed forces and its commitment to protect the people and its keenness to protect the nation... and in support of the legitimate demands of the people [the army] will continue meeting on a continuous basis to examine measures to be taken to protect the nation and its gains and the ambitions of the great Egyptian people," Al Jazeera reported.
The Communique is important for two reasons. First, it suggests the military has intervened, an essential element since the protesters felt the military failed to protect them when Mubarak supporters stormed Tajir Square last week. Second, since the Comunique is titled "#1" it suggests the military has assumed some degree of power and plans to continue.
There are concerns about whether the military will relinquish power to a democratic government, according to discussion on Al Jazeera live stream. If things go well, the military will insure an orderly transition to an elected government. If not, there could be a blood bath.