Saturday, February 12, 2011

How Hosni Mubarak misread his military men

The Egyptian president angered not only protesters but the army when he failed to step down the first time

Chris McGreal in Cairo, Saturday 12 February 2011

".......The man who ruled for 30 years thought it would satisfy the protesters while still allowing him to go with dignity by keeping his title, if not his powers, for a few months more.

But it didn't satisfy the people, and so it didn't satisfy the army. The organisers of the protests that had rocked Egypt for nearly three weeks said from the beginning that the revolution was not about one man, but a system.

Mubarak's transfer of power to Suleiman – the former intelligence chief who played a leading role in suppressing political opposition and was America's point man in Egypt in the rendition and torture of alleged terrorists – was not an acceptable alternative.

To the protesters, Mubarak had merely rearranged the deckchairs. Far from being placated, many saw his speech as further evidence of the regime's vulnerability and their anger strengthened their determination to bring it down.....

Major General Safwat el-Zayat, a former senior official of Egypt's General Intelligence, told Ahram Online that the military leadership, like the people, had thought Mubarak would resign.

Zayat said Mubarak's speech — and one that followed by Suleiman — "was formulated against the wishes of the armed forces, and away from their oversight" and amounted to an unprecedented breach between the president and the military. In short, the army that had kept Mubarak in power had lost confidence in him....

The military's supreme council concluded that the only way to deal with the crisis was for Mubarak to go and to be seen to be gone. He and his family were packed on a plane and dispatched to his palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh....."

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