Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president of Egypt and handed power to the military, bowing to the demands of protesters who have occupied central Cairo for the past three weeks demanding an end to his 30-year rule.
“Mubarak has decided to relinquish the office of the presidency,” said Vice President Omar Suleiman in a statement on state television today. “He has instructed the Supreme Council of the armed forces to take over the affairs of the country.”
The resignation came after Egyptians streamed out of Friday prayers vowing to topple Mubarak, 82, after he yesterday defied calls for him to leave for the second time this month. Military helicopters buzzed the presidential palace at dusk and Arabiya television earlier reported that Mubarak had left Cairo for the Sinai resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.
The announcement opens a new phase in a crisis that was sparked by the ouster of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Jan. 14 and is rippling through the Arab world, which holds more than 50 percent of the world’s oil reserves. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)
This raises all kinds of questions, particularly, who is going to step in to fill the void? Elbaradei, the former IAEA leader who was roundly criticized as a poor leader (he is not a nuclear scientist, but a lawyer), is inserting himself already.
Doug Schoen, Democratic pollster, is convinced the Muslim Brotherhood will be taking over Egypt, which is bad for the USA, and bad for a whole host of reasons:
[snip] President Obama dramatically understated the level of support the Muslim Brotherhood has garnered in Egypt in his Super Bowl interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, and is most likely wrong to have asserted that the Brothers and their allies do not command majority support in the country.
While the Brotherhood now says that they don't plan to contest the presidential elections directly, that can always change. And the data suggests strongly that any candidate they back directly or indirectly would have a potentially decisive advantage. Moreover, there is every reason to believe they would win a decisive, if not dominant role, in Parliament and would be the key actors in selecting the next prime minister as well as setting the legislative agenda.
While very recent public opinion polling from Egypt is not currently available, a number of clear inferences about what is likely to happen can be drawn from prior surveys and prior election results.
The bottom line: there is at least a 50 percent chance, if not more, that a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood or a party with a generally similar approach and orientation will win the next presidential election.
I draw this conclusion from a number of factors. First, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that support for the current regime is very limited to nonexistent. But the underlying structural issues present a more daunting challenge. Even before the fall of the Mubarak government, the Egyptian public was strongly aligned with fundamentalists and traditionalists, rather than modernizers who support a secular, pro-western tradition.
Put simply, Egyptians support Islam, its expanded role in the country's civic life, as well as Shariah. [snip]
Those of us who care about the rights of women, Israel, the stability of the Middle East, and the threat of increased terrorism in our country, are more than a little concerned that this might come to pass:
Egyptians also support the central elements of Shariah Law. For example, 84 percent say that apostates, or those who forsake Islam, should face the death penalty and 77 percent say thieves should have their hands cut off. A majority (54 percent) says men and women should be segregated in the workplace.
Further, the Egyptian people clearly support a political agenda that can only be described as radical. More than 7 in 10 said they were positive toward Iran getting nuclear weapons in a July 2010 Zogby Poll and close to 80 percent favor abrogating the Camp David accords with Israel.
A significant number of Egyptians are favorable to terrorist organizations, with close to half favorable to Hamas and one in five favorable to Al Qaeda.
Given this data it is no shock that the only group in Egyptian society that has any broad based support is the Muslim Brotherhood. Their leader, Muhammed Badi, has not surprisingly said the Koran should be law in Egypt and that jihad was essential. He also said that Israel and Zionism have to be resisted in every way possible with every resource at the disposal of the Egyptian people.[snip](Click here to read the rest.)
No wonder Lawmakers on the Hill gave a stern warning to Obama that the Muslim Brotherhood cannot have a role in Egypt. Well, I think their warning is too little too late, especially now. Thanks, Obama. Kinda makes me wonder on whose side he really is.
So Mubarak has officially handed over the reins. That's where we are right now.