(Photo: Mohammed Abed / Agence France-Presse / NYT)
From the New York Times online at 12:47PM, PST
CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt prepared to address the nation Thursday, with government officials indicating that they expected him to step aside, and Egypt’s military announcing that it is intervening in state affairs in an attempt to stop a three-week-old uprising.
Several government officials said Mr. Mubarak was expected to announce his own resignation and pass authority to his hand-picked vice president, Omar Suleiman. But if the military does assume formal control of the government, it remains uncertain if it would give Mr. Suleiman, a former military officer, a leading role...
State television said in a bulletin that Mr. Mubarak would make a statement tonight. ... However, state TV said that the country’s information minister, Anas El Fekky, had denied that Mr. Mubarak would step down, raising the possibility that he might hand over his executive duties but stay on in a ceremonial role.
As night fell, Egypt and the outside world, confronted with multiple reports all day that suggested everything from a military coup to an incremental enhancement of the power Mr. Mubarak delegates to his closest aides, awaited clarification from Mr. Mubarak on his and the military’s intentions...”
Hosni spoke; apparently it was the kind of rambling, disconnected address that can only show how unaware the man is that his Moment In History™ is over. He's been UnFriended on his Facebook page about 40,000,000 times. People are shaking their shoes at him while he's on the big teevee screen in Tahir Square.
All I heard were phrases about not leaving Egypt, being buried there; and lots of Egypt-Is-Wonderful references, and how his newly-appointed Vice-President will assume 'more' administrative powers. Think this can end well?
As if to prove his disconnection from the sources of public resistance, it's because things aren't wonderful in Egypt for many Egyptians that Hosni is on the verge of heading for Switzerland. But he did not say he was leaving.
Ruh-Roh: Well, that went over so well. The NYT now reports,
BREAKING NEWS 4:05 PM ET
Mubarak Clings to Office; Crowds in Cairo Are Furious