Hosni Mubarak Wants to Smoke a ‘Peace Pipe’ with Egyptian Protestors
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has signed a decree forming a committee that will oversee constitutional amendments that were discussed during recent talks with opposition members, as the spirited public demonstration enters the third week.
Despite Mubarak’s assurance to the youth in Egypt that they will have the right to freedom of speech and that no one should worry about being arrested for speaking their minds the crowd at Tahrir square were not impressed. They stood their ground demanding Mubarak’s ouster.
Suleiman, the newly appointed Vice-President, has been holding talks with the dissidents. Many of the important members of the ruling National Democratic Party have resigned, including Gamal – Mubarak’s son and yet not all members of the opposition parties are okay with the talks.
There was a deceptive calm in Tahrir square on Tuesday– no Molotov cocktails and projectiles hurtling through the air. However, analysts say that the scene could suddenly turn volatile and have serious consequences for the protestors notwithstanding the assurance from President Mubarak.
Fouad Ajami, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at John Hopkins University says that since the protestors are all identifiable by the security services, they would be in grave danger should the present dispensation weather this revolution.
Mahmoun Fandy of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington feels that President Mubarak is stalling for time and “appears to be waiting it out” so that after a time the issue dies a natural death, public memory being short.
Some leading Egyptian personalities are of the view that the President should be allowed to complete his term in office. Even the Muslim Brotherhood, an officially banned Islamic organization, who were adamant on the President’s removal have agreed for talks to end the impasse.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and now a key opposition leader said there was “a huge question of credibility” as regards this government is concerned and he doubted its sincerity.
Egypt is America’s key ally in the Middle East and the US needs it to keep peace in the region especially with the smoldering relationship between Israel and major Arab nations. The US provides it with about $1.3 billion in military aid and millions in other economic assistance annually and therefore needs to watch the situation very carefully.