Friday, February 11, 2011
The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
All of these groups can do very well without Mubarak and if they can carry on as before without Mubarak, that is just fine with them. Mubarak will be gone shortly. I think everybody but Hosni Mubarak knows that. By ceding his presidential powers to Omar Suleiman the way he did today he blew the best chance they had of a "smooth and orderly transition" to more of the same under a different label, namely a Suleiman regime.
That has been the major fall back strategy of all those forces that have backed the Mubarak regime except Mubarak. That's why he made Suleiman his first vice president in 30 years. That's why they have been raising his profile in recent years. Suleiman has been running the police state apparatus for more than two decades. The plan always was for a "smooth and orderly transition" from the Wizard of Oz to the man behind the curtain. What we saw today was a renegade in the Presidential Palace because Mubarak has no fall back strategy that doesn't include Mubarak.
So rather than even making the a show of stepping aside, he has so badly handled the hand over of power to Suleiman that it is clearly perceived by one and all as no regime change at all. Everyone now sees that Mubarak and Suleiman are two peas in a pod and won't buy into a Suleiman regime as even a transitional solution. Mubarak blew it for his side.
What they should have done was have something of a "falling out" between Mubarak and Suleiman. They should have made a show of Suleiman "seizing power" from Mubarak. Mubarak should have made a "show of stepping down." He should have lowered his head and said that he was going to the corner and putting the new guy in charge. That would have been their best chance of making that play work.
But Mubarak is too arrogate for that. Instead he spoke to the nation as though he was the father of errant children. He made it clear that he wasn't going anywhere and Suleiman was his boy. In doing this he accomplished two things. 1.) He made the Suleiman ploy completely untenable and 2.) He angered the anti-government opposition and increased their resolve.
Most people were disappointed when they didn't hear Mubarak resign yesterday. I don't thing they should be. By refusing this self-sacrifice Mubarak only made more likely the complete success of the revolution. In short, he blew it.
However this is also a time of great danger because Mubarak's play has done nothing to ease the situation and he has put a torturer at the hemp. They have already tried to put down the rebellion with three campaigns of massive violence against the people by my count. The first was the police violence between January 25th and the next Friday pray. When that failed them, they withdrew the police, opened up the prisons and sent in the looter and vandals. Once the people had organized effectively to deal with that, they sent the thugs with automatic weapons and Molotov cocktails to Tahrir Square.
They are no doubt planning a fourth and final wave of violence. Thirty years of history show that this is their favored way of meeting the people's demands. They know that this one must be worst that the ones that have come before if it is to have any chance of success. This is Suleiman's style, and that is why he is being given the command at this time. People must prepare for this.
Mubarak is a sly old fox and he purposely planned yesterday's news leaks and rumors to anger and provoke people. He is hoping that in their anger, the opposition will resort to methods which are unsound and will give him the cause to respond with extreme violence.
I hope this doesn't happen. IMHO the protesters should keep building the massive nature of their movement and prepare for a siege. Rather that attacking state television or the parliament building in such a way that it provokes the army, they should be working to split the army. The interests of the army rank and file are the same as the people. When they are won to the revolution, the revolution will succeed!