Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Finally Steps Down

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Finally Steps Down


They won.

From Bloomberg:

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 18 days 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 late today. “He has instructed the Supreme Council of the armed forces to take over the affairs of the country.”

Tens of thousands of protesters who crowded into Cairo’s central Tahrir Square after dark greeted the announcement with a roar of delight before dancing, singing and waving the national flag. Outside the presidential palace in Heliopolis, a suburb, cars honked their horns while a crowd of thousands chanted: “The people have toppled the regime.” The resignation came after Egyptians streamed out of Friday prayers vowing to oust Mubarak, 82, after he yesterday defied calls for him to leave for the second time this month.

He could have had a graceful exit, but decided to talk tough publicly and then abdicate privately.

His loss.

Egypt’s gain.


  • cranky critter

    So, Elvis has left the building. He was the last to know… .

    After a hearty celebration, the real work begins.

  • mw

    Some thoughts…

    Seeing the jubilation of the Egyptians in the square, it is impossible not to feel optimistic, happy for this outcome and excited about their future.

    However, the simple reality is that all we know now is that a military dictatorship that was a strong ally of the US, firmly supported peace with Israel, and a 30 year source of stability in an unstable region, has now been replaced with a military dictatorship that will transition Egypt to… no one knows. Such is the nature of Democracy. Or – such is the nature of military dictatorships who may decide that, after due consideration, they themselves are best qualified to continue to run things. There are just not that many examples in history of Generals like George Washington, who refuse their army’s entreaties to be installed as king when there is no one in a position to resist. We can only hope for the best for the people of Egypt, and that there is a George Washington in a position of power in the Egyptian military hierarchy.

    I see that some GOP 2012 hopefuls are quick to find nits to pick about Obama’s handling of these events. They would be better served and earn more credibility with voters by observing the old dictum of leaving politics at the border, and supporting the President. My take is that Obama, Clinton, and the administration did a masterful job of walking a very narrow path and avoiding the diplomatic land mines along the way. There were a lot of ways this could have gone very wrong for the US. There still is, but so far so good.

    I have no problem with 30 years of spending a billion dollars a year on the Egyptian military to prop up Mubarak. We got 30 years of stability, peace with Israel and an ally in an unstable region and time when and where we really needed one. We bought leverage and a relationship with the Egyptian military that probably served us well during this crisis with some deft string pulling behind the scenes.

    If we get a friendly Democratic government in Egypt now, that $1B/year looks like a real bargain compared to the $100B we’re spending to install Democracy in Iraq at the point of a gun. We did what we needed to do over the last 30 years with Mubarak, and this administration is doing what we need to do now to stay on the right side of history in Egypt.

    Foreign affairs done right.

    Like I said – I’m optimistic.

  • Alistair

    Beautiful said MW but the problem is Glenn Beck and Mr.Limbaugh continues to send fear and false propaganda to the some of a few small minded people.

  • cranky critter

    I also dislike the gratuitous anti-Obama criticism on this issue. The outcome wasn’t really up to us, nor should it have been. I pay no heed to Limbaugh or Beck and don’t believe they are worthy of dwelling on.

    Much more irritatating was some of the “serious” criticism that came from conservative old farts still fighting the cold war. Many of these guys just don’t get the modern world or the pace of change. They all have nightmares that Egypt could be the next Iran, with a muslim autocracy installed. Too bad for the sh’aria crowd. Modern communication means that more and more folks worldwide can recognize oppression in all its guises.

    Iran had to stifle growing dissent because their people are tired of their leaders playing the “blame America’ card and saying “we have to go really slow and trust in allah, etc, etc.” Really? That’s all you got?

    With the internet, facebook, twitter, and so on, folks the world over want a say. A say. They want a little liberty, a little breathing room, opportunity of their own to make a life that is not subject to the whims of an iron-fisted council that may talk fancy but always brings down the hammer in the end.

  • Julie Kinnear

    I can’t imagine Suleiman as the future leader of Egypt since he has been the right hand of Mubarak for so many years. I think the Egyptian people should be given the right to choose their own representatives now when the country is finally free.

  • theWord

    Had Reagan given a speech in Cairo at the beginning of this recent history as Obama did he’d be getting single-handed credit for all that has taken place by the same people dumping on Obama.

  • Mike A.

    @ theWord….give it time..

  • michael mcEachran

    Since the Egyptian revolution does not have religion at it’s core (unlike Iran ’79) there is no “fear of god” for would-be strong men to use as leverage. That gives hope that “the people” can keep their standing as the future democracy is designed and implemented. Social Media / technology have not only provided the means for this revolution to take place, but will also (hopefully) provide the means for it to stay on track. Hopes are indeed high.

    Thanks to the right-leaning moderates on this post for giving well deserved props to the Obama administration for their handling so far – Clinton and Biden gaffes notwithstanding. Ah, sanity.

  • kranky kritter

    Thanks to the right-leaning moderates on this post for giving well deserved props to the Obama administration for their handling so far – Clinton and Biden gaffes notwithstanding. Ah, sanity.

    Folks on both sides on the aisle really would be very well served if, in foreign policy instances like this, they refrained from making the President the issue.

    These events in Egypt are about Egypt. Yet Americans seldom seem able to view such events through any other lens than that of America’s interests and America’s role. I heard loose talk about whether Obama was going to “lose Egypt.” That’s moronic. Let’s face it, it wasn’t up to him or up to us either. We were the audience.

    The best we can do in such cases is try to be helpful without trying to be too directorial. Of course, we can’t say we really believe in our own democratic ideals unless we’re willing to support the sorts of risks it takes to establish new democracies instead of supporting dictatorial stability for the sake of expedience.

    Over years of watching such events, the pattern of interpretation by each side of the aisle is clear and invariant. If the outcome is positive in the eyes of Americans, then the President’s party wants to give the President a huge amount of credit. And If the outcome is negative in the eyes of Americans, then the President’s party wants to attribute the outcome to circumstances beyond its control.

    The opposition party does the opposite. If the outcome is positive in the eyes of Americans, then the opposition party wants to minimize any credit to the President for the outcome. But if the outcome is negative in the eyes of Americans, then the opposition party will always focus on the President’s role.

    I think the Obama admin did well in taking the right tone and by stressing the will of Egyptians instead of backing Mubarak. And I also think that the outcome was due primarily to the people of Egypt.

    As heartening as I find this outcome personally, I think ousting Mubarak was the easy the part. It was easy for Egyptians to agree that they were against Mubarak. It’s going to be much harder for them to agree on what they are FOR. I hope they are able to undertake that task with patience and wisdom.

    One thing I will say for conservatives is that they do seem somewhat more attuned to the virtue of leaving partisan differences at the border. That’s just my opinion, though.

  • michael mcEachran

    KK – Obama’s well deserved props I was referring to is that he has, for the most part, not made it “all about him”. The administration has by and large kept the focus on the Egyptian people, and their fight for freedom. He has walked a fine line of expressing support without injecting America too far into the mix, which would risk deligitimizing the cause. I am grateful that some partisans have acknowkedged such. I couldn’t agree more with your comments.

  • Dieta

    I had an opportunity to be in Egypt in december 2010. It was my 4th trip to Egypt and I can tell you that each year people were more desperate. I’m from Poland and we fought for our freedom in 80’s so I think i can tell that I know what these people feel. Good luck Egypt!