The PJ Tatler

Egypt: Mubarak speaks, chaos spreads, game over?

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

An interview with Christiane Amanpour:

While he described President Obama as a very good man, he wavered when I asked him if hour [sic] felt the U.S. had betrayed him. When I asked him how he responded to the United States’ veiled calls for him to step aside sooner rather than later, he said he told President Obama “you don’t understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now.”

Meanwhile, armed men are threatening reporters with beheading, and the video feeds from Tahrir Square have done dark.

Update: Writing in Foreign Policy, Robert Springborg declares “game over.”

The president and the military, have, in sum, outsmarted the opposition and, for that matter, the Obama administration. They skillfully retained the acceptability and even popularity of the Army, while instilling widespread fear and anxiety in the population and an accompanying longing for a return to normalcy. When it became clear last week that the Ministry of Interior’s crowd-control forces were adding to rather than containing the popular upsurge, they were suddenly and mysteriously removed from the street. Simultaneously, by releasing a symbolic few prisoners from jail; by having plainclothes Ministry of Interior thugs engage in some vandalism and looting (probably including that in the Egyptian National Museum); and by extensively portraying on government television an alleged widespread breakdown of law and order, the regime cleverly elicited the population’s desire for security. While some of that desire was filled by vigilante action, it remained clear that the military was looked to as the real protector of personal security and the nation as a whole. Army units in the streets were under clear orders to show their sympathy with the people.