- In Tahrir Square, the atmosphere changed from euphoria to fear in less than 24 hours. The anti-government demonstrators were outnumbered and surrounded by pro-Mubarak supporters, trapped. They discovered that Army tolerance of their street displays also extended to the pro-Mubarak activists. The Army showed that it was strictly neutral, supporting neither side.
- The second epiphany was that the anti-government demonstrators were, in fact, not an outpouring of universal opposition to the Mubarak regime.
- The third epiphany is that Mubarak has flushed out his opposition.
- The fourth epiphany is that pro-Mubarak and anti-Mubarak activists both look to the Army to stabilize the situation. The Army got what it wanted from Mubarak and is now living up to its promises and responsibilities. It is in control now.
- The fifth epiphany is that the Army has not sided with the anti-government demonstrators. It appears the Army tolerated and used the demonstrations to ensure no dynastic succession. Every Egyptian leader since 1952 has been a military officer. The Army's action protected that precedent. The Army all along appears to have acted in pursuit of its own parochial interests, which are negative towards Gamal Mubarak as the next president, but positive towards letting Hosni Mubarak serve to the end of his term of office.
One well informed, Brilliant Reader suggested that the next leader of Egypt will be announced this week, after Friday prayers. He is the Chief of the Armed Forces Staff.But, what do I know? To quote my youngest:
Who knows, I'm not a real Arabist, I just sit near one at dinner on the occasional Thanksgiving.But, this report does suggest that we are not going to get the democratic revolution we were expecting. It didn't really happen in Lebanon (Cedar Revolution), it didn't happen in Iran (Green Revolution) here recently, and it doesn't look likely in Tunisia (Jasmine Revolution). The best shot for a new, sustainable, democracy in the neighborhood is still Iraq.
Regards — Cliff