Obama Administration Discussing Plans For Mubarak’s Departure

The end game in Egypt may be beginning.

The New York Times just posted a story that is sure to be a game-changer in the ongoing saga of the protests in Egypt:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately, turning over power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military, administration officials and Arab diplomats said Thursday.

Even though Mr. Mubarak has balked, so far, at leaving now, officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which, Mr. Suleiman, backed by Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the Defense Minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform.

The proposal also calls for the transitional government to invite members from a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to begin work to open up the country’s electoral system in an effort to bring about free and fair elections in September, the officials said.

Senior administration officials said that the proposal is one of several options under discussion with high-level Egyptian officials around Mr. Mubarak, though not him directly, in an effort to convince him to step down now.

The officials cautioned that the outcome depended on several factors, not least of all the mood of the protesters on the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities and the dynamics within the Egyptian government. Some officials said there was not yet any indication that either Mr. Suleiman or the military were willing to abandon Mr. Mubarak.

The Egyptian government will be tested again by massive new protests on Friday, which the demonstrators were calling the “day of departure” for Mr. Mubarak, when they plan to march on the presidential palace. The military’s pledge not to fire on the Egyptian people will be tested as well.

I’m not sure if the replacement of Mubarak with his hand-picked Vice President will be enough for the protesters, but if it calms the situation down enough to allow a real transition to take place, it could just work.

As always, stay turned…..

FILED UNDER: Middle East, World Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. John Burgess says:

    Every passing hour, I believe, undercuts the ability and authority of VP Suleiman. His rant about foreign journalists undercuts it further and faster.

    The only way this government can hold onto power is if it engages in a massacre tomorrow, and that would only keep it in power temporarily.

  2. ponce says:

    “The only way this government can hold onto power is if it engages in a massacre tomorrow”

    Not really, the protesters are running out of food and money.

    “Every passing hour” strengthens Mubarak.

  3. tom p says:

    “As always, stay turned…..”

    Indeed, and facing the wall I might add…

  4. Muffler says:

    It is a balancing act. You cannot just leave a vacuum of government after 30 years. It’s not in any Egyptians best interest. What is in their peoples best interest is genuine truth and transparent plans which the population can monitor. The world also needs to see it happen to legitimize the next government.

    Mubarak with his dictator ego denied that he was eventually going to die and for something to be planned in case. The idea that he spent 30 years keeping himself in power versus planning on a transition speaks to complete the picture. Even so, he cannot just pull up stakes and walk away without creating a vacuum which could lead to another dictator or a Muslim theocracy.

    Both sides need to take a breath and start the transition.