Mubarak is not leaving the Egyptian presidency, but rather is simply delegating responsibilities to Vice President Omar Suliman, a gesture according to him that will satisfy protestors. The transition process will be extended through September, added Mubarak. The reaction in Tahrir Square was negative as protestors threw their shoes in an indication of strong rejection. In these 17 days of protest the main call has been for the Egyptian president to abandon his position, an embarrassing situation for Washington. President Obama has said that history was on the march, suggesting a break this evening in a discussion before Mubarak’s speech, and giving faith to many who believed Mubarak’s resignation was immanent. Obama will meet today with his national security council over the delicate position of Washington in this matter. We turn to the analysis of Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, DC.
Grant F. Smith: I think the Obama administration was waiting for Mubarak’s departure, and I imagine that behind the closed doors of the National Security Council there is a lot of preoccupation with Mubarak’s inability to listen to the Arab street.
Radio France: There is another fundamental actor in this which is Israel. The Minister of Defense Israel Ehud Barak suggested this evening from New York that it is the responsibility of the Egyptian people to find a path to solution without demanding the resignation of Mubarak.
Grant F. Smith: What Mubarak said in his speech tonight is certain: there are a lot of international and domestic movements involved in this. But what is important right now is what domestic Egyptian groups say. They’re neither going to define their future in terms of the supposed Israeli Palestinian “peace process” which has been broken for decades, nor will they likely continue as the prison guards of the Palestinians incarcerated in Gaza. They’re looking for a role a bit more true to Egypt’s roots.. Audio (MP3, foreign language)