A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First Reaction: Eight Days Late

If prior to the January 25 demonstrations, Mubarak had announced he would not run again, would amend the constitution to allow real elections, etc., he might well have forestalled the revolt. But announcing it on February 1? I know this may be a US-brokered deal, but how do you convince the people in the streets that this time he means the rhetoric?

Remember: Ben Ali announced he would not run again at the end of his term. Within 24 hours he was in the air, looking for an airport that would accept him.

Too little too late? I don't know; it's not up to me, or the Obama Administration, or even Husni Mubarak now. Events are in the saddle.

I'll have more later after seeing what other reactions are.


David Mack said...

I think this will work. The army does not want further chaos and will get word out effectively through their relatives. Serious food shortages are being felt. People are losing jobs as factories close, and those who have money in bank can't take it out right now. There will be some die hard demonstrators who won't take a half loaf now and the whole loaf in September. Hopefully, they will not be too numerous, and, hopefully, their continued demonstrations will not lead to staining the pavement of Midan at-Tahrir with blood. Kifayya!

Michael Collins Dunn said...

I'm working on a post for later today on the possibilities. Biggest problem I can see is that amending the Constitution is in the hands of a Parliament with little legitimacy after the last elections. But there are ways this could work if the Army brokers things right.