Amplify’d from rubinreports.blogspot.com
By Barry Rubin
In a move that simultaneously caught the world by surprise and yet indicated the regime's strategy, Egyptian President Husni Mubarak announced his resignation the day after refusing to resign.
It is impossible to believe that the military, to whom Mubarak handed power, changed its mind and plan in the last 24 hours due to continued demonstrations that it made no attempt to stop. So what is going on?
It is possible that Mubarak went beyond the agreement he had made with the army on what he was going to say in his speech. But that also seems unlikely.
What is most probable is that this was all agreed upon in advance: Mubarak retained his dignity and can say (though few care) that he quit on his own terms. Perhaps, then, Obama's jubilation yesterday might have been a premature expression of what he knew was going to happen.
So Mubarak is gone. The first point is that while this is huge in psychological terms, it is less important in strategic terms. Either health or the end of his term in September would have taken the 82-year-old president out of office soon any way.
The immediate effect is to set off celebrations throughtout Egypt. On one hand, this benefits the regime, which has now removed its most hated symbol. On the other hand, since the revolutionary movement can take credit for Mubarak's fall it is going to be seen as gathering momentum.
So now the regime faces the opposition. What is it going to offer? If the terms laid out in Mubarak's speech still prevail, the answer is not very much.
Or will it go back to its original offer of parliamentary elections, a convention to draw up a new constitution, and then presidential elections? Is the military ready to go out of the governing business and make a deal with the opposition in order to preserve its own privileges?
Here are the issues to watch:Read more at rubinreports.blogspot.com
--Will there be talk about dissolving the parliament and holding new parliamentary elections?
--Will the regime seek a new constitution?
--According to the existing constitution there must be an election within sixty days. Is this going to happen?
--Will the demonstrations die down now that Mubarak is gone or will the pressure be kept up?
--Will the army, seeking popularity, continue to avoid interfering against demonstrations, or perhaps to limit them mainly to Tahrir Square?
--Who will run for president? The Muslim Brotherhood will not run by itself but will support Muhammad ElBardei. What opposition will there be to him, if any? Given the short time available, would anyone be able to organize a party except for the ElBardei-Brotherhood coalition?
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