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Egyptian Army Endorses Mubarek as Protestors Push for Democracy and Risk of Power Vacuum Looms

Fri February 11 2011 8:24 am  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=37726
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President Hosni Mubarak refused to step down or leave Egypt and instead handed most of his powers to his vice president Omar Suleiman.

The Egyptian Army is reported to be supporting President Hosni Mubarak’s plan to hand power over to Vice President Omar Suleiman and retain his title for the rest of his term, but also pledged to ensure the transition to free elections. The office of the vice president has been vacant from October 14, 1981 through January 29, 2011. The vacancy occurring just after the third president of Egypt, Anwar El Sadat was assassinated on October 6, 1981. Hosni Mubarak, serving as vice president, was wounded in the attack. A fatwā approving the assassination of Anwar Sadat had been obtained from Omar Abdel-Rahman, a cleric later convicted in the US for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Anwar Sadat was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak.


The Egyptian government succeeded in apprehending the membership of Tanzim al-Jihad, but “was rather lenient in the ensuing trial”. Over three hundred Islamic radicals were indicted in the trial of assassin Khalid Islambouli. One notable radical, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was released from prison in 1984. Al-Zawahiri is now under worldwide embargo by the United Nations Security Council 1267 Committee as a member or affiliate of al-Qaeda. In prison, the Cairenes and Saidis reverted into two factions, the Cairo militants later becoming the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and the Saidis later forming the al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, or the Islamic Group.

In 1998 al-Zawahiri, who is now referred to as ‘lieutenant’ to Osama Bin Laden, formally merged Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which he founded, into al-Qaeda. Ayman al-Zawahiri was born to a prominent upper middle class family in Maadi, Egypt, a suburb of Cairo. By age 14, al-Zawahiri had joined the Muslim Brotherhood and at 15 he founded an underground cell devoted to overthrowing the government of Egypt and establishing an Islamist state. On April 30, 2009, the US State Department reported that Zawahiri had emerged as the Al Qaeda’s operational and strategic commander with Osama Bin Laden now considered an ideological figurehead of Al Qaeda.

Yesterday, protesters warned the country could explode in violence and pleaded for the military to take action to push President Hosni Mubarek out.


”Egypt will explode” Mohamed ElBaradei has warned.


Crowds started streaming into Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday, vowing to drive Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out of office. Protesters also chanted outside State TV offices.

Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei is an Egyptian law scholar and diplomat. He was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an inter-governmental organisation under the auspices of the United Nations, from December 1997 to November 2009. ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. ElBaradei has been an important figure in the 2011 Egyptian protests.

On January 27, 2011, Mohamed ElBaradei returned to Egypt amid ongoing turmoil, with the biggest mass protests in 30 years, which had begun two days earlier, on the 25th January 2011. He has expressed willingness to lead a transitional government of Egypt. Subsequently, “when he joined protesters Friday after noon prayers, police fired water cannons at him and his supporters. They used batons to beat some of ElBaradei’s supporters, who surrounded him to protect him.” (Fox News Five People Killed During Protests in Egypt)

ElBaradei has stated that the resistance to protests was a “hopeless, desperate attempt by Mubarak to stay in power, I think it is loud and clear…that Mubarak has to leave today”.

In his position concerning the Muslim Brotherhood, ElBaradei stated that they are just as much a part of the Egyptian movement as the Marxist Party or any liberal party. However, BBC reports that Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition party banned by Mubarak’s regime, has not consented to the choice of ElBaradei as the representative of the opposition “The people have not appointed Mohamed ElBaradei to become a spokesman of them. The Muslim Brotherhood is much stronger than Mohamed ElBaradei as a person. And we do not agree on he himself to become representing [sic] this movement, the movement is represented by itself, and it will come up with a committee… to make delegations with any government.”

ElBaradei has also played an important role addressing Iran’s nuclear program. Some have criticized him indirectly of appeasement regarding the possibility of Iran using its nuclear program to develop nuclear weapons.

In addition, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has indirectly criticized ElBaradei for, in her perception, “muddying the message” to Iran and has also said “the IAEA is not in the business of diplomacy. The IAEA is a technical agency that has a board of governors of which the United States is a member.” In response to Rice’s comments, a senior official from the agency said “the IAEA is only doing now what the U.N. Security Council asked us to do.” ElBaradei notes that Rice said “from the U.S. perspective, I served with distinction”, and Rice has further said she appreciated his “stewardship of the nonproliferation regime.”

ElBaradei believes the nuclear non-proliferation regime has “lost its legitimacy in the eyes of Arab public opinion because of the perceived double-standard” in relation to Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors and UN Security Council have commended ElBaradei for “professional and impartial efforts” to resolve all outstanding issues with Iran.

On Friday Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that Egypt’s popular uprising shows a new Islamic Middle East is emerging, one that he claims will have no signs of Israel and U.S. “interference.”

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IMPORTANT NOTE: All persons referred to as subjects, defendants, offenders or suspects, etc. are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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