Mubarak sets up potential bloodbath with speech; hands over limited power to VP

Posted on 11 Feb 2011 at 11:52pm

Is it me or is aging, out-of-touch, egomaniac dictator Hosni Mubarak asking for a bloodbath coup with a speech that basically says he’s still in charge?

In what looks like a bone-headed, stubborn and potentially deadly political move, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, who apparently hasn’t been looking at the teeming crowds of people in the streets calling for him to get lost, today digged in his heels. The speech clearly caught everyone — including the White House — off guard, as most figured the guy was going to resign and jet off to some paradise to live out the rest of his years. You know, something that would make sense for the garden variety dictator.

But egomaniacs like to hold on to power, so he handed over some responsibilities to his VP:

I am telling you, as a president of the country, I do not find it a mistake to listen to you and to respond to your requests and demands. But it is shameful and I will not, nor will ever accept to hear foreign dictations, whatever the source might be or whatever the context it came in.

…I have delegated to the vice president some of the power – the powers of the president according to the constitution. I am aware, fully aware, that Egypt will overcome the crisis and the resolve of its people will not be deflected and will [inaudible] again because of the – and will deflect the arrows of the enemies and those who [inaudible] against Egypt.

But Mubarak still holds power over the country’s constitution and ability to dismiss Parliament, according to CNN.

The White House has yet to respond. Who knows what the Egypt’s army will do.

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UPDATE: The WH response:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_____________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                                                                                                                            February 10, 2011

Statement of President Barack Obama on Egypt

The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.  

As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. But the United States has also been clear that we stand for a set of core principles. We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met. We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy. To that end, we believe that the emergency law should be lifted. We believe that meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition and Egyptian civil society should address the key questions confronting Egypt’s future: protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens; revising the Constitution and other laws to demonstrate irreversible change; and jointly developing a clear roadmap to elections that are free and fair.

We therefore urge the Egyptian government to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek.  Going forward, it will be essential that the universal rights of the Egyptian people be respected. There must be restraint by all parties. Violence must be forsaken. It is imperative that the government not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality. The voices of the Egyptian people must be heard.

The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential. In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.

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Below the fold is the Mubarak transcript.

 

In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate, dear fellow citizens, my sons, the youth of Egypt, and daughters, I am addressing you tonight to the youth of Egypt in Tahrir Square, with all of its diversity.

I am addressing all of you from the heart, a speech from the father to his sons and daughters. I am telling you that I am very grateful and am so proud of you for being a symbolic generation that is calling for change to the better, that is dreaming for a better future, and is making the future.

I am telling you before anything, that the blood of the martyrs and the injured will not go in vain. And I would like to affirm, I will not hesitate to punish those who are responsible fiercely. I will hold those in charge who have violated the rights of our youth with the harshest punishment stipulated in the law.

I am telling families of the innocent victims that I have been so much in pain for their pain, and my heart ached for your heartache.

I am telling you that my response to your demands and your messages and your requests is my commitment that I will never go back on to. I am determined to fulfill what I have promised you in all honesty, and I’m determined to execute and carry out what I have promised without going back to the past.

This commitment is out of my conviction of your honesty and your movement and that your demands are the demands – legitimate and just demands. Any regime could make mistakes in any country, but what is more important is to acknowledge these mistakes and reform and correct them in a timely manner, and to hold those responsible for it accountable.

I am telling you, as a president of the country, I do not find it a mistake to listen to you and to respond to your requests and demands. But it is shameful and I will not, nor will ever accept to hear foreign dictations, whatever the source might be or whatever the context it came in.

My sons and daughters, the youth of Egypt, dear fellow citizens, I have announced, without any doubt, that I will not run for the next presidential elections and have said that I have given the country and served the country for 60 years in public service, during wartime and during peacetime.

I have told you my determination that I will hold steadfast to continue to take on my responsibility to protect the constitution and the rights of people until power is transferred to whomever the people choose during September, the upcoming September, and free and impartial elections that will be safeguarded by the freedom – the call for freedom.

This is the oath that I have taken before God and before you. And I will protect it and keep it until we reach – we take Egypt to the safety and security.

I have given you my vision to get out of this current situation, to accomplish what the youth and the people called for, within the respect for the legitimacy and the constitution in a way that will accomplish security, and security for our future and the demands of our people, and at the same time will guarantee a framework of peaceful transition of power.

Through a responsible dialogue between all factions in the society, with all honesty and transparency, I have given you this vision under commitment to take the country out of this current crisis, and I will continue to accomplish it. And I’m monitoring the situation hour by hour.

I’m looking forward to the support of all those who are careful about the security and want a secure Egypt, within a tangible time, with the harmony of the broad base of all Egyptians that will stay watchful to guard Egypt and under the command of its military forces.

We have started a national dialogue, a constructive one, that included the youth who have called for change and reform, and also with all the factions of opposition and of society. And this dialogue resulted in harmony, and preliminary harmony in opinions that has placed us on the beginning of the road to transfer to a better future that we have agreed on.

We also have agreed on a road map – a road map with a timetable. Day after day, we will continue the transition of power from now until September. This national dialogue has — has met and was formed under a constitutional committee that have looked into the constitution and what was required – and looked into what is required, and the constitution reforms that is demanded [inaudible].

We will also monitor the execution – the honest execution of what I have promised my people. I was careful that both committees that were formed – to be formed from Egyptians who are honorable and who are independent and impartial, and who are well-versed in law and constitution.

In addition to that, in reference to the loss of many Egyptians during these sad situations that have pained the hearts of all of us and have ached the conscience of all Egyptians. I have also requested to expedite investigations and to refer all investigations to the attorney general to take the necessary measures and steps – decisive steps.

I also received the first reports yesterday about the required constitutional reform – reforms that was suggested by the constitutional and law experts regarding the legislative reforms that were requested. I am also responding to what the committee has suggested. And based on the powers given to me according to the constitution, I have presented today a request asking the amendment of six constitutional articles, which is 76, 77, 88, 93 and 187, in addition to abolishing article number 79 in the constitution, with the affirmation and conviction that later on we can also amend the other articles that would be suggested by that constitutional committee, according to what it sees right.

Our priority now is to facilitate free election – free presidential elections and to stipulate a number of terms in the constitution and to guarantee a supervision of the upcoming elections to make sure it will be conducted in a free manner.

We – I have also looked into the provisions and the steps to look into the parliamentary elections, but those who have suggested to abolish article number 179 in the constitution will guarantee the balance between the constitution and between our security and the threat of terror, which will open the door to stopping the martial law, as soon as we regain stability and security and as soon as these circumstances — circumstances assure the stability.

Our priority now is to regain confidence between citizens among themselves and to regain confidence in the international arena and to regain confidence about the reforms that we have pledged.

Egypt is going through some difficult times, and it is not right to continue in this discourse because it has affected our economy and we have lost day after day, and it is in danger — it is putting Egypt through a situation where people who have called for reform will be the first ones to be affected by it.

This time is not about me. It’s not about Hosni Mubarak. But the situation now is about Egypt and its present and the future of its citizens.

All Egyptians are in the same spot now, and we have to continue our national dialogue that we have started in the spirit of one team and away from disagreements and fighting so that we can take Egypt to the next step and to regain confidence in our economy and to let people feel secure and to stabilize the Egyptian street so that people can resume their daily life.

I was a young man, a youth just like all these youth, when I have learned the honor of the military system and to sacrifice for the country. I have spent my entire life defending its land and its sovereignty. I have witnessed and attended its wars with all its defeats and victories. I have lived during defeat and victory.

During the victory in 1973, my happiest days were when I lifted the Egyptian flag over Sinai. I have faced death several times when I was a pilot. I also faced it in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and elsewhere. I did not submit nor yield to foreign dictations or others. I have kept the peace. I worked towards the Egyptian stability and security. I have worked to the revival in Egypt and the prosperity.

I did not seek authority. I trust that the majority — the vast majority of the Egyptian people know who is Hosni Mubarak, and it pains me to what I have — what I see today from some of my fellow citizens. And anyway, I am completely aware of the — what we are facing and I am convinced that Egypt is going through a historical — a historical moment that necessitates we should look into the higher and superior aspirations of the nation over any other goal or interest.

I have delegated to the vice president some of the power – the powers of the president according to the constitution. I am aware, fully aware, that Egypt will overcome the crisis and the resolve of its people will not be deflected and will [inaudible] again because of the – and will deflect the arrows of the enemies and those who [inaudible] against Egypt.

We will stand as Egyptians and we will prove our power and our resolve to overcome this through national dialogue. We will prove that we are not followers or puppets of anybody, nor we are receiving orders or dictations from anybody — any entity, and no one is making the decision for us except for the [inaudible] of the Egyptian [inaudible].

We will prove that with the spirit and the resolve of the Egyptian people, and with the unity and steadfastness of its people and with our resolve and to our glory and pride.

These are the main foundations of our civilization that have started over 7,000 years ago. That spirit will live in us as long as the Egyptian people – as long as the Egyptian people remain, that spirit will remain in us.

It will live amongst all of our people, farmers, intellectuals, workers. It will remain in the hearts of our senior citizens, our women, our children, Christians and Muslims alike, and in the hearts and minds of all those who are not born yet.

Let me say again that I have lived for this nation. I have kept my responsibilities. And Egypt will remain, above all, and above any individuals — Egypt will remain until I deliver and surrender its — it to others. This will be the land of my living and my death. It will remain a dear land to me. I will not leave it nor depart it until I am buried in the ground. Its people will remain in my heart, and it will remain — its people will remain upright and lifting up their heads.

May God keep Egypt secure and may God defend its people. And peace be upon you.

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