Analysis Of The Day's Events In Egypt
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
And for more on the news out of Egypt, I'm joined now by Sherif Mansour, who is senior program officer for Freedom House's Middle East-North Africa programs. He is an Egyptian democracy activist. Welcome to the program.
SHERIF MANSOUR: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
SIEGEL: This was a confusing speech, or a confusing day. Expectations that President Mubarak would step down, but then he's delegating power to his vice president but staying on. What do you make of this speech?
MANSOUR: I'm honestly surprised that I'm not surprised. Everyone thought Mubarak would finally get it and wake up of this self-fulfilled prophecy that he only believes in it. And I think it's going to lead to a lot more anger in the streets tomorrow. And honestly, what we have right now is that instead of one dictator, we have two. And...
SIEGEL: Mubarak and his vice president, Omar Suleiman, you're saying?
MANSOUR: Exactly. Yes. And it's a situation where basically the country is going to have to witness a sort of a - an Iran situation where Mubarak has to burn his way out of the country.
SIEGEL: We've focused so much on what Hosni Mubarak did not say in this speech, or we expected him to say, that it reminds us to say what he did say. What was the point of this speech? If it wasn't to announce he wasn't stepping down, what was the big news here, from their standpoint?
MANSOUR: Exactly. I think he felt, I think, that there is a chance of escaping this by announcing some responsibility and trying to calm people down. But he still, in the same speech, he's still way out of reality. He still blames outside forces. And he still think that people are just deceived and this is just something that's going to fade away. If things get calm, then we're going to remove the emergency, things going to be happy and cuddly. But it's not going to happen.
SIEGEL: Are the groups that you're familiar with, the pro-democracy groups in Egypt, are they capable of keeping their cool right now and waiting out Hosni Mubarak? Or is there a threat that there might be some violence or tearing down a building, say?
MANSOUR: Absolutely. I think the risk are getting a lot more now to see violence in the streets. And I think the only way Mubarak is going to escape this is if he basically goes underground or something because the army have already said it wide and clear, that it's on the side of the people.
SIEGEL: Okay. Now, let's look back to what happened at the beginning of the day that lent substance to these rumors that we heard throughout that President Mubarak was about to resign. The most senior military officers met without President Mubarak present - he usually chairs their group. And they issued what they called communique number one, telling protesters their demands would be met. What do you make of that?
MANSOUR: So basically, you have no support whatsoever for Mubarak within the establishment. The last resort he had was the army. And with the army stepping back, he has nothing between him and the people of Egypt that he claim he represents.
SIEGEL: Sherif Mansour of Freedom House, thank you very much.
MANSOUR: Thank you.
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