Liveblogging Egypt: Day 5

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Tracking the ongoing demonstrations and government response108687113p.jpg
4:42 p.m. EST / 11:42 p.m. Cairo  A U.S. official tells BBC's Kim Ghattas that Mubarak's pledge is "not enough," suggesting that the Obama administration's stance is further aligning with that of the Egyptian popular protest movement.

4:20 p.m. EST / 11:20 p.m. Cairo  Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mubarak's pledge has not mollified the protesters, and if anything appears to have emboldened them in the same mission they have clearly articulated all along: they want Mubarak to step down immediately. In Cairo's Tahrir Square, a crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands responded immediately with deafening chants of "leave, leave." If this was Mubarak's bid for compromise -- to remain in power for a few final months with the promise that he will leave -- the protesters appear to have rejected it.

4:16 p.m. EST / 11:16 p.m. Cairo  National Journal's Marc Ambinder reports that President Obama and his national security team watched Mubarak's speech live.

4:05 p.m. EST / 11:05 p.m. Cairo  In a speech on state TV to the Egyptian people, President Hosni Mubarak declared he will not run for another term in the upcoming president election. "I am totally keen of ending my career for the sake of the nation," he said. "My top priority is to restore stability and security of the nation, and ensure a peaceful transition of power." He warned the country must choose between "choose between chaos or stability," portraying the protest movement as "targeting the safety and stability of the nation by enticement and incitement, looting and pillage, arson, hijacking roads, and assault on public and private and state property." He accused opposition of turning "a blind eye" to what Mubarak said was his offer for "dialogue." He added, "I never sought power or influence and people are away of the harsh conditions where I shouldered the responsibility." Ever-defiant, Mubarak insisted, "I'll die on the soil of Egypt."

3:42 p.m. EST / 10:42 p.m. Cairo  The U.S. has told Mubarak, through special envoy Wisner, that he should not seek reelection and should not attempt to put his son Gamal on the ballot, reports the BBC's Kim Ghattas. Mubarak has not yet given Wisner his answer. According to Ghattas, the U.S. has not explicitly told Mubarak to "stand down immediately" from office, "they are hoping he has figured that out on his own." This would seem to confirm that the U.S. position is now that Mubarak should resign immediately.

3:03 p.m. EST / 10:03 p.m. Cairo
  U.S. special envoy to Egypt Frank Wisner reportedly told Mubarak that he should step aside and should not be a part of any transitional government, according the Los Angeles Times. President Obama appointed Wisner specifically to address the current political crisis in Egypt. If this report is true, it suggests that the U.S. position is for Mubarak to step down from office, perhaps immediately. This would be a remarkable step for the U.S. against Mubarak and would align the Obama administration with the Egyptian protest movement in calling for regime change and a transition to democracy

2:46 p.m. EST / 9:46 p.m. Cairo  Egyptian state TV clarifies that Mubarak will release a statement, not give a speech. Al Jazeera reporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square say that the protesters there are unlikely to accept anything less than Mubarak's immediate resignation.

2:24 p.m. EST / 9:24 p.m. Cairo  Is this the beginning of the end for Mubarak? Foreign Policy's Marc Lynch thinks so. After all, Tunisian President Ben Ali made the exact same pledge Mubarak is expected to make -- not to seek reelection -- briefly before the undeterred protest movement forced him out of office and the country.

Mubarak pledging not to run again likely the next to last step before he runs out of gambits and is slowly led out the door.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck



2:16 p.m. EST / 9:16 p.m. Cairo  The New York Times reports that Obama is publicly urging Mubarak not to run for reelection, in the U.S.'s strongest move yet against the Egyptian president, a close U.S. ally since he took office in 1981. Given how much restraint and even support the administration showed only a few days ago, the U.S. has turned against Mubarak surprisingly quickly.

BREAKING: Obama Urges Mubarak Not to Run Again, U.S. Diplomats Sayless than a minute ago via TweetDeck


By telling Mubarak to pledge publicly not to run for another term, Obama effectively withdraws US support for its closest Arab allyless than a minute ago via TweetDeck



2:11 p.m. EST / 9:11 p.m. Cairo  State-controlled Egyptian TV says that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will speak soon and offer what they're describing as "a good solution." If earlier reports are correct, this will likely be a pledge not to run in the upcoming September presidential elections.

1:56 p.m. EST / 8:56 p.m. Cairo  The Obama administration today sent former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner to Cairo to negotiate with Mubarak. Washington Post columnist now reports on Twitter, "Mubarak tells Wisner: I'm not going." It's not clear how definitive this is or who Diehl's source is. If Mubarak is still refusing to leave office, the deadlock will likely continue tomorrow as it has today and the day before.

1:41 p.m. EST / 8:41 p.m. Cairo  According to Reuters and Al Arabiya, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is reportedly planning to make a statement declaring that he will not run for reelection. Egypt's next president election is scheduled for this September.

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Max Fisher is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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