Obama keeps pressure on Mubarak

On Saturday, the US told Egyptian President Mubarak, it was not enough simply to “reshuffle the deck” with a shake-up of his government and pressed him to make good on his promise of genuine reform.  And once again, angry protestors defied curfew in the cities.  Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and his administration kept up pressure for Mubarak to heed their calls for democratic change and take seriously a U.S. threat to review massive aid to Cairo.  Obama is trying a balancing act, not abandon Mubarak, yet who has been a US ally for 30 years, while while supporting protesters who seek broader political rights and demand his ouster. But Washington has limited options to influence the situation.

“The Egyptian government can’t reshuffle the deck and then stand pat,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a message on Twitter.com after Mubarak fired his government but made clear he had no intention of stepping down.  “President Mubarak’s words pledging reform must be followed by action,” he said, echoing Obama’s appeal on Friday for Mubarak to embrace a new political dynamic.   Reuters

The comments came just before  Mubarak picked intelligence chief and confidant Omar Suleiman as vice president. It is a post Mubarak had never filled in three decades of rule, and many interpreted the move as edging toward an eventual handover of power.  And on Saturday, Obama met with his national security team on the crisis in Egypt, a linchpin of U.S. Middle East strategy.  Afterward the White House called for restraint, supporting universal rights and supporting concrete steps that advance political reform.

While the Administration monitored the situation, protests emerged in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, where about 150 people marched from the Egyptian Embassy to the White House and stood outside the gates chanting, “Hey Obama, don’t you know, Hosni Mubarak has to go.”  Reuters

A top Republican called for Mubarak to hold elections. 

“Mr. Mubarak should listen to the demands of the Egyptian people for freedom and immediately schedule legitimate, democratic, internationally recognized elections,” said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, head of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.  “The people of Egypt no longer accept the status quo. They are looking to their government for a meaningful process to foster real reform,” Crowley said as unrest in Egypt’s cities continued for a fifth day despite Mubarak having ordered the army to the streets. At least 74 people have been killed.


Egypt’s crisis poses major problems to the US, who had Egypt for an ally for 30 years, and Egypt was a peace keeper in the Middle East.  It was the first of only two Arab states to have signed a peace treaty with Israel, and also is a crucial counterweight to Iran’s regional clout.  According to the US perspective, worse case scenario would be the rise of an Islamist government potentially aligned with Iran. 

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the Egyptian consulate in Chicago carrying signs, singing the Egyptian anthem and chanting slogans such as “Brick by brick, wall by wall, we will see Mubarak fall.”



  1. Janet

    Egypt protests: Tension rises as jets buzz Cairo square

    Tension is mounting in the Egyptian capital Cairo after the military staged an apparent show of strength during a sixth day of anti-government protests.


  2. Janet

    US Embassy tells Americans to weigh leaving Egypt

    The U.S. Embassy in Egypt on Sunday recommended that Americans leave the country as soon as possible, while other nations urged their nationals to avoid traveling to Cairo as days of protests descended into chaos, with looters roaming the streets and travelers stranded in the airport.


  3. Janet

    Egypt protesters step up pressure

    Beleaguered Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has announced a new cabinet amid mounting pressure from protesters, who have gathered in Cairo again in their tens of thousands.



  4. Janet

    ‘Day of departure’ rally in Egypt

    Tens of thousands of Egyptians are taking part in a “day of departure” to try to oust President Hosni Mubarak.


  5. Janet

    Egypt protests: Hosni Mubarak ‘may be stepping down’

    A senior member of Egypt’s governing party has told the BBC he “hopes” that President Hosni Mubarak will transfer power to Vice-President Omar Suleiman.


  6. Janet

    Egypt crisis: President Hosni Mubarak resigns as leader

    Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as president of Egypt.

    Vice-President Omar Suleiman made the announcement in a brief statement on state TV.


  7. Janet

    Egypt moves to reassure allies

    Egypt’s military authorities have reaffirmed the country’s commitment to all its international treaties.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: