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Posted at 12:39 PM ET, 02/11/2011

Mubarak leaves

By Jennifer Rubin

Yes, in a whip-lash moment, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down. The Post reports:

President Hosni Mubarak resigned Friday and handed power to the Egyptian military, setting off wild celebrations among protesters across the country who had demanded his ouster for the last 18 days.

When the announcement by Vice President Omar Suleiman was broadcast in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the protest epicenter, pandemonium broke out, as huge throngs of demonstrators realized they had toppled the autocratic ruler of the most populous Arab nation through a largely peaceful revolution.

As one Egypt expert told me, "Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'the Arab street.' " Indeed, those who imagined that Mubarak -- that rock of "stability" -- could endure were wrong; those who imagined that a secular, anti-authoritarian popular revolt could bring about change had it right. And how much better would the United States look if from the get-go we had been firmly on the side of the protestors.

I asked Brookings Institution's Bob Kagan, a member of the Egypt Working Group, what happened. He explained that the deciding factor was the "military's refusal to shoot at protesters or let protesters be attacked by police or rent-a-thugs. That has always been the key." And more specfically it was the outraged reaction of the protesters to Mubarak's defiant speech last night, Bob explained, that was the final straw. "I would guess the basic message from military was that this thing was out of control, they were not going to stop it, and only the answer was his departure. This happens all the time."

Referring to popular revolts in the Philippines, South Korea and Chile, Bob colorfully described deposed dictators as akin to "Mafia chiefs, who start being bad for business. And as Michael Corleone said to Tom Hagen, 'All our people are businessmen.' Their loyalty's based on that."

The challenge now is to encourage the reform process to go forward so Egypt does not go from Mubarak 1 to Mubarak 2. Bob recommends that the Obama team press forward on two points: "1) immediate lifting of the state of emergency and 2) immediate formation of national unity government including opposition leaders to oversee the transition period to elections. The protesters are not going to accept letting Suleiman and the military control this themselves."

And, meanwhile, one has to imagine that other autocrats in the Middle East are nervous. As after Tunisia, the world now begins to wonder: Which despot is the next to go?

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 11, 2011; 12:39 PM ET
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Next: Egypt 'not out of the woods yet'

Comments

Well, obviously, he has been listening to Obama.

Posted by: willows1 | February 11, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

A "Mubarak 2" would be the best possible outcome. A jihadist-sponsoring, Islamist-dominated enemy of the US and Israel is far more likely.

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

Posted by: eoniii | February 11, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Cautiously optimistic.
If this goes on a peaceful, non-theocratic path, Egypt could easily be the explosion triggered by the fuse of Tunisia.
I'm sure the un-democratic governments in the region and around the globe are in fear.

Posted by: spamsux1 | February 11, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The challenge now is to encourage the reform process to go forward so Egypt does not go from Mubarak 1 to Mubarak 2. Bob recommends that the Obama team press forward on two points: "1) immediate lifting of the state of emergency and 2) immediate formation of national unity government including opposition leaders to oversee the transition period to elections. The protesters are not going to accept letting Suleiman and the military control this themselves."

Define "encourage"/Define"Press Forward"

Jennifer,Is it possible that after 30 years of total support of the Thug they just got rid of,that the citizens of Egypt might not want our help?

Posted by: rcaruth | February 11, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

The most over/inapropriately quoted lines in the history of poetry. To understand these lines,you must read "The Vision" by Yeats.

Try these from the same poem,"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

Posted by: rcaruth | February 11, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

to eoniii:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&biw=1004&bih=534&q=a+vision+yeats&aq=6&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=a+Vision+

Posted by: rcaruth | February 11, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

thank you ms rubin for the comments from kagan.i liked his quote from michael corleone.the novel has become part of american literature.

mubarak stayed far too long.he should have left to make place for others.he would have been a hero.
he is an egyptian patriot and i do not think he was looking after his own interests.as usual his family may have led him astray.
in this case his wife and son.

Posted by: razor2 | February 11, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

rcaruth that is marvellous.

egypt is rather different from the rest of the middle east.the people are far more tolerant in spite of the treatment of the copt minority

the protestors are however in for a huge disappointment.egypt's poverty is structural and things will not change for the better.

Posted by: razor2 | February 11, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The revolution has only begun. Next will be the Islamic radicalization of Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. Next comes the rapid militarization of those countries. Then comes the multilateral assault on Israel. The fact that Islamic extremists are behind the protests on all three countries makes it well and obvious.

Posted by: heatherczerniak | February 11, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not this is revolutionary remains to be seen. It may not even be a change.

Posted by: BEFLA | February 11, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin writes "one has to imagine that other autocrats in the Middle East are nervous. As after Tunisia, the world now begins to wonder: Which despot is the next to go?

This is the harbinger of history most of all, as far as our intersts go, for Zionism. Time is up.

No two state solution;

No one state solution;

No enduring Apartheid state;

No puppet Egyptian state;

Time is up.

Posted by: tarquinis1 | February 11, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

If I can get a million people to camp out in DC for a fortnight, will Barack Obama resign?

Posted by: Swat02 | February 11, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

The most over/inapropriately quoted lines in the history of poetry. To understand these lines,you must read "The Vision" by Yeats.

Try these from the same poem,"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

Posted by: rcaruth
---------------------
Your couplet is also apt. When Yeats wrote "The Second Coming" in the aftermath of WWI, he foresaw the end of a cycle of history that began with Christianity and produced Western culture and the Enlightenment. His metaphor of a "rough beast slouch[ing] towards Bethlehem" can be seen as the Anti-Christ or as the rebirth of an earlier, less humanistic tradition. I see it as totalitarianism, which Orwell described as "a boot stamping on a human face ... forever".

We can see the overthrow of Mubarak as the triumph of western values of liberty and representative democracy, and maybe those values will prevail, but that's not the intent of the Muslim Brotherhood. Like the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, this day of liberation and exhilaration is likely to be followed by anti-democratic Islamist thugs seizing power.

Posted by: eoniii | February 11, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Swat02 - Isn't the population of Egypt something like 80 million? The U.S. is around 350 million or about 4.5 times as large. So if you could get 4.5 million people to camp out in Washington DC for 18 days, that may be a pretty good start, anyhow.

Best of luck doing it.

Posted by: willows1 | February 11, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Swat02 - Isn't the population of Egypt something like 80 million? The U.S. is around 350 million or about 4.5 times as large. So if you could get 4.5 million people to camp out in Washington DC for 18 days, that may be a pretty good start, anyhow.

Best of luck doing it.

Posted by: willows1 | February 11, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to our military in past administrations that have been training the Egyptian military in the ways of democracy. It's this that made this non violent coo possible

Posted by: thejames1225 | February 11, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Your couplet is also apt. When Yeats wrote "The Second Coming" in the aftermath of WWI, he foresaw the end of a cycle of history that began with Christianity and produced Western culture and the Enlightenment. His metaphor of a "rough beast slouch[ing] towards Bethlehem" CAN BE SEEN as the Anti-Christ or as the rebirth of an earlier, less humanistic tradition. I see it as totalitarianism, which Orwell described as "a boot stamping on a human face ... forever".

It can be seen that way,but that would be your imposition on the poem,it was not written to buttress your political views. Read A Vision,Yeats developed his own very weird Occult theory of history like Ouspensky or Madame G,or L Ron Hubbard.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 11, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Who's next? In a word: Iran. The Green Revolution isn't done yet. If I were the mullahs and Ahmadinejad, I'd be sweating a bit and looking for the exits.

Posted by: B-rod | February 11, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Who's next? In a word: Iran. The Green Revolution isn't done yet. If I were the mullahs and Ahmadinejad, I'd be sweating a bit and looking for the exits.

Posted by: B-rod
-------------------------------
I hope you're right, but I think there's one big difference: The US-trained, secular Egyptian military was unwilling to fire on the Egyptian people. That's likely to be the case with our other allies in the region, but the Islamist army in Iran, the Baathist army in Syria, and Khadafi's thugs in Libya are much less restrained.

History has taught us that popular revolutions fail when strong militaries and secret police forces are willing to slaughter thousands.

Posted by: eoniii | February 11, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Truman lost China,
Nixon lost Vietnam,
Carter lost Iran,
Obama lost Egypt
Next Democrat will lose USA, lets not allow this

Posted by: igorkh | February 11, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

It's the technology, stupid. Post-literate man and tribalism. Or something like that.

Posted by: aardunza | February 11, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

It is always fun to read these columns whose basic message is, things went well, who should we blame. Of course for Rubin, the who we should blame comes first, so it is really a question of how we should blame Obama.

It is true that Bush got out in front of the popular Arab revolutions. But his follow up is hard to judge because those revolutions didn't materialize.

The evidence seems to suggest that Arab revolutions do not benefit from our getting out in front of them.

Posted by: beckerl | February 11, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Who is next? Protesters were killed in Sana'a in Yemen today. Mass protests have been called for Algeria tomorrow, such that the government has brought 20k police into the capital. Ivory Coast's "president" has endured months of mass protests after ignoring the last election results.

It is hard to say whether any of these movements will succeed, but these are the places where things are being tried.

Posted by: Nissl | February 11, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

When SNL uses the Danny Thomas line, you can all say you knew me when.

Posted by: aardunza | February 11, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse


ONE OF THE GREATEST thing of this glorious action by the Etyptians,

is hearing the sordid Israelis and their too many agents media in the US scream!

They cannot conceive of decent people doing things for decent reasons...

nothing but 'defense' for Israel so it can continue on it's land grabbing savage ways to takeover..onward zionsism. War and savagery. They cannot conceive wanting to live in peace and justice.

Look at Wall Street for a template.

Posted by: whistling | February 11, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Who's next ? Obama

Posted by: michel1835 | February 11, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Which despot is the next to go?

~~~

John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Michelle Bachmann, Mitch McConnell and Justices Scalia and Thomas for now.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 11, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

A "Mubarak 2" would be the best possible outcome. A jihadist-sponsoring, Islamist-dominated enemy of the US and Israel is far more likely.

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

----------

Congratulations, dude, for the weirdest post of the day. And why not just drop the pretending and leave out "US."

Posted by: sr31 | February 11, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Who knows? Israel? Is this good or bad? My rule of thumb if the press gushes over it then it will be a disaster, hope I am wrong.

Posted by: Saladin3 | February 11, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The Dear Leader Obama.

Posted by: MatthewWeaver | February 11, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Truman lost China,
Nixon lost Vietnam,
Carter lost Iran,
Obama lost Egypt
Next Democrat will lose USA, lets not allow this

---

LOL!!!

Posted by: sr31 | February 11, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

As for which country is next on path to democracy

Historically- turn over/revolution in impoverished countries has gone toward either military governments, dictators or one party rule by hyperideological groups
examples of this are China, Russia, South east Asia, most of Africa, and central America south of Mexico, Belarus and most of the Eastern former Soviet republics

On the other hand, countries with larger, established educated middle classes "2nd world" nations- tended to go toward Democracy in their tranisitions:
examples of this: US, France (centuries ago), Indonesia, Ukraine, Russia-1990s, Eastern Europe, etc.

One of the few exceptions to this pattern has been India, where the leadership of giant figures- Gandhi and Nehru- changed the direction things could have gone.

For this reason, I think the poorer Arab states- Yemen, Jordan and Syria are not changing anytime soon. Libya and Iran, on the other hand- and in the best case scenario, Saudi Arabia would be more natural places for Democratization to take place
Examples

Posted by: NYClefty | February 11, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Saudi arabia and six dollar gas

Posted by: schmidt1 | February 11, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

A true despot would never have allowed
the twittering kiddies build tent cities in the heart of the capital city, and kept CNN and Al Jazeera out. Egypt is hardly a model for instant democracy since manna is NOT going to drop from heaven and solve the food inflation that plagues so many.

"Mubarakism Without Mubarak: Why Egypt’s Military Will Not Embrace Democracy"
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/67416/ellis-goldberg/mubarakism-without-mubarak?page=show

Ms. Rubin needs an antidote to irrational exuberance.

Posted by: K2K2 | February 12, 2011 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: K2K2 | February 12, 2011 12:54 AM

A true despot would never have allowed
the twittering kiddies build tent cities in the heart of the capital city, and kept CNN and Al Jazeera out.

________________________

You mean, like our other tyrannical friends, the Saudis?

There is only so much rulers can do in this day and age to block communications. What ever allowed Mubarak to block Facebok and Twitter also allowed hackers like Anonymous to hack in.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 13, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: eoniii | February 11, 2011 3:24 PM

The US-trained, secular Egyptian military was unwilling to fire on the Egyptian people. That's likely to be the case with our other allies in the region, but the Islamist army in Iran, the Baathist army in Syria, and Khadafi's thugs in Libya are much less restrained.

______________

It wasn't the army in Iran that quelled the protests - it was their police, just like Egypt's secret police.

The difference was that in Egypt, Mubarak was overwhelmingly unpopular. In Iran, the government has the majority support of the public.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 13, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: B-rod | February 11, 2011 2:56 PM

Who's next? In a word: Iran. The Green Revolution isn't done yet. If I were the mullahs and Ahmadinejad, I'd be sweating a bit and looking for the exits.

_____________________________________


If you were the mullahs and Ahmadinejad, you'd know that unlike Mubarak, they enjoy the majority of the public's support. No revolution is going to take place when those demonstrating represent a minority consensus.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 13, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: eoniii | February 11, 2011 2:45 PM

We can see the overthrow of Mubarak as the triumph of western values of liberty and representative democracy, and maybe those values will prevail, but that's not the intent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

___________________________

The revolution had nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Like the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, this day of liberation and exhilaration is likely to be followed by anti-democratic Islamist thugs seizing power."

There was nothing anti-democratic about what took place in Lebanon. As a result of the 2009 elections, the Hezbollah faction now controls the majority of seats. The process was completely democratic and not a bullet was fired, not a drop of blood spilled.

You're typical of those who only have respect for democracy when it produces the results you want.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 13, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

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