Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's son who is considered as his successor has fled to Britain along with his family, US-based Arabic website Akhbar al-Arab reported.
The report came as violent unrest broke out in Cairo and other Egyptian cities and hundreds of thousands of people reportedly took to the streets in a Tunisia-inspired day of revolt.
The long reign of Hosni Mubarak seems to be in its final decline and the next few weeks will probably determine to a great extent the security picture of the Middle East for a generation.
While we should all applaud the removal of a dictator we should do so with the realization that the odds of the Obama Administration producing an outcome superior to that produced by Jimmy Carter in Iran approaches zero.
As i've said many times, no historical analogy is ever exactly right but the parallels developing between the way the Carter administration betrayed the Shah of Iran are chilling.
Yesterday, administration spokescritter, Robert Gibbs, effectively cut the legs out from under any legitimate use of force Mubarak may use to stay in power:
Asked Wednesday whether the U.S. still supports Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated that Egypt remains “a strong ally” and stressed the importance of universal rights for the people of Egypt.
“This isn’t about support or opposition to leaders – it’s about the support universal rights of assembly and expression. We criticize actions that restrict those values,” Gibbs told ABC News.
Not to put too fine a point on it, there is no such thing as a universal right to assembly and expression. Even in the United States demonstrations must be orderly and lawful, when demonstrations move beyond those limits they become criminal and can be dispersed by force. Implying that demonstrations are de facto legal has the equal effect of delegitimizing any actions by the regime.
According other reporting the Administration is prepared to increase pressure on Mubarak to "embrace democratic changes" but:
Shadi Hamid, an expert on Islamist politics and democratic reform in the Middle East at the Brookings Institution, said the large pro-democracy protests may have broken the “psychological barrier of fear” among Egyptians.
"The U.S. does not want to see the Egyptian regime fall any time soon,’’ Hamid said in a telephone interview. “But people who are protesting, the tens of thousands, do want to see the regime fall some time soon. They are diametrically opposed interests."
While the Carter Administration believed for reasons that have never been made clear that it could manage the accession of Ayatollah Khomeini to power, so too the Obama Administration seems to think it has found a working partner in the Muslim Brotherhood.
Why the Administration believes cavorting with an organization that is both violent and islamist makes sense is as unclear as Carter's man-crush on Khomeini.
The Administration clearly feels that it is sympatico with the Muslim Brotherhood. Early in the Administration the man chosen for "muslim outreach" was heavily involved with the Muslim Brotherhood. And Egyptian media has reported that Obama has recently met with Muslim Brotherhood representatives:
U.S. President Barack Obama met with members of Egypt's Islamist opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, earlier this year, according to a report in Thursday editions of the Egyptian daily newspaper Almasry Alyoum.
The newspaper reported that Obama met the group's members, who reside in the U.S. and Europe, in Washington two months ago.
All of this gives the impression that the Administration feels as though the Muslim Brotherhood represents the forces of democratic change in Egypt and it is throwing it's weight behind the islamist movement while simultaneously trying to guarantee a soft landing for President Mubarak.
One doesn't need a crystal ball to see how this movie ends. The Muslim Brotherhood is closely aligned with Hamas, another terrorist front organization, and its governing philosophy is anti-semitic and anti-democratic to its very core.
Under less exigent conditions it would be amusing to watch the most incompetent and least qualified national security team ever try to convince itself that it is able to treat an overtly islamist organization as a partner in democratic action. This is not funny.
One would think after two years of humiliation and abuse at the hands of every petty dictator on the face of the earth this bunch would have arrived at the logical conclusion that they are not the sharpest tools in the shed. That they would realize that their actions so far looks far more like a high school campaign for homecoming queen than the foreign policy of THE superpower. But introspection and self-awareness requires intelligence and the imbeciles mismanaging our foreign policy are about to consign 82 million people to the perpetual darkness of islamic rule and they think they are being clever.