Mubarak watch

The events of political turmoil in Egypt in the first two weeks of February 2011 are followed and evaluated for lessons of leadership and the management of change

Saturday February 11th Mubarak is gone. For Egypt there will now be a lengthy period in which the speed of change slows. Mubarak watch concludes. For status reports see
The Los Angeles Times
Aljazera
The Guardian/Observer

Friday February 10th

Friday mid-afternoon. Mubarak’s resignation announced. Much more to follow.

Mr Suleiman said Mr Mubarak had handed power to the high command of the armed forces.
“In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country,” he said.

Thursday evening, the world’s media turned to Tahrir Square. News was the Mubarak would speak to the nation to announce his resignation. Crowds expecting victory. Then dismay as Mubarak offers little. Confusion. Anger. “God help Israel now ” one commentator remarked. Fears for the next 24 hours.

Thursday February 9th

Intelligent discussion on BBC’s Newsnight. Historians plus activist spokesperson from Cairo. Lessons from history: revolutions result in emergence of ‘the strong leader’. Overnight, news of further initiatives, strikes in various parts of Egypt said to be ‘spontaneous’. Newsnight tested proposition that the protest could not bring down the Mubarak regime. Not easy to reduce to a logical proposition. Practically, Mubarak authority has been seriously and irrevocably damaged. He has lost unconditional support of his powerful ally the United States.

Wednesday February 8th Overnight view is broadly that there had been renewed efforts (if only in numbers) by the protestors in Cairo yesterday. Worth checking on the country-wide situation. A wikileaks view assembled by The New York Times mostly confirms what has been written about Mubarak’s negotiaons for US aid in return for his claimed ‘stong’ policies maintaining peace in the region. He viewed the removal of Saddam as a huge mistake which he believed made his own continued rule even more critical.
Tuesday February 8th In search of a leader? Aljazeera reports freeing of Google executive Wael Ghonim, whose facebook page has been considered to have triggered off the protests in Cairo.

Monday February 7th Overnight news indicates that the situation in Cairo has reached an impasse. The New York Times suggests it presents a dilemma for the Obama regime. Stock exchange opening has been postponed for 24 hours, as the government attempts to sell $2.5bn in short-term debt.

Sunday February 6th Muslim brotherhood in talks. Aljazeera suggests these to be ‘critical’ to next stage of events in Egypt. US sends mixed messages regarding the need for Mubarak to oversee a smooth transition of power. Brief opening of banks reminds us of the financial crisis running with the political one.

Saturday Feb 5th Yesterday’s ‘day of departure’ is now evaluated as no clear tipping point. Around 100,000 rather than a million people were reported around Tahrir Square. The possiblity of a longer struggle is now firming up.

One of the leaders of the protesters, George Ishaq of the Kifaya (Enough) movement, told the BBC they intend reduce their presence in Tahrir Square, holding big demonstrations on Tuesdays and Fridays.
“Protesters will remain in Tahrir Square on all days of the week,” he said on Friday [4th Feb, 2011]. “But each Friday, there will be a demonstration like today.”

Friday Feb 4th This was the day announced in advance as the day when a million protesters would symbolically end the Mubarak regime. But the tone of reporting of a few days earlier has been somewhat muted. There is greater concern that there is more of a temporary condition of stalemate.

Another voice was raised in support of Mubarak, President Berlusconi of Italy, himself facing a struggle to survive politically. Like Tony Blair he considers the merits that stability of regime has brought to the wider Middle East.

Feb 3rd Situation is confused. Voice of America suggests that the Pro-Mubarak forces are gaining ground. The BBC however reports gains by the opposition demonstrators. What is clear that there have been fatalities acknowledged. Prime Minster Ahmed Shafiq broadcast an apology for the fighting, which has killed nine and wounded hundreds and promised an investigation. Tomorrow is the scheduled ‘day of a million protestors’.

Feb 2nd Reports a few days ago were talking of repid removal of the President from power. Now the tone is of more organized efforts to resist the revolutionary forces concentrated in Cairo. Jeremy Bowen of the BBC described events

Since I arrived a week ago I have seen no significant demonstrations for President Mubarak. But from the morning there were thousands of his supporters on Cairo’s streets, mobilised presumably by the ruling party, the NDP. The pro-Mubarak demonstrations were well organised, not spontaneous. Numbered buses unloaded supporters. Many placards looked as if they had been made by professional sign writers. Their opponents claim that they are paid to demonstrate. For an authoritarian leader like Hosni Mubarak, the sight of so many people in Tahrir Square calling for his removal must have been deeply humiliating. He will have wanted to reassert his authority over his capital city – and his supporters were given the job.

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6 Responses to Mubarak watch

  1. I think time is indeed running away for the protesters. As it stands now, Mubarak can only wait, as it is a stalemate. No one is moving to take key buildings and the army is staying put, so Mubarak can wait it out and then go through with some sort of transition which will secure people around him keep power. Really, with such protests, contained as it is, the regime can just wait it out. Nobody is coming for them and sooner o later many people will just want a return of some sort of stability.

  2. Tudor says:

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been thinking of a third way in which Mubarak remains as formal head of state while he is steadily eroded of influence.

  3. Shady Gabr says:

    Tudor,
    It is really something deserves thinking about, how the man keep sustaining under all these pressures. Even the US regime, it seems that they wasn’t confident enough about his ability to sustain at the beginning. Mubarak is strong rigid man, but not leader. He is doing things right and that’s why his regime seems to be stable, but he is not doing the right things, and that’s why his people are fed up.

  4. Tudor says:

    Such a rapid end to the Mubarak rule. I like Shady’s comment. The distinction is sometimes made that ‘managers do things right’ (i.e. according to ‘higher’ instructions), and ‘leaders do the right things’ (i.e. creating the new and worthwhile).

    Shady shows that ‘map’ makes a useful distinction. It’s worth adding that most leaders sometimes put effort into ‘doing things right’ and often ‘do the wrong things’as well as ‘the right things’.

  5. Hameed says:

    I strongly Agree with Shady, it is actually an excellent example of those who are appointed in leadership posts, as Peter Northouse discussed in details in his book titled ” leadership theory and practice”.
    however with no doubt he is strong, brave enough to withstand all of this pressure at his age and illness, which again reflect the traits of “old school leaders” transitional leaders who have permanent and fixed preferred style regardless of the situation, who are only success if the situation matches their style; versus “new school of leadership” where leaders have transformational and flexible approach and style that varies with variable situations.
    I believe this is another example of leaders are Made not necessarily Born, if you compare the two style leaders style Mubarak “old school” and young protesters “new school” you can clearly distinguish between skills and behaviors a successful leaders should have against traits of classic leaders have, also the difference between leadership “protesters” and leaders “Mubarak”

  6. I’m quite happy about everything that taken place in Egypt. Finally, the tyranny of Hosni Mubarak has come to an conclusion. And the whole thing happened mainly because of the bravery of the egyptians. I pray that the model will expand through all the Middle East. Liberation now! Peace.

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