Monday, February 7, 2011

Egypt crisis: Prizing status quo, Mubarak resisting pressure to quit

 Egypt crisis: Prizing status quo, Mubarak resisting pressure to quit
Washington, Feb.7 : Egyptian, Arab and Western officials who have dealt with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt say that for the past week, he has veered between anger, a sense of betrayal and stoicism.

Known for a fierce conservatism that prizes stability above all else, Mubarak has reacted to the calls for his resignation with his usual change-resistant manner, The New York Times reports.

That deep-seated aversion to change, along with Mubarak’s fierce pride and absolute certainty that he is the only person who can provide his country with the stability, now occupies center stage in the Egyptian crisis, a psychological drama to rival the clash on the streets, the paper reports further.

The question of whether Mubarak will yield power willingly — and how and under what timetable he might do so — is driving the Obama administration’s national security team to assess and reassess their strategy in dealing with him.

It is being watched intently by the anti-government protesters in Cairo, much of the Arab world and even by members of his own government.

American, Western officials and protesters are unsure to what degree Mubarak still calls the shots.

Till now, Mubarak has balked at American suggestions that he leave power.

Washington’s negotiations have been with Vice-President Suleiman, and he and other Egyptian officials have taken pains to show that their actions are at their boss’s behest, even if he does not appear to be publicly managing the country’s crisis.

American and Egyptian officials say that such considerations are all part of a carefully calibrated process aimed at avoiding a direct challenge to Mubarak’s unwavering belief that if you make concessions — like tendering a resignation — in the face of pressure, you invite more demands.

As of now, the signal going out from Cairo is that concessions must be made on the Mubarak stopwatch.

Mubarak, 82, has survived three wars, an Islamic uprising and multiple assassination attempts.

Two years ago, an aneurism caused the sudden death of his 12-year-old grandson, Muhammad, a deep personal blow. Through all of that, Egyptian and American officials said, he continues to believe that his country can succeed only if he is at the helm to protect it from being taken over by Islamists. (ANI)
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