Egypt protests: Hosni Mubarak under world pressure
29-Jan-2011 (2 comments)

Leaders from the US, UK, France and Germany have urged Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak to avoid violence and enact reforms as protests continue.

In Cairo, thousands of demonstrators have ignored a curfew. The army is standing by and not intervening.

Mr Mubarak has appointed his first ever vice-president and a new prime minister as he struggles to regain control after five days of street demonstrations.

At least 74 people have been killed since Tuesday, and looting is ongoing.

US President Barack Obama met national security officials on Saturday to discuss the situation in Egypt.

Darius Kadivar

World Pressure

by Darius Kadivar on


Darius Kadivar

John Simpson's Take

by Darius Kadivar on

In spite of the turmoil, one or two things are becoming clearer here. It looks pretty likely that President Mubarak and his military leaders have been told in no uncertain fashion by the Americans that the Tiananmen Square option, by which the authorities restore order by shooting the protestors down by the hundred, is simply not acceptable.

Mr Mubarak's only hope, therefore, is to form a government which the demonstrators might accept, hard though that is to imagine. He's now appointed a new prime minister and a new vice-president - Omar Suleiman, the head of military intelligence.

Mr Suleiman isn't just a secret policeman: he's also an experienced diplomatic negotiator, respected in the West. But tonight, the crowds have been chanting slogans against him as well.

If the new government can't calm the anger in the streets, it's hard to see how President Mubarak can stay in power. Hard, too, to think that the Americans, who keep Egypt afloat with their money, would want him to.

Omar Suleiman, the new vice-president, once saved President Mubarak's life in an assassination attempt. Saving him a second time may prove more of a problem.