Mubarak's Play Puts Obama in the Hot Seat

Egyptian president says he gave White House what it wanted
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2011 8:44 AM CST
Mubarak's Play Puts Obama in the Hot Seat
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks at Northern Michigan University, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, in Marquette, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Hosni Mubarak’s non-resignation obviously caught the Obama administration by surprise—Obama after all, had hours earlier spoken glowingly of watching “history unfold” in Egypt, and CIA chief Leon Panetta had said there was a “strong likelihood” Mubarak would step down. But Egyptian officials say they gave the administration what it had been asking for, the Wall Street Journal reports; Mubarak had delegated power to Omar Suleiman, and stepped into an almost figurehead role.

But the speeches Mubarak and Suleiman gave did nothing to appease the crowd, and may have disqualified Suleiman as a viable transition figure. After a lengthy huddle with his security team, Obama emerged with a statement calling on Mubarak to explain “in clear and unambiguous language” what transition of power had occurred. But that’s likely not enough to appease protesters. “This is really bad,” one senior US official said. “We need to push harder—if not, the protests will get violent.” (More Hosni Mubarak stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.