THE DAY EVERYTHING CHANGES IN EGYPT?…. There are competing reports out of Cairo today, but it appears quickly-changing developments point to the possible end of the Mubarak government in Egypt.
The New York Times, for example, reports that the Egyptian Army has begun to take “necessary measures to protect the nation and support the legitimate demands of the people,” filling a leadership void and preventing the country from slipping into chaos.
The AP, meanwhile, reports that military leaders are assuring protesters that President Hosni Mubarak will meet their demands, while Reuters and NBC News that Mubarak will announce his resignation later today.
Following an all-day meeting of the country’s supreme military council, the army said all the protesters’ demands would be met and a further statement was expected to be made later Thursday, clarifying the situation.
Mubarak was expected to formally announce his departure in an address to the nation tonight.
NBC News said a high-ranking source inside the president’s office said that Mubarak would step down and the newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, would take over. This was then confirmed by a second source.
Mubarak was not present at the supreme council meeting, despite being the commander in chief of Egypt’s armed forces.
As of last night, there were reports that Mubarak was threatening a military crackdown against protestors, which may have helped precipitate today’s developments.
As for who would replace Mubarak, at least in the short term, power is expected to be transferred to Vice President Omar Suleiman, who assumed office just two weeks ago, and who’s been participating in talks with opposition forces.