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Q&A: What’s next in Egypt’s anti-government protests?

Q&A: What’s next in Egypt’s anti-government protests?

Markets across the region have dropped as the Egypt crisis escalates. Read this quick-fire analysis of what is expected next inside the country.

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January 30, 2011 11:10 by



WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN ON THE STREETS?

The army has deployed tanks and troops alongside police forces but has so far refrained from using force.

Security forces however have warned that they could resort to tougher measures to impose order.

They said that those arrested carrying out acts of vandalism would be tried in military court.

IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF MUBARAK?

The revolt is the most serious challenge to the Egyptian government since the 1952 coup that ended monarchy and inaugurated a procession of military strongmen.

It has shaken the government to its core, sent shock waves across the Middle East and alarmed Western and regional allies.

Mubarak’s nomination of an influential military figure with strong diplomatic credentials as his possible successor speaks volumes about the authorities’ resolve to ensure that power stays in the hands of military and security institutions.

Mubarak also secured the much-needed support from the army.

“Mubarak is gone, because of his illness, because of his age and because of what happened now in Egypt,” said Bassma Kodmani, the head of Arab Reform initiative.

“This man will be gone by September 2011. He is not an option and everyone knows that and his inner circle knows that.

“Mubarak is buying time. He needs to buy time to provide the needed minimum stability and control of the country to allow for an orderly transition.”

WHAT DID HE LEARN FROM TUNISIA?

Neither Mubarak nor his close aides, including Suleiman, want to see a Tunisia-style exit.

When Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali appeared on television after weeks of rioting, those watching the address said fear appeared to be his dominant emotion.

When Mubarak appeared on TV on Friday, the contrast could not be greater. His was a poised and confident performance. Yet, it did little to calm tens of thousands of protesters.

Seeking to avoid appearing weak, Mubarak delivered a tough message and showed his resolve to stay in power.

The message involved giving the military full control and acknowledging people’s economic frustrations, as well as promises to help the poor and introduce political reform.

“Ben Ali made concessions and a day later he was out of the country. He didn’t want to make the same mistakes. The regime has broader support than Ben Ali had in the last days,” said Alterman.

“The military in Tunisia not only didn’t defend the president but they helped push him out of the country. In Egypt, the military rather than push Mubarak is his next line of defence,” he said.

“The appointment of Omar Suleiman is intended to send a message that if Hosni Mubarak leaves, the regime remains in place. It is not intended to mollify (the protesters). It is intended to show resolve.”

(By Samia Nakhoul. Editing by Maria Golovnina)



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