Egypt’s Army Makes Way for the March of a Million

James Phillips
The Foundry

Cairo was flooded with protesters for the seventh day on Monday, as opposition leaders promised that Tuesday would see a “march of a million” aimed at toppling the besieged Mubarak regime.

Significantly, a spokesman for Egypt’s military noted that the army recognized “the legitimacy of the people’s demands” and promised that it “will not use force against the public.” This suggests that the army has adopted a more neutral stance in the current crisis.

Vice President Omar Suleiman, promoted last weekend by President Hosni Mubarak in an effort to calm the deteriorating situation, appeared on state-controlled television on Monday and promised to hold a dialogue with opposition leaders on political reform. But this offer appears to amount to too little too late. The opposition continues to insist that President Mubarak must step down. One opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, warned the United States on Sunday that “life support to the dictator” must end.

ElBaradei, who has elbowed his way to the front of the opposition’s ranks, is an unlikely choice to lead the Arab world’s most populous state. He returned to Egypt in February 2010 after a checkered career as a U.N. bureaucrat. As the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ElBaradei bent over backwards to avoid offending Iran, which he was supposed to be investigating for its many failures to abide by its nuclear safeguards agreement. Although Tehran repeatedly blocked the IAEA’s efforts to verify its compliance with its nuclear commitments, ElBaradei undermined the efforts of his own agency by complaining, “In many ways, I think the threat has been hyped.”

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Update: Egyptians have reservations about ElBaradei. H/T Asian Correspondent

Update 2: At American Power, “…So amid all the uncertainty, I say once again: America has to stand for freedom…I too think that the Egyptian people will ultimately choose freedom, and the biggest threat to stability in the region is the Obama administration’s amateurism. Support the Egyptian democracy. Change will be messy, and even dangerous, but it will be honest and we’ll deal with the consequences…” Read the whole thing.

Contained within the American Power post: William Kristol’s latest analysis, “Obama’s Opportunity: This is the 3 a.m. phone call. Will President Obama rise to the occasion?

Update 3: Photo from

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