Michael Wahid Hanna writes:
As evidence mounts that the violence in Tahrir Square is a regime-orchestrated attempt to crush dissent and peaceful protest, the manifest flaws in President Mubarak’s plan to remain in office are becoming clear. The Egyptian president, under pressure, committed not to run for a sixth presidential term, but refused to begin a serious process of transition. In essence, he was asking the millions of protesters who had taken to Egypt’s streets in response to 30 years of authoritarian rule to simply trust him. Based on the violent evidence on display in Cairo today and the actions of the regime since the uprising began on January 25th, the protesters have no reason to do so.
As this repressive rearguard action unfolds, the regime is indicating that it is working to preserve the very system that protesters have given their life to bring down. A regime that ruled by fiat and the baton is now using these same tools to defend its power and privileges. Those who have now offered themselves as the vehicles for systemic changes are the very actors that have thwarted political reform for 30 years. Mubarak’s tactical ploy lays bare that he has clearly not understood the calls of the Egyptian people. Now, the very stability prized previously by the United States in its relations with Egypt is no longer possible with Mubarak at the helm. America’s long-term ally is now the primary driver of instability.