Remarkably it appears that state television made a crude attempt to convince its viewers that Wael Ghonim, the protest organizer who was just released after nearly two weeks in detention, had encouraged protesters to return home following President Hosni Mubarak’s speech.
According to Egyptian bloggers, state television reported on Thursday night that Mr. Ghonim had called for an end to protests online — although he posted no such message on his Twitter feed. A short time later, a friend of Mr. Ghonim’s wrote on Twitter: “Wael is in Tahrir and can’t access Internet. He no longer thinks demands are met. He thought that before the speech.” He added that Mr. Ghonim said: “I have NOT made any statements to anyone since Mubarak’s speech…. I did NOT tell people to go home.”
Al Jazeera: John Bradley, author of Inside Egypt: The Land Of The Pharoahs On The Brink Of A Revolution, tells us: “The revolution starts tomorrow. We will see unprecedented numbers of Egyptians on the streets.”
The Obama administration has gone silent following the latest speech by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in which he seemed to cede some powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman but refused to step down from office.
“We don’t have any immediate comment,” National Security Spokesman Tommy Vietor told The Cable. Follow-up requests for information about how the White House was processing the latest news from Cairo went unreturned. The State Department cancelled its daily press briefing and State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley’s latest tweet on the matter was several hours ago.
Egypt’s ambassador to the United States, Sameh Shoukry, later told CNN that Mubarak has transferred “all his presidential authority to the vice president,” whom he said is now “the de facto president.” Shoukry said Mubarak remains the “de jure president.”
Mubarak also said in his speech that he was taking steps to lift a widely despised emergency law.
Suleiman, addressing the nation after Mubarak spoke, urged the protesters to go home. Like Mubarak, he did not explain the transfer of powers.
Israeli lawmaker Benjamin Ben-Eliezer — who spoke with the Egyptian president by phone on Thursday before his speech — described Mubarak as “different from what I heard on the news.”
“He sounded very strong and defiant,” Ben-Eliezer said. “He analyzed the situation properly and tried to predict the future of the Middle East.”
In Saudi Arabia, officials have offered Mubarak a place to live, but have advised him not to leave, an Arab diplomatic source told CNN.
Saudi Arabia has denounced the “flagrant interference of some countries” in the internal affairs of Egypt, the official Saudi Press Agency reported late Wednesday, citing the kingdom’s foreign minister, Prince Saud al Faisal.
Saudi Arabia is confident that Egypt will “overpass the ordeal and seek a peaceful solution to the crisis” in a way that would “not negatively affect its economy or tamper with its stability and security,” the official news service cited Prince Saud as saying.
People are stunned here. Everybody expected Mubarak and his regime — they lost all credibility, all legitimacy — to step aside. People were expecting that we would then move into a transitional period where you would have a government of national unity, to carry on for a year to prepare for fair and free elections. There is no way that the Egyptian people right now are ready to accept either Mubarak or his vice president….
Suleiman is considered to be an extension of Mubarak, they are twins. Neither of them is acceptable to the people- even Suleiman is less acceptable.
Egypt’s international partners, including the United States and European Union members, should make clear that continued assistance to Egypt’s security forces depends on immediate progress towards full respect for human rights and a democratic transition.
Tweets immediately after Mubarak’s speech:
@Sandmonkey: Mubarak is staying. The bastard is staying. #jan25
@asadabukhalil: He is not getting it. He is begging the Egyptian people to storm the Bastille.
@asadabukhalil: This speech will go down in history as the dumbest speech ever delivered by a dictator.
@3arabawy: Chants in Tahrir Square: Down with Mubarak! Down with Mubarak! #Jan25
@Sandmonkey: People are going crazy in the street. We are joining them. #jan25
@Sandmonkey: People are leaving in big groups chanting “tomorrow tomorrow” #jan25
@Ghonim: [No tweets yet. Perhaps embarrassed by “Mission Accomplished” four hours ago.]
@avinunu: Remember that US has not suspended aid to Mubarak regime’s security forces. Words aside, Obama still supports Mubarak.
@blibrahim: Every Egyptian is asking the Supreme Military Council — where is the good news you promised us today?