Update 7: Breaking News! Mubarak Grants Power to Suleiman, But Does Not Leave!

Hosni MubarakNo details yet, but MSNBC is reporting the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be stepping down tonight and handing power over to his Vice President Omar Suleiman.

This would be a huge step forward, and for those who were all over me like white on rice for doubting if the Revolution had enough steam, I am happy and proud to say I WAS WRONG!

More on this as I can find details! Stay Tuned!

Update — 7:41 a.m. PST – Okay so it seems that the military has finally decided to move. They are saying that “the legitimate demands of the people will be met”. This is either going to result in President Mubarak stepping down as head of the military or that he will step aside in favor of VP Suleiman all together.

A national TV address is expected shortly and people in Tahrir Square are being told to expect “good news” from this.

More as events unfold. While they do, what do you think Firedogs?

Update 2 — 7:51 a.m. PST – It looks as though we will have to wait for more details but this could be a couple of different things. One, which I view as good, is that the army has decided that it will not support Mubarak and wants to avoid having the protests spiral out of control and be forced to fire on the people, so they are moving.

The other would be very bad, that the military is going to take over the nation itself since to their mind there does not seem to be an acceptable leader. Military coups are always bad news.

Another factor to watch is what the protesters think of Suleiman if that is who takes over the government. After all he is not that nice of a fellow, after all Mubarak did decide to make him his VP.

Update 3 — 7:59 a.m. PST – MSNBC’s Richard Engel, who I find very credible, says that the Army says it is in a state of permanent meeting and will act to protect the people of Egypt. What makes this significant is that President Mubarak would normally chair a meeting like that but he was not there. That tends to indicate that this is indeed a military coup of some kind. It remains to be seen what the structure of the government is after the Mubarak address later on today (tonight in Egypt).

In honor of the protesters, the Square is yours! [more after the jump]

Update 4 — 8:37 a.m. PST – Al Jazeera is reporting that the Egyptian TV building, the home for Nile TV, is being evacuated out of fear that it will be stormed by protesters. Things are really in flux right now in Egypt. Let’s all keep our good thoughts going that this will be a bloodless coup.

Update 5 — 9:07 a.m. PST — Richard Engel is saying that they are getting reports that the roads to the airport are being shut down. That may indicate that Mubarak is leaving the country or it could be a section of the military wanting to prevent that.

Further there are reports from Al Jazeera that there are possible splits in the military leadership. That could be very, very bad if it is true. Since the beginning of this we have all looked to the military to be a stabilizing force, if they are not unified this could get very ugly very fast. Things are chaotic to say the least.

It is also worth noting that handing power to Omar Suleiman is not a constitutional option. The Egyptian constitution requires that if the president steps aside the Speaker of Parliament is the next in line. This is being reported as the reason the military stepped in, but I think what we can say we really know is that we don’t really know at this point.

Update 6 — 10:07 a.m. PST – An Analyst on Al Jazeera is saying the he believes that Omar Suleiman will also step down since he is part of this administration. This would be a very interesting development if it is true. It would mean that the reports that the military stepped in to prevent Suleiman from taking power, which would not be constitutional under the Egyptian constitution.

It is really hard to say what is actually happening until it happens, but Mubarak did meet with Suleiman tonight along with his Prime Minister. That might indicate that they are all going away. If the Military takes over does that mean that the old constitution is gone? That in and of itself is a problem. They would be starting from scratch in a nation that really does not have much in the way of true democratic traditions or institutions.
Update 7 -1:03 PST

Mubarak just finished speaking. While he did delegate his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman he has made it clear that he is still going to be involved in the government and has no intention of leaving the country. He also said that he still intends to follow the plan of altering the Constitution and not having elections until September.

This is a bit of a step forward, but nothing like we were expecting. I do not yet know how the protesters in Tahrir Square are going to take this but really President Mubarak has not given them much. He has not stepped down, he has not left the country and his hand picked successor is in now going to be the primary power in the nation.

At a guess I would say that tomorrow is going to be a very busy day with enromous protests. It still remains to be seen if the Army will now crack down on protests that are sure to come.

Revolution is never a certain thing and this one is showing why quite clearly.

What are your thoughts?

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