Omar Suleiman appointment

My flight to Egypt leaves in a few hours. A few thoughts on the latest news.

I’d guess that the rationale of appointing Suleiman as VP is to clear the way for the army to start blocking demos and enforcing the curfew. First, give the populace a taste of anarchy and looting, then signal by the Suleiman appointment that he will not run again for president when his term expires. This is intended probably to undercut middle-class sympathy for the demonstrators still out on the streets, and also give the actual troops who remove them a sense of purpose — they will be enforcing the sensible middle path between anarchy and Mubarak nepotism/corruption.

It also may be a sop to the Americans: by throwing out something that was clearly dear to him, his son’s presidential chances, Mubarak indicates that he’s no longer the stubborn intransigent old autocrat he used to be. See? I’m now willing to make serious changes. Oh, and I’m also throwing you a last chance to keep your working strategic partnership.

I doubt it will mean much to the great majority of the demonstrators, however, which still leaves Mubarak facing the same problem which he faced yesterday: how to control the streets.

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