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Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in International | 0 comments

NBC News: Mubarak Will Resign Tonight UPDATE: Army To Take Over?

Amid reports that the Egyptian Army is considering an enhanced role in the its country’s increasingly turbulent political situation, NBC News reports that Egyptian President Hosni Mubaraka will resign on Thursday.

And a new report says power will go to a military junta.

Here’s the video:

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UPDATE: Fox News says Mubarak will step down soon and transfer power the military. It’s unclear from the report if this is long term or a kind of custodial move of very short duration.

President Hosni Mubarak will step down shortly and transfer authority to the Egyptian Higher Council of the Armed Forces, a senior Egyptian official confirmed to Fox News on Thursday.

The group is comprised of the minister of defense, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi — who stands atop the military hierarchy — along with the military’s chief of staff, the chief of operations, and commanders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Air Defenses.

The source pointed out that the transfer of power will occur “outside of the constitutional framework” because under the Egyptian constitution, Mubarak’s resignation ordinarily would mean that the speaker of the house would become president and elections would be held within 60 days. In this case, the military council will “not be governing under the constitution or any legislation,” the source noted. “So they will have to define the format under which they are taking power.”

The source did not know how long the military would reign nor what mechanism or timetable would be put in place to end the military’s administration of power, but said that “when (the transfer of power from Mubarak) does happen, they will presumably indicate the direction of the country.”

The source drew parallels with the Army coup of 1952, and the removal of King Faroukh, noting that it took six months before the monarchy was dissolved and the modern republic formed.

The source said this marks “a moment of grave magnitude for the national security of Egypt.”

The New York Times (see link at this top of the post) had earlier reported that the Army had been gearing up for a bigger role.

Egypt’s armed forces on Thursday announced that they had begun to take “necessary measures to protect the nation and support the legitimate demands of the people,” a step that suggested the military intends to take a commanding role in administering the strife-torn nation.

The announcement of an enhanced role for the military came as officials in President Hosni Mubarak’s government suggested a momentous shift in power was underway, including a possible transfer of power from Mr. Mubarak to his Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Hossan Badrawi, secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP), told Egyptian state news outlets and the BBC that Mr. Mubarak would “most probably” speak to the nation soon, and that he would likely step down from his post.

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, C.I.A. Director Leon E. Panetta said that there was a “strong likelihood” that Mr. Mubarak would step down by the end of the day.

Although the shape of a new Egyptian government remained unclear, television images on Al Jazeera showed the masses in Tahrir Square cheering the news of an impending shake-up, waving flags and chanting: “The Army and the people in one hand.”

Vice President Omar Suleiman, named by Mr. Mubarak to undertake a dialogue with opposition groups, had warned Tuesday night that if the process he was supervising did not produce results, the military would step in to take administrative control in what he called a “coup.” He did not say what role he would play in a military government.

A revolution or a coup? The answer to that will become apparent when and if Mubarak steps down tonight in the days to come.

Washington Monthly:

As of last night, there were reports that Mubarak was threatening a military crackdown against protestors, which may have helped precipitate today’s developments.

As for who would replace Mubarak, at least in the short term, power is expected to be transferred to Vice President Omar Suleiman, who assumed office just two weeks ago, and who’s been participating in talks with opposition forces.

Doug Mataconis looks at the same two reports we did and gives this take:

So, the protesters win. At least the first part of the battle….So, basically what we’ve got is a military coup with the promise of a democratic transition in the future. Whether that’s how it turns out remains to be seen, of course, but it seems clear that this is turning out the best it could so far under the circumstances.