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Mubarak Plays For Time

Prof. Eyal Zisser: 'Egyptian President Muabarak Playing For Time In Order For Vice- President Omar Suleiman To Remain In Control Of Regime'

'Dr. Al Baradei May Speak For The Opposition But If Upheaval In Egypt, Control Will Be In Hands of Muslim Brotherhood'

'Confrontation Has Turned Into Zero-Sum Game That Neither Regime Nor Opposition Is Prepared To Lose'

Hosni Mubarak

'Get out, Get out!' - that was the battle cry of millions of Egyptians who again took to the streets across the country on Feb.1st. They continue to demand an end to the dictatorial regime of President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian leader later went on television to declare that he would not run again in the presidential election scheduled for next September. The volatile situation appears to be as confusing as ever now that U.S. President Barack Obama has sent a special envoy to Cairo to try and ease the transition of power. Professor Eyal Zisser of Tel Aviv University, a leading Israeli expert, analyzed the latest developments in an article in the Israeli daily 'Yisrael Hayom'.

The demonstration of millions, or more precisely, hundreds of thousands, has not resolve the arm-wrestling contest now underway between the Mubarak regime and the Egyptian opposition. Both sides can be satisfied. The opposition has proved its ability to bring out hundreds of thousands to demonstrate against Mubarak, but the Egyptian President can also take some satisfaction with the result. The events of last Friday did not recur, nor did the demonstrators turn into a human flood that swept the Egyptian army along with it.

Eyal Zisser

The passing of time, without doubt, is to the benefit of Hosni Mubarak, an old battle horse, who has experienced a number of crises during his rule. Mubarak is taking one card after another from up his sleeve, and the latest is his announcement that he will end his presidential term in in another eight months. Until next September, a lot of water will flow through the Nile and in this case his regime will remain in the hands of his loyal supporter, former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. On the other hand, the opposition is split and lacks a leader or force that can unite. Nor does it even have a clear vision of the future, except for the hatred that unites all its people.

The smooth talk of Mubarak has taken in those commentators who interpret his moves as a sign of weakness. This also applies to the view that statements by military army spokesmen of their standing alongside the young generation as a sign that the army is leaning toward the opposition camp. It must be understood that the name of the game in Egypt today is to go along with the youth, and it should come as no surprise that Mubarak or Suleiman declare that they also stand with the younger generations and fully understand their hearts and souls.

Mubarak intends to remain in power at least until next September and he and his people are determined to keep the regime in the hands of Omar Suleiman, Mubarak's successor. They know that for them there is no way back. Dr al Baradei may speak for the demonstrators but in the event of an upheaval control will be in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. They will show no mercy and not forgive anyone who symbolizes the old regime including Mubarak's generals. On the other hand, if Mubarak retrieves control, his deputy Suleiman will conduct a dialogue with opposition members, whom he previously threw into prison.

This is a zero sum game in which neither side can afford to lose. Meanwhile neither side is rushing anywhere, but the resolution to this match-up is bound to come and apparently by the use of force. It is only a matter of time.

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