Only one day after his goon squad chased ABC's Christiane Amanpour into her car and then kicked and smashed said car, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak granted her an in-person interview at Cairo's presidential palace. What's on your mind, Hoz?
One important fact we now know, at least for the 30 minutes that this interview took place, is that Hosni Mubarak is in Cairo. No one knew for sure where he'd been over the last week. (We were guessing Queens or maybe Vermont.)
He blames the entire uprising on the Muslim Brotherhood and saying he has to stay in power for now, to quell the unrest (which his goons generated yesterday just to allow him to say, now, with Christiane Amanpour, that he has to stay in power to quell the unrest). As for his thoughts on Obama:
While he described President Obama as a very good man, he wavered when I asked him if he felt the U.S. had betrayed him. When I asked him how he responded to the United States' veiled calls for him to step aside sooner rather than later, he said he told President Obama, "You don't understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now."
He's very clever, and there's not much anyone can do about it. Here's a devastating take from Daniel Larison, who specializes in devastating takes that usually end up near the eventual truth about Middle Eastern political crises.
The military has not directly participated in the crackdown, which preserves the appearance that the military was not involved in attacking the protesters and keeps the military from being split, but it has stood by while Mubarak's goons target the protesters. As the new cabinet is filled with figures representing the interests of the military, this ought to have been clear to all a few days ago. If Mubarak is on the way out after the next election, [Vice President] Suleiman will be taking over for him.
And that scenario of preserving the status quo — but with a fresh new face who doesn't have cancer — could be the one with the least bloodshed. Until this happens all over again the next time Egyptians boil over.