Zakaria: Mubarak 'baiting' protesters
February 10th, 2011
05:30 PM ET

Zakaria: Mubarak 'baiting' protesters

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak stubbornly clung to the presidency on Thursday, refusing in a highly anticipated speech to step down by saying he does not take orders from anyone outside Egypt. CNN's Fareed Zakaria says this move by Mubarak may be just trying to bait the protestors into more violence.

Watch more about what this might mean and read an edited transcript from Zakaria:

"One hopes that history does not mark this as the moment that this revolution turned. For two weeks the demonstrators have been peaceful, they have been entirely democratic and incredibly honorable. But they've been broken up, they have been beaten; the regime has tried to divide the opposition, it has tried to make phony concessions. The one thing the regime did not do is concede to the principal demand.

The danger here is that things will get radicalized. ... The opposition, the protesters, the crowds are going to get angrier and angrier. They're going to draw perhaps more violent people. That is, in a sense, what the regime is hoping for. In a strange sense, I think the Mubarak regime is trying to bait the crowd in Tahrir Square and is hoping for violence and is hoping for some kind of march on the presidential palace that seems to get violent. Then they can step in and in the guise of restoring order, return to the military rule, return to the martial law that they want to consolidate. That's the danger here.

This might be a turn that history will record as the moment things went awry."

After Vice President Omar Suleiman's speech, Zakaria said the move discredited Suleiman as any kind of transitional figure:

"Egypt is a very nationalist country with a very proud people. It has a 7,000-year-old history, as President Mubarak pointed out [in his speech]. But I don't think it's going to work. What you just witnessed is Omar Suleiman discrediting himself as any kind of transitional figure. Omar Suleiman, the vice president, could have been the man who ushered in a new Egypt. He wouldn't have lasted but he would have been the man who brokered it all. But he has decided to stick with his boss. ... Suleiman is a former general, former head of military intelligence and President Mubarak's consigliere. ... The regime is hoping that it can wait out these protestors. But I think the big mistake for the last two weeks that the regime has made is that it has kept assuming that these people are going to go home. And they don't go home - the crowds just keep getting bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger. Friday will be a very crucial day because my guess is that you'll see the largest protest you've ever seen in Egypt."


Filed under: Egypt
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. mcs

    Have to agree with Zakaria. The minute Mubarek came out with "as a father to his children" I cringed and knew he had no intention whatsover of stepping down. Didn't even have to listen to the rest of the speech. Highly inflammatory at the least if not outright insulting to the protesters, imo. I'd like to see any US President address fellow citizens as "children."

    February 11, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Yup

    Mubarak Reportedly Leaves Cairo
    www dot nytimes dot com/2011/02/12/world/middleeast/12egypt.html?_r=1&hp

    Late again CNN

    February 11, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Larry of Boston

    President Obama, CNN, and Anderson Cooper have this Egypt uprising dead wrong - 100% wrong. Obama and CNN would have you believe that a President should just step down when 100,000 or even 1 milllion protestors take to the streets and demand he resign. That is not Democracy – that is Anarchy and Obama and CNN are fueling the flames by going public and telling folks that Mubarack must begin to "transition" out now. DUMB Try this on for size Mr President - will you step down and begin to "transition" out if 1 million angry protestors stand outside the White House and demand you resign? I mean 80% of the Americans living here did not vote for you sir. More than half of the voters do not support you and think this country – the good ole USA – is heading in the wrong direction under your stewarship. Wky not Go Away - Game Over - I mean, what is good for Egypt must be good for the US - when the people revolt and protest outside the White House – you should resign Mr Obama. Quit. Go Home. Such is the absurdity of thei White House and CNN – both get caught up in the frenzy and cannot see the forest from the trees. If Obama wishes to support what is happening in Egypt, he needs to prepare for anarchy in the streets of every Mid East nation - and to expect nothing more here at home. Give it a rest CNN. Stop talking about it Mr President. it is not our place to dictate how other countries conduct their affairs – and it is inflamatory and dangerous for US Presidents to be giving unwanted advice to foreign leaders, As for CNN, take Anderson Cooper off the story and give him a 2 month vacation with pay. He has lost all sense of objectivity and is just personally hurt he got beat up - something he and others deserved for going over their to falem the emotions of protestors. We have enough trouble at home Anderson - if you want to attack something big and ugly and out of control and hurting millions - report on the US economy, the deficit, the foreclosures, and the unemployed, and turn your anger and your cameras to Washington and the reaon source of the problems we face.

    February 11, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • BillLumbergh

      @ Crackpot

      Where are you people when the repugs are destroying, not figuratively, literally destroying the country? Oh that's right, the right can never take responsibility for their actions. That's the hallmark of the whole childish, undereducated bunch. Nice analogy. I doubt it, but have you read enough to know that this is a dictator who has held sham elections for decades?

      February 11, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • BillLumbergh

      It's not like I'm loyal to Obama. I leave the personal stuff to the drama queens on the right. It's just that you watch the country being destroyed and then complain about the recovery not happening fast enough. The slow upswing is bad enough. I'm literally worried the rabble on the right are going to put the country back on the same downswing they did before they were booted out.

      February 11, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Jared

      80% of Americans in US didn't vote for Obama? Huh?

      Mubarak has been a dictator for 40 years and become the richest man in the world while his country stumbles through abject poverty.. Obama an elected official for 2 years in a democratic country of 400 million, as opposed to 75 million in Egypt. Every President of the US pushes for democracy in dictatorships (partially because we generally put the dictatorship in power and hold some responsibility and it's decades later and embarrassing.)

      You should try reading and thinking and not let radical media hand you your opinions.

      February 11, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. raul

    this is where the cia needs to step up and field work the area and sift for Al Queida.. im sure Al Queida is heading there right now. to try and seed the population.

    February 11, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Farouk Salahi

    In a democratic system people cast their vote at the poles. In a corrupted system people cast their votes in a huge protest.

    February 11, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Walt

    This is a no-brainer, Mubarak must go now!
    Power to the Egyptian people!

    February 11, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. Terry

    With over $70 Billion in Swiss Banks, Mubarak will soon leave Egypt. Currently, he is having trouble landing in another country. So far, his only hope is Iran or North Korea, both too cold in winter months. His second problem, keeping the courts from freezing his money. He would have left last night, however he needs a place to land.

    February 11, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. WWRRD

    I just pray this doesn't turn out to be another Tienmen Suare.

    February 11, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ryan

    Anyone see how closely this resembles the Romanian revolution of 1989? Mubarak might want to consider how that turned out for Ceaucescu...

    February 11, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. Russ

    With no Leader of the revolt, no plan, it will be tough to replace America's Man. The govt is rich, hotels, banks, airline. Best option for the crowd – stay on strike, bleed out the rich, day by day. The mob have nothing, but they also nothing to loose. Nothing makes rich people more unhappy, than becoming poor people.

    Foreign pressure is also easy. Pull the workers from the Suez Canal locks. The Army will take weeks to get it working again. 10% of world trade slowed down. That will get the rich countries attention.

    Going to stand outside the Palace in Heliopolis if fine. Better, just walk up and down the streets of Heliopolis past the luxury mansions and condos of the General's families. Nothing violent, just a little reminder that while the palace is defendable, Heliopolis is'nt.

    Like they say, the Government had it coming...

    February 11, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Carry

    After decades of robbing his own country out of billions of dollars, I think the day he does leave Egypt should demand all that money back god knows thats the least Mubarak should do if he really wants to leave power as he said with some dignity! Mubarak is considered one of the wealthiest man in the world that should tell you something.

    February 11, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Moni

    Obama is the president of the United States he does not have the power to tell another country's President to step down idiot

    February 11, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. paulos

    Egypt is not an accident, it is a nation that has gone through changes from prehistoric to today. What needs to be remembered is that, as much as we enjoy reading history about Egypt in religious or secular materials, we need to understand that the people of Egypt of today are as intelligent as any people in any part of the World today , if not more. The only difference is that there has never been political and economic climate that gave them a chance to be what they could be.

    Now, the Egyptians have emerged from behind the heavy curtains of history, to the modern times. As standard- bearer for both the Arab World and Black Africa, they have responsibility to establish transparent and democratic society where the law of the land is supreme above any leader. If they achieve that and practice it, they could make their future even more brighter and enviable than their past. I am certain they are well aware of the fact that the two wings that can make Democracy fly high are, rule of law and entrepreneurship. I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Egyptian army to put Egypt first by suppressing the lust for power at the barrel of a gun. Good Job and Good Luck.

    February 11, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. paulos

    Moni, try to call the president of your country "idiot" and please tell us his reaction, if can. But, if Obama is your president or you live in democratic society, you sure lucked out.

    February 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Willie Whelton

    I actually clearly have to think even more in that area and see a few things i can do regarding this.

    December 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
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