Victory to the Egyptian people

So it turned out that my Egyptian friends’ predictions were right on the money, and Mubarak is gone.

This was my reaction to hearing the news:

Having had a bit more time to think about it, I’m going to temper my celebration to a “Half-Hooray!!”, since the fact that the army is taking over must put the prospect of a swift transition to democracy in some doubt. It was interesting that CIA director Leon Panetta told a Congressional Committee that Mubarak was going to stand down yesterday, suggesting that the agency has inside information from the new regime, though clearly it is not entirely accurate. Vice-President Omar Suleiman is widely identified as the CIA’s main man in Cairo, and the US may be looking to him to deliver the sort of “orderly transition” that will protect Western interests in the region.

But whatever we in the West think, the final word will lie with the Egyptian people. Al Jazeera is reporting that the crowds in Tahrir Square are “hugely disappointed” with the army seizing control, and are vowing to take their protests to “a last and final stage”. Their courage and solidarity has carried them this far; it can surely lead them to victory.

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