And the 2011 Mugabe Award for failing to understand the will of the people goes to…

..all sorts of satirical responses possible, including the Deputy PM, but of course it is Mr Grecian 2000, Hosni Mubarak.

So, all day, ministers, army insiders, foreign observers pre-signalled that Mubarak would be going – with the tiniest shred of dignity – and then he came out on Egyptian telly and said ‘sod you, I’m staying.. and it’s all Al Jazeera’s fault anyway’.

So, when I wrote the other day that it looked like it was possible to move from Mubarak I to Mubarak 2, it is extremely unlikely that this will be possible now. In holding on too long, it is likely that even middle of the road apathetic Egyptians will be motivated to come and protest. Some commentators are suggesting that 25million people will come out across the country and if that’s true you can wave goodbye to the sort of regional stability that we all crave.

I think this might turn out to be one of those ‘twitter’ moments.. when Mubarak got to half way through his speech ‘Ceausescu’ started to trend on twitter. That cannot be a good sign, particularly given that many of those tagging the hoisted Romanian seemed to come from Egypt.

Notably, Obama seemed completely non-plussed by Mubarak’s speech and by the end of the night the American response had become quite hawkish, effectively saying the regime should change. As many people have said, the Egyptian military will now play a crucial role. Seeing their military aid budget under threat, they may choose to move the regime on. That, coupled to a clear transition pathway to democracy, should be a winning choice.

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5 thoughts on “And the 2011 Mugabe Award for failing to understand the will of the people goes to…

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention And the 2011 Mugabe Award for failing to understand the will of the people goes to… | Kings of War -- Topsy.com

  2. jasper humphreys says:

    I would interested to know how Mr Dover defines ‘stability’ and ‘we’ in this context. Is he thinking of a American or British perspective, an Israeli perspective and not least the Egyptians

    • Rob Dover says:

      In this case the absence of regional conflagration – albeit in national forms in the first instance. I have little love for many of the regimes in the region, but I can’t face anymore petrol price pain in my pocket… it is an altruristic view.

      I was thinking from what might be loosely termed a British perspective, given our alliances and stated priorities.

  3. Formerly Grant says:

    Let’s ask ourselves who his intended audience was. Are we sure he was speaking to the protesters on the streets? It’s possible the real audience was the political elites and military leaders he needs the support of if he intends to start a crackdown.
    As for transitions…even if Mubarak does go let’s not fool ourselves. All we’ll have is the possibility of a democratic outcome.

  4. Michael says:

    Well, hell! I think the prize committee spoke too soon! Looks like it doesn’t matter too too much if the tin-pot dictator is ‘with us, or against us’ from the perspective of the masses in the semi-connected world anarchy is better than oldthink.

    The zig and the zag of these events seems to be proveing that ‘black swan’ events are truly unpredictable. While predicting Mubarak’s end is a parlor game as old as his rule, could anyone have predicted that this odd version of power to the people could spark disruptions as far afield as China? Who will fall next? Belarus? Russia is part of this semi-connected world— is there a danger there? Are there bets being placed in London yet? Has the Iowa elections futures market set up a scheme? And who would have ever thought that it would be Sudan that would, of all places, try to get ahead of the game?

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