Will The Egyptian Army Force Mubarak Out?

Egypt's Mubarak addresses nation
Egypt's Mubarak addresses nation

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak announced Thursday that he would not step down until new elections are held in September. But he may have already lost control of his country.

The announcement came hours after numerous media organizations, including CNBC, had reported that Mubarak would step down as early as night.

In an apparent concession to his critics, he said he would hand over some of the authority for day to day government operations to his vice-president. It was Mubarak’s third televised speech since the uprising started on January 25th.

But earlier today the armed forces issued something called "Communique No.1", announcing what some feared was a military coup. The armed forces said they were moving to preserve the nation and the aspirations of the people. “Communique No. 1” emerged from a meeting of the Higher Army Council. Mubarak was not present at the meeting, which prompted many to speculate that Mubarak had already lost control over the armed forces.

It’s not clear that the armed forces will accept Mubarak’s scheme to remain in power. The army might be particularly disinclined to accept Mubarak remaining in office if the crowds in the streets of Egyptian cities continue the uprising.