Egyptian Vice President Suleiman just made the announcement.
A military council will now assume power.
A victory for democracy?
More to come…
Newsflash: Leon Panetta’s scanning cable tee-vee and Twitter trending topics for intel. Announcement on Mubarak’s resignation pending.
Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Friday, bowing down after a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands.
A massive crowd in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square exploded into joy, waving Egyptian flags, and car horns and celebratory shots in the air were heard around the city of 18 million in joy after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall.
“In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic,” a grim-looking Suleiman said. “He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor.”
White House just announced: Obama will be in front of a TV camera at 1:30pm ET before Robert Gibbs’ final press briefing to address Egypt.
CIA announces: Panetta will be watching.
Update 11:45am ET Gag alert.
This is from Politico’s Mike Allen on Twitter:
TOP DEM. OFFICIAL: “situation remains…delicate…but..this is a huge affirmation of the President’s leadership on the international stage”
More Democrat self-back-patting here.
Meanwhile in Iran: Ahmadinejad calls for Mideast without Israel and US
Former Israeli ambassador Dan Gillerman: “This country cannot afford to fall into the hands of extremism.” Hopes military can maintain moderation. Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood “would be an existential threat” to Israel and the entire region. Voices concern over the prospect of mullahs in Iran, Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and MB in Egypt.
A sober take from Ellis Goldberg at Foreign Affairs:
The Mubarak regime as it has existed for the last decade — an increasingly corrupt and incompetent government that has conferred immense economic advantages on a handful of politically connected businessmen — has been shattered. A more open political system and a responsive government that ensures its own safety by trimming back the power and privileges of the military could still emerge. And the army may step in as a transitional power and recognize that, as much as it might like to, it cannot return to complete control. The Egyptian military is far more professional and educated than it was in the 1950s, so many officers may recognize the benefits of a democracy. More likely, however, is the culmination of the slow-motion coup and the return of the somewhat austere military authoritarianism of decades past.
Update 1:03pm Eastern – White House has delayed Obama’s statement.
Biden, on the other hand, dove head first into the pool of self-delusion:
Vice President Joe Biden said today is a “historic day for the people of Egypt” that will go down as a “pivotal moment” in history.
“This is a pivotal moment in history…not only in Middle East history,” Biden said.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he will step aside, after 18 days of protests have rocked the United States’ ally in the Middle East. Mubarak has been in power for nearly 30 years.
Biden, speaking about an hour before President Obama addresses the nation, said he was pleased that the United States has largely spoken with “one voice” about the need for a peaceful and orderly transition in Egypt.
“This unity has been important and it will be even more important in these delicate and fateful days ahead,” he said.