Mubarak went on TV last night to say he wasn’t going to resign, and the following day, he unleashed his minions onto the streets to bloody any protesters who continued to defy him.
His pledge not to seek another term is a tactic to end the increasingly organized momentum against his regime, so his security apparatus can continue to operate as it has for 30 years, and coerce the next election cycle to the benefit of his authoritarian elite.
Pro-government thugs have taken to horses and camels, whipping and bludgeoning the peaceful demonstrators who have protested for days without large-scale violence. Other pro-government protesters were bused into Cairo, which is telling, considering roads and public transportation were shut down to the anti-government demonstrators.
The pro-government thugs are targeting journalists; CNN’s Anderson Cooper was punched in the face by one in attempts to disrupt the reporting of blatant government support to the violent pro-government protesters. They come in coordinated waves, seeking to disperse the demonstrators at Tahrir (Liberation) Square. Well-funded pro-government thugs were reported to be approaching demonstrators, offered $8.50 to hold up Mubarak signs. To me, that’s the ultimate sign of disrespect: “I’ll give you $8.50 to stop protesting against the dismal opportunities and daily oppression our security state makes for you. I’m sure you need the money.”
The thuggery indicates that reforms won’t happen. Mubarak’s regime has resorted to its prime policy: using violence to quell demands for change. It is the status quo, and if it remains, it will thwart the strongest indigenous movement for representative government in the Middle East in over 50 years, which will have terrible policy implications for the United States.
If the Obama administration wants reforms now, it’s clear that Mubarak must be removed immediately.