The New York Times, NPR, and the AP are all reporting that President Mubarak will address the nation in what many are anticipating will be his resignation speech and transfer of power to a provisional government ahead of political elections scheduled for the fall. This occurs in the wake of a pubic announcement by the head of the armed forces that the Egyptian Army is prepared to take over the government and ensure law and order during a transition of power.
After 17 days of peaceful protests, street clashes, and strikes, the people of Egypt have spoken to power and, it turns out, transformed their former dictatorship into a fragile democracy. The Middle East will never be the same. What this shows above all else is that the political fate of the Muslims in the Middle East is their own, and they are free to take it.
While many have expressed worry about the potential for Egypt to backslide into anarchy, or develop into a religious dictatorship like Iran, there are strong indications that a broad coalition government will be able to cobble together a democratic union that includes the left-wing workers’ parties and the right-wing Muslim Brotherhood. This is a historic moment for Muslims around the world as well as democratic politics.
Along with Tunisia’s recent ouster of its long-term dictator, as well as the promise of Yemen’s President not to run in reelections, the overturning of Mubarak’s brutal regime means freedom in the Middle East can be achieved without wars of intervention, a lesson the U.S. needs to absorb and motivate changes in its deeply flawed foreign policy in that region and around the world.