Mubarak's Survival Efforts
"Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has appointed the country's head of intelligence to the post of vice-president, in a move said to be a reaction to days of anti-government protests in cities across the country.
"Omar Soliman was sworn in on Saturday, the first time Mubarak appointed a vice-president during his 30-year rule. Ahmad Shafiq, a former chief of air staff, was also appointed prime minister.
"But Al Jazeera's correspondents in Egypt have said that many of those on taking to the streets have demanded a total change of guard, as opposed to a reshuffling of figures in the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
"Tens of thousands of people in the capital Cairo gathered on Saturday, demanding an end to Hosni Mubarak's presidency.
By appointing Omar Suleiman as vice president, Mubarak is giving him important advantages for an eventual succession, perhaps reassuring some whose main concern is having the presidency handed to his son Gamal Mubarak. This has not, however, had much impact on the streets, where protestors are demanding Mubarak's resignation and a complete end to his regime.
I'm watching al-Jazeera English, and military leaders are trying to clear the streets without shooting by playing the looting card. I suspect their hope is that, with the communications crackdown, it will be difficult to reconstitute the protests if they dissipate, and forces are able to crack down on what remains under the banner of combating thuggery. I'm certain those hopes are in vain.
(Crossposted to American Footprints)