The protesters and pro-Mubarak people have had a test of strength, but it has not thrown up a clear victor. Both sides are now obliged to see that to continue down that path is too costly and destructive, almost an embryo civil war. So there is nothing for it except for the small number of contenders for powers to start bartering in private about who is going to get what. This process is too personal and intimate for the outside world to be informed about it. It is a safe guess, though, that while the media are in Tahrir Square boosting “revolution,” and commenting that nothing will ever be the same again, the future is being settled over their heads by the half dozen power brokers who count. The media always manage to select protesters who say in good English that they are staying in the square until they are victorious and Mubarak has gone. These interviews are really promotions of the reporter’s own political prejudices. Remember the book by Ed Behr making a mockery of slanting the news in this sort of crisis with the title Anyone Here Been Raped and Speaks English?
Outsiders are in no position to judge the significance of the resignation of the executive committee of Mubarak’s single party, the National Democratic Party. It may be a sign that he is weakening, or on the contrary that he can do without them, or maybe it is some sort of sop to the power brokers he’s in touch with. Ambassador Frank Wisner has seen Mubarak, who refused to give him a second meeting. Again, the reason for this is unknown: Either he did not like what he was being told or he wanted to hide up that the two of them shared the same view of what to do and he now wanted to conceal that fact by appearing to defy the United States. Wisner has put on record his opinion that it is “crucial” that Mubarak stay in power until the September elections, in order to supervise the change of regime. A man combining intelligence and experience, he speaks Egyptian Arabic and knows the country inside out. It is reasonable to conclude at least for the time being that Mubarak will indeed survive until September as the central figure on the stage, whereupon the curtains behind him will part and someone pretty much like him will emerge to take a bow.