Military leaders urge Mubarak to step down

30 January 2011

Losing police and military backing would make President Hosni Mubarak’s position highly unstable

President Hosni Mubarak’s two most senior military officials – Omar Suleiman, the newly named vice-president, and Field Marshall Mohamed Tantawi, the defence minister – have discussed the possibility of his resignation.

According to a report in London-based newspaper The Sunday Times, the officials “raised with him the idea that he should leave”, citing a source close to the leadership.

The report states that both Suleiman and Tantawi were looking for a “respectable” way for Mubarak to leave.

Suleiman’s recent appointment to vice-president – the first such appointment in Mubarak’s 30-year rule – follows the recent release of a Wikileaks cable that portrayed him as a safe pair of hands in the eyes of the US.

Mubarak’s discussions with Suleiman and Tantawi are the latest indication that the President’s rule is increasingly under threat. Throughout the recent protests, the police and army have been relied upon to maintain order. Should this support turn, Mubarak’s position will become more unstable still.

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