Good update on how the US has started to make its diplomatic move in Egypt. The cautious phase is now over; strong condemnation of Mubarak’s government for the violence today, and a statement that the political has to begin “now” – and “‘Now’ started yesterday,” said the President’s press secretary.
It’s pretty obvious at this point that Mubarak is on his way out, that the changes sweeping Egypt are going to be sweeping far more broadly across the Middle East, and that there’s going to be a major realignment; it’s a lot less clear what this realignment will look like. My post earlier today covered what might go wrong, but I’m still optimistic – the Egyptian people seem very determined to stand up for their rights in this, and the craziest fundamentalist elements seem to be finding themselves on the sidelines rather than driving the whole thing.
So: odds of Mubarak leaving Real Soon Now going up; clear transitions going on in Yemen, Jordan, Tunisia; and I’d say good odds of something big shifting in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, and maybe even Syria over the next few months. And who knows, Qaddafi may decide to reinvent himself as the champion of the people and lead democracy marches through the streets of Tripoli.