To appear as though he is listening to his people and attempting to put reforms into place, Egyptian President Mubarak fired his parliament and named a vice-president for the first time. American administrations have been encouraging this for years.
With protests raging, President Hosni Mubarak named his intelligence chief as his first-ever vice president on Saturday — setting the stage for a successor as demands for the longtime leader’s ouster showed no sign of abating.
Like Mubarak, Suleiman has a military background. The powerful military has provided Egypt with its four presidents since the monarchy was toppled nearly 60 years ago. He has been in charge of some of Egypt‘s most sensitive foreign policy issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Suleiman, additionally, is widely seen as a central regime figure, a position that protesters were likely to view negatively.
Mubarak also named his new prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, the outgoing civil aviation minister and fellow former air force officer.
The military is seen as friendly towards the protesters. The police force, however, is seen as the brutal enforcers of the Mubarak regime. The shootings reported of protesters are reported to be at the hands of police, which include plain clothed police.
Military service is required of the people and as one protester told a reporter, "every family has a member of the Egyptian military. The military is the people."
An Egyptian journalist stated firmly that the protesters do not want American intervention but American support. "It is an internal Egyptian issue." There are reports of chants against America and against Israel - Egyptian people are firmly against Israel though Mubarak has been a helpful partner in protecting Israel during his time in office. The turmoil in Egypt is bad news for Israel and its national security.
The median age in Egypt is 24 years. The country's population is strikingly young. One young protester voiced a common sentiment, "it is happy chaos and bloody confrontations." The joy of the freedom of expression is tempered with the reality of violence and anger against Mubarak as the protests go forward.
We wait and watch.