BREAKING: Cairo Is Falling
eports emerging from Cairo, Egypt, make clear a Mubarak regime in downfall. Apparently the airport in Cairo is jammed, and Mubarak family members are reported to have arrived in London.
The pattern for Egyptian Army units has been one of peacemakers and non-opposition to the protesters. The Egyptian Army appears neutral, but unwilling to crush government opposition.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is reported to have named as first-ever vice president, his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Suleiman appears positioned for a bid as successor to Mubarak. Whether or not such a succession would be viable in light of opposition developments is unclear. Observers speculate that Suleiman may conversely be focused on preserving the Mubarak regime's control even if Mubarak himself flees.
Multiple reports of government-loyal family members fleeing Egypt for safe havens in Europe and the Middle East paint a portrait of a regime in its last throes.
For Mubarak, whose regime has enjoyed staunch Western - particularly American government - support, recent events, apparently inspired by the uprising in Tunisia, strike an ominous tone.
In a stunning departure from previous American administrations, the Obama White House has distanced itself from the Mubarak regime, choosing rather to sound a note of caution on human rights transgressions. Stopping short of statements by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron, who have called in a release for a "process of transformation," the Obama administration's position is nonetheless far removed from the unequivocal support Mubarak has enjoyed in the past.
Striking a more cautious tone, a senior US administration official expressed a preference for "managed change" and "adjustments over a fairly extended period of time."
Events in Cairo are moving and developing rapidly. It is far from clear what course power will take. What is clear is that the Mubarak regime is in retreat.