Egypt crisis: Experts say US will have to put everything on the line now

Washington, Feb.11 (ANI): With cornered Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak playing a seemingly cat and mouse game with the Western powers, including the United States, rights activists and experts on Middle East affairs have said that Washington may just have to abandon a key ally and put everything it has on the line to ensure an orderly transition to a more democratic form of administration in Cairo.

Thursday was a day of dashed hopes in Egypt, and the Obama administration's attempts to balance the democratic aspirations of the protesters against a fear of contributing to broader instability in the Middle East collided head-on with Mubarak's defiant refusal to relinquish his office.

Mubarak said he would not brook foreign interference, suggesting that he was digging in his heels after days of prodding by the United States for "immediate, irreversible" change.

President Obama, on the other hand, celebrated the hopes of a "young generation" of Egyptians, through a national broadcast that was aired in Cairo, drawing cheers from the protesters.

"The administration has to put everything on the line now.Whatever cards they have, this is the time to play them," the New York Times quoted Thomas Malinowski, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch, as saying.

The White House has called on the Mubarak-led government to explain "in clear and unambiguous language" how a transition of power would take place.

Washington, to say the least, has been taken aback by Mubarak's latest broadside.

It seems to be now looking towards Vice-President Omar Suleiman and the top brass of the Egyptian Army to end the crisis sooner than later, though Suleiman continues to be aligning himself squarely with his boss Mubarak.

There are doubts in Washington that Suleiman's ability to function as an honest broker in the transition process may come unstuck.

"The administration had been looking toward Suleiman to handle the orderly part of the orderly transition.But this week, he raised doubts about whether he had made the conversion to a democrat. And now Mubarak has dragged Suleiman down with him, in the eyes of the protesters," said Martin S. Indyk, the director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta has firmly declared to Congress that Mubarak's exit is almost certain, though President Obama has expressed his unhappiness about some of the recent judgments of American spy agencies.(ANI)

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