Amid Apparent Power-Preserving Concessions, is Mubarak Trying to Exit Quietly to Germany?
Hosni Mubarak is hanging on to his presidency with a death grip, making every proverbial concession he can think of without actually doing what the people of Egypt want him to do -- step down entirely. He has fired his cabinet, appointed a new one, deployed the army, killed the internet, detained journalists and resigned from the top position in the ruling party -- all futile efforts to quell the protests. His latest efforts: Mubarak set up a committee today to propose constitutional amendments that would impose presidential term limits -- a real ironic Bloomberg move, after Mubarak's 30-year reign -- and relax eligibility requirements for candidacy. Amid this announcement, the Obama Administration continued in its typically ginger fashion and said it supports a slow transition out, rather than an outright resignation.
But is Mubarak just making last-ditch efforts to save face before he hightails it out of there?
German newspaper Der Spiegelthinks maybe. According to a report released today, Mubarak may be planning a 'prolonged health check' at a luxury clinic near Baden-Baden, in what appears to be a 'graceful exit strategy.' He's apparently looking at a hospital called Max-Grundig-Klinik Bühlerhöhe, which offers a chateau-like environment, spa treatments and an Ice Capades-looking swimming pool. Mubarak is allegedly suffering from cancer, and last year had his gallbladder and intestinal polyp removed. Other world politicians have been treated at the clinic in the past, including former Ukrainian President Vickor Yushchenko and former Russian Economics Minister German Gref.
Meanwhile, the citizens of Egypt are in their 15th day of protest, buoyed by the release of Senior Google Executive/'cyber activist' Wael Ghonim. Activists on the ground dismissed Mubarak's congressional committee as an empty gesture. "If they were serious, the parliament would have been dissolved, also a presidential decree ending the emergency law," Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh told Al Jazeera.