On Feb. 10, Mubarak insisted that he would not resign until his term
ended in September, but would transfer authority to Suleiman. Hours later, he stepped aside. Hours
earlier, the Supreme Armed Forces Council, in its first meeting since 1973,
convened to discuss the security situation and pledged to protect people and
property, Middle East Newsline reported.
"It [council] will continue meeting on a continuous basis to examine
measures to be taken to protect the nation and its gains and the ambitions
of the great Egyptian people," the council, headed by Defense Minister
Hussein Tantawi, said.
Neither Mubarak or Suleiman attended the meeting of the Supreme Armed
Forces Council. The council, shown on Egyptian television, showed about 25
senior commanders, some of whom were believed to have participated in a
dialogue with the opposition.
"There has been a fallout between Tantawi and Suleiman," the source
said. "Tantawi has support for his position from the United States and is in
contact with the Muslim Brotherhood."
In late January 2010, Tantawi held secret talks in Washington regarding
the prospect of a post-Mubarak Egypt. The sources said Tantawi left
Washington in the mistaken belief that the administration of President
Barack Obama supported a military coup in Cairo.
The sources said Mubarak had turned into a virtual figurehead and no
longer played a significant role in Egypt. They said Suleiman has sought to
recruit the military to ensure control over Egypt amid the threat of an
"There must be an end to this crisis as soon as possible," Suleiman
said. "We don't want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools."
The greatest threat to the Mubarak regime was said to have been the
Muslim Brotherhood, which has ruled out cooperation with Suleiman, Egypt's
former longtime intelligence chief. The sources said the Brotherhood has
penetrated virtually every sector of Egyptian society, including the
military, security forces, media, clergy and unions.
"Officially, Suleiman is now the boss, but Tantawi controls the
military, the only force left that could protect the regime," the
intelligence source said. "Tantawi and the top military commanders are
talking to the Brotherhood in what could eventually result in a
At the same time, the Brotherhood was organizing thousands of mosques to
send volunteers and supplies to expand anti-regime protests. The Islamic
opposition has also staged labor strikes, including those by bus drivers and
On Feb. 4, the Brotherhood issued a leaflet that called on Mubarak to
leave office. The leaflet, which adopted language similar to Al Qaida, also
demanded an Islamic revival in what was termed historical Egypt, which
includes Sudan and parts of Israel.
"The Brotherhood has changed and draws its language and ideas from Bin
Laden," another intelligence source said. "Right now, it is waiting for
the right moment to act."