Millions of protesters across Egypt now need new signs.
Thirty years of Mubarak's dictatorship collapsed today after 18 days of defiance, with hundreds dead and thousands wounded. "Anything now seems possible," one pro-democracy activist told Al Jazeera English. "I'm so proud."
Vice President Omar Suleiman took to the airwaves just after the 6:00 p.m. call to prayer to announce the resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak. In his brief statement, Suleiman said that President Mubarak is "waiving" his office and has asked the armed forces to rule the country.
With speculation and widespread reports predicting his resignation, Hosni Mubarak struck an apologetic tone, but insisted on remaining president. Mubarak did make further concessions to anti-regime organizers, including five constitutional amendments, annulling a prior amendment, and transferring the authority he maintains as president to his hand-picked Vice President Omar Suleiman.
According to Al Jazeera English, the constitutitonal concessions fell well short of protesters' demands.
Hosni Mubarak is stepping down tonight, according to the statements leaking from both Cairo and Washington, D.C. The president is reportedly at the Red Sea port of Sharm El Sheik, from which he is expected to depart the country within hours.
The United States needs Egypt. President Barack Obama and his national security team may harbor preferences about who represents the Egyptian people, but whoever emerges on top will be subjected to heavy American wooing. Until that person is anointed, however, the Obama administration is trying not to take sides and irk the eventual leader of a new Egypt.
What's the alternative to an autocratic Egypt? If you ask embattled President Hosni Mubarak, he will tell you a well-rehearsed tale of an American ally slipping into the hands of reactionary Islamists who would threaten the existence of Israel and diminish the reach of American power in the region.
"If I resign now, there will be chaos," Mubarak said last week. "And I'm afraid the Muslim Brotherhood will take over."