As developments continue to swirl in Egypt with Hosni Mubarak technically in place and the protestors remaining in Tahrir Square resistant to any measures to end the rebellion without Mubarak first stepping down, the situation remains in uneasy calm.
The army on Saturday installed a buffer zone separating the protestors in Tahrir Square and the Mubarak supporters kept at bay beyond the square so the clashes of last Wednesday and Thursday will not be repeated.
With the protestors showing no sign of backing away from their key demand of Mubarak needing to step down and new protests called for in the coming days, it becomes ever more clear the army is the only institution capable of breaking the impasse and forcing Mubarak to leave. From reports the army is considering a way for Mubarak to leave with "dignity".
From here Mubarak's departure in any way would seem to satisfy the protestors demand. But the "dignified" departure needs to occur expeditiously otherwise violence and a breakdown in civility could easily erupt again.
With Mubarak openly admitting he was "fed up being president" but fearful of "chaos occurring if he does step down" (as he realizes his reign is over) the army must act.
The U.S., the European Union, Turkey's Prime Minister Erdigan have increasingly pushed for a peaceful transition and free elections with multiple parties once Mubarak has left the scene.
Egypt's Vice President Suleiman has been meeting with some opposition leaders offering solutions i.e. Mubarak's son leaving the country, a commitment to free elections, government paying for property damages as a result of the demonstrations. They are all inadequate concessions (too little, too late) that only fuels the protestors determination to continue their resistance.
Surely this can't be lost on the generals who must realize their loyalty to Mubarak is outweighed by the need for him to be ushered out.
Letting the current stalemate fester with continued inaction is not the answer. Inaction is an unacceptable decision. It will only contribute to the situation worsening.
The army must act to find the "dignified" solution for Mubarak to leave.
We Americans need to take heart. The revolution unfolding in Egypt is a grass roots, leaderless desire for people to throw the chains of the dictatorship and repression they have been forced to live under.
Nicholas Kristof, writing in the New York Times Sunday, February 6 captured the spirit of the protestors in Tahrir Square (where he spent the last week being with and interviewing many of the protestors who took great pains to protect him) when he asked a businessman (who was among the throng) whether "Egyptian democracy might lead to oppression or upheavals with Israel or the price of oil", the man responded, "The Middle East is not only for oil"we are human beings exactly like you people. We don't hate the American people. They are pioneers. We want to be like them. Is that a crime?"
That Egyptian businessman connected with the original spirit of those who signed our "Declaration of Independence" who were willing to die in the cause to throw off the tyranny of King George III in 1776.
The man may no little directly about our history, but there seems little doubt he connects with the core spirit of who we are as a people.