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Mubarak Maneuvers Yet Future Seems Bleak

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign appears to be nearing its end in spite of maneuvering by Mubarak that included the appointment of intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to the vice presidency and promises – apparently too little, too late – to carry out reforms. But with Western capitals abandoning their longtime ally and the populace demanding his resignation, it appears unlikely that Mubarak will survive. Nevertheless, there were reports on Sunday that a larger military presence is visible, including tanks and helicopters. Mubarak’s two sons, one of whom has long been seen as his father’s successor, were reported to have arrived with their families in London. More than 100 Egyptians have died in the violent riots entering a sixth day on Sunday. Cairo’s streets have become the scene of massive looting and assaults on individuals have been widely reported. American Vice President Joe Biden told PBS Newshour that Mubarak is “not a dictator” and “should not resign,” while the British newspaper The Guardian is reporting that the U.S. has been supporting pro-democracy, anti-Mubarak forces in Egypt for three years while publicly praising Mubarak. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are closely watching developments in Egypt, many expressing concern that Islamists will fill any void left by the toppling of the Mubarak government. The whereabouts of Mubarak is unknown, with some rumors placing him at his vacation home at Sharm A-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula.