BREAKING: Mubarak Stepping Down

That is the supposed word out of Egyptian VP Omar Suleiman’s mouth.

In Tahrir Square they’re screaming like banshees and waving flags.

UPDATE: Mohammed El-Baradei says this is the best day of his life.

And Ahmedinejad is crowing from Tehran

“Despite all the (West’s) complicated and satanic designs … a new Middle East is emerging without the Zionist regime and US interference, a place where the arrogant powers will have no place,” Ahmadinejad told a crowd filling Tehran’s Azadi, or Freedom, Square.

Which is mind-blowingly ballsy coming from him, seeing as though he’s the product of a fixed election and when the exact same popular uprising took place in Iran a year ago his government put it down with extreme violence rather than let a new Middle East emerge.

UPDATE #2: DrewM. at Ace of Spades probably has this exactly right…

I’m not optimistic in the long term about how things are going to work out in Egypt but it’s still pretty awesome to see people take control of their lives. I understand the strategic challenges this presents for the US but we simply can’t expect 80 million people to live in squalor and tyranny just because it’s easier for us. They have the right to try and create something better and we should be as supportive of that as we can be.

Meanwhile, the Democrat spin on this – hold on to your hat – says The One brought it about

Great news for the administration/president. People will remember , despite some fumbles yesterday, that the President played an excellent hand, walked the right line and that his statement last night was potentially decisive in bringing this issue to a close. The situation remains complicated and delicate going forward, but this is a huge affirmation of the President’s leadership on the international stage.

UPDATE #3: President Obama gave a short speech congratulating the Egyptians for winning their freedom. Meanwhile, ABC News’ Jake Tapper puts out an assessment of this administration’s record in helping to bring about today’s events…

As ably covered by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker – and former State Department reporter – Glenn Kessler, the Obama administration was far more quiet on the need for Egypt to engage in serious political reform, at least publicly, than the Bush administration.

Perhaps more glaringly, while the Bush administration tried to directly fund civil society in Egypt – pro-democracy groups and the like – the Obama administration changed that policy and cut funding significantly, ending an effort to provide direct funding to democracy groups not “approved” by the Egyptian government, and reduced funding in the budget for programs to promote civil society groups.

As Kessler writes: Bush’s final budget “proposed spending $45 million on democracy and good-governance programs in Egypt, including more than $20 million on promoting civil society…But that nascent effort was largely shelved when the Obama administration took office. For fiscal year 2009, the administration immediately halved the money for democracy promotion in Egypt; the civil society funds were slashed 70 percent, to $7 million. Meanwhile, money that was to be given directly to civil society groups was eliminated and the administration agreed to once again fund only those institutions that had Mubarak’s seal of approval.”



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