Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit gave PBS a lengthy interview today. In addition to the usual jargon, he revealed Egyptian Hosni Mubarak's true beliefs about his role in Egypt, his legacy, and how he feels about US pressure for him to step down.
On stepping down as President:
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT: The president is an honest person who takes the wellbeing and the stability of the country. He believes strongly in stability - stability that would ensure development and progress.
MARGARET WARNER: Has he even considered stepping down as the demonstrators are demanding?
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT: He believes and he publicly said so: He believes that if he steps down or relinquishes his authority or nominates somebody else then first that is unconstitutional but second, he thinks that it would entail chaos and it would entail violence and it would entail also opportunities for those who would wish to act in a manner to threaten the state, the stability of the country and society. He has a constitutional responsibility to defend the Constitution and to defend the national security of Egypt.
MARGARET WARNER: Does he feel that he's indispensable then?
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT: As a president, not as a person. As a president.
On government responsibility for the Tahrir Square thuggery and chaos:
MARGARET WARNER: So what explains that day, this was just last week, with camels and horses and thugs going into Tahrir Square into what had really been a peaceful demonstration?
You don't hold the government responsible for what happened that day?
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT: I do not think the government was responsible for that, because, as I was telling you, my office overlooks the Nile. I saw them coming, in hundreds and then in thousands and I felt they should be stopped. But we didn't have enough forces to stop them from coming into the square. And the president yesterday established a commission to investigate particularly that incident.
MARGARET WARNER: Meanwhile, if you go back to the reality in the streets, the reality in the streets is you've got hundreds of thousands in Tahrir Square, demanding that Mubarak must go now.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT: And then chaos.
MARGARET WARNER: And then chaos?
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT: Absolutely. Then chaos.
Chaos. A thinly veiled suggestion that "order" is to be had only with Hosni Mubarak's guidance, and that democracy is nothing more than...chaos. But of course, that chaos is caused by one side, and that side is the government. They've utilized third world terror tactics by releasing prisoners, paying thugs and releasing police in plain clothes to mingle among the protesters and stir trouble. Running protesters down, gunning protesters down. That's chaos.
The protesters themselves are busy standing for a democratic Egypt, cleaning Tahrir Square and even constructing bathrooms. They are not the creators of chaos; the regime does that quite effectively. But what you see in this interview is a government in its last gasps of relevance, threatening martial law while thumping their chests and decrying "chaos".
Here's CNN reporter Ben Wedeman's translation of Egyptian GovernmentSpeak, as laid out on Twitter last night in case you want a translation: