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Hosni Mubarak to Egypt: “I’m Sorry”

The Egyptian resolution has brought Hosni Mubarak to his knees. Literally, according to Al Arabiya.

Former president Hosni Mubarak is to apologize to the nation and plead for amnesty, three months after he was overthrown by a popular uprising, the country’s military leader called on his people to help improve internal security and work for a better economy.

A report in Tuesday’s edition of the independent daily al-Shorouk quoted Egyptian and Arab official sources as saying that Mr. Mubarak was “drafting a letter which will be broadcast on Egyptian and Arabic channels, apologizing on behalf of himself and his family for any offence caused to the people.”

He is also to apologize “for any behavior which may have stemmed from false information passed on to him by his advisers.”

Somehow, I don’t think “I’m sorry” will work. Mubarak is under detention by Egyptian authorities, as are his sons, his top aides, and until today, his wife. Suzanne Mubarak released $4 million in assets in exchange for her release. The assets were thought to be public property. Most are being detained on changes of corruption, although Mubarak must answer for the unlawful deaths of protesters during the uprising in January and February of this year.

The claim by Mubarak that he was given “false information” by his advisers looks like the beginning of a legal strategy to get out of these charges, by blaming it on underlings. So does Suzanne Mubarak’s release of assets, which her husband may do on a grand scale in exchange for amnesty:

Mr. Mubarak is also ready to hand over his assets to the state in a bid to have the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces “look into an amnesty,” the paper said.

A military source told al-Shorouk that several Egyptian and Arab parties had been requesting an amnesty for Mr. Mubarak, 83, “within an acceptable legal framework.”

The amnesty would apply to Mr. Mubarak, his 70-year-old wife Suzanne, and their two sons Alaa and Gamal who are held in Cairo’s Tora Prison on corruption charges, but sources say it is unlikely to be granted to the sons, the paper said.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, speaking at a graduation ceremony for police cadets, endorsed a strategy to “leave the past aside, not forget it, but put it aside for now so that we can push forward with the most energy we have.” This is not going to work for the protesters of Tahrir, and if they try to give amnesty to Mubarak I think there will be serious consequences for the ruling regime. The people want accountability. Let’s see if Mubarak can buy his way out.

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David Dayen

David Dayen