WH Grapples with Mubarak's Refusal to Resign

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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's earlier announcement that he wouldn't resign left the Obama administration to figure out what their next diplomatic move would be.

By Friday morning, though, Mubarak apparently had made an about-face, having his vice president annouce that he had resigned as president and handed control to the military.

But the Thursday announcement was made during a volatile time since protesters wanted Mubarak gone as soon as possible and insisted on settling for nothing less. 

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell and Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck gave their thoughts on the impact of the protests and Israel's concern of the Muslim Brotherhood. Click here for their comments.

Also, click play to watch CBN News Senior International Correspondent George Thomas' thoughts on the White House's earlier reaction to Mubarak's decision.

The situation in Egypt has been tense, angry and violent for 18 long days. Some Middle East analysts worried that if Mubarak didn't resign soon, it could go from bad to worse.

In a live address televised on Egyptian television Thursday night, Mubarak defied protesters and world pressure, saying  he will step down in September. His announcement led to more fury and anger in the streets of Cairo.

In another setback for protesters, Thursday, the Egyptian military said they would back Mubarak's plan to stay in office until this fall. Mubarak said foreign powers won't force him out, which was a veiled reference to the U.S.

The defiance put the Obama administration in a position of trying to figure out what it's next step diplomatically will be.

"We are going to have to wait and see what's going on," President Barack Obama said.

Obama said he wants the Egyptian government to put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy. But that hasn't been good enough for the demonstrators. Some have been fighting against Mubarak's regime for the last three decades.

"America!" one protestor exclaimed. "America. Where is America now?? America should stand with us. Supporting us. Not supporting the present government."

Mohamed Elbaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 and could play a major role in any new Egyptian government, also criticized the Obama administration's handing of the crisis. In a New York Times editorial that appeared on Friday, he wrote that "it would be absurd to continue to tacitly endorse the rule of a regime that has lost its own people's trust."

On Capitol Hill, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood group in Egypt is "largely secular" even though the Muslim Brotherhood has long claimed that their goal is to establish an Islamic state.

"The term Muslim Brotherhood is an umbrella term for a variety of movements," Clapper said. "In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam."

The administration later clarified those remarks saying the Muslim Brotherhood is actually not a secular organization. Yet, for the White House -- it was just another fire to put out in a very combustible situation.

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent

David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at Facebook.com/TheBrodyFile.