A high-ranking Egyptian diplomat tells Fox News the primary goal of the Mubarak regime at this point is an "orderly transition."
The source conceded it is still possible that Mubarak could be driven from office, or the country, by street rioting, but he added that Mubarak still maintains "normal" command over the military and that the armed forces are executing all missions assigned them.
It was noted that Mubarak toured an army control center today and reviewed troops, and that he presided over the swearing-in of two governors.
The diplomat reiterated what he said yesterday, namely that the Mubarak regime, with its newly emerging cabinet, will try to deliver a set of reforms that "take into account public opinion."
These comments, along with Secretary Clinton's remarks to CNN on Sunday noting that Egypt has a presidential election scheduled for later this year, suggest strongly that the U.S. and Mubarak are working in tandem to create a situation in which the autocrat is permitted to finish out his term, and avoid prosecution by any subsequent Egyptian government, in exchange for a swift announcement by Mubarak that he intends to step down in October, and that he will permit opposition candidates to vie openly, and without official tampering, for the presidency.
When the Egyptian president's own diplomats speak of the need for an "orderly transition," it reflects their acknowledgment that his days as president are numbered.
The question is whether that end will come softly or harshly; whether it will come immediately, as the result of further turmoil in the streets, or a few months down the line, as the result of what can appear, to the demonstrators and the outside world alike, as an "orderly," even voluntary, process.
James Rosen joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999. He currently serves as the chief Washington correspondent and hosts the online show "The Foxhole." His latest book is "A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century" (Crown Forum, October 4, 2016).