A combination of clever politics and what appears to be weariness on the part of protestors might allow Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to hang on until September when a new leader will be elected.
There is still a chance he may be eased out in favor of some kind of transitional government. Der Speigel is reporting that a spa near Baden-Baden is supposedly being eyed by the Egyptians as a place where Mubarak could go for "health reasons" and just never come back.
The United States government's scenario for an end to the political chaos in Egypt appears to be this: President Hosni Mubarak travels to Germany for a "prolonged health check" that would offer the 82-year-old a dignified departure. Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that secret talks to that effect were being held between the US government and Egyptian military officials.
According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, plans for a possible hospital stay in Germany are far more concrete than had been assumed so far. Talks are already being held with suitable hospitals, particularly with the Max-Grundig-Klinik Bühlerhöhe in the southwestern town of Bühl near Baden-Baden, SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned from sources close to the clinic. The hospital management declined to comment.
The luxury clinic has an excellent reputation, as well as a respected oncology department, and says on its website it offers "first-class medical care" and the "comfort and service of a top hotel." Patients are accommodated in suites up to 200 square meters (2,152 square feet) in size. Former Ukrainian President Vickor Yushchenko and former Russian Economics Minister German Gref have been treated there.
In the past there have been rumors that Mubarak is suffering from cancer. During the spring of 2010, Mubarak had his gallbladder and an intestinal polyp removed in the Heidelberg University Clinic. Doctors in Heidelberg quashed the cancer rumors at the time.
Failing a "graceful exit" what are the chances that Mubarak can be forced out? Not very good. Time Magazine:
The regime appears to have adjusted itself to a daily outpouring of civil disobedience and dissent that would not have been tolerated three weeks ago; it now seems intent on playing for time and testing the endurance of this inchoate movement.
One of the great strengths of the protest movement has been the diversity of its ranks, but the regime is clearly trying to exploit the absence of a united organizational leadership by engaging in talks with various opposition elements, offering only minor concessions, but hoping to find enough takers to eventually isolate those in Tahrir Square who reject negotiations as long as Mubarak remains in power. The core element in the protest camp opposed the talks conducted on Sunday between Vice President Omar Suleiman and opposition elements over the terms of a transition. And divisions are becoming more apparent as it becomes clear that the regime is unlikely to collapse in the way that Tunisia's did last month. (H/T: Hot Air )
Divide and conquer has always been a good strategy, and while the regime may not "conquer" in the traditional sense of the word, they may forestall a hasty exit by Mubarak while positioning themselves to maintain power during any transitional period that may arise.