11:00 pm: President Obama’s envoy to Egypt, Frank Wisner, was utterly rebuffed it seems. He met with Mubarak and with Oman Suleiman, the vice president, but as far we know didn’t persuade either one to get the transition started “now,” as Obama demanded. And, of course, after meeting the two Egyptians, Wisner unceremoniously departed Egypt. At Tuesday’s press briefing by P.J. Crowley at the State Department, Wisner’s visit provoked some hilarity when his departure was connected to the U.S.-assisted evacuation of American citizens:
QUESTION: P.J., is there any other countries have asked any kind of help to get their citizens out from the U.S.?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, in fact, as on Monday, we were grateful that we could move some Americans on a Canadian flight. In succeeding days, we have been able to assist other countries who have identified citizens to us and have moved them out on airplanes along with our American citizens.
QUESTION: Is Ambassador Wisner one of them? (Laughter.)
MR. CROWLEY: Ambassador Wisner is on his way back to the United States.
Later, there was this exchange:
QUESTION: You said he saw – that while he was there on the ground he saw Mubarak and Suleiman. Were those additional meetings to the ones he already had, or did he have new meetings with them today before he left?
MR. CROWLEY: I’m only aware of two meetings.
QUESTION: Okay. And then my last one —
QUESTION: Just one meeting?
MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?
QUESTION: When was the Suleiman meeting?
MR. CROWLEY: I believe they were both on Monday.
The crackdown was Tuesday.
9:30 pm: Two pieces in the Wall Street Journal on Mohammad ElBaradei, making it clear that the leaders of Egypt’s result see the Nobel Prize-winning former IAEA leader as a transitional figure, not a future leader of Egypt. The first piece outlines his biography, and the second piece describes his role in the current unrest. It says:
“To the seasoned opposition leaders inside Egypt who have been at the center of the country’s mass demonstrations, Mr. ElBaradei may be little more than a transitional figurehead. … These people say they see Mr. ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace-prize winner of international standing, as less of a future president than a fair and non-partisan figurehead and an arbiter capable of refereeing their discussions. Because he has spent much of his life outside the gritty world of domestic politics, he is also seen as posing little threat to these parties should they begin the hardnosed business of vying in earnest for power.”
9:20 pm: Writing for McClatchy and the Miami Herald, Nancy Youssef, Warren Strobel, and Jonathan Landay, one of the best reporting teams in Washington, report that the Obama administration has concluded the Egypt’s military won’t push Mubarak out: “The Egyptian military’s failure Wednesday to keep pro- and anti-government forces from clashing violently in Cairo’s Tahrir Square provided persuasive evidence that the army has no intention of helping force President Hosni Mubarak from office, U.S. officials said.”