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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Mubarak Steps Down
Aired February 11, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Revolution -- a sudden, complete or marked change.
Tonight, the people of Egypt make history. Mubarak is gone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICE PRES. OMAR SULEIMAN, EGYPT (through translator): President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as president of Egypt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A nation explodes with joy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God, there's fireworks going off right now, right near the presidential palace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: All of Egypt out on the streets tonight --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your future is a very bright one we hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Iron grip of dictator broken, the will of the people triumphant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What does it mean for the Middle East, oil, Israel and the world? Wherever the revolution spread next.
Live from London, this is a historic edition of PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT. (MUSIC)
MORGAN: Good evening.
There are lots of questions tonight about what happens next in Egypt. But this surely is a moment to watch and listen as the Egyptians themselves joyously celebrate their extraordinary revolution.
You're watching live pictures from Tahrir Square in Cairo, where there are still hundreds of thousands of jubilant Egyptians celebrating the momentous end of President Mubarak's regime. Tonight, it's clear the military is in charge. But who will end up running the country long term?
Once again, we're covering every angle of this historic story as only CNN can with some of the best correspondents in world television news: Nic Robertson, Arwa Damon and Ben Wedeman are in Cairo; John King has the analysis of the incredible events today.
But, first, Nic Robertson. You're there. You're in Tahrir Square, Nic. Have you seen anything quite like this in your entire career?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The last time I saw something like this was in Romania when Ceausescu was overthrown and the Berlin Wall coming down shortly before that. It is absolutely euphoric. It captures your imagination, it captures your spirit. I've been watching it catches everyone's spirits here.
I'm joined by Ibrahim (ph).
You're an archeologist student. How did you feel when you heard President Mubarak stepped down?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't believe it, I was emotional, I cried actually. We got freedom finally. So far, it will take some time to realize that I got my freedom. It's my country. It's my land. For the first time, I feel like an Egyptian.
ROBERTSON: Thank you very much.
Abdullah, you're an architecture student. How did you feel when you heard President Mubarak had stepped down?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a bit festive (ph) to Egypt today. And tomorrow morning all the Egyptians will come to the square to clean it.
ROBERTSON: What about the army? The arm army is in charge now. Can you trust them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I can trust them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they came up (INAUDIBLE).
ROBERTSON: Thank you very much, Abdullah.
Wael (ph), you were talking to me before. You said the international community perhaps has the wrong idea about what people here want? Tell me what the young people want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I said it before. I will say this generation is looking for a sovereign state, looking for democracy, looking for dignity, for justice, no more corruption. We're building our country, for getting our rule back in the Middle East.
We are not looking for rules. We will serve international treaties, so the international community has to support this, and it has to be direct in its support. And also about the army, I'm still saying for the military, we trust our army. We trust it for the transition period.
I hope it's not that long and then we will go to a new constitution, the second republic, after the military state. And we hope when the army gets to the (INAUDIBLE) toward to a parliamentary state and a democracy in Egypt.
ROBERTSON: So, that's what you need to hear from the army next, those clear steps toward democracy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure about 70 percent or 80 percent. But I need to be 100 percent sure what are the steps to be taken for the democracy and the liberty and the corruption because still there are some figures from the old regime, we didn't hear about stopping them by the -- by the -- by the way --
ROBERTSON: Let me ask you one more question, Wael. How long is the party going to go on for tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The party is not for tonight. And it's not for tomorrow. The party will be for a long time, I don't know for how long. We'll keep partying until we get our party, the ruling party that we choose, the program that we will get from Egypt, the second republic and the constitution.
ROBERTSON: Thank you very much. Wael, thank you very much.
Piers, you're hearing it from here tonight. There's still euphoria and the party's going to go on and they say it's going to go on until they get the rest of what they want -- Piers.
MORGAN: Well, you know, Nic, I wish I was at the party. It's been a rough 10 days, two weeks for journalists in Tahrir Square, but tonight just seems a great jubilation. I know you said before that you felt like an emotional punch bag for the frustrations of Egyptians. Tonight, you seem to be engulfed with a new emotional punch back of joy and celebration. And I hope you enjoy it, too. You certainly have the right to.
ROBERTSON: Certainly. Thank you. MORGAN: We're now going to go to Arwa Damon, who's out in the crowd in Tahrir Square, too.
Arwa, extraordinary scenes there with Egyptians that are having this incredible day in their lives, what you experiencing where you are?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Piers, it's truly been a remarkable experience, a remarkable moment to witness in history, not just for Egyptians but for the entire region as a whole. What has happened in Egypt is truly unprecedented. These demonstrators managed to make the unthinkable take place. We have, obviously, a good crowd of them with us.
This man has Facebook painted on his forehead. Why did you choose to do that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because everybody here, they need the (AUDIO BREAK) we met here in Tahrir Square from Facebook, everybody they met on Facebook first, and then we took the position to come here and meet here.
DAMON: And, of course, since that decision was taken, these demonstrations did take on a life of their own and then there was the police crackdown by the police, Piers, if you remember. And I'm joined by Abdel Yasim (ph), who's son was actually killed on the 26th of February at just 22 years old, during those clashes that crackdown with the police.
I'm going to have to translate this interview from Arabic, but I'm going to ask him how he's feeling at this very moment.
DAMON: He was saying that he is very saddened by everything that his country had to go through, especially given the loss that he personally had to suffer and, of course, the loss of life for all of the other martyrs in this square. He's saying that he's really hoping that the country does move towards a better place and that all these losses do not end up being in vain, Piers.
MORGAN: Thank you so much, Arwa. And an extraordinary testimony there from a man who's own son lost his life for this cause, but here today can at least see democracy and freedom sprouting in Cairo.
Let me go now to Ben Wedeman.
Ben, you spent much of your life in Cairo, your family are there. What an extraordinary day for you.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is an extraordinary day. This is a day that, you know, we as journalists have been talking about for years -- how would this regime come to an end? Would it end with Mubarak dying in power as he himself said would happen? The much less likely scenario we always discussed was exactly this, nobody really expected that the people of Egypt would rise up with such fury, but with such peaceful -- so peacefully and then within the space of 18 days, overthrow a regime that if you go back really started in 1952, when the military overthrew the monarchy.
This is something that has taken everybody by surprise and the most amazing thing really is that it was done more or less peacefully -- the violence really came from the regime itself. But when the protesters had the initiative, they never really engaged in violence, in destruction. Of course, we do have the burned out hall (ph) of the ruling National Democratic -- the formerly ruling National Democratic Party behind me. But, by and large, it was a peaceful movement that overthrew a government regime that many people thought was as movable as the pyramids -- Piers.
MORGAN: Ben, you know, you don't want to put any damper on these euphoric scenes. Except, I don't want to ask you one thing -- is any of this jubilation misplaced? Could it be that because we now have Omar Suleiman, who many people believe has been effectively running this regime anyway for the last two years, that we're out of the frying pan into the fryer a bit here?
WEDEMAN: Well, I don't want to be a killjoy because obviously people are savoring the joy of this moment. But there's going to be a hangover that follows this. The country has essentially come to a stand still in the last 18 days, there's a big mess to clean up there, and then, of course, there's the business of bringing this country to its potential, its economic potential. There's a lot of poverty, a lot of illiteracy, a lot of areas of the country that really desperately need development.
So, there's going to be a lot of work ahead regardless of the joy we can feel coming from Tahrir Square and across Egypt -- Piers.
MORGAN: Ben, there's going to be lots of tough roads ahead, tough days, tough weeks, but I think for now, for you and your family, go and celebrate. What a night for you.
I'm going to go now to Egypt's young journalist Sarah Sirgany. She's been a regular contributor to my show the last two weeks. Correspondent of the "Daily News" in Egypt.
You must be feeling pretty weird tonight. You've got your dream. It's come true. Mubarak is gone -- a day you perhaps never thought would happen, Sarah. How excited are you? What are you feeling?
SARAH SIRGANY, DAILY NEWS EGYPT: I spent a few moments, a few minutes in disbelief and I couldn't say anything. And then I just broke in tears. I never thought this would happen, especially because what happened in the night before, we all thought he would step down, but then suddenly, everything just spiraled out of control and he left.
MORGAN: Sarah, let me ask you -- do you trust the situation now? Do you believe that the Egyptian military is on the people's side? SIRGANY: It's very difficult to speculate. Right now, all I have to -- all I have is just to believe or want to believe that everything will be better. And --or believe the army itself. The first statement that was issued today sounded very promising. They said that they will protect the legitimacy of the people, of the state itself.
MORGAN: Sarah, you've risked your life to bring reports to us the last two weeks, I thank you for that, and you, too -- go celebrate. This is a great night for you and for your country.
SIRGANY: Thank you.
MORGAN: The uprising the Egypt brought the country to a standstill. Finance minister, Dr. Samir Radwan, is charge of fixing that. And he's on the phone now live from Cairo.
Dr. Radwan, what an extraordinary day for your country today.
SAMIR RADWAN, EGYPTIAN FINANCE MINISTER (via telephone): Absolutely. I mean, the events have been really developing very fast and it is -- it is quite a historic day as President Obama just said that Egypt will never be the same again.
MORGAN: It's been an extraordinary example of people power taking on a regime that it no longer wanted in government and beating it, isn't it?
RADWAN: Well, certainly, this is unprecedented -- not only in Egypt but in the region, and I dare say in the world.
MORGAN: I mean, do you feel exhilarated, or do you feel slightly apprehensive?
RADWAN: No, no, no. I'm very glad that we have come to a conclusion to a process that started a few days ago -- with the change of the government, the appointment of the vice president, the cleaning of the party, of the Democratic Party, and then, finally, with the -- with the president stepping down, making way for constitutional changes to take place immediately.
MORGAN: I mean, your new to your job, and your job is very specific -- you have to get the Egyptian economy back on its feet. There are reports of food shortages. There's a danger that some people may go very hungry here. There's persistent talk of further strikes and so on.
How quickly do you think you can get Egypt's economy going again?
RADWAN: Well, I think surprisingly, we were able to manage the crisis very well. There is no food shortage. There is no hunger. And the conversation for people here during this event we were able to create a fund of 5 billion pounds to (INAUDIBLE).
So, in short, the management of the crisis has really taken place and now the idea is to bring the tourists back, the foreign investors back and the constants in the Egyptian economy with the opening of the stock exchange which I hope will be as planned on Sunday. And then we are back in business.
MORGAN: Finally, Dr. Radwan, will you be celebrating this evening?
RADWAN: I will be celebrating the fact that Egypt has never done the road of chaos, that this country has been protected and we hope that the transition would take place to a democratic Egypt in the future.
MORGAN: Well, it's a great day, I think, for Egypt and the world is celebrating for you. Dr. Radwan, thank you very much.
RADWAN: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, as Egypt celebrates tonight, what does the fall of Mubarak mean for the U.S., oil and of Israel? And later, diplomatic fire power. I'll ask two former U.N. ambassadors what to do with Hosni Mubarak now.
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OBAMA: There's something in the soul that cries out for freedom. Those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: As President Obama rightly says, the entire world has taken note. But how does the White House deal with a new Egypt?
Joining me now is CNN's John King.
John, I thought it was a pretty powerful speech by the president today. What is your take on it? And what do you think happens now in terms of the politics here?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a fascinating moment and an unpredictable moment, Piers. It was an uplifting speech by the president. He was trying to affiliate himself with the spirit you've seen through all of our correspondents, a remarkable group, in the square these past 18 days. And, look, there are so many questions.
And to be frank and honest, the administration knows the next Egyptian government is probably going to be less friendly than the Mubarak government -- less friendly in terms of military operations, less friendly in terms of counterterrorism, less friendly when it comes perhaps to containing Iran.
However the genie is out of the bottle. Their hope now to use the relationships with the military. And as important as the president is, as important of the secretary of the state of the United States is, the short-term, the two most important people might by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the top military officer here in the United States, Admiral Mike Mullen. Both are scheduled to leave in the coming months.
They have deep, lasting two decades-long personal relationships with the people who now lead the military government of Egypt. They are in constant contact throughout this crisis. They will be so critical, Piers, going forward.
MORGAN: John, yesterday we all waited with bated breath for Mubarak's speech and he rambled on for nearly 20 minutes and then said, "I'm going nowhere." Today, he was gone very quickly.
What happened? Who put the pressure on to get him out? Was it internally from Omar Suleiman? Was it the military? Was it President Obama and the White House?
What do you think?
KING: We are trying to crack that code and I know you have two gentlemen behind me next in the program who have been involve in the sensitive diplomacy. It is the firm opinion -- and people are being very careful about these conversations when we talk to even our best sources in the United States government to be careful. It is the firm opinion that the military went to their president and said, sir, you tried to stay, look out at those streets, it is time for you to go.
However, nobody wants to say that here in the United States. And, of course, they were nudging him from Washington. The prime minister of the U.K. was nudging him from London. Other Western governments were nudging him to go.
They believe he was overwhelmed by the size of those crowds, the energy of those people. And they also believe at the highest levels of the U.S. government that in the conversations with those top military officials, they made clear to President Mubarak, if we face a choice, we are going to side with the people, not with you.
MORGAN: John, finally, how do you think that President Obama has handled this crisis?
KING: Well, it's rocky and again, you have two veteran diplomats behind me. It's very hard. There's no question in terms of the public statements, you can say the administration was a bit ragged in its handle of this. A week ago, about 10 days ago, the president said an orderly transition beginning now.
Over the weekend, Secretary of State Clinton said, well, you know, these things are hard. Mr. Mubarak is probably going to have to stay awhile. Then they got frustrated again.
So, publicly, not a perfect connect the dots, if you will. Behind the scenes, they say the most important conversations were staying in touch with the military, making sure the military was staying out of the fight. And so, now, they'll deal with the challenge going forward and we'll look backwards and critique them. MORGAN: John, thank you very much.
KING: Thank you.
MORGAN: Here now two former ambassadors to the U.N. -- what do they think will happen now in Egypt?
Bill Richardson was President Clinton's ambassador. Zalmay Khalilzad has served under President George W. Bush.
Let me start with you, Ambassador Richardson. This has been the largest popular uprising the Arab world has ever seen. What do you think with all your expertise, the implications both for the region and specifically for Israel?
BILL RICHARDSON (D), FORMER NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: Well, it's cataclysmic for the region. First for Israel, we have to make sure -- and this is in everybody's interest -- that the peace treaty with Israel and Egypt is maintained, that Egypt maintains being an honest broker in the Middle East process, that they help us with terrorism, that that continue, that stability continue in the region.
I think what is also important is to reassure our allies like Saudi Arabia, like Jordan, that the U.S. is going to remain very engaged.
For the rest of the region, if I'm a leader in Iran or Syria or Pakistan, I'd be very worried right now because this is the first Internet-Facebook revolution, through technology, through young people. It happened in Tunisia, it's happened here in Egypt. The force of democracy movements in the Middle East is very, very strong.
And the United States has to get ahead on these issues. But I think that President Obama and Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, they struck a positive balance, but on the side of democracy and the protesters. And I believe that we have a lot of work to do in the days ahead, but I'm confident that the new Egyptian government with a strong military being a moderate force, can create a democracy movement, can create free and fair elections, lift the state of emergency, create new non-Islamic parties, and be ready for a transformative election, which they haven't had in years and it's been a dictatorship for the last 30.
MORGAN: Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, you were involve in a very different kind of regime change in Iraq and also involved in Afghanistan. When you see regime change coming from the bottom up like this, in a peaceful series of increasingly large protests by the people, is that not the way to go in terms of American foreign policy, encourage people to take action like this?
ZALMAY KHALILZAD, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Of course, this is the best way for change to happen and I believe that this is a historic development as Governor Richardson said for the whole region. I think this is functionality of this region, the lack of effective government, transparent government, democratic government, able to deal with the problems of the region, the economic difficulties of the people of the area, the gap between what their regimes say privately and what they do publicly -- this has been a cause of the difficulties that the world is facing from the region, the problems of extremism and terror.
So, we have always thought for this region to become a normal region, an element has to be the democratization of the region and what has happened in Egypt is an opportunity, is a promise that something positive can be built. But there's a lot of work ahead that this opportunity is transformed into the reality of a truly democratic order being established, going through a good transition, and then through a good election in which there is a level playing field.
There's a lot of risks ahead. But I think this is a good night and a promising beginning -- a new beginning for Egypt.
MORGAN: Ambassador Richardson, the problem with seeing these jubilant scenes with people celebrating democracy and freedom is that other parts of region are seizing the moment in a different way. You see Hamas tonight celebrating in the streets. They're not bothered about democratic freedom. They are seeing people power overthrowing a regime and they're thinking to themselves, we could do the same here.
RICHARDSON: Well, look, there's no question about it. We have to have very effective, quiet, delicate diplomacy in the region. But I think if we play it right in Egypt and I see signs that we're going to be doing that, that will be a great example because Egypt is one of the biggest Arab nations, probably the most important for the peace process.
So, what we need to do, I believe, Piers, is associate ourselves with the democratic forces in Egypt further. Get to know the probable presidents of Egypt in the future. ElBaradei, who I believe is pro- American, I know him, Mohamed ElBaradei. Amre Moussa, the former president of the Arab League who will be a presidential candidate. That we try to develop democratic forces and new political parties that we associate ourselves with, perhaps some truth commissions that are going to investigate human rights abuses, that we help them with a new legal framework.
But at the same time do it quietly because this is truly an Egyptian revolution and we have to be very careful, at the same time recognize that our interests in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf are stability, the protection of Israel, promoting a Middle East peace process, making sure that the energy supplies go to the West, bring in the European nations and move forward.
MORGAN: Ambassadors, both of you, thank you very much indeed for your time.
When we come back, the question of the night is really who is in charge of Egypt now? And later, what do we know about the real Omar Suleiman. I'll ask a former CIA agent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have had our chains broken. It's very hard to understand what freedom means until you lose it and you try to find it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tonight, Egypt's military is running the show. But will they relinquish power to a democratically elected government? And what's the role of Vice President Omar Suleiman.
Bob Baer is a CIA veteran who spent years as a clandestine officer in the Middle East and knows more about that region than just about anybody else. He joins me now via Skype.
Mr. Baer, let me ask you straight away: is this democracy we're seeing here?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: That's not the way I see it. It was a military coup that occurred yesterday or last night in Egypt. Today, the military is fully in control, rather than any of the parliament or anybody else.
And right, now the face of this military coup is Omar Suleiman. The question is how long will he last in that role?
MORGAN: Tell me about Omar Suleiman. You have good knowledge of him. You've been on the ground many times in Egypt and you know the region well. What kind of man is he? Is he a military figure? Is he now in charge of the military?
BAER: He's a former general. He took over Egyptian intelligence. At that point, he started to take control of the military. He certainly has all the files on the military, and knows what's going on. But there's still a certain amount of resentment among several generals, in particular, who may remove him at some point.
MORGAN: So this may just be the beginning of further turmoil in Egypt?
BAER: I think absolutely. The head of the artillery and the head of the infantry, who are very, very powerful and believe that the military should have a lasting role in Egyptian politics.
MORGAN: Tell me, with all your knowledge of that area, do you agree with that? Do you think it may be the best thing for Egypt that they do have military control? Because what we have been seeing in the last ten days is a very well disciplined military, who have not gotten violent. And there's an argument they may do a better job than the politicians.
BAER: I think absolutely they will, for the time being. There's no organized political opposition in Egypt that can take over now, certainly not the Muslim Brotherhood, which is fragmented, and the other parties, the -- they just cannot do it themselves.
And without the military, I think almost definitely there would be chaos in Egypt for the long-term.
MORGAN: If you were still a CIA operative, what do you think the top brass at the CIA would be most concerned about from what they're witnessing tonight?
BAER: I think what they should be concerned about is the army holds together. I see no reason that it shouldn't. But anything that would push Egypt to a civil war should concern the CIA.
MORGAN: And in terms of the peace process, in particular the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, but on a wider level between Israel and Palestine, how would this be adversely affected by events in the next few months.
BAER: Well, this is very much a nationalistic coup d'etat. And the accords with Israel, the peace treaty isn't particularly popular. So I would be worried about the military throwing red meat to the street and the Egyptians, for instance, giving more support to Hamas, opening up the border into Gaza, for instance, turn against the PLO.
Right now, the only thing the military is concerned about is consolidating power. And we're not going to know for several weeks in which way they're going to go.
MORGAN: We have already seen a scene this is evening of Hamas on the West Banks celebrating what they're witnessing in Egypt. They're not doing it because they're pleased to see democracy thriving. They're doing it because they're saying people power overthrowing a regime they don't like. Aren't they?
BAER: It's a good example for them, because then what they're saying is look, we can overthrow the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas, as well. Why not? Let's take the West Bank. And while we're at it, let's move over to Jordan.
We're opening up the floodgates in the Middle East, that these autocrats are removable and they can easily be removed without a civil war. And this will echo through the Middle East for a long time.
MORGAN: Bob Baer, thank you very much.
BAER: Thank you.
MORGAN: My next guest says Egypt's vice president may not be quite what he seems. Jane Mayer is a staff write for "The New Yorker," and has done extensive and exclusive reporting on Omar Suleiman.
Jane, how would you characterize Omar Suleiman? What kind of a man is he?
JANE MAYER, "THE NEW YORKER": He's very suave and sophisticated. He's fluent in English. He loves reading Hemingway. But he's also known as a realist and a very tough operator. He's been the head of Egyptian intelligence since 1993. And they have done an awful lot of very dark and brutal things. MORGAN: President Carter said recently that Omar Suleiman was a guy he had been dealing with directly for quite a number of years. This leads me to suspect that he may have been pulling all the strings anyway in Egypt. So are we really in a situation where it's just the same kind of thing in a different face?
MAYER: He's certainly not a new face to anybody who's followed things closely behind the scenes in Egypt. And put it this way, he's not what I would call change you can believe in. He's certainly not a democrat, small D democrat. And critics, for instance, say he's been very closely associated with the torture of detainees in kind of terrible situations in dungeons, in the intelligence agency that he runs.
MORGAN: But you have said it's a bit like replacing Dick Cheney with Donald Rumsfeld.
MAYER: Exactly. It's not really what the Arab street is looking for, I think, in the way of big change.
Maybe I should explain that the way he crossed my radar was that I was writing a book about the Bush counter-terrorism policies. And put it this way, Omar Suleiman has been in charge of the equivalent of the CIA for Egypt since 1993. And apparently the partnership continues on in terms of a personal relationship between Suleiman and the U.S. He's very tight with the CIA, and also he's been on the phone an awful lot with Vice President Biden recently.
MORGAN: Who's in charge here, do you think? Is it the military? Is it Suleiman? Is he in charge of the military? Or are they in charge of him?
MAYER: There's a lot to still be sorted out. But the people who I ask who know more than I do about all these things, suggests that the balance of power rests with the military in Egypt. And right now with this -- the Supreme Military Council.
Suleiman is not a member of that council. But he is a survivor. He knows all the dark secrets of Egypt. He knows many of the dark secrets of the United States. And he's not somebody who is easy to dismiss.
MORGAN: Finally, and perhaps most crucially, Jane, if I had said to you five years ago, right, I have found the guy who's going to bring pure democratic freedom to Egypt and his name is Omar Suleiman, how would you have reacted?
MAYER: Well, unless he's going through some sort of tremendous personal transformation, it would have been laughable really. He's been associated with running a police state, a very brutal police state for 30 years.
MORGAN: Jane, thank you very much.
MAYER: Glad to be with you.
MORGAN: Tonight, should Israel be worried?
And later, we'll go back on the streets of Cairo, where hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are still celebrating their amazing revolution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time, we are free to say yes or not by our own will. For the first time, we want to say to him, we hate you. Actually, we hate Hosni Mubarak, not only nowadays, but since 30 years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Egypt's wild celebrations continue tonight in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Now I'm joined by Maha Azzam, an expert in Middle Eastern politics and Islamist groups in Egypt. Just came back from Cairo.
Maha, let me start immediately. You were born in Cairo. You have spent much of your life coming to and from Cairo. What a day. What a moment for the Egyptian people. Put it in context as an Egyptian for me.
MAHA AZZAM, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: As an Egyptian, I feel I've been waiting for this all my life. Mr. Mubarak has been in power for 30 years. He has instilled fear in people. He has created a police state.
And before him there was Sadat and before him Nasser. So since 1952. I remember each time I went to Egypt, people being afraid to speak out, to say anything about the president in person. Even when things started to open up slightly, they could attack a minister, talk about corruption, but never the president.
MORGAN: Do you believe it will now change for the better, from what you have seen?
AZZAM: I think something's broken. And people talk about the barrier of fear having been broken. I sensed that. I saw it with my own eyes. Standing in Tahrir Square, I could hear people attacking the president, calling for his trial, talking about corrupting, asking for the money back that has left Egypt.
So a barrier of fear has been broken. And I think people feel that they have come out on to the streets and they have been able to change something. Like in Tunisia, I don't think you can put that back. However, the hurdles ahead of Egypt are enormous.
MORGAN: Take Omar Suleiman for a moment. He's been vice president for quite some time. Many people think he's been pulling the strings anyway, certainly with the military. Do you trust him? Do you believe what we heard earlier in the program, that he may be part of some coup d'etat by the military here?
AZZAM: Personally, as an Egyptian, I don't trust him. I know from many Egyptians I've met, there's very little trust. He's very closely associated with the regime. He's head of intelligence and all of the ugly things going on of that particular apparatus.
And one of the main challenges that Egypt faces today is not only economic recovery, but the whole issue of dismantling a security operators that has terrorized people.
MORGAN: But a great day for Egypt?
AZZAM: An amazing day, a momentous day.
MORGAN: Let's get to the questions maybe tomorrow. But for now --
AZZAM: A momentous day, a day for Egyptians to celebrate.
MORGAN: An emotional day?
AZZAM: Extremely emotional.
MORGAN: Maha, thank you very much.
Just a little while ago, I talked to Zvi Mazel, the former Israeli ambassador to Egypt. I asked him about this video showing of Hamas members celebrating the fall of Mubarak's government and whether Israel should be concerned about it.
ZVI MAZEL, FMR. ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO EGYPT: I think Egypt is now entering in the surface which is -- the end of it is the unknown. It will have to dissolve the parliament. It will call for a new election. It will be a very long process. Very long process.
They must try also enter into the political arena, maybe by creating a political party. When we see the reaction of Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, we are not very happy, because the Hamas -- the people of Hamas, when they dance -- and now they don't mean democracy. They mean the possibility for themselves to take over and to impose an Islamic state, an Islamic entity.
This is the story. So it's going to be very complicated and we hope for the best.
MORGAN: So what does Egypt's revolution mean for Israel? Paul Wolfowitz was deputy secretary of defense for President George W. Bush and an architect of his Middle East policy. Mr. Wolfowitz, when we see what's going on in Egypt here, we are seeing revolution from the people. What we're not seeing is any American interference here. If anything, we kept out of it in the west. What are your views on that, as somebody who's been involved in very different kinds of regime changes?
PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I think it was Mana who said earlier the barrier of fear has been broken. I heard another Egyptian use a slightly similar phrase, the wall of fear has come down. And I think it is like the Berlin Wall coming down.
This is a huge epic making event. It's a great day for Egypt. I believe it's a great day for the world. Which doesn't mean nothing could go wrong.
But the Egyptian people have handled themselves in a way so far that is truly commendable. Their belief in freedom, their commitment to freedom, the way in which men and women came together, Muslims and Christians came together, young people and old people came together.
There are huge problems ahead. But by the way, I think Omar Suleiman is clearly a transitional figure. And if this new set of authorities, which is more or less the military, doesn't move quickly to deal with the issues of freedom, to deal with the issues of political prisoners, to set up an election law that gives people time to form parties, but makes it clear there are going to be real elections -- I think you'll have people back in Tahrir Square. I think those generals know it.
So I think the momentum for change is large.
MORGAN: When you compare what's happened here to what happened in Iraq, do you not think, with the benefit of hindsight, that the kind of devastation we saw in the aftermath of the Iraq war could possibly have been avoided if we had just waited and encouraged the people of Iraq to do what the people of Egypt have done?
WOLFOWITZ: Piers, you may forget, but exactly 20 years ago, we encouraged the people of Iraq to rise up against Saddam and he slaughtered tens of thousands of them. In 1989, the people of China assembled in Tiananmen square in much the way the Egyptian people did. And the Chinese authorities slaughtered them, not quite as large numbers.
If the regime is sufficiently brutal, unfortunately, this kind of people power doesn't work. You have to give Mubarak and the Egyptian army especially a lot of credit that they weren't willing to shed the blood of their own people.
MORGAN: You are seeing the White House today urging the young in Iran, for example, to perhaps contemplate some mass protests. In Iran, they could come down equally hard and kill lots of people when they do protest. So it seems me there is a change of philosophy amongst the American administration, moving away from steaming in with tanks and soldiers to saying, let's let the people do this. WOLFOWITZ: Piers, we didn't steam in with tanks and soldiers in order to impose democracy. Actually, going back to 1986, when the U.S. assisted the Philippine people to get rid of their dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, the following year helped the South Koreans get rid of their dictator, encouraged the Taiwanese to establish a democracy after Jon Kin Wo (ph) died -- we've been supporting this kind of peaceful democratic change for a long time.
We went to Iraq. We went to Afghanistan because we saw a threat to our security. In Kosovo and Sierra Leone, with the U.K. and other allies, we also removed regimes. When you've done that, you're not about to impose a new dictator. But that doesn't mean you went there to build a democracy.
There's a really -- it's easy to confuse the two, but they're very separate. The goal for democracy promotion should not be to send in tanks to do it. It should be to encourage people to take their fate in their own hands. That's what democracy is about.
MORGAN: Paul Wolfowitz, thank you very much for your time.
WOLFOWITZ: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, we go back out on the streets of Cairo, where the party is still in full swing tonight. And who can blame them?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Documentary film maker Duhan Nujame (ph) has been out on the streets of Cairo for days. And now she's a witness to revolution. With her, Kali Abdula (ph), an actor who starred in "The Kite Runner" and "United 93." He's also been in Tahrir Square for the last few days.
Let me start with you, Duhan. What a day. What a moment. Tell me how you're feeling right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elated. It's an incredible day. Egyptians have taken back their country .a and you see dignity on the street for being Egyptian, a pride in what people have done in a way that I've never seen in my lifetime here.
MORGAN: Kali, the reason the world is celebrating with such euphoria outside of Egypt is that it's been achieved in such a peaceful way. Everyone anticipated violence, that the protestors would get violent. It never happened. And it's that spirit of peace, that they wouldn't be provoked into violence, that has really moved the entire world, isn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, absolutely. Yesterday, there was -- there was definitely a fear that things were going to get violent, and not so much because the protestors were violent, but because Hosni Mubarak seemed to be laying out -- he was provoking. It felt like it was a provocation. It was that if there were more people that die, that doesn't matter. That's what it felt like. As we saw today, those that went to the presidential palace, those that went to the state television yesterday -- this protest has been completely, completely peaceful right from the beginning. And all the violence has been perpetrated by the regime, which has killed people.
Indeed, I saw some of those people killed with my own eyes.
MORGAN: Duhan, you began following the democracy movement in Egypt with a film called "Egypt, We're Watching You." That was just five years ago. Did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams that you would see democracy come so fast?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we were making that film, we could only dream of something like this happening. We followed three incredible women who were going around the streets of Egypt, educating and talking with people about the importance of the judiciary, independent judiciary, the freedom of the press, human rights and what democracy meant.
But this was five years ago. The time was very different. And the timing was right now, I think with the combination of Tunisia, the incredible work that was done all over the Internet. I never imagined at the time that something like this would happen so quickly, though.
Two weeks ago, I knew that something big was going to happen. You could feel it talking to people in the movement. But this big this fast, I didn't imagine that, no.
MORGAN: Thank you both very much on this momentous day for you and the Egyptian people.
The past 17 days have seen an outpouring of raw emotion on the streets of Egypt. Tonight, we want to take a moment to just watch and listen to the sights and sounds of a country celebrating revolution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as president of Egypt.
OBAMA: There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just a sense of liberation for me, for every Egyptian. A sense of emancipation of the whole Egyptian people. And for the first time, Egypt has a chance to be democratic, to be free.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time, you are free to say yes or not by our own will. And for the first time we say to him, we hate you. Actually, we hate Hosni Mubarak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very hard to understand what freedom means until you lose it and you try to find it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that we have changed the history of not only that of Egypt, but all over the world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot believe. I'm just hearing that this young man that this dream has actually become a reality.
OBAMA: There's something in the soul that cries out for freedom. Those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square. And the entire world has taken note.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You're looking at live images from Tahrir Square in Cairo, where the people are still celebrating into the early hours of the morning their extraordinary revolution. Today, by remarkable coincidence, is the 21st anniversary of the day that Nelson Mandela walked free from a prison in South Africa.
I'd like to end tonight's historic show with the words of that great man soon afterwards: "let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement."
What a day for Egypt. That's all from London. Now here's my colleague Anderson Cooper with "AC 360."