Pardon me while I vent...
From the start, Mubarak has been in denial about his true situation. But this latest turn of events is just insane. I think I heard best put by David Gergen on CNN this evening when he said that Mubarak's only chance of staying in office until September was if he had the backing of the US and a coalition of world governments. I had thought that he'd blown any chance of getting that support when he let loose the thugs on the anti-Mubarak demonstrators yesterday. But today he doubled down on crazy, blood thirsty tyrant strategy. He's set his thugs after the journalists from all over the world.
The top story regarding Egypt for half the new agencies on the planet is about to shift from "is it really Mubarak or chaos?" to "Hosni Mubarak Intolerable, Journalist-beating Monster." This may be interspersed with references to the Military Police attack on the Cairo office of Amnesty International and taking of its staff along with staff members of Human Rights Watch and some Egyptian human rights activists (all of whom are still missing as of the night of Feb 3). In very short order he will be confronted with near universal condemnation and demands to immediately resign.
Mubarak is 82 years old. It's been clear for a week that neither he nor his son were going to be running Egypt a year from now. The military is in a very strong bargaining position generally, so I doubt this is about Mubarak thinking this is about keeping the military in charge either. This is about Hosni Mubarak's pride. He's angry that a country he feels owe him so much doesn't love him. In revenge he's going to unleash hell on his countrymen and anyone else he chooses to blame for his situation. Blind rage in an individual is unfortunate enough. When combined with unchecked power, it's unspeakably horrible and tragic.
UPDATE (2/4): I have heard that the three largest opposition parties, the Muslim Brotherhood, New Wafd Party and El-Ghad Party are refusing to talk to Vice President Sulieman because they blame him for directing the attacks by pro-Mubarak thugs. Given what he said about foreign journalists just before the violence was also directed at them, I'm inclined to believe that Suleiman is behind it.
According to CNN, Suleiman said in a nationally televised address: "I actually blame certain friendly nations who have television channels, they're not friendly at all, who have intensified the youth against the nation and the state... They have filled the minds of the youth with wrongdoings, with allegations and this is unacceptable. They should never have done that. They should have never sent this enemy spirt."