The Dictator speaks. Will Egypt be Free-gypt?

Mubarak has decided to stare down the demonstrators and the crowds are not happy

Mubarak's much anticipated speech following the historic 'march of the million' missed the demonstrators mark by a long shot. The tension is back.

All power to Mubarak's speechwriters who managed to give the impression – conveyed regularly by state controlled Egyptian television – that the demonstrations were fueled by political extremists and the country was being brought to its knees by looters, arsonists and thugs.

Well he'd know about the latter.

Speaking like the overly concerned and loving uncle which he most certainly is not, Mubarak soothingly told Egyptians that he is the only one who can make sure there is an orderly transition to meet demands for democracy, and he will do this in the few short months left in his Presidency.

Apparently after 30 years in office he also gets it that there is extreme poverty and discontent amongst 'his' people.

With a straight face he told the country he never had any intentions of standing again in the upcoming September elections as he has given his life for Egypt, has suffered for Egypt in peace and in war, and it will soon be his time to step aside.

Why would any self-respecting Egyptian believe he is not up to his old tricks of playing for time and inevitably finding a reason in the eight months until the elections to regroup and regain his old momentum?

He has declared he will not flee like the Tunisian Ben Ali. No, Mubarak vowed he will die on Egyptian soil... but before that he has instructed his police and security forces to seek out those responsible for the looting, arson and social upheaval of the demonstrations.

That is ominous for Egyptians, and it is to be hoped that Mubarak's latest 'strong man' act will not reignite the fear his 30 years of brutal emergency rule is so known for.

Mubarak may have done as the Americans asked and made it clear he will not seek re-election. To a small degree that might put countries who have supported Mubarak and are now distancing themselves from him on the right side of history, but it does not meet the needs of Egyptians.

The opposition parties have said no talks til Mubarak goes, and it seems no-one believes he will actually implement the sorts of reforms needed to change the face of Egyptian government.

The demonstrators and the opposition leaders will need tremendous fortitude to avoid losing the cool they have largely employed in their week long protest for human rights, jobs and democracy.

Once again the role and allegiance of the army will be tested.

All Mubarak is looking for now is an excuse to open fire.