Barak Obama Urges Hosni Mubarak's Departure, Calls Egyptian Protestors 'Inspiration'


Despite the enthusiasm among those in the massive crowds of demonstrators, there are people in this country of 80 million who are terrified at the prospect of losing the only president they have ever known, and afraid of seeing their country sinking into chaos.

Earlier today, a small group of pro-Mubarak supporters stood on the sidelines, dwarfed by the throngs that came to protest against the president who has been in power for 30 years.

Practically pinned against a wall, these small groups of supporters chanted his name and waved Mubarak's posters, some practically weeping as they kissed his face imprinted on a t-shirt.

In a sign that Mubarak may be losing the support of his own armed forces, the military -- in charge of managing the peace in Tahrir Square -- did little to quell demonstrators. In fact, the army cautioned against people who might be wearing military uniforms, but are not official soldiers, that may use force against protesters.

Mubarak appointed a new cabinet Monday in charge of initiating dialogue with various political parties, but opposition groups say they won't negotiate until Mubarak steps down, according to reports on Al Arabiya TV.

The opposition groups range from youth groups with online savvy, old-school opposition politicians and the Muslim Brotherhood.

ElBaradei, a Nobel Laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has emerged as a high-profile leader of one opposition movement. He has said Mubarak must step down to ensure the safety of Egyptians.

"First step, he has to go. Second step, we have to have a government of national salvation, in coordination with the army... Then, we prepare for a free and fair election, a new constitution and then move on to democracy," ElBaradei said Sunday on "This Week with Christiane Amanpour."

Send Christiane Amanpour your questions.

Egypt Uprising: Largest Protest Yet in Cairo

As momentum builds up in Egypt, hundreds of foreigners, including Americans, convened at the airport in Cairo, waiting to be shuttled out.

The U.S. State Department today ordered its non-essential personnel out of the country. Previously, departures were voluntary.

A total of four flights chartered by the U.S. government left Cairo today, after nine flights Monday to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey evacuated more than 1,200 Americans. About 1,600 U.S. citizens and their family members have been evacuated since flights began yesterday

As of Sunday, there were 380 officials at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, though the State Department wouldn't say how many are considered non-essential. There were 760 dependents.

There are 50,000 Americans throughout Egypt. The State Department has so far received requests to help evacuate 3,000 Americans, majority of whom are in Cairo. But requests have also come from other cities including Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan.

The situation in Egypt is particularly alarming to the United States. Egypt is one of United States' closest allies in the Middle East. It is only one of two Arab countries that recognizes Israel and has helped broker key peace deals. Mubarak's government has also been a close U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism. Egypt is also home to the Suez Canal, and any instability in the region could be gravely dangerous to U.S. interests in the region.

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