Egypt, Mubarak Resigns

We have been waiting for the resolution demanded by the protesting crowds in Cairo and Alexandria, that President Mubarak should resign. It has been difficult to avoid worry that the tense situation might turn bloody, but it appears that is not going to happen beyond the lives lost up to this point. Mubarak resigned on Feb 11.

My colleague, Peter Bancel, living in France, has better news access than we in the US. Early on the 11th, he sent this description of the situation, leading him to suggest the day, beginning at noon in Egypt and for the next 12 hours, would be a well-characterized GCP event.

Briefly, yesterday, being Thursday, the day before Friday midday prayers, saw an increase of anticipation among the protesters.

Adding to that were rumors that Mubarak would resign in a televised address to the nation. The expectations were raised when the army announced that protesters demands "would be met", followed by another announcement shortly afterward confirming that Mubarak would indeed make a speech at 8pm local time. In Washington, CIA director Leon Panetta, in testimony before a Congressional committee stated that Mubarak's exit was "likely" and Obama, on the road, voiced optimism about the situation. ElBaradei tweeted "We're almost there" at about the same time.

By the time the Mubarak came on TV Thursday evening the crowds were jubilant. Mubarak extinguished the celebration in a few minutes. He announced he would not be stepping down in an aloof and patronizing 15 minute speech. Within minutes the furious crowd reacted with anger and dismay. Thousands held up shoes in unison, a sign of insult and disrespect in Arab culture (recall that once an Iraqi reporter threw his shoe at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad. Same thing.). Immediately, preparations and organizing for Friday protests began.

The crowds that turned out in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the country on Friday were huge and determined, tense yet disciplined. Late in the afternoon rumors again circulated that Mubarak would leave office. At 5pm local time, in a 20-second announcement on state television, the Vice-President Omar Suleiman announced Mubarak had resigned. The crowds erupted in celebration.

The GCP event was set for noon to midnight on the 11th, which includes the noon prayer period and, as it turns out, also the actual announcement of the resignation. The result is 43003.816 on 43200 df, for p = 0.747 and Z = -0.666. The time of the announcement, 5 pm local time, is marked on the figure.

Egypt, Mubarak

Although our formal analysis is made using the full network of 65-70 eggs, it is interesting to look at the data from relatively local eggs. In this case, we have an egg in Cairo, ID# 2248 hosted by Dr. Fahmy. Examining the data from this single device, we see a striking deviation beginning around the time of the announcement, and persisting to the end of the formally specified event. As noted, this is not a formal analysis, but the departure amounts to 2.3 sigma, and would happen about once in 100 random selections of a data sequence of this length.

Egypt, Mubarak

It is important to keep in mind that we have only a tiny statistical effect, so that it is always hard to distinguish signal from noise. This means that every "success" might be largely driven by chance, and every "null" might include a real signal overwhelmed by noise. In the long run, a real effect can be identified only by patiently accumulating replications of similar analyses.

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