Since Mubarak has crushed political dissidents who attempted to oppose him through legitimate channels, this kind of decentralized uprising also makes perfect sense. The State of Emergency that has existed since 1981 when Mubarak instated it, allows the government to detain people indefinitely and without due process if they are deemed a threat to the security of the state. Reports of torture are common and well documented by international human rights groups. Considering this history, this spontaneous revolt via Facebook and Twitter is the only kind of wily, back-door operation that could have succeeded.
We have also heard the specter of Islamist takeover raised in favor of maintaining Mubarak, if even for the short-term. The threat of Islamists has offered carte blanche for Middle Eastern leaders to use as an excuse for shady detainments and extraordinary renditions, all with the United States’ effective or explicit blessing. Assertions of an Islamist boogeyman, which call up images of the Iranian revolution and ayatollahs standing in the wings waiting to execute iron-fisted sharia law, play well on American fears.