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Egypt street violence: Few options for Obama administration

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"This appears to be a clear rebuff to the Obama administration and to the international community's efforts to try to help manage a peaceful transition from Mubarak to a new, democratic Egypt," Robert Danin, a former senior US official now at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Reuters news agency.

While the administration is “planning for a full range of scenarios,” as White House spokesman Robert Gibbs put it Wednesday, it has yet to reveal what those plans might be other than to reiterate what Obama said after speaking with Mubarak Tuesday night.

“Events have moved enormously quickly in a very volatile region of the world,” Gibbs said. “That simply demands that we continue to watch and continue to ensure that we are taking the steps to communicate directly with all of the entities of their government about what we expect in terms of nonviolence, what the world expects in terms of nonviolence, and the steps that need to take place in order to see that transition.”

While Gibbs refused to be pinned down on any degree to which the administration may be ratcheting up the pressure on Mubarak to leave sooner rather than later, again and again he emphasized the importance of change “now” – pointing out that since Obama used that word Tuesday night, “now means yesterday.”

In Cairo, it’s clear that officials are feeling the heat from Washington – and complaining about it.

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