Posts Tagged ‘Mubarak


‘obama threaded the needle in egypt’

Robert Shrum (The Week): Judge the president’s diplomacy by the results — not by the critics

A president can bluster or blunder this country into a world of trouble. That was the tale of most of the past decade. But with skill and judgment, with a nuanced combination of restraint and initiative, Barack Obama has just zigged and zagged his way through a crisis in Egypt in which he successfully secured American interests and ideals.

The 18 days in Tahrir Square now belong to history. Soon enough, what happened behind the scenes in Cairo and Washington will be recounted in some insider-infused first draft. But in an age of impatience, some rushed to conclude that Obama’s administration had bungled the crisis or caught up to the revolution a little too late. The truth, like Obama’s diplomacy, is more subtle.

…in carefully modulated fits and starts, the president, the Pentagon, and his national security team facilitated a more democratic dispensation in Egypt while simultaneously achieving the best that was possible for the United States and its allies.

…That Obama had got it wrong was the instant verdict of commentators; see how ineffectual he is, how little influence the U.S. has. The next day Mubarak resigned…

…Obama understands that diplomacy is not one-dimensional … the saga is unfinished there, across the region, and for the United States. But the results so far are not bad. In 18 days, the White House advanced our values, protected our vital interests, and demonstrated the power of America’s reach and influence.

Full article here

(Don’t know how I missed this article, but better late than never!)



Marc Lynch ( …This was an unprecedented victory for the Egyptian people, and at last a vindication of the Obama administration’s patient and well-crafted strategy.

There is no question that the first, second and third drivers of this Egyptian revolution were the Egyptian people. The creativity of the youth and their ability to mobilize a wide range of Egyptian society around a common demand against daunting odds are simply an inspiration. The fact that these massive crowds avoided violence under incredibly tense conditions and under great uncertainty speaks volumes.

…The Obama administration also deserves a great deal of credit, which it probably won’t receive. It understood immediately and intuitively that it should not attempt to lead a protest movement which had mobilized itself without American guidance, and consistently deferred to the Egyptian people. Despite the avalanche of criticism from protestors and pundits, in fact Obama and his key aides backed the Egyptian protest movement far more quickly than anyone should have expected.

Their steadily mounting pressure on the Mubarak regime took time to succeed, causing enormous heartburn along the way, but now can claim vindication. By working carefully and closely with the Egyptian military, it helped restrain the worst violence and prevent Tiananmen on the Tahrir – which, it is easy to forget today, could very easily have happened.

No bombs, no shock and awe, no soaring declarations of American exceptionalism, and no taking credit for a tidal wave which was entirely of the making of the Egyptian people – just the steadily mounting public and private pressure on the top of the regime  which was necessary for the protestors to succeed.

The Obama administration also understood from the start, and has consistently said, that removing Mubarak would not be enough. It has rejected “faux democracy,” and pushed hard for fundamental systemic reforms….

By the way, for those keeping score in the “peacefully removing Arab dictators” game, it’s now Obama 2, Bush 0. The administration has been subjected to an enormous amount of criticism over the last two weeks for its handling of Egypt, including by people inspired by or who worked on the previous administration’s Freedom Agenda. It was also attacked sharply from the left, by activists and academics who assumed that the administration was supporting Mubarak and didn’t want democratic change. In the end, Obama’s strategy worked. Perhaps this should earn it some praise, and even some benefit of the doubt going forward….

Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.

Full article here



President Barack Obama reviews his prepared remarks on Egypt at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Feb. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Text of speech here


Cairo, February 11, 2011

Thank you Sarah for the link to the photos


‘we are witnessing history unfold’

President Obama watched Hosni Mubarak’s speech to Egyptians from the conference room on Air Force One, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tells the pool. Obama is now headed to the White House for a meeting with his national security team, moments after Mubarak said he wouldn’t step down but that he had given some powers to his vice president.


the mubarak dictatorship is all obama’s fault, you know

The Atlantic

Here’s President Obama putting Mubarak in to power in 1981 when he was a student at Columbia University



a perfect storm


NPR: The U.S. threw its weight behind nascent reforms led by Egypt’s new vice president as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that international support was crucial to prevent extremists from hijacking the political transition.

A “perfect storm” of economic woes, repression and popular discontent could destabilize the Middle East beginning in Egypt, said Clinton, lending strong backing for Vice President Omar Suleiman’s efforts.

…President Barack Obama called German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and also spoke with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. ally in the Gulf, to help coordinate Egypt policy.

More here



the message

A man holds a portrait of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak reading ‘No You Can’t (copying Barack Obama’s famous ‘Yes We Can’) during a protest against Mubarak’s regime, following Friday prayers at the Beyazit square in Istanbul on February 4

Egyptian anti-government protesters gather at Cairo’s Tahrir Square on February 4 during ‘departure day’ demonstrations to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit

An anti-government protester, near Tahrir Square in Cairo February 4, celebrates after hearing a rumor that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will resign


‘we hear your voices’


‘obama’s handling egypt pretty well’

President Barack Obama is briefed on the events in Egypt during a meeting with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Marc Lynch (Foreign Policy): After President Obama spoke last night about the situation in Egypt, my Twitter feed and inbox filled up with angry denunciations, with lots of people complaining bitterly that he had endorsed Mubarak’s grim struggle to hold on to power, missed an historic opportunity, and risked sparking a wave of anti-Americanism.

….I think the instant analysis badly misread his comments and the thrust of the administration’s policy. His speech was actually pretty good, as is the rapidly evolving American policy. The administration, it seems to me, is trying hard to protect the protestors from an escalation of violent repression, giving Mubarak just enough rope to hang himself, while carefully preparing to ensure that a transition will go in the direction of a more democratic successor.

….What they do need, if they think about it, is for Obama to help broker an endgame from the top down … and that’s what the administration is doing. The administration’s public statements and private actions have to be understood as not only offering moral and rhetorical support to the protestors, or as throwing bones to the Washington echo chamber, but as working pragmatically to deliver a positive ending to a still extremely tense and fluid situation.

…anything short of Obama gripping the podium and shouting “Down With Mubarak!” probably would have disappointed activists. But that wasn’t going to happen, and shouldn’t have. If Obama had abandoned a major ally of the United States such as Hosni Mubarak without even making a phone call, it would have been irresponsible and would have sent a very dangerous message to every other U.S. ally. That doesn’t mean, as some would have it, that Obama has to stick with Mubarak over the long term – or even the weekend – but he simply had to make a show of trying to give a long-term ally one last chance to change.

Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University

Fascinating article – read it all here

Thank you so much for the link Carole

Protesters at a demonstration in Cairo January 29

Robert Fisk (UK Independent): A people defies its dictator, and a nation’s future is in the balance …. It might be the end. It is certainly the beginning of the end. Across Egypt, tens of thousands of Arabs braved tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades and live fire yesterday to demand the removal of Hosni Mubarak after more than 30 years of dictatorship.

Read the full article here



President Barack Obama talks on the phone with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Jan. 28, 2011. Vice President Joe Biden listens at left, and the President’s National Security team confer in the background. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Text of statement here

BBC: Why Egypt Matters – If Egyptian unrest turns into an Egyptian revolution, the implications for the Arab world – and for Western policy in the Middle East – will be immense.

Egypt matters, in a way that tiny Tunisia – key catalyst that it has been in the current wave of protest – does not. It matters because its destiny affects, in a range of ways, not only Arab interests but Israeli, Iranian and Western interests, too.

Egypt, the most populous Arab state, can help determine the thrust of Arab policies – whether towards Israel or Iran or in the perennial quest for Arab consensus on issues that matter.

Above all, the Egyptian state has traditionally had a strength and solidity that made its collapse seem unthinkable.

Read the full piece here

President Barack Obama discusses the situation in Egypt with Vice President Joe Biden and the national security team during the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, Jan. 28, 2011. Attending the briefing, clockwise from the President are: National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes; Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; and Robert Cardillo, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


picture imperfect!

Egyptian newspaper under fire over altered photo

Egypt’s state-run newspaper has come under fire for altering a photograph to suggest President Hosni Mubarak was leading the Middle East peace talks. Al-Ahram showed Mr Mubarak walking on a red carpet ahead of US President Barack Obama as well as the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders.

The original image, taken at the White House when talks were formally re-launched, shows Mr Obama leading the way and Mr Mubarak trailing behind.

The opposition 6 April Youth Movement has accused al-Ahram, Egypt’s biggest newspaper in terms of circulation, of being “unprofessional” for publishing the doctored image without mentioning the alteration. “This is what the corrupt regime’s media has been reduced to,” it said in a statement on its website, adding that the paper had “crossed the line from being balanced and honest”.

The independent daily, al-Masry al-Youm, reported that the state-run daily had “carried out surgery” on the photo “to show Mubarak leading and the rest behind”.

Al-Ahram has since replaced the image on its website with a picture of the assembled leaders seated on chairs in the Red Sea resort. Officials at the paper could not be reached for comment.



path to peace?

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Barack Obama, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II walk to East Room of the White House before making statements on the Middle East peace negotiations in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 1







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