Mubarak tells Israeli official that Obama doesn't know what he's doing

Rick Moran
On Friday, as the White House was pushing President Mubarak out the door, he called a long-time friend and collaborator in the Israeli government to attack Obama for pushing "democracy" on Egypt without being aware of the consequences.

Haaretz reports:

Hosni Mubarak had harsh words for the United States and what he described as its misguided quest for democracy in the Middle East in a telephone call with an Israeli lawmaker a day before he quit as Egypt's president.The legislator, former cabinet minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said on TV Friday that he came away from the 20-minute conversation on Thursday with the feeling the 82-year-old leader realized "it was the end of the Mubarak era".

"He had very tough things to say about the United States," said Ben-Eliezer, a member of the Labor Party who has held talks with Mubarak on numerous occasions while serving in various Israeli coalition governments.

"He gave me a lesson in democracy and said: 'We see the democracy the United States spearheaded in Iran and with Hamas, in Gaza, and that's the fate of the Middle East,'" Ben-Eliezer said.

"'They may be talking about democracy but they don't know what they're talking about and the result will be extremism and radical Islam,'" he quoted Mubarak as saying.

Mubarak pointed to administration failures in reaching out to Iran and their miscalculation with elections in Gaza where Hamas eventually assumed power as evidenced that Washington had no idea what it is about to unleash in Egypt.

Mubarak also had some predictions about the future of the Middle East:

"He contended the snowball (of civil unrest) won't stop in Egypt and it wouldn't skip any Arab country in the Middle East and in the Gulf.

"He said 'I won't be surprised if in the future you see more extremism and radical Islam and more disturbances -- dramatic changes and upheavals," Ben-Eliezer added.

Meanwhile, Doug Schoen, a prominent former Israeli advisor to 4 prime mininsters, believes that the Muslim Brotherhood will eventually emerge on top in Egypt:

While very recent public opinion polling from Egypt is not currently available, a number of clear inferences about what is likely to happen can be drawn from prior surveys and prior election results.

The bottom line: there is at least a 50 percent chance, if not more, that a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood or a party with a generally similar approach and orientation will win the next presidential election.

I draw this conclusion from a number of factors. First, it doesn't take a genius to realize that support for the current regime is very limited to nonexistent. But the underlying structural issues present a more daunting challenge. Even before the fall of the Mubarak government, the Egyptian public was strongly aligned with fundamentalists and traditionalists, rather than modernizers who support a secular, pro-western tradition.

Put simply, Egyptians support Islam, its expanded role in the country's civic life, as well as Shariah.

The celebration of "democracy" in Egypt by the press and the administration is ridiculously premature. We don't even know who is in charge in Egypt and the events are being hailed as a triumph for freedom. It's nonsense, of course. The hard work has yet to begin, and between the military and the Brotherhood, there are enough pitfalls to make the transition to democracy a crapshoot at best.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky


On Friday, as the White House was pushing President Mubarak out the door, he called a long-time friend and collaborator in the Israeli government to attack Obama for pushing "democracy" on Egypt without being aware of the consequences.

Haaretz reports:

Hosni Mubarak had harsh words for the United States and what he described as its misguided quest for democracy in the Middle East in a telephone call with an Israeli lawmaker a day before he quit as Egypt's president.

The legislator, former cabinet minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said on TV Friday that he came away from the 20-minute conversation on Thursday with the feeling the 82-year-old leader realized "it was the end of the Mubarak era".

"He had very tough things to say about the United States," said Ben-Eliezer, a member of the Labor Party who has held talks with Mubarak on numerous occasions while serving in various Israeli coalition governments.

"He gave me a lesson in democracy and said: 'We see the democracy the United States spearheaded in Iran and with Hamas, in Gaza, and that's the fate of the Middle East,'" Ben-Eliezer said.

"'They may be talking about democracy but they don't know what they're talking about and the result will be extremism and radical Islam,'" he quoted Mubarak as saying.

Mubarak pointed to administration failures in reaching out to Iran and their miscalculation with elections in Gaza where Hamas eventually assumed power as evidenced that Washington had no idea what it is about to unleash in Egypt.

Mubarak also had some predictions about the future of the Middle East:

"He contended the snowball (of civil unrest) won't stop in Egypt and it wouldn't skip any Arab country in the Middle East and in the Gulf.

"He said 'I won't be surprised if in the future you see more extremism and radical Islam and more disturbances -- dramatic changes and upheavals," Ben-Eliezer added.

Meanwhile, Doug Schoen, a prominent former Israeli advisor to 4 prime mininsters, believes that the Muslim Brotherhood will eventually emerge on top in Egypt:

While very recent public opinion polling from Egypt is not currently available, a number of clear inferences about what is likely to happen can be drawn from prior surveys and prior election results.

The bottom line: there is at least a 50 percent chance, if not more, that a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood or a party with a generally similar approach and orientation will win the next presidential election.

I draw this conclusion from a number of factors. First, it doesn't take a genius to realize that support for the current regime is very limited to nonexistent. But the underlying structural issues present a more daunting challenge. Even before the fall of the Mubarak government, the Egyptian public was strongly aligned with fundamentalists and traditionalists, rather than modernizers who support a secular, pro-western tradition.

Put simply, Egyptians support Islam, its expanded role in the country's civic life, as well as Shariah.

The celebration of "democracy" in Egypt by the press and the administration is ridiculously premature. We don't even know who is in charge in Egypt and the events are being hailed as a triumph for freedom. It's nonsense, of course. The hard work has yet to begin, and between the military and the Brotherhood, there are enough pitfalls to make the transition to democracy a crapshoot at best.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky