When Client States Just Cannot Cooperate

From Missing Links

What America wanted Mubarak to do (but they found him useless)

(With apologies to reader anonymous who called attention to this interesting article, this is only a short summary, with a few extracts. The article is by Abdulbari Atwan, who is editor in chief of Al-Quds al-Arabi, but this piece isn’t in that paper, but rather in today’s edition of the Egyptian paper Al-Shaab, from where it was also picked up by a Libyan paper called Akhbar Libya).

Atwan writes that anyone who knows Hosni Mubarak knows what when he is upset with something he can’t help letting people around him know about it, so people know that following the recent visit of Condoleeza Rice he has been quite upset and puzzled about why the United States seems to be so angry: What to they want us to do that we aren’t already doing, asks Mubarak. Atwan says the anxiety and the bitterness are understandable, but what he doesn’t get is why Murarak is in the dark about the reasons. America is facing deteriorating crises in the region: Afghanistan is going from one failure to another. Iraq has turned into a nightmare. Confrontation with Iran is extremely close if not closer, and is awaiting only the trigger-mechanism.

In these circumstances, the United States is looking to its allies in the region for help, but what the United States finds is that these allies themselves [far from being able to help the United States solve any of its crises] are themselves in need of help, in fact they are a millstone around its neck.

Things were different back in the day, when the US picked Egypt along with Israel to be its bulwark in the region, giving Egypt $50 billion over 30 years to make it an economic power; or before than when Egypt was leader of the non-aligned movement, and a highly-regarded leader in Africa as well. Now Egypt is none of those things. It no longer has anything to do with security in the Gulf, its mediator role in Palestine has shrunk to almost nothing, and as for Africa, Egypt attends the opening session of regional meetings then packs its bags again for home, adopting as its position whatever the Libyan authorities say, and far from being widely influential Mubarak doesn’t even have a clear idea what the nature of the conflict is in Darfur, which is right on his border.

Read the rest here.

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