Obama urges Mubarak to begin Egypt’s transition ‘now’

By admin
Saturday, February 5, 2011 19:16 EDT
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US President Barack Obama spoke Saturday to several foreign leaders about the unrest in Egypt, as Washington stepped up its diplomatic effort for a quick transition of power in the country roiled by 12 days of protests.

Obama underscored the need for “an orderly, peaceful transition, beginning now,” the White House said in a statement.

The US leader spoke to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the statement said.

The comments came as the United States distanced itself from a one-time envoy’s suggestion that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should remain in office during a transition.

Frank Wisner, an influential retired diplomat and former US ambassador to Egypt who met with Mubarak at Obama’s request this week, “was speaking for himself and not for the US government,” a senior Obama administration official said in Washington.

Wisner called Mubarak an “old friend” of the United States, and said he “must stay in office in order to steer those changes through.”

“President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical,” Wisner told the Munich Security Conference via video link.

“Frank Wisner was speaking as a private citizen… analyst… not as a representative of the US government,” the US official said on condition of anonymity.

Obama meanwhile “discussed his serious concern about the targeting of journalists and human rights groups, and reaffirmed that the government of Egypt has a responsibility to protect the rights of its people and to release immediately those who have been unjustly detained,” the White House added.

He also “emphasized the importance of an orderly, peaceful transition, beginning now, to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people, including credible, inclusive negotiations between the government and the opposition.”

The leaders agreed to stay in close contact going forward, the White House said.

The statement came as Washington welcomed as a “positive step” the mass resignation of leaders of Mubarak’s party, as it seeks to prod the strongman to the exit.

US officials hailed the move but urged more change.

“We view this as a positive step toward the political change that will be necessary, and look forward to additional steps,” said the Obama administration official.

Separately, US Vice President Joe Biden told his Egyptian counterpart Saturday that “immediate steps” are needed on democratic reforms.

Biden, in a telephone call to Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, “asked about progress in beginning credible, inclusive negotiations for Egypt’s transition to a democratic government to address the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” the White House statement said.

“He stressed the need for a concrete reform agenda, a clear timeline, and immediate steps that demonstrate to the public and the opposition that the Egyptian government is committed to reform.”

Biden also “expressed concern about continued raids on civil society and called for the immediate release of journalists, activists, and human rights advocates who have been detained without cause.”

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  • http://ray032.com/ Ray Joseph Cormier

    The President is wondering how U.S. Intelligence Agencies were not able to warn him of trouble brewing in Egypt?

    With all the experts being consulted and interviewed on the Revolution in Egypt, Eric Margolis wrote this piece almost a year ago that in retrospect seems to be prophetic.

    April 26, 2010
    Just as Iceland’s volcanic disruption abates, another dangerous, disruptive explosion is building up. This time, it’s a political one in Egypt, that could rock the entire Mideast. Tensions there are already extremely high with an intensifying threat of wars involving the US, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Iran. Threats are flying back and forth.
    President Husni Mubarak, the US-supported strongman who has ruled Egypt with an iron hand for almost 30 years, is 81 and in frail health. Amazingly, he has no designated successor. No one knows who will take over Egypt when he dies.

    Mubarak, an air force general, was put into power with US help after the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat by nationalist soldiers. Sadat had been a CIA `asset’ since 1952.
    My sharp-tongued mother interviewed Sadat in the 1950’s and described him as a `clown.’

    Egypt, with 82 million people, is the most populous and important Arab nation. Cairo has long been the cultural center of the Arab world. It is also an overcrowded madhouse with eight million people (12 million in the great Cairo area) crammed into a city built for 500,000. Cairo’s population has tripled since I lived there as a boy in 1957.

    About 28% all Arabs are Egyptians. Deduct North Africa, known as the Maghreb and not traditionally part of the Arab heartland, and Egypt counts for a third of all Arabs. In fact, the Nilotic Egyptians are quite different ethnically from the Arabs of Arabia, Syria and Iraq, but they all share a mostly common language, religion, and sense of identity.

    Egypt was once the heart and soul of the Arab and Muslim world. Under Sadat’s predecessor, the widely adored nationalist, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt led the Arab world. By contrast, Egyptians despised his successor, Sadat, as a corrupt Western toady, and sullenly accepted Mubarak.

    After three decades under Mubarak, Egypt has become a political and cultural backwater, and a virtual American protectorate. Its intellectual and religious life have been hand-cuffed by the security police.

    In a very telling incident, Mubarak recently flew to Germany for gall bladder and colon surgery. After some $85 billion in US aid, Mubarak could not even trust a local hospital in the Arab world’s leading nation to perform his operation.

    The US gives Egypt $1.3 billion annually in military aid to keep the generals content, and about $700 million in economic aid, not counting large but secret CIA stipends.

    Egypt does not have enough arable land to feed its growing population, and must import 50% of its foodstuffs, mostly subsidized, low-cost US wheat. This food aid, on which Egypt
    depends for sustenance, is appropriated each year by the US Congress.

    Washington’s powerful Israel Lobby dominates Congress and thus US food aid to Egypt. Sadat and Mubarak gave Israel decisive influence over Egypt’s policies in exchange for food aid and billions of dollars, a fact that enrages Egypt’s Islamists and nationalists.

    Mubarak’s Egypt is the cornerstone of America’s Mideast Raj (dominion). Egypt’s 469,000-man armed forces, 397,000 paramilitary police, and ferocious secret police keep the regime in power and crush all dissent.

    Though large, Egypt’s military is starved by Washington of modern weapons, ammo, and spare parts so it cannot war against Israel. Its sole function is keeping the US-backed regime in power.

    Mubarak has long been a key ally of Israel in battling Islamist and nationalist groups. Egypt and Israel collaborate on penning up Hamas-led Palestinians in Gaza.

    Egypt is now building a new steel wall on the Gaza border with US assistance. Mubarak’s Wall, which will go down 40 feet, is designed to block tunnels through which Gaza Palestinians rely for supplies. Egypt and Israel claim Mubarak’s wall is to prevent arms from being smuggled into Gaza. The East German regime also claimed its notorious wall was for security reasons.

    While Washington fulminates against Iran and China over human rights, it says nothing about client Egypt, where all elections are rigged, regime opponents brutally tortured, and political opposition liquidated.

    Washington could quickly impose real democracy to Egypt, where it pulls all the strings, if it wanted.

    Ayman Nur, the last man who dared run in an election against the eternal Mubarak – “pharaoh” to Islamist opponents – was arrested and tortured.

    Now, as Mubarak’s health fails, the US and Israel are increasingly alarmed his death could produce a political eruption in long-repressed Egypt.

    Mubarak has been trying to groom his son, Gamal, to succeed him. But Egyptians are deeply opposed. The powerful 72-year old intelligence chief, Gen. Omar Suleiman, an ally of the US and Israel, is another possible strongman. CIA will also be grooming another army or air force general for the job.

    Egypt’s secular political opposition barely exists. The regime’s real opponent remains the relatively moderate, popular, Islamic Brotherhood, which predates World War II. It would win a free election hands down. But the Brotherhood’s leadership is old and tired. Younger, more dynamic leaders have all been jailed or bought off. Half of Egyptians are under 20.

    Mohammed el- Baradai, the intelligent, highly respected Egyptian former UN nuclear chief, is calling for real democracy in his homeland. He presents the most attractive candidate to lead post-Mubarak Egypt. But the regime has already begun moving against him. Washington would do well to back el-Baradei, even if he refuses to toe the line.

    Washington hopes it can ease another compliant general into power and keep the security forces loyal before thirty years of pent-up fury at Mubarak’s dictatorship, Egypt’s political emasculation, thirst for change, and dire poverty produce a volcanic eruption on the Nile.


  • Anonymous

    All you self-proclaimed liberals can go over to the NYTimes and read your rag and realize they are just gatekeepers for our politicians.

    Omar Suleiman was the man behind secret rendition, secret prisons, and secret torture programs in Egypt. The NYTimes will fail to let you know this information. They deliberately DO NOT report on things of this nature. They are Gov’t gatekeepers. They are part of the CORRUPTION!

    So the next time you think of yourself as a liberal, find out, if what you believe in, is actually the truth or a fixation of several peoples lies.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    “Us backs Mubarek’s Deputy.” WHO CARES WHO OUR CORRUPT POLITICIANS BACK??? This man ran the secret police and intelligence networks who are always responsible for the most heinous crimes…just like the CIA. That guy is actually worse. Screw Hillary.

  • http://ray032.com/ Ray Joseph Cormier

    I don’t blame the Freedom Fighters for staying in Liberation Square.

    After Mubarak went on censored Egyptian State TV to announce he will initiate immediate reforms and step down in September, he let loose his goons to violently attack the peaceful protesters the very next day and the whole world saw it. His speech was from the lips, not the heart.

    If they just went home, in no time at all they would be rounded up, tortured, beat and imprisoned. Regime change, no matter what Israel wants, starting with Mubarak and his VP enforcer leaving, must take place before the Freedom Fighters and the International media leave.

    If the media were not present to witness this historic change and the Egyptian People’s yearning for Freedom from an oppressive government, a bloodbath would have already taken place.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    HUFFINGTON POST IS TOTAL GARBAGE NEOCON RIGHT OF CENTER CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They even warned vegans not to comment on their super bowl meat dishes article…what a bunch of scared worse than PC puppies…they have become a joke afraid of their own shadow and should go away. They can moderate my ass!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    Bush, Cheney….and now it appears Clinton and Obama deserve the same treatment Mubarek is getting…they live on the suffering of good,decent people like parasites and vampires feeding on the blood of the innocent.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I gave up that site about 2 years ago. The comments are like ads for liberal ideals rather then comments on what the article was about…its like watching bots talk amongst themselves.

  • DriveBy

    Whoever ends up leading Egypt in the end, you can bet your ass it wont be a pro-US, pro-Israel leadership. When we abandoned everything that the US once stood for under BushCo and then Obama, we lost much more than just the “wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Pakistan?). We lost the world.

  • Anonymous

    We have zero credibility in the ME or more like negative credibility.

  • Anonymous

    There has been no news from the MSM about how pathetic Obama & Clinton’s pick is. Read “Why the US fears Arab democracy ” at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MB05Ak01.html for a full description of the situation.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXTnYCg8v8o Bamboo_Harvester

    Oh the irony John “Horse Face” Kerry ~ Talkin up …Open Fair Elections in Egypt ……..

    John where were you in 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

    talking about Open Fair Elections in the USA ~ YOU FUCKIN HYPOCRITE !

    Crawl Back under your Fucking YACHT ! ! !

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXTnYCg8v8o Bamboo_Harvester

    Like a turd

  • DriveBy

    No retard, the next time YOU think NYT is a liberal rag, remember this example of yours. I can provide countless examples of the NTY always supporting pro-corporate, pro-war agenda and anti-people agenda… but what would be the point?
    Stop listening to Fox News and Hate Radio and you might still spout a brain.

  • DriveBy

    “[I] never saw a foreign intervention that the [New York] Times did not support, never saw a fare increase or a rent increase or a utility rate increase that it did not endorse, never saw it take the side of labor in a strike or lockout, or advocate a raise for underpaid workers. And don’t let me get started on universal health care and Social Security. So why do people think the Times is liberal?” – veteran New York Times reporter John Hess.

  • Anonymous

    What a mess, one says this the other says that !!!

    The US state department has distanced itself from comments by a US special envoy, to the effect that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should stay in office during a power transition.


    I figured out what the ambivalent foreign policy problem is, the person that programs Obama’s teleprompter is on vacation and they are having a hard time programming “GET OUT OF THE WAY NOW!!!” for Obama to tell the dictator but also he is kind of confused he does not know to tell that to Mubarak or Castro, on top of that, Obama is having problems distinguishing the RED BUTTON and the INTERNET KILL BUTTON recently installed by Lieberman, they think he is color blind. However his trusted and highly intellectual Vice President Biden (yes, the one that said Mubarak is not a dictator) came out with a solution that if there is a “Significant Emotional Event” to press both of them at the same time. SMART VERY SMART!!! How come we could not think about that before!!!


  • Anonymous

    Maybe not in the but in the meantime.

  • Anonymous

    When did Obama grow balls?

    Yeah, I can see why he’s so anxious. With all the unrest, they have a backlog of poor schmucks waiting to be tortured. Suleiman can’t waste his precious time anymore. The US is getting impatient, particularly, now that they have an even more loyal subject running things for them in Egypt. What a deal! The people revolt, the US and Israel get the dictatorship of their dreams.

  • Anonymous

    Since when is the corporate media in the business of reporting the truth?

  • Anonymous

    Wow! Reading comprehension ain’t your thing, is it?

  • DriveBy

    Maybe you could elaborate?

  • Anonymous

    Obama urges Mubarak to begin Egypt’s transition ‘now’

    >>>Hey Obama ,, how about American NOW>>>>>

  • Anonymous

    I think you need to start with your ABCs first.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmmm….old Frank Wisner, formerly CIA, still a director at the MI6 cutout, Hakluyt & Company (where Carl Bildt, Sweden’s present Minster of Foreign Affairs, was also a director), vice chair, I believe, or once was, of AIG, and was a director on Enron’s board during their worst of times.

    Old Frank Wisner, sone of one of the founder’s of America’s Financial-Intelligence-Complex. Yup, old Frank Jr., been on several strategic and intel foundations with a guy named John Negroponte, a k a “Death Squad” John, a k a John “Phoenix Program” Negroponte.

    Fortunately, old Frank is married to President Sarkozy of France’s former wifey, so there’s plent of connections to go around, and some say he was one of Obama’s first bosses when Obama worked at the CIA cutout back in the ’80s.


    (And why, once again, do we ask why the bloody hell is Obama always appointing former Bush appointees as his special envoys?????)

  • DriveBy

    So you can’t. That’s okay.

  • Anonymous

    Sure. If that makes you happy.