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EGYPT: Mr. Mubarak and son go to Washington


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is visiting Washington for the first time in five years for talks with President Obama. But it's his choice of traveling companion that's causing a stir back home: Gamal Mubarak, the president son and possible successor, is tagging along.  

One of the most debated issues among Egyptians these days is who will follow their 81-year-old leader. The regime rarely tips its hand, but many Egyptians fear that Gamal Mubarak, a member of the ruling National Democratic Party, is being groomed to take over when his father leaves office. 

Political analyst Deyaa Rashwan said Gamal's visit to Washington is a sign of what's to come. "America as a democratic country is, of course, against succession, but they have never officially commented on that matter. I feel that Gamal's presence with the Egyptian delegation is a new way of introducing him to the American administration," Rashwan told The Times.

"It is obvious that he is there for such introduction," Rashwan added. "If we take a closer look, we'll find that Gamal shouldn’t be in America because of his NDP position. There are higher-ranked NDP officials like General Secretary Safwat El Sherif, who could have been ahead of him for such selection."

Rashwan noted that it is no coincidence that Gamal Mubarak flew to the U.S. with his father just days after holding an online chat forum for 12,000 Egyptians. "Those kinds of interviews are very welcomed in the West as they're seen as a sign of democracy and reaching out for the youth."

Human rights

Egyptians are hoping that Obama pressures Mubarak in their talks Tuesday to improve Egypt's dismal human-rights record in the arena of political expression. But it seems that activists hoping to see the end of emergency laws and discrimination against religious minorities will have to wait a bit longer. 

"I personally doubt if the Americans will pressure Mubarak to improve his regime's human-rights performance," Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights EIPR told The Times.

Bahgat says the Obama administration policy seems similar to that of former President Bill Clinton's administration. Clinton, he said, voiced frequent public concern about Egypt's human-rights record but no real action took place.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: President Hosni Mubarak. Credit: AFP

Comments () | Archives (6)

I am from the United States. I feel awful knowing so many Egyptians want more freedom and cannot get it.

It is obvious Gamal is being groomed. If not officially granted power, he will probably go behind the scenes. I hope Obama does put more pressure on the Mubarak family and that nice little dictator assembly line they have going there.

It does not take a great genius to know what goes on here.

The United States and its surrogates are the people who hold the clubs and insists on historical amnesia, as Noam Chomsky put it, they tend to forget the harm they have inflicted on the others, but the people who are hit by the club tend to remember the history, consequently the United States and its surrogates in EU, South America, Middle East, Asia...etc never accept to see the club on the peoples hand. Doesn’t matter who is leading the Egypt’s post dictator if not Jamal it may be another one worse than him, otherwise if someone elected by the people for the people then U.S and Israel will do the as they did to the result of Palestinian election.

I am an Egyptian and I do feel sad to encounter such naive and simplistic comments posted by fellow Egyptians regarding the succession of "Mubarak senior" by "Mubarak junior" .
The collective stance of Egyptians on this issue should originate from the fact that opting for a father-son line of succession will result in reinforcing the non-democratic , autocratic , despotic , totalitarian political system which has been set in Egypt since the inception of the republic in 1953 .

The argument that Gamal deserves to be the next president because he is "very well educated with European and moderate background " is inherently flawed as there are at least 100,000 relatively young Egyptians -out of a population of 78,000,000- who are very well educated with Western and moderate background , and who were all totally denied a fraction of the opportunity granted to Gamal Mubarak to get prepared , groomed and promoted as the most notable future candidate for presidency future .

Let us not deceive ourselves and openly admit that being the president's son is Gamal's only meaningful credentials for assuming the pseudo-pharaohic presidential office.

Setting a precedent for heridetary rule in a republic where the president enjoys an almost absolute ,unchallenged power and wields unlimited influence and authority over foreign and local policy making will not only be detrimental to the efforts of reforming the deeply corrupted , oligarchic political system, but also will further alienate Egyptians from their rulers and will deepen the prevalent lack of political participation among the vast majority of Egyptians .

I know from history that United States prefer corrupt Arab leaders over any democratically elected reader.
As a matter of fact, United States was and is committed to protect dictators like Sadat and Mubarak because they are well protected by pro Israel in US.
Egypt's government is an important "good looking" tool to prove that peace between Israel and Arabs and Muslims is possible. This is the main reason for the United States to support a corrupt and ignorant leader like Mubarak and will support his son to be the new president of Egypt regardless of how he become one. Israel and United States whether unofficially or indirectly are opposing to any true democracy in the Middle East fearing such democratic governments will be against American and Israeli interests in the region

Rather than once again being reactive to middle-east authoritarianism, here the US government has a clear historic opportunity to be proactive and take a stand against Mubarak's repulsive oppression of his peoples will. The US should make it clear it will not support or aid Egypt if Ghamal succeeds his father without due process.

as an egyption, i have to reviw that the most egyption do not like the issue itself that the sun of a president becomes a president, but Gaml himself is welcomed for many people and i'am one of them for a very simple reason, the man is very well educated with european and moderate background as in your report egypt with the high population and a high percentage of uneducated egyptians need a lot of changes with a young leader.
Sir be sure i dont have any political share or advantage from saing that even idont participate in any political issue. It will be great if for example Gamal came after his fother and then returened the rules that a president duration 4 or 5 years and not more than two times under any condition
thank you


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