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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WikiLeaks Cables on Egypt

WikiLeaks Cables and Websites News Updates

Diplomatic cables sent from American diplomats in Cairo — 2,752 are in the collection obtained by the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks – provide crucial background on the people and institutions in Egypt's government during the current struggle for the country's future.

They also show American officials' close ties to the government of President Hosni Mubarak, despite occasional discomfort with his autocratic rule.

During a 2009 visit from Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak offered an analysis of Iraq that reflected both his fear of Iran and his doubts about democracy, according to a previously unpublished cable.

"Senator McConnell asked if the United States had made it easier for Iran by removing Saddam," the cable reported. "'Yes, removing Saddam from power was the biggest mistake ever committed,'" Mr. Mubarak replied.

The Egyptian leader said the Iraqi people "are are tough and bloody, and they need a very tough leader. They will not be submissive to a democratic leader."

Other cables offer revealing portraits of Omar Suleiman, the longtime intelligence chief, now promoted to vice president and overseeing talks with opposition figures, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the defense minister. Cables make clear how the Mubarak regime has long used the putative threat of Islamic radicalism from the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition group, to warn the United States not to push too hard for democracy in Egypt. And the cables shed light on Egypt's role in countering Hamas in Gaza and helping to manage Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

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