Mubarak to Snub Assad?

posted at 12:32 pm on February 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak gave an indication that he may not attend next month’s Arab Summit due to the interference of Syria into Lebanon’s politics. In an interview broadcast initially in Bahrain, Mubarak said that the political crisis in Lebanon had its roots in Damascus, and that Bashar Assad needs to end his interference. Otherwise, the summit would be pointless:

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Syria was part of the problem in Lebanon, calling on Damascus to help resolve the 15-month crisis before hosting an Arab summit next month.”The summit will be held in Syria and Syria is linked to the Lebanese problem. Therefore I hope that Syria would solve the problem,” Mubarak said in remarks aired on Al Arabiya television on Tuesday.

“We should not be (in Damascus) resolving a problem that Syria is a party to,” Mubarak said during a visit to Bahrain as part of tour of Gulf Arab countries aimed at unifying positions ahead of the annual Arab League summit. …

“I hope the Arab summit is held with full force (attendance). But there are problems such as the Lebanon problem which is a fundamental one,” said Mubarak, whose country and regional power Saudi Arabia have been leading mediation efforts to help Siniora’s government resolve the standoff.

Mubarak becomes the second Arab head of state to hint at his absence at the summit. Earlier, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has let it be known that he will not attend the event, either. The withdrawal of two key states will undermine any diplomatic efforts at the summit. Their absence will also humiliate Syria and Bashar Assad, who already has troubles with the other Arab states over his alliance with the Iranians.

Arab leaders usually use more subtle language in their dealings with each other than with outsiders. Mubarak’s blunt recrimination will sting all the more, and it could motivate other Arab states to skip the Damascus meeting. They have more ties to Saudi Arabia and Egypt than with Syria, and they also see the Iranian-Syrian terror client Hezbollah as a potential threat to their own power.

Assad may find it useful to expedite the presidential selection process in Lebanon after this interview got bounced around the region by al-Arabiya. We will shortly see how seriously Assad wants this summit to succeed, and to reflect a little pan-Arab brotherhood on his regime.

Cross-posted at Captain’s Quarters.


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Coming soon: Syrian meddling in Egypt.

someguy on February 26, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Strong language indeed.

THE CHOSEN ONE on February 26, 2008 at 12:43 PM

I think Moderate arab states are worried about increasing Iranian influence in the region. Syria is becoming too close to Iran and there is a fear that if Iran hits Israel there will be a backlash in the region. Egypt has bled more than any other arab state over Israel and I think 3 wars have finally convinced them that its not worth the trouble.

William Amos on February 26, 2008 at 12:45 PM

An impressive stand. I wonder who will give him flak for this domestically?

Consider Obama’s “let’s talk and negociate with everyone all the time” mentality in light of this.

Dr. Manhattan on February 26, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Mubarak is long in the tooth. Will his ‘moderation’ be passed onto the next Pharaoh? I’m sure Assad and Dinnerjacket are actively working on that.

Limerick on February 26, 2008 at 12:47 PM

someguy:

Yeah, Syria is the leading practitioner of diplomacy via car bomb. However, there is no shortage of security personnel in Egypt – hopefully, they can handle things better than Lebanon.

Realist on February 26, 2008 at 12:48 PM

I guess Mubarak is pissed that Assad had Mugniyah murdered (at the behest of Nasrallah).
After all, he was doing such good work with al-Sadr’s boys.

Alalazoo on February 26, 2008 at 12:53 PM

I think Mubarak has to talk tough, in order to quell the Muslim Brotherhood, which is looking to take down his government. In telling Assad to stop interfering in Lebanon, he’s sending a message to the MB in his own borders. Knock it off!

Doug on February 26, 2008 at 12:57 PM

I don’t think he has the stones to skip the summit. He will attend and swap kisses and hugs with all his thug Muslim Brothers.

jimbo2008 on February 26, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Welcome Captain!

As well as the nationalities*, the terms Sunni and Shia should come bubbling up. Syria being “friends with Iran” means working for/backing the Shia which disturbs their Sunni brothers.

BL@KBIRD on February 26, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Forgot ot explain my asterix…

* Muslims have a much looser concept of Muslim nations than others do, especially since most borders were set by the filthy kuffar.

BL@KBIRD on February 26, 2008 at 1:09 PM

I just find it baffling that Assad is allying with Iran, what does he get from that that is so worth the isolation that he’s going to, and already beginning to face from different Arab nations? It might be advantageous in the short term, but it seems dumb as hell from a long term perspective.

doubleplusundead on February 26, 2008 at 1:16 PM

This is downright harsh in the Arab world. I can’t imagine Mubarak wouldn’t have made the comments without some thought about the consequences.

Who knows the real reason behind the comments but the simple fact remains that Mubarak is right and Assad won’t change unless his “brothers” lean on him to resolve the problem.

highhopes on February 26, 2008 at 1:17 PM


“The withdrawal of two key states will undermine any diplomatic efforts at the summit. Their absence will also humiliate Syria and Bashar Assad, who already has troubles with the other Arab states over his alliance with the Iranians. – Captain Ed”

“All hope is lost………..”

“No, ……….. there is another

Seven Percent Solution on February 26, 2008 at 1:19 PM

Mubarak will be assassinated, by his own military, just like Sadat was. It’s inevitable when you’re an Arab “moderate,” who has the audacity to speak the truth about Syria, Iran, et al – or, to try and change the face of the Middle East.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 26, 2008 at 1:27 PM

It’s about time the Gulf nations cut through the BS of the Syrian propaganda machine.

LT Nixon on February 26, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Mubarak needs to fix Egypt’s border with Gaza, then he can talk about fixing Lebanon’s problems or worrying about Syria (and Iran).

You can’t secure your own country when you let terrorists infiltrate through open borders ..hum.. sounds familiar, America?

Indy Conservative on February 26, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Mubarak needs to fix Egypt’s border with Gaza, then he can talk about fixing Lebanon’s problems or worrying about Syria (and Iran).

You can’t secure your own country when you let terrorists infiltrate through open borders ..hum.. sounds familiar, America?

Indy Conservative on February 26, 2008 at 1:47 PM

It’s Egypt’s fault that Hamas blew up the Egypt/Gaza border wall?

Hollowpoint on February 26, 2008 at 2:23 PM

What a chinless, pencil-necked geek that Bashar is. Shouldn’t he be playing WoW instead of running Syria?

Lehuster on February 26, 2008 at 2:33 PM

The Muslim Brotherhood is the leading opposition in both Cairo and Damascus, which is why Egypt has not been hostile to Syria. But I doubt Mubarak would be pissed at Mughniyeh’s killing – after all, Hizbullah is Shia, and closely allied to Iran (it’s tough to say which is a stooge of which), and while Egypt doesn’t like the Shia crescent going from Iran through Iraq through the Alawite regime in Syria to Hizbullah in Lebanon, they know that destabilizing that regime would strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as well, which is why they don’t do it.

Given that, I doubt that Egypt has too many cards to play against Syria.

infidelpride on February 26, 2008 at 2:45 PM

Assad: Mubarak, don`t ever take sides against the family like that again. Now, how about some fishing, just the two of us?

ThePrez on February 26, 2008 at 4:32 PM

Mubarak to Snub Assad Asshat?

There….fixed! Do I get a cookie, now?

dmh0667 on February 26, 2008 at 5:23 PM

It’s Egypt’s fault that Hamas blew up the Egypt/Gaza border wall?

Hollowpoint on February 26, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Sure is. If Mubarak had the intention of securing the border, he would have. But he allowed the terrorists (Hamas) and their supporters to enter Egypt for fear of retaliation from his own people and the Arab world.

Indy Conservative on February 26, 2008 at 9:32 PM

Arab Summit, what a joke. Don’t they have one of these things about every other week? About as useful as a UN conference. The lower half of Assad’s face needs a summit.

labrat on February 26, 2008 at 11:21 PM