Israelis shocked by Obama’s “betrayal” of Mubarak; Update: NPR source says Mubarak getting ready to step down

posted at 8:46 pm on January 31, 2011 by Allahpundit

I’m shocked that they’re shocked. What else is he supposed to do?

Political commentators expressed shock at how the United States as well as its major European allies appeared to be ready to dump a staunch strategic ally of three decades, simply to conform to the current ideology of political correctness…

One comment by Aviad Pohoryles in the daily Maariv was entitled “A Bullet in the Back from Uncle Sam.” It accused Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of pursuing a naive, smug, and insular diplomacy heedless of the risks.

Who is advising them, he asked, “to fuel the mob raging in the streets of Egypt and to demand the head of the person who five minutes ago was the bold ally of the president … an almost lone voice of sanity in a Middle East?”…

“The question is, do we think Obama is reliable or not,” said an Israeli official, who declined to be named.

“Right now it doesn’t look so. That is a question resonating across the region not just in Israel.”

Explain to me what the United States gains by sticking with Mubarak at this point, or what it would even mean to “stick with him” now. Realistically, the only way he holds onto power is by convincing the army to renege on its promise not to use force and to turn Tahrir Square into Tiananmen. If that happened, we’d lose any shred of goodwill we still have in the region and we’d end up dumping him anyway. Short of that, he’s finished; the best he can hope for, realistically, is to stay on a bit longer as the nominal leader of a transitional government in advance of elections. The outcome of those elections may be rotten, but it is what it is. Even if the U.S. declared unequivocal moral support for Mubarak in order to reassure the Saudis and Jordanians, watching him topple anyway would only remind them of how little leverage we have. Which is to say, there are no good outcomes here that involve Mubarak; in all likelihood, there are no good outcomes period. (There are certainly no good outcomes for Israel.) In fact, if Mubarak did somehow hold on, I wonder if his political near-death experience wouldn’t frighten him into turning belligerent towards Israel in order to shore up support among the public. The only option for the U.S. is to side with the opposition, however tentatively, and do what we can to get guarantees from them that they’ll keep a cold peace with Israel and keep the Suez Canal open. It is what it is, which is why even McConnell and Boehner are sympathetic to Obama’s handling of this thus far.

A point to ponder as you watch Netanyahu address the crisis: Some U.S. hawks like Reuel Marc Gerecht think that Islamist democracy may be an inevitable stage in the evolution of some Arab countries from dictatorship to something more modern and liberal. Iranians have already learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t. Egypt hasn’t yet, and it may be that the only way to find out is to experience it firsthand. That’s a cold comfort for what might be coming, just as it’s a cold comfort that even a secular Egyptian government might be inclined towards hostility against Israel. But it is what it is.

Update: He’s a dead man walking no matter what we do. Backing him wholeheartedly would accomplish nothing.

Two of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s closest allies, his new vice president, Omar Suleiman, and his defense minister, Hussein Tantawi, are quietly working on a plan under which Mubarak would step down from power, according to a U.S. scholar who has been staying in regular touch with the Egyptian political and military leadership.

“They want to be sure that Mubarak is going to cooperate,” said Stephen P. Cohen, president of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development and a longtime confidant of Egyptian and Israeli leaders.

The two-part plan, according to Cohen, would involve the immediate removal of 100 members of the Egyptian Parliament whose election this past fall was seen as illegitimate. They would be replaced by 100 candidates who were barred from running in the election or who were defeated because of government meddling in the election process.

A second possible step would be the organization of new parliamentary and presidential elections. The plan, according to Cohen, “requires [Mubarak] to give up his office.” Asked whether Mubarak would do that, Cohen answered, “He is getting ready to do so.”

It sounds like the idea is to keep Omar Suleiman as president and give the opposition some sort of presence in parliament without it being decisive. Are protesters going to settle for that? They’re holding a million-man march tomorrow in order to see … Mubarak’s intelligence chief installed as new strongman?

Update: Tapper reports that Obama is sending Frank Wisner, a former ambassador to Egypt under Reagan and Bush 41, to Cairo in order to discuss “transition.” Quote: “Senior officials would not discuss whether Wisner was charged with showing Mubarak the door.”


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Ernie when it suits him likes to look at things in the black and white. Again when it suits him. Right Ernie? GFy

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 9:57 PM

OldEnglish on January 31, 2011 at 9:55 PM

And thus freedom is meaningless to you as a fundamental value.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Iraq and Afghanistan- For the Christians!

I think I saw that on an aircraft carrier.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 9:59 PM

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Real freedom comes with responsibility – they cannot be separated.

OldEnglish on January 31, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Too late, Obama and the Left have cast their lot with Zawahiri’s boys.

Christien on January 31, 2011 at 10:02 PM

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 9:59 PM

What on earth do you mean? Karzai hasn’t had a fair election in years, but that doesn’t bother you at all. Plus, you were all in a huff when it turned out that Al-Sadr’s party garnered a large share of the vote in Iraq. Face it, democracy, freedom, self determination…these are not values to you. They are negotiable to you, which makes your own pining for domestic freedom from taxes and regulation all the more ridiculous.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Translation: self determination, only for christians

And thus freedom is meaningless to you as a fundamental value.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Do you consider life under sharia law to be freedom?

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:02 PM

All conservatives are Christian.

It’s says so right there on page 666 of the ‘William Ayers Guide for Young Liberals’.

Bishop on January 31, 2011 at 10:03 PM

OldEnglish on January 31, 2011 at 10:00 PM

And seeing as Egyptians have not acted “irresponsibly”, what right do you have to deny them freedom? They have not shown themselves to be incapable of governing themselves…we’ve never given them the chance.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:03 PM

A simple yes or no will do, if you’re having trouble.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Ernesto now you are just making shi* up. You are one dishonest phuck ….say do you still hide your hom*sexual acts from your girlfriends. You are dishonest all the way around.

Again sicko DID You support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Oh and dipshite your little bs diatribe does not change the fact that those are NOT Christian nations. SO again gfy you dishonest bit*h. I really hate dishonest people…can you tell?

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:05 PM

And seeing as Egyptians have not acted “irresponsibly”, what right do you have to deny them freedom? They have not shown themselves to be incapable of governing themselves…we’ve never given them the chance.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:03 PM

And there you have it.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Translation: self determination, only for christians

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 9:57 PM

The system of government we’re proposing is in the Greco-Roman-Christian tradition, yes. It could be perhaps be safely stretched to include all non-Muslims. In the Middle East iy will just lead to piles and piles of corpses. It already has to some extent, in Iraq.

aengus on January 31, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Do you consider life under sharia law to be freedom?
hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:02 PM

A straw man, as Egypt has not even been afforded the luxury of a fair election in decades. You cannot instantly discount the right to freedom of the Egyptian people, simply because you suspect sharia law may result.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Oh and you lying phuck where did I say anything about Karzai..THE point as YOU KNEW before you played your lying games was that we have gone to war for non christian countries. Why is it that you Crr and PR are so dishonest? Seems that is a common thread among you lefties.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:07 PM

ernesto, you should apologize immediately to the Egyptian people, since you are a part of the ephemeral “we” who never gave them a chance. Damn you.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:07 PM

And there you have it.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Well, time to give them the chance. People ought to be free, no?

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Well Ernie you are the expert on the straw man.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:07 PM

I’ve never favored our support of dictators, anywhere. We support them because of people like you, not me.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Ernie you arguing from freedom abroad but mocking it at home…how rich.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:09 PM

I’ve never favored our support of dictators, anywhere. We support them because of people like you, not me.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM

So you supported the IRAQ and Afghanistan wars?

You dishonest puke won’t even answer…so predictable.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:10 PM

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:05 PM

I love how unhinged and vitriolic you get. You’re a like a child, bullying whomever won’t look you in the eye. Pathetic.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Well, time to give them the chance. People ought to be free, no?

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Free to self-determination; not free to blow up you or me.

I’ve never favored our support of dictators, anywhere. We support them because of people like you, not me.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Please support this accusatory statement. This should be interesting.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Ernie … I love how you won’t answer the tough questions.Instead you rather go on about how I am a bully.

You know down deep you are as dishonest as they get. Truth hurts. Last time I posted the reality of your dishonesty you said I lied. You wanna take a lie detector?

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:13 PM

I think this just confirms for a lot of Israelis that Obama is a cold customer, and Jews tend to react viscerally to that, especially when it so directly affects their security. If Bill Clinton had treated Mubarak the same way I bet Israelis would have cut him more slack. Hillary, obviously not so much.

Plus, in the ME some form of autocracy is still a virtual given. In the absence of decent time-tested alternatives you don’t give short shrift to an ally. Not for the sake of some abstraction that the average Israeli “realist” probably regards as idealistic piffle, and not when it’s defended in a manner liable to be taken as further proof that Obama is reptilian at heart. (Never mind that the same “realists” would doubtless have been content to sell Lebanon to Syria for a song.)

Seth Halpern on January 31, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Ernie again-you supported the ousting of the regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan right?

You know that Iraq that we supported forever … well til we didn’t..you know that one?

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:15 PM

CW, you bully. How dare you prevent ernesto from spreading his pathetic lies? You shameless American!

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:15 PM

Ernie you put words in my mouth and you want a rational discussion..puhleez. In my world we would take out all dictators …so as you often are you are wrong.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Well, of course 0bama can’t support Mubarak…… Mubarak understands that outright enmity to Israel and the USA isn’t very smart. 0bama only likes the ones who think that the destruction of Israel and the USA is a good idea.

LegendHasIt on January 31, 2011 at 10:17 PM

Ernie why did you post that rant against me? So is that acceptable? Please do posts my comments from this blog or any blog that support your contentions.

Don’t worry I won’t wait up. You’re a LIAR.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:18 PM

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:03 PM

They don’t have the right to destroy Israel, yet that would be the plan if they elect MB. Govern themselves – yes, unjustly decide the fate of others – no.

freedom is the right to do the wrong thing – and be punished for it.

OldEnglish on January 31, 2011 at 10:19 PM

Face it, democracy, freedom, self determination…these are not values to you. They are negotiable to you, which makes your own pining for domestic freedom from taxes and regulation all the more ridiculous.

ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Documentation? OR Liar? your choice boy.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Food for thought:

Over and over again in history, it’s been proven that you cannot give unrestricted “democracy” to barbarians and cultures who are steeped in inequality, racism, sexism and barbarism.

It is a recipe for disaster.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Be it recorded forever:

Ernie will not answer the question about his support or lack of for the wars to free Muslims in Iraq and those in Afghanistan. There is likely one reason why–it makes him look like the liar he is.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Funny how the liars run when called on the carpet. Like lights to roaches. Scatter.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Be it recorded forever:

Ernie will not answer the question about his support or lack of for the wars to free Muslims in Iraq and those in Afghanistan. There is likely one reason why–it makes him look like the liar he is.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Aw, he’s just pissed ‘cus we don’t all fall in line for the open borders agenda.

Too freakin’ bad, huh?

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:26 PM

So, how many allies does that make it that this administration has betrayed? It’s getting hard to keep track of so many.

Christien on January 31, 2011 at 10:27 PM

hillbillyjim to be called racist in 3…2…1…

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Time’s up.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:28 PM

So, how many allies does that make it that this administration has betrayed? It’s getting hard to keep track of so many.

Christien on January 31, 2011 at 10:27 PM

It’s easier if you just say: All of them.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:29 PM

I think someone left to go cry a river.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:34 PM

ernesto, you should look to the heavens and thank the Good Lord that you live in a country such as this where you can spout your ignoble ignorance without fear of reprisal.

Of course, if you’re like the typical lib, you’re under the impression that you’re “entitled” to this and so much more, so I won’t belabor the point. You do have the right to your opinion and to express it freely.

I hope you learn to respect your rights and not to wear them thin at others’ expense for purposes of self-gratification.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:35 PM

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Hey, buddy. No kiddin’.

kingsjester on January 31, 2011 at 10:35 PM

kingsjester on January 31, 2011 at 10:35 PM

Excellent piece, as usual. It’s amazing how OfreakinJugears gets by with essentially setting the stage for all of this shizzle and then catching exactly ZERO flack from the press in the meantime, and I expect no more or less from the press in the aftermath.

Thanks, MSM, for absolutely nothing.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:43 PM

I’m still waiting for the NYT and WaPo pieces explaining how the world just didn’t “get” the “historic” Cairo speech.

Bah.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Did I miss it or was Ernie on HA at least weekly encouraging the United States to take on Egypt’s leader?

/
Whatever.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:58 PM

ernesto, just like the rest of his liberal ilk, is full of piss and vinegar until he is seriously challenged with facts.

These folks depend on emotion and feelings to get through the logical facts of a situation; it’s time to shut them down with reason.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Did I miss it or was Ernie on HA at least weekly encouraging the United States to take on Egypt’s leader?

/
Whatever.

CWforFreedom on January 31, 2011 at 10:58 PM

It was that fancy new invisible internet ink, doncha know.

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 11:09 PM

But it is what it is…

/

Seven Percent Solution on January 31, 2011 at 11:42 PM

I cannot believe how much support dictatorship garners among HA commenters. Its as if the conservative conventional wisdom reads, “self-determination: only for christians”
ernesto on January 31, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Wrong. We are concerned about Jihadi’s taking over. And we think practical. Instead of the smoking pot you need to start thinking. The last true attempt at democracy in an Islamic nation failed in Pakistan. Actually failed terribly. Iran sure messed up. Then you have Tunisia. And now Egypt.

You know why? Because Islam does not allow for dissent.

Hey btw…. you proud of Iranian Democracy?

antisocial on January 31, 2011 at 11:45 PM

antisocial on January 31, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Smoke on the Water

hillbillyjim on January 31, 2011 at 11:49 PM

“The question is, do we think Obama is reliable or not,” said an Israeli official, who declined to be named.

If another is reliable, one never asks whether another is reliable or not.

Israel should plan for or not.

rukiddingme on February 1, 2011 at 12:35 AM

The 0 is a lying puppet. What comes out of his mouth via his teleprompter is just scripted propaganda designed to mislead the gulible while he continues to work for the destruction of capitalism and democracy and the economy of the US. Just in case they had any delusions otherwise, Isreal now knows for sure that 0 can’t be trusted. Before it was just a nagging doubt.

shmendrick on February 1, 2011 at 1:06 AM

The US and Europe pressed Israel to allow ‘free elections’ in the West Bank – and to let Hamas run, all in the name of ‘democracy’. The result? Hamas won, and after being locked out by the current dictator (Fatah), overtook Gaza by force.

There are no good choices, but the US should not talk about ‘democracy’ – it should specifically say what are core values of democracy. It should say that it will support a regime that gives people freedom of speech and *freedom of religion* (that’s important in a country like Egypt where 80% of Muslims want to kill apostates), and that it will oppose any regime that doesn’t.

By saying: ‘we’re not stating an opinion’, the US is expressing quite a lot, and it’s not support for democracy.

Phoenician on February 1, 2011 at 1:16 AM

Where the hell was Obama during the Green Movement in Iran? He was silent for our enemy but works against our ally. Obviously I am sympathetic to democratic progress, but all I see right now in Egypt is rage, chaos and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Daemonocracy on February 1, 2011 at 2:06 AM

Explain to me what the United States gains by sticking with Mubarak at this point, or what it would even mean to “stick with him” now

That’s really beside the point, which is that the U.S. has been assisting Egyptian dissidents and training them to overthrow Mubarak even as we continued giving his country foreign aid and military assistance.

From the Telegraph: The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.

On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.

That started under Bush and is just coming to fruition. When that was reported last week, the “activist” was being held by the Egyptian Police. We’ve been undermining Mubarak even as we kept him propped up. This is a tricky play. I hope they’ve got some deals with the Army to steer the new government our way and keep this from sliding into Iran’s orbit or into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.

What did they think they were doing? Who knows? If this was Smart Diplomacy, I prefer it dumb.

flataffect on February 1, 2011 at 4:43 AM

Bret Stephens has it exactly right, it seems to me. There are three choices, and two of them lead to control of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood. These conservative cheerleaders for another Muslim terrorist theocracy are fools.

Jaibones on February 1, 2011 at 7:36 AM

“Israelis shocked by Obama’s “betrayal” of Mubarak”

Why? He has proven time and again he, lies, and does not know what he is doing!
Amateur hour in the White House!

GFW on February 1, 2011 at 7:49 AM

AP – you’re missing the point.
Currently there is nothing that the US can do to save Mubarak.
Timing is everything.
The US could’ve responded differently in the early days of the demonstrations before they gathered steam.

It’s just astonishing to me that during the Iranian riots the Obama admin sat quiet and let things take care of themselves, but during the Egyptian riots they cheered the masses and put pressure on Mubarak.

It should have been done vice versa.

It’s either a PC-principled approach, or the Obama admin are utterly clueless and naive with what they’ve done.

Well, it’s too late now to stand up for Mubarak. If he ends up staying (unlikely) it’ll have to be all of his own work, and against US pressure as well.

AlexB on February 1, 2011 at 8:10 AM

From the Telegraph:

Egypt crisis: Israel rallies to support of Egyptian regime

Israel has rallied to the support of President Hosni Mubarak by allowing Egyptian troops into the Sinai peninsula for the first time since a peace deal was signed in 1979.

aengus on February 1, 2011 at 8:12 AM

aengus on February 1, 2011 at 8:12 AM

How does one mean the other? If anything, it tells me that it’s the other way around. Mubarak is trying to demonstrate his usefulness to Israel and the US by trying to “get serious” about border security with Israel, helping to secure that border from human smuggling, and weapons/terrorist smuggling to Hamas.

AlexB on February 1, 2011 at 10:30 AM

How dare you two mock ernesto’s expansive knowledge of foreign policy. He’s taken three semesters of International Relations at a renowned Junior College.

Good Solid B-Plus on February 1, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Anyone who thinks that the fall of Mubarak’s government will usher in a better era is in for a big surprise. What we’re seeing is the birth of another Islamic state that will be far worse than the government that is in power now.

zoyclem on February 1, 2011 at 11:46 AM

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