- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Question of the Day
CAIRO IN CHAOS
Before Cairo fell into chaos, the U.S. Embassy in Egypt was worried about the stability of President Hosni Mubarak's regime and its perpetually poor human rights record.
Classified cables released last week reveal the extent of diplomatic concerns over the future of America's strongest Arab ally years before massive street protests against Mr. Mubarak's three decades of autocratic rule in Egypt. The Cairo cables are among dozens of secret and confidential documents the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks dumped on the Internet on Friday.
The embassy reported in 2009 that a political insider close to Mr. Mubarak assured American diplomats that the Egyptian military would guarantee a "smooth transfer of power" from the 82-year-old president to his 47-year-old son, Gamal.
The cable said that Ali El Deen Hilal Dessouki, a top member of the ruling National Democratic Party, "dismissed public and media speculation about the succession."
"The idea that the military remains a key political and economic force is conventional wisdom here," the embassy said in the secret cable. "However, other observers tell us that the military has grown less influential, more fractured and its leadership weaker in recent years."
Another cable also speculates on a transition of power from Mr. Mubarak to his son, adding that Gamal Mubarak was maneuvering in 2007 to sideline anyone he viewed as a "threat to his presidential ambitions."
The cable identified Omar Suleiman, the former director of the Egyptian intelligence service, and Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi as among those potential political threats. President Mubarak over the weekend appointed Mr. Suleiman to serve as the first vice president he has named since assuming power in 1981.
Citing a source whose name was redacted, the cable said a package of constitutional amendments approved in March 2007 "is largely aimed at ensuring Gamal Mubarak's succession of his father and a 'more controllable, stable political scene when he does take the reins.'"
Egypt's poor human rights record presented the embassy with a difficult choice between openly confronting the Mubarak government or using diplomacy behind the scenes to push for the rights of political opponents.
"Credible human rights lawyers believe police brutality continues to be a pervasive, daily occurrence in [government] detention centers," U.S. Ambassador Margaret Scobey said in a confidential cable in January 2010.
In a February cable last year, the embassy cited an unidentified "human rights activist" who urged the United States to rely on "quiet diplomacy over public statements."
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
• Christina Liu, Taiwan's minister of the council for economic planning and development, who addresses the American Enterprise Institute about U.S. investment in Taiwan.
• Domingo Enriquez, former mayor of San Jacinto Amilpas, Mexico; and Luis Najera, a Mexican journalist who exposed corrupt police officials bribed by drug lords in Juarez. They discuss the crisis in Mexico at a briefing at the International Republican Institute.
• Vital Kamerhe, former president of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Mvemba Dizolele, a Congolese journalist. They discuss preparations for a presidential election in a briefing at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
• Michael Theurer, a German member of the European Parliament. He addresses the Friedrich Naumann Foundation on the economic distress hitting southern Europe and the relative stability in northern Europe.
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Embassy Row: India 'shocked,' 'appalled' by consular officer's arrest
- Embassy Row: Wife of Christian held in Iran feels abandoned by Obama
- Wife of jailed U.S. Christian in Iran calls for White House help
- Most Americans want no Iranian uranium enrichment: poll
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Democrats cite pope in call for minimum wage hike, jobless benefits
- In court filing, NCAA denies legal duty to protect athletes
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Find up-to-date information on the D.C. and Baltimore live music scenes and read interviews with artists and reviews of the latest releases and concerts.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow