Analysts Warned Obama: Don't End Up on the Wrong Side of Egypt's Revolution

American administration tried to avoid taking a side when the unrest began last week; Obama eventually urged his counterpart to embark on reforms.

Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya
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Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya

As the demonstrations and clashes unfolded in Egypt over the last week, senior officials in the American administration tried – maniacally – to avoid taking a side in the conflict.

Essentially, the American pendulum swung between cautionary estimation that President Hosni Mubarak's regime was "stable" and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's denial that he had referred to the Egyptian leader as a "dictator".

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and U.S. President Barack ObamaCredit: AP

Simultaneously, the White House lapped criticism on the Egyptian regime in general and on the way Mubarak was handling the demonstrations in particular.

Washington's initial careful responses caused American analysts to take Barack Obama to task and warn him that by supporting the Egyptian president, he was likely to find himself on the wrong side of the revolution.

Following that, the U.S. president urged his Egyptian counterpart to embark on "political, social and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people."

Despite Obama's cautionary approach, the British Daily Telegraph revealed that the pragmatic Americans had played a double game with Mubarak by secretly backing those responsible for the current uprising that spent three years planning a coup in Egypt.

A December 2008 cable dispatched to Washington by the U.S. ambassador in Cairo indicates that the Americans were well acquainted with the Egyptian opposition's plan to change the regime.

Reporting in a secret cable about her meeting with a member from Egypt's opposition, Ambassador Margaret Scobey wrote that a number of activists were prepared to support a program that would see the shift to a parliamentary democracy, prior to the September 2011 elections.

Such a program was so sensitive, Scobey noted in her cable, that it could not be put in writing. The ambassador seemed to doubt the feasibility of the program, but the opposition member with whom she met won the support of American diplomats.

The opposition member met regularly with diplomats over the last few years, served as a source regarding the Egyptian regime's violation of human rights, and was even invited to a meeting of young activists in New York organized by the State Department.

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