Tapes secretly recorded by a physician treating ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak offer a glimpse into the candid opinions of the man who ruled Egypt for some 30 years, after being published by an Egyptian newspaper's website, The New York Times reported on Monday.
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Mubarak held a series of conversations with his doctor over a period of several months this year, and did not know he was being secretly taped. The recordings, aired on the website of Egyptian newspaper Youm El-Saba, cover a breadth of subjects and are receiving much attention in Egypt, the Times reported.
Amid boasts about his heroism as a jet fighter in the Yom Kippur war and jokes about the price of eggs, the topics broached in the tapes include Egypt's relations with Israel and the U.S., Jews, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian military and its role in his overthrow.
In one tape, Mubarak is heard claiming that some six months before his ouster, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with him about a plan he was considering, to displace the Gaza Strip's population into the Sinai Peninsula. "Forget about it," Mubarak said he told Netanyahu, "unless you want to start another war between you and us. The borders can't be touched."
In another, Mubarak says he has used Israel’s influence on the U.S. for his own purposes. Perhaps referencing Israeli lobbyists' part in securing American aid to Cairo, he states “I exploit the Israelis this way, and I stirred sedition” between Israel and the U.S., The Times reported. “I put them in confrontation with each other.”
Mubarak speculated that Jews might be playing in a role in the proposals, which are generating worry in Egypt, to dam the Nile River upstream from Egypt in Ethiopia. “The Jews work there," he says. "Africa is full of Jews."
The doctor-turned-confidant, an eye ear and throat specialist treating the 85-year-old Mubarak, authenticated the tapes' content when called upon to testify on their contents in court. He is now being sued by the ex-president, the Times reported.
The tapes also show Mr. Mubarak failed to anticipate the ouster of his successor Mohammed Morsi. In one recording, when asked if he thinks the Egyptian army will act to stop the turmoil between Morsi’s opponents and his supporters; Mubarak answered “What would they do?”
Later, when asked about previous speculations he made about army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi's support of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mubarak is heard laughing wryly: “No, no, he turned out to be devious.”
Both Hamas and the United States, claims Mubarak, conspired with Morsi ahead of the overthrow that brought an end to his rule. “[Hamas are] the ones who helped him during the revolution.”
Mubarak expressed pride at his 30-year reign over the Egyptian people. “They were 43 million when I received them and 90 million when I handed them over."