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6 December 2004 - MiddleEast.Org - MER is Free
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America's #2 Arab "Client Regime" in the M E

Why didn't Egypt demand the release of Marwan Barghouti
for the spy Ariel Sharon wanted so much?

MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 6 December: When it comes to oil and money, the #1 American "Client Regime" in the Middle East has been for some time, and remains today, Saudi Arabia. With Iraq exploding and Iran targeted, just as ordered the Saudis are racing at the moment to increase their oil supplies by about 15%; and as we noted months ago they dutifully did all they could behind-the-scenes to work for the Bush/Cheney victory now history.

But when it comes to politics and geostrategic considerations, the largest Arab country of Egypt and the Mubarak regime is often the place to which the Americans turn. After all, in a very real sense, they own it. It's American billions yearly, on top of all kinds of CIA support and assistance, that keeps the regime in place. Indeed it is because of the Americans that the client-regime of Hosni Mubarak, along with his long-time foreign affairs guru, Osama El-Baz, has been able to stay in power since the assassination of Anwar Sadat by soldiers within the Egyptian military.

Mubarak was also in the reviewing stand that fateful day in 1981 but escaped alive to rule Egypt as a kind of new-age American protectorate ever since. And just like the client-regime police state of Saudi Arabia was the crucible for Osama Bin Laden, so the client-regime police state of Egypt was the crucible for Al-Qaeda's #2 Dr. Ayman Zawahri.

In recent days, doing just what the Americans want him to, Mubarak's Egypt has dutifully endorsed not only Ariel Sharon's duplicitous 'Gaza withdrawal' scheme, but the old Israeli General personally as -- to quote George Bush -- "a man of peace"!

Moreover Mubarak is cooperating with the Israeli-American plan to now bring in Egyptian military forces to guard Gaza's southern border and help police the Palestinians into submission. If allowed to proceed by the Palestinians they can expect European and/or U.N. forces to be forced on them in the future in the deceptive guise of an expanded 'roadmap peace plan' to control the West Bank if the new Palestinian regime isn't up to the job.

In addition this past weekend the Egyptians agreed to release an important Israeli spy, Azam Azam, whom the Israelis had been working hard to get ever since 1997. It was another bonanza for Sharon. But instead of demanding in return the release of key Palestinian prisoners, most especially Marwan Barghouti, the Egyptians went along with the pretense that in return the Israelis were releasing a few unknown Egyptian students whom the Israelis arrested last year quite possibly with this very kind of trade in mind.

This from the front page of The Washington Times this weekend:

Mubarak: Best bet is Sharon

By Joshua Mitnick

TEL AVIV -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told Palestinians yesterday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon represents the best hope for peace, a rare note of praise by an Arab leader for an Israeli leader reviled in much of the Arab world.
"I think if [the Palestinians] can't achieve progress in the time of the current [Israeli] prime minister, it will be very difficult to make any progress in peace," Mr. Mubarak told reporters at the opening of Egypt's Port Said Harbor, the Associated Press reported.
Mr. Mubarak's remarks came just days after Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman visited Jerusalem to discuss Mr. Sharon's plan to pull all Israeli settlers out of the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank and to discuss plans for upcoming Palestinian elections.
The fragile, but warming, ties this year between the two countries have proven resilient after being tested in the past two months.
In October, terrorists bombed Egyptian Red Sea resorts in the Sinai Peninsula that are popular with Israelis, killing at least 34 persons.
Then, two weeks ago, three Egyptian soldiers were killed by mistake by Israeli tank fire on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
That forced a postponement of a previously scheduled visit by Mr. Suleiman, but it finally took place on Thursday.
"[Mubarak] didn't have to do that,'' said Scott Lasensky, a Middle East expert at the United States Institute of Peace, commenting on the Egyptian president's statement.
"Egypt rarely goes out on a limb to praise an Israeli government, or tell the Palestinians what they should or should not do. They usually leave their admonishments behind close doors."
Israel and Egypt have had chilly relations since the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada in September 2000. Within weeks Egypt recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and has yet to return a top-ranking diplomat.
The improvement began earlier this year, as Mr. Sharon first introduced an initiative to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and evacuate Jewish settlements there.
Egypt indicated months ago its willingness to send security advisers to Gaza to train a new Palestinian police force that would boost law enforcement after an Israeli withdrawal.
On Thursday, Egypt reportedly agreed to deploying 750 soldiers along its border with the Gaza Strip flash-point town of Rafah to block weapons shipments to Palestinian militants.
With improved prospects for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians after the death of leader Yasser Arafat, Mr. Mubarak's comment served to "prepare the hearts" of Israelis to Egypt's continued activism in the peace process, wrote Zvi Barel, an Arab affairs commentator for Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper.
"These comments contain an important strategic assumption, which is that Egypt believes in the willingness of Sharon and in his ability to carry out the disengagement plan," Mr. Barel wrote. "He reached the conclusion that Sharon is serious."
In 2002, President Bush was widely criticized throughout the Arab world for calling Mr. Sharon a "man of peace."
Mr. Mubarak also made an unusual foray yesterday in the Palestinian presidential election campaign, helping the candidacy of Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
The Egyptian president criticized Fatah militant Marwan Barghouti for his decision to enter the race from an Israeli prison, where he is serving two successive life sentences.
The decision, Mr. Mubarak warned, is liable to fracture the Palestinian public.
"We call on the Palestinian public to preserve their unity, and not involve itself in internal disagreements," Mr. Mubarak said.

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