Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is in Washington later this week. Why?
The official version: President Mubarak is visiting to play a strategic role in the direct negotiations being held between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The unofficial version: the aging despot will pitch U.S. Department of State officials on turning the other eye while he once again rigs elections in Egypt to anoint his successor. He will ask the United States to continue to overlook a litany of abuses as the regime manipulates Egypt’s Constitution to prevent the legitimate candidacies of opposition candidates, such as Mohamed ElBaradei.
Hosni Mubarak will downplay the wretched and widespread human rights abuses, the proliferation of his horrifying police state, ongoing martial law, and institutionalized corruption as he suggests that a positive and productive relationship with Egypt represents America’s strongest diplomatic partnership in the region.
A U.S. Department of State fixated on forging some kind of an accord between the Israelis and the Palestinians will be tempted by Hosni Mubarak’s cunning request.
But of course, this is a deal that should not be cut.
Efforts to create stability in the region built on the backs of tens of millions of Egyptians who are abused, imprisoned, and tortured is a false quest for peace. It is not the stuff of enduring diplomacy.
The Obama administration needs to tell Hosni Mubarak that the caper is up, that his regime is a sad farce, that America understands that the military dictatorship of Egypt has run a once proud nation into the ditch of economic despair and geo-political irrelevance, and that he should no longer count on Washington to help prop up his cruel band of thugs.