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Entries in President Hosni Mubarak (13)

Wednesday
Mar162011

Clinton Visits Epicenter of Egypt's Revolution

PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit Wednesday to Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt's uprising earlier this year.

Clinton spent about 10 minutes walking around the square with officials from the US Embassy. A crowd soon formed around her and she greeted them with handshakes.

"To see where this revolution happened and all that it has meant to the world is extraordinary for me. It's just a great reminder of the power of the human spirit and universal desire for human rights and democracy. It's just thrilling to see where this happened," she said while walking around the square.

Clinton arrived in Egypt Tuesday and is the highest level US official to visit Egypt since protests ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, who was a close ally of the United States. During her two day visit she met with both civil society leaders and top officials from the interim government. During her meetings she urged Egyptians to continue on the path towards democracy.

Secretary Clinton's close relationship with former President Mubarak (she once called him and his wife "friends of my family") emerged Tuesday as a point of contention with some leaders she sought to meet with.

While some youth leaders participated in her civil society meeting on Tuesday evening, others refused to meet with her citing the Obama administration's perceived support for Mubarak as the protests began.

"Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," Clinton told reporters when first asked about the unrest on January 25.

"There was an invitation for members of the coalition to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but based on her negative position from the beginning of the revolution and the position of the US administration in the Middle East, we reject this invitation," the January 25 Revolution Youth Coalition said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb112011

Donald Rumsfeld: US Response to Egypt 'Confusing'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticized the Obama administration’s response to the crisis in Egypt Friday, calling it “confusing” and telling ABC News the United States’ diplomatic effort “certainly doesn’t give one confidence.”

In a radio interview, Rumsfeld was particularly critical of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s description of the Muslim Brootherhood as a “largely secular” during a House Intelligence Committee testimony Thursday that Clapper's office later had to clarify. 

“That is not something that is subject to debate,” Rumsfeld said of Clapper’s contention.   “That is something that we know a great deal about.”

Rumsfeld, however, did not fault CIA director Leon Panetta for pointing to news reports, suggesting during his testimony there was a “strong likelihood” that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would step down Thursday. 

“People who think they know the answer and publicly announce what they believe to be the case are often wrong,” Rumsfeld said, saying that the outcome of a volatile situation is not always possible to predict.

But the former defense secretary said official statements from Washington urging Mubarak to step aside have differed from what the administration’s special envoy, Frank Wisner, had been saying in Cairo.   This, Rumsfeld said, has proven to be “confusing.” 

“It certainly doesn’t give one confidence,” the former secretary said of the administration’s public steps.

“One doesn’t know precisely what’s taking place with private diplomacy -- what’s really most effective -- but certainly the public diplomacy has been somewhat confusing.”

Rumsfeld, who has known Mubarak for decades, responded carefully when asked whether he is a dictator.

“He clearly has perpetuated himself in office.   He clearly has hoped that his son would succeed him.   There have been a number of things that have inhibited freer political systems,” Rumsfeld said of the Egyptian president, stopping short of offering any further criticism of Mubarak.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Obama to O'Reilly: Egypt Not Going Back

Photo Courtesy - The White House/ Chuck Kennedy(NEW YORK) -- President Obama told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly that even though he doesn't know what Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak plans to do, he believes that the protesters in the streets there have put Egypt on a path towards a more free society.

"Only he knows what he's going to do," said Obama, appearing on the Fox TV network's pregame telecast of the Super Bowl.

"Egypt is not going to go back to what it was," he said.  "The Egyptian people want freedom, they want free and fair elections, they want a representative government, they want a responsive government.  And so, what we've said is you have to start a transition now..."

President Obama said that the United States has told President Mubarak publicly and privately for many years that he cannot continue to suppress the Egyptian people.

"Part of the message that I think we're seeing all around the world is when you resort to suppression, when you resort to violence, that does not work," he said.

Asked by O'Reilly if the Muslim Brotherhood is a threat to the U.S., the president called the group "well organized," but said they are only one faction in Egypt and that they don't have majority support.  He did say that they are anti-U.S.

Asked if he's prepared for his health care overhaul to be struck down in court, the president said the federal judge who ruled last week that the health care law is unconstitutional was wrong.

"Keep in mind that we’ve had 12 judges who’ve just thrown this case out," Obama said.

The interview was lively, but with fewer sharp exchanges than when Senator Obama, at the time the Democratic presidential nominee, sat down with O'Reilly in September 2008.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb062011

Sarah Palin Blasts Obama's Handling of Egypt

Photo Courtesy - Allison Shelley/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Palin blasted the Obama administration's handling of the Egypt crisis on Saturday in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"This is that 3 a.m. White House phone call, and it seems for many of us trying to get that information from our leader in the White House, it seems that that call went right to the answering machine."

Palin's reference to a 3 a.m. phone call referred to the 2008 bruising primary battle between now-President Obama and now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over responsiveness to unexpected foreign policy crises.

In the interview, the former Alaska governor questioned who might lead Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak if he were to resign.

"Is it going to be the Muslim Brotherhood?" Palin asked. "We should not stand for that, or with that, or by that. Any radical Islamists. No, that is not who we should be supporting and standing by ... we need to find out who was behind all of the turmoil and the revolt and the protests so that good decisions can be made in terms of who we will stand by and support."

Palin suggested in the interview that the Obama Administration is keeping such information from the American public.

"Nobody yet has explained to the American people what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know, who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and I'm not real enthused about what it is that, that's being done on a national level and from D.C. in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt.

"And in these areas that are so volatile right now because obviously it's not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House."

Palin is one of several potential candidates for the Republican 2012 primary who have criticized the White House's handling of the Egypt situation, although Republican leadership from Congress have been more supportive of the policy thus far.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

rah Palin blasted the Obama administration's handling of the Egypt crisis on Saturday in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"This is that 3 a.m. White House phone call, and it seems for many of us trying to get that information from our leader in the White House, it seems that that call went right to the answering machine."

Palin's reference to a 3 a.m. phone call referred to the 2008 bruising primary battle between now-President Obama and now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over responsiveness to unexpected foreign policy crises.

In the interview, the former Alaska governor questioned who might lead Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak if he were to resign.

"Is it going to be the Muslim Brotherhood?" Palin asked. "We should not stand for that, or with that, or by that. Any radical Islamists. No, that is not who we should be supporting and standing by ... we need to find out who was behind all of the turmoil and the revolt and the protests so that good decisions can be made in terms of who we will stand by and support."

Palin suggested in the interview that the Obama Administration is keeping such information from the American public.

"Nobody yet has explained to the American people what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know, who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and I'm not real enthused about what it is that, that's being done on a national level and from D.C. in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt.

"And in these areas that are so volatile right now because obviously it's not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House."

Palin is one of several potential candidates for the Republican 2012 primary who have criticized the White House's handling of the Egypt situation, although Republican leadership from Congress have been more supportive of the policy thus far.

Friday
Feb042011

Obama: Egypt's Future Will be 'Determined by Its People'

Photo Courtesy - Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama declined Friday to publicly pressure Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to comply with protesters demands that he step down immediately, saying that "the future of Egypt is going to be in the hands of Egyptians" and that Mubarak will "end up making the right decision" on how to move forward.

Obama was critical, however, of the regime's inability or failure to halt attacks on protesters and journalists who have been broadcasting the uprising worldwide.

"We continue to be crystal clear that we oppose violence as a response to this crisis," the president said at a news conference. "We are sending a strong and unequivocal message that attacks on reporters are unacceptable, attacks on human rights activists are unacceptable, attacks on peaceful protesters are unacceptable. The Egyptian government has a responsibility to protect the rights of its people. Those demonstrating also have a right do so peacefully."

The president said he has spoken twice to Mubarak since the crisis in Egypt began, and told him that "going back to the old ways is not going to work."

Mubarak has said he won't seek re-election in September, but will finish his term. Protesters are demanding his immediate removal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb042011

Adm. Mullen 'Cautions Against' Stopping Aid to Egypt

Photo Courtesy - Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The president’s top military advisor said the U.S. should wait before taking action and suspending any of the $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt if President Mubarak does not step down.

“There is a lot of uncertainty out there and I would just caution against doing anything until we really understand what’s going on,” Admiral Mike Mullen told ABC News on Friday.  “I recognize that certainly is a significant investment, but it’s an investment that has paid off for a long, long time.”

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been in contact with his counterpart in Egypt who assured him that the military would remain neutral and not fire on the Egyptian people.

Regarding Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's remarks that chaos would ensue if he left office immediately, Mullen said it is too early to tell how the country would react.

“That’s why an orderly, and in accordance with what the Egyptian people want here in terms of the transition.  Our president has made it very clear that he would like to see that move reasonably quickly,” Mullen said.  “But at the same time this is really up to the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government.”

As protests are being seen in Jordan and Yemen, Mullen said U.S. forces are in a state of increased awareness but have not raised the alert or threat levels.

“We are obviously very focused on this throughout the region.  One of the things is it is moving pretty quickly…and we have plenty of military presence throughout the region as well,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb032011

Administration Officials Discussing Scenarios for Mubarak Exit

Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. officials are discussing a number of possible scenarios for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, with one of them being Mubarak stepping down very soon and an interim government being formed, headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman working with the military to steer Egypt toward elections, officials told ABC News.

"The president has said that now is the time to begin a peaceful, orderly and meaningful transition with credible, inclusive negotiations," said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor. "We have discussed with the Egyptians a variety of different ways to move that process forward, but all of those decisions must be made by the Egyptian people.”

The comment came after the New York Times published a story reporting that the Obama administration "is discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately, turning over power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military."

Mubarak rebuffed the plan, the Times reported, but "officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which, Mr. Suleiman, backed by Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the defense minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform."

Officials told the Times that the proposal is "one of several options under discussion with high-level Egyptian officials around Mr. Mubarak, though not him directly, in an effort to convince him to step down now."

In response to the Times story, a senior administration official called it "simply wrong to report that there’s a single U.S. plan that’s being negotiated with the Egyptians."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb032011

Should US Suspend Aid to Egypt? 'All Options' on Table, McCain Says

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The day after Egypt's deadly clashes, Sen. John McCain again called for President Mubarak to step down and said all options should be on the table if he doesn’t, including cutting off $1.5 billion worth of U.S. aid.

“I think we should have to obviously have all the options at hand.  Obviously you don’t want to threaten something unless you are fully prepared to take that action,” McCain said Thursday.

Mubarak announced on Tuesday that he would not run for reelection in September.  But that is not soon enough for thousands of protesters -- and McCain.

“The time has come for him to arrange for a transition that has the army, pro-democracy elements and others in a transition government so we can have a free and fair and open election,” he told ABC News.  “The best opportunity for a pro-democracy government and not a radical Islamic government is an open and transparent process.”

The Egyptian military was right to step in Thursday morning, McCain said.  He fears if the chaos continues “radical elements” could hijack the government and follow in the footsteps of Lebanon and Gaza.

“Sooner or later the lid blows off.  That I think is the most likely scenario for radical Islamic governments to take place.  I believe the people of Egypt are the most cultured, sophisticated group of people probably in the whole Middle East.  It is the center of the Middle East and I have some confidence that a free and fair and transparent election we could respect the outcome,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb032011

White House Condemns Latest Violence in Egypt

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration suggested that pro-government forces in Egypt were “thugs” after the streets of Cairo were turned into a battlefield Wednesday between those who support President Hosni Mubarak and their adversaries, who are demanding the leader’s immediate ouster.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called on both sides to quickly end the violence, which came one day after Mubarak announced that he would not seek reelection in September.  However, Mubarak did not give an indication when he would step down.

Gibbs admitted that the turmoil that has enveloped Egypt since anti-government demonstrations began over a week ago “is not all going to be wrapped up in a matter of hours.  It's going to take some time.”

While Gibbs did not overtly suggest who was at fault for the fights in Tahrir Square, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the attacks were perpetuated by thugs that others have identified as “supporters of the government.”

There are suspicions that it was loyalists inside Mubarak’s inner circle who gave Mubarak supporters the green light to create havoc, even as a majority of Egyptians seem to endorse his ouster.

After Mubarak announced his decision not to seek reelection, President Obama called for an “orderly transition” that Gibbs emphasized must begin “now.”  The press secretary added that the transition process “must include opposition voices and parties being involved in this process as we move toward free and fair elections.”

Meanwhile, one Egyptian government official said that the White House is trying to give the impression that the U.S. was instrumental in forcing Mubarak’s hand after decades of oppression and unrelenting poverty.

The official insisted it was Mubarak’s decision to make changes, including dissolving his Cabinet and appointing Omar Suleiman the new vice president and possible successor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb022011

Lobbyists For Egypt Forced to Adjust to Sudden Change

Photo Courtesy - Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The dramatic events in Egypt this past week have left a coterie of top Washington lobbyists quietly scurrying to respond to the unexpected developments in the nation they represent, caught off guard by the apparent end to President Hosni Mubarak's long reign.

By some estimates, Egypt spends close to $2 million a year on well-connected emissaries in Washington. The political insiders they hire are formally registered with the U.S. Justice Department as "foreign agents" and they represent a little-known but lucrative niche in the world of Washington lobbying.

Those who have held big-dollar contracts with the Egyptian government include Democratic power broker Tony Podesta and former House Majority Leader Bob Livingston, a Louisiana Republican.

Toby Moffett, a former Democratic congressman from Connecticut who was hired in 2007 by the Egyptian foreign and defense ministries, described to ABC News Tuesday how his firm's routine work on behalf of Mubarak's foreign and defense ministers took a sudden and unexpected turn.

 "Tunisia got on the radar screen. There had been discussion about possible spill over. But no real sense of urgency," Moffett said. "A week ago, he said, "we were still focusing on getting ready to approach the new Congress with the [Egyptian] ambassador."

Over the course of the week, Moffett and the other Egyptian advisers have found themselves trying to insure some semblance of continuity as the longstanding Egyptian government faces an unrelenting challenge from protesters.

The busiest group on behalf of Egypt, has been PLM, a hybrid of the Livingston Group and the Democratic firms run by Podesta and Moffett. Livingston led an Egyptian military delegation to 147 meetings on Capitol Hill with members of Congress or their staff, according to data compiled by The SunLight Foundation. According to Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker, 1,783 contacts were made between various lobbying firms representing the Arab Republic of Egypt and U.S. government officials since 2007.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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