Mubarak through the State Department’s eyes

The U.S. embassy in Egypt wrote an interesting profile of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in May 2009 prior to his visit to Washington, which occurred that August. The cable, which was signed by Ambassador Margaret Scobey, noted that Mubarak is "in reasonably good health," and that his most notable ailment was "a hearing deficit in ...

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The U.S. embassy in Egypt wrote an interesting profile of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in May 2009 prior to his visit to Washington, which occurred that August. The cable, which was signed by Ambassador Margaret Scobey, noted that Mubarak is "in reasonably good health," and that his most notable ailment was "a hearing deficit in his left ear." That judgment is notable because it came during one of the periodic bouts of media speculation regarding Mubarak's supposed frailty, sparked at the time by the unexpected death of his grandson.

Overall, the cable paints a portrait of the Egyptian president as a hyper-cautious military man who prizes stability over progress. Mubarak "lamented" the U.S. invasion of Iraq, because Saddam "at least he held the country together and countered Iran." Now, his main goal appears to be countering rising Iranian influence in Iraq and throughout the region:

[T]he Egyptians recently told Special Envoy Ross they expect our outreach to Iran to fail, and that 'we should prepare for confrontation through isolation.' Mubarak and his advisors are now convinced that Tehran is working to weaken Egypt through creation of Hizballah cells, support of the Muslim Brotherhood, and destabilization of Gaza. Egypt has warned that it will retaliate if these actions continue.

The U.S. embassy in Egypt wrote an interesting profile of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in May 2009 prior to his visit to Washington, which occurred that August. The cable, which was signed by Ambassador Margaret Scobey, noted that Mubarak is "in reasonably good health," and that his most notable ailment was "a hearing deficit in his left ear." That judgment is notable because it came during one of the periodic bouts of media speculation regarding Mubarak’s supposed frailty, sparked at the time by the unexpected death of his grandson.

Overall, the cable paints a portrait of the Egyptian president as a hyper-cautious military man who prizes stability over progress. Mubarak "lamented" the U.S. invasion of Iraq, because Saddam "at least he held the country together and countered Iran." Now, his main goal appears to be countering rising Iranian influence in Iraq and throughout the region:

[T]he Egyptians recently told Special Envoy Ross they expect our outreach to Iran to fail, and that ‘we should prepare for confrontation through isolation.’ Mubarak and his advisors are now convinced that Tehran is working to weaken Egypt through creation of Hizballah cells, support of the Muslim Brotherhood, and destabilization of Gaza. Egypt has warned that it will retaliate if these actions continue.

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