The Other Side Of The Conversation

President Obama spoke regarding his conversation with President Mubarak.  The other side of the conversation is not difficult to anticipate and perhaps illustrates the administration’s dearth of clear options.

“Mr. President you are faced with the same choice many U.S. Presidents have faced, upheaval and reform with no guarantee of a positive result or an Egyptian government stable during your term in office?”  “U.S. policy has opted for stability, I have delivered that stability!”

“President Obama, with all due respect I must remind you, that had I not shut down the internet we would be subjected to a deluge of messaging and video from all manner of radical elements not the least of which is Ayman al-Zawahiri and Iran.”

“We do in fact suffer Iranian influences, for the past two years the Iranian press and leadership has been a constant point of criticism for the Egyptian government.  That line has been adopted by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Syria and Hiz’bAllah”.  “Mr. President we share enemies.”

“Please remember that we have helped Israel control the tunnel smuggling through Gaza.”  We also, peacefully, control Israel’s eastern flank.”

“The peace agreement with Israel was supported by me after the assignation of Sadat.  It would have been much easier politically for me reject that agreement.”

“You must remember, Mr. President how many times our intelligence agencies has assisted you in your war on terror.  You must also remember that we have, to the best of our ability and within reasonable limits suppressed radicalized elements in Egypt.” 

“Our role in support of your renditions and our interrogation of your prisoners would be best left out of the light of day.”

“Mr. President, who would you suggest take over the government? There is no Vice President, there are no organized opposition parties with the exception of a partially suppressed Muslim Brotherhood, and our universities are a major focus of Islamist thinking.  Perhaps you believe that the Brotherhood would be a better option for the U.S.?”  “Or, perhaps you would prefer to see the military take power?”

“Finally, Mr. President, assuming an interim government and the time and space for parties to organize who do you believe will control Parliamentary elections and control executive power?”  Do you know; can you be confident that radicalism will not dominate the Egyptian political process as a result of reform?”