Tuesday, February 08, 2011

US ‘desertion’ of Mubarak angers Israel

Analysts warn Washington’s change of heart towards Mubarak will have bad consequences for Middle East.
  Middle East Online, Feb 7, 2011

By Marius Schattner – JERUSALEM

‘He was the bulwark against Islamisation’

The US “desertion” of its long-time ally President Hosni Mubarak in the face of protests shaking the Egyptian regime has angered Israel, with analysts warning of consequences for the turbulent Middle East.

Until now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has held back from any public criticism of the US position, to avoid a row with US President Barack Obama.

But Washington’s change of heart towards the embattled Egyptian president has not passed unnoticed in Israel, where the dominant reaction has been one of criticism — in government circles, among analysts and in the press.

“One gets the impression that Washington was pretty anxious to throw Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak overboard” once he became a cumbersome ally, a senior Israeli official said, on condition of anonymity.

“Even if the American position has become more nuanced in the last few days, it doesn’t make it any less of a desertion. That’s what is most worrying,” he said.
“Loyalty is priceless, especially in the Middle East,” he said, warning that Washington’s sudden apparent ditching of the Egyptian leader could undermine the credibility of American foreign policy.

He also pointed to “confusion and incoherence of the American positions,” referring to the declaration of support by an influential retired diplomat at the weekend, from which the Obama administration quickly distanced itself.

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