Wednesday, February 09, 2005
For the first time since he became the prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon received an invitation from President Mubarak to attend the historic summit in Sharm El Sheikh. The summit resulted in a much anticipated cease fire agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis with both Egypt and Jordan pledging to return their ambassadors to Tel Aviv. News is now circulating of a possible unprecedented visit by Mubarak to Israel.
Well, why is Mubarak doing all this? I am sure that Egypt and the entire region will benefit from a cease fire in Palestine and Israel and peace talks today doesn't seem to be an impossibility as they were when Arafat was around. However, I believe Mubarak's actions result from much broader intensions. I think Mubarak is trying to send a message to Bush by telling him: I'm doing everything to help you in this messy issue and I might even go to Israel and use the entire leverage of Egypt in order to revive the peace talks again, all what I am asking from you is to keep your Texan mouth shut.
See, Mubarak's term will end this year and he is eyeing a sixth term. He wants to enter into his new term with as less fuss as possible. With the elections festival in Iraq and President Bush determination to push democracy in the region, Mubarak wants to decrease the pressure on him by turning himself into an Anwar Sadat.
What should Bush do? Well, I am sure many Egyptian won't agree with me, but I personally think Bush should do almost all of what Mubarak wants him to do. The Palestine/Israel issue is a massive pain in the butt and I really want to decrease this pain in the region. So Bush and his state department should not complain much about Mubarak's sixth term, but they should continue pressuring him to liberalize the political arena in Egypt. As I mentioned before, I believe we are not ready for the ballot box yet simply because I don't see good alternatives for Mubarak. Alternatives will only pop up when the political atmosphere here has less restrictions and intimidations. This is what the world must ask President Mubarak to do.