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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Allies Press U.S. to Go Slow on Egypt

From The New York Times:

As the Obama administration gropes for the right response to the uprising in Egypt, it has not lacked for advice from democracy advocates, academics, pundits, even members of the previous administration. But few voices have been as urgent, insistent or persuasive as those of Egypt’s neighbors.

Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have each repeatedly pressed the United States not to cut loose Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, too hastily, or to throw its weight behind the democracy movement in a way that could further destabilize the region, diplomats say. One Middle Eastern envoy said that on a single day, he spent 12 hours on the phone with American officials.

There is evidence that the pressure has paid off. On Saturday, just days after suggesting that it wanted immediate change, the administration said it would support an “orderly transition” managed by Vice President Omar Suleiman. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Mr. Mubarak’s immediate resignation might complicate, rather than clear, Egypt’s path to democracy, given the requirements of Egypt’s Constitution.

In conversations with the Obama administration, Arab officials have raised the specter of the Muslim Brotherhood, which some say has begun to hijack the protests that began among largely secular young people in Egypt adept at using Facebook and Twitter.

One Arab diplomat likened the democracy movement to a train fueled by university students and human rights advocates.

“Eventually, those students will have to get off that train and go back to school, and the human rights people will have to go back to work, and you know who will be on the train when it finally rolls into the station?” the diplomat asked. “The Muslim Brotherhood.”

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