Is Obama Double-Dealing on Egypt?

Public Calls for Reforms, But Private Support for Mubarak Regime

As the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia inspires others across the region to attempt to oust their (mostly US-backed) dictators, all eyes are on Egypt tonight, and the indications are that the Obama Administration’s are as well.

But what is the official Obama Administration position on Egypt? The reports conflict dramatically. Though publicly they are calling for “reforms” as the Egyptian government looks to crack down on public protest and censor the media, the story from those familiar with their private talks are starkly different.

Egyptian officials have repeatedly indicated that the Obama Administration has offered their unquestioning support on a number of occasions since the protests began, and insisted that “stability” is their top priority in the region.

They insist that Egypt is nothing like Tunisia, and analysts indeed say that despite the similarities in the dictatorial governments Mubarak is in a somewhat better position to crack down on public protests, particularly with the US giving him billions of dollars in aid annually.

But while US and Israeli officials seem hopeful that the aging Mubarak has enough savvy to crush the rising wave of dissent, there is also a serious concern that his regime won’t be able to survive after his death, and that the protesters will eventually succeed in forcing changes. Giving the long US history of backing Mubarak, a new government installed in such a revolution is unlikely to be very friendly to them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.