Analysis: The US moral conundrum in Egypt

31 January 2011 | 16:20 Code : 10172 General category
Analysis: The US moral conundrum in Egypt
AP — As with Iran 30 years ago, American leaders again are wrestling with the moral conflict between Washington’s demands for democracy among its friends and strategic coziness with dictatorial regimes seen as key to stability in an increasingly complex world, particularly the Middle East.
The turmoil in Egypt — and its potential for grave consequences for U.S. policy throughout the region — was inevitable. The recent WikiLeaks release of U.S. diplomatic reports showed that Washington knew what problems it increasingly faced with the regime of President Hosni Mubarak and his three decades of iron-fisted rule.
As importantly, the U.S. handling of Egyptian uprising, regardless of how it plays out, now has other close American friends in the Middle East — particularly in Saudi Arabia and Jordan — watching closely, looking for foreshadowings of what might be in store for them.
For that reason, U.S. officials have taken great pains to walk a middle line between Mubarak, an old friend and bulwark ally in the Arab world, and the street protests that threaten to drive him from power.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was spreading that message widely on U.S. television talk shows Sunday. "It’s not a question of who retains power," she said. "It’s how are we going to respond to the legitimate needs and grievances expressed by the Egyptian people and chart a new path. Clearly, the path that has been followed has not been one that has created that democratic future, that economic opportunity that people in the peaceful protests are seeking."
Both the State Department and the White House, in apparent frustration with Mubarak, quickly began talking late last week about the future of America’s $1.5 billion in annual military and economic aid to Egypt. That sum is second only to America’s annual grant to Israel, a practice that dates to the 1979 peace treaty the U.S. brokered between the two neighbors.
That frustration was already on record in a report by Clinton’s ambassador to Egypt, Margaret Scobey, to Gen. David Petraeus in late 2008 before his meeting with Mubarak. Petraeus was then chief of the U.S. military’s Central Command.
"Mubarak now makes scant public pretense of advancing a vision for democratic change. An ongoing challenge remains balancing our security interests with our democracy promotion efforts," she wrote, according to one document that was made public by WikiLeaks, the secrets-spilling website. Continued…

Iran FM cancels trip for AU Summit

ISNA-Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi cancelled his trip to Ethiopia for African Union (AU) summi
His schedule changed after he took charge of the foreign ministry following winning confidence vote on Sunday at Iranian Parliament open session and facing intensive schedule.

He was to leave for Addis Ababa for 16th African Union summit on Sunday.

An Iranian delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister for International Affairs Mohammad Mehdi Akhounzadeh has already arrived in the African country to represent Iran in the conference.

The summit opened on Sunday in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, as African leaders gathered to discuss peace, security and stability on the continent.

The summit followed the theme of "Towards Greater Unity and Integration Through Shared Values" and was to focus on political crisis in Ivory Coast, the social unrest in Tunis and Egypt, the post-referendum reconstruction in Sudan and the deteriorating situation in Somalia.

AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping, AU President and Malawi President Bingu Mutharika, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon and French President Nicolas Sarkozy attended the opening ceremony

Larijani urges global condemnation of hegemonic powers’ policy on Iran

TehranTimes -- Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Sunday sent a message to his counterparts across the world urging them to condemn the oppressive policy applied against Iran by the hegemonic powers. In the message, Larijani also called on his counterparts to denounce attempts by the arrogant powers to deprive nations from their legitimate rights.

In addition, he stated that the Zionist regime has played a direct role in the assassination of Iranian scientists over the past years.

Larijani also described Israel as a clear example of state terrorism.

Over the past years, a number of Iranian scientists have been the target of terrorist attacks. The latest ones were the assassination of Dr. Majid Shahriari and the assassination attempt on Dr. Fereydoun Abbasi Davani.

On November 29, 2010, Shahriari and Abbasi Davani were targeted by terrorists in two separate bombings. Shahriari was killed and Abbasi Davani was injured in the attacks.

Particle physicist Masoud Ali-Mohammadi was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.

Iran has announced that CIA and Mossad were behind Ali-Mohammadi’s assassination

Iran to Unveil New Rockets, Satellites in February, Mehr Reports

BloomBerg--Iran plans to display new rockets and satellites starting tomorrow as part of anniversary celebrations of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Mehr reported, citing remarks yesterday by Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi. The new equipment that will be unveiled during the 10-day celebrations include the Safir 1-B and Kavoshgar 4 rockets as well as the Rasad and Fajr satellites, the state-run news agency said. The Safir 1-B rocket can carry a satellite weighing 50 kilos (110 pounds) into orbit, Mehr reported
. .