Jewish World Review
U.S. secretly preparing for post-Mubarak era
By Paul Richter and Peter Nicholas
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT)
Even as the Obama administration maintained its cautious approach to the crisis in
The Obama administration is trying to deliver a consistent public message on the fast-moving events in
But although U.S. officials have publicly encouraged "managed change" under the entrenched Egyptian leader, the former senior adviser said that as early as Wednesday the administration recognized it could not try to save the Mubarak regime at all costs.
"They don't want to push Mubarak over the cliff, but they understand that the Mubarak era is over and that the only way Mubarak could be saved now is by a ruthless suppression of the population, which would probably set the stage for a much more radical revolution down the road," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity so he could be more candid on sensitive diplomatic matters.
The former adviser said he had discussed the crisis with ex-colleagues still in the administration.
"They recognized that change was coming and they needed to be on the right side of history and not trying to keep Mubarak in power against all odds."
Obama tried to push
Having delivered such a speech, Obama is hard-pressed now to throw his support behind a repressive ruler at the expense of crowds clamoring for democratic rights.
"It's a very difficult balance to be struck. Mubarak is, after all, a friend of
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"But the most important thing they understand is that they have to get in front of this and not behind it."
Obama administration officials have been careful not to abandon Mubarak in public statements, but they also have not aligned themselves with him, instead saying Egyptians should decide their own fate through competitive elections.
"The determination of
But Obama administration officials also do not want to see Mubarak's power preserved through a crackdown by the Egyptian military, a message U.S. military leaders reiterated to their Egyptian counterparts over the weekend.
Obama is keeping up with events through regular staff briefings and close consultation with allies in the region. On Saturday, he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister
In the course of those conversations, Obama urged "an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people," the
A current Obama administration official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that one thing is certain: Mubarak can no longer preside over an authoritarian government.
Even if Mubarak is able to withstand the protests, he can't continue the leadership style he had before the protests erupted, the official said.
But powerful voices inside
"The American government cannot ask the Egyptian people to believe that a dictator who has been in power for 30 years would be the one to implement democracy," ElBaradei told "Face the Nation."