Hosni Mubarak Sealed His Fate in 1981
After a terrorist organization with links to the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in October 1981, a startled world watched with wonder. How will this sudden, unexpected jolt impact world events? Will Sadat’s relatively unknown successor continue the pursuit of peace in the Middle East?
What few people realized at the time was that Hosni Mubarak had been carefully groomed to follow in the steps of his predecessor.
Anwar Sadat recruited Mubarak to be his vice president in April 1975, two years after the general had won praise for drawing up a successful air campaign that was used against Israel during the Yom Kippur War.
“I need a vice president who will share with me state responsibilities at all levels,” Sadat told Mubarak. Then, as if sensing his newfound devotion to peace might endanger his life, Sadat intoned, “No one can foresee the future, and state secrets must not be known by one person alone” (emphasis mine throughout).
For the next six years, President Sadat gradually handed Mubarak the day-to-day responsibilities of running Egypt’s government. This allowed Sadat to focus more of his attention on foreign policy—in particular, the Middle East peace process.
That’s not to say Mubarak was left out of the loop when it came to foreign affairs. Whenever possible, during the countless discussions Sadat had with foreign dignitaries, Mubarak could be seen sitting nearby, quietly taking notes. When circumstances prevented him from attending high-level diplomatic meetings, he would be thoroughly briefed by the president himself.
“There was nothing he did or said that I did not know,” Mubarak related about Sadat. “I have learned a great deal from him.”
And when President Sadat paid with his life for his courageous stand against religious extremism and his commitment to making peace with Israel, Mubarak vowed to stay the course, however unpopular that might be in the Arab world. In response to the assassination, for example, Mubarak cracked down hard on the religious extremism. He arrested more than 350 radical Islamists for their involvement in the assassination plot.
At Sadat’s funeral, Mubarak boldly stated, “I declare that we will honor all international charters, treaties and commitments which Egypt has concluded. Our hands will not cease to push the wheel of peace in pursuance of the mission of a departed leader.”
During an exchange with a reporter from Israel, Mubarak advised him to go and tell the people of Israel, “Don’t worry.”
Two years earlier, Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to officially recognize the State of Israel. It was Sadat who made the historic peace pact with Israel. But it was Mubarak who honored that agreement and maintained the peace for three decades.
Is it any wonder why so many Israelis hold Hosni Mubarak in such high regard? Mubarak is the primary reason Israel has cut military spending and reduced its troop presence along the Egyptian border—even as Egypt’s militarily establishment has grown to be one of the strongest in the Arab world.
None of this is intended to whitewash Mubarak’s flaws. He does rule with an iron fist. His administration is corrupt. But he is not Saddam Hussein or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He hasn’t declared jihad against Israel or the United States. To the contrary—this strong man of Egypt has honored Sadat’s promise and maintained a cold peace with the State of Israel for the past 30 years!
During that same time, Egypt has been America’s most important and strategically significant ally throughout the Arab world.
Yet, the moment Mubarak’s regime started to crumble, the Obama administration wasted little time in hanging him out to dry. In fact, for several years now the United States has been actively working to undermine Mubarak’s authoritarian regime...