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All Eyes on Cairo

Howard Gumnitzky

On Thursday, President Obama will deliver his much-awaited address to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt. His speech is expected, in part, to show support for U.S. Arab allies, including Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. In supporting these regimes, Obama hopes to engender good will from the Muslim world and consolidate Arab opposition to Iranian nuclear ambitions.

However, the president’s strategy may not resonate in Egypt. Domestic approval of 81-year-old Egyptian President Husni Mubarak is low. Mubarak’s regime is widely reported to engage in torture and imprisoning human rights activists. Mubarak’s grooming of his son Gamal for succession has also made Egypt a restless place. Egypt expert John R. Bradley goes so far as to warn that Egypt could succumb to a revolution.

According to Obama advisors, the President will not bring to Cairo any detailed policy proposals, but rather an appeal for mutual respect. This, however, could prove problematic in the future. The longer countries like Egypt endure the status quo, the more resentment will grow, which plays into the hands of Islamists throughout the region.