The World Tribune reports that Obama wants Mubarak to stay.
(emphasis mine) [my comment]
Obama changes his mind, wants Mubarak to stay
Monday, February 7, 2011
WASHINGTON — The administration of President Barack Obama has reversed course and now supports the continuation of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Officials said Obama and key administration officials have been persuaded that Mubarak should not resign immediately, a position believed held by Washington until Feb. 4. Instead, officials said, Mubarak should stay until his term ends in September in an effort to retain U.S. relations with Egypt and other Arab countries as well as ensure a smooth transition toward democracy.
"We need to get a national consensus around the preconditions for the next step forward," Obama's envoy to Egypt, Frank Wisner, said. "THE PRESIDENT MUST STAY IN OFFICE TO STEER THOSE CHANGES."
Obama sent Wisner to Cairo in an attempt to persuade the 82-year-old Mubarak to resign immediately. But officials said Wisner, who met most of the Egyptian leadership as well as opposition, concluded that the ruling National Democratic Party was determined to remain in power even at the cost of massive civilian bloodshed.
In an address on Feb. 5 to the Munich Security Conference, Wisner, regarded as close to the Cairo leadership, said Mubarak could lead Egypt to meaningful reform. He said the Egyptian president would use the next eight months to set his legacy.
"PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S CONTINUED LEADERSHIP IS CRITICAL," Wisner said. "It's his opportunity to write his own legacy. He has given 60 years of his life to the service of his country. This is an ideal moment for him to show the way forward."
"The crisis is of extraordinary importance," Wisner continued. "What happens in Egypt affects all of our interests throughout the region."
Officials said Wisner warned Obama that the Egyptian president would not resign, let alone flee his country. They said Wisner determined that Mubarak retained the loyalty of the military as well as the security forces.
Frank Wisner's current employer works for Mubarak
The Independent reports about US envoy's business link to Egypt.
US envoy's business link to Egypt
Obama scrambles to limit damage after Frank Wisner makes robust call for Mubarak to remain in place as leader.
By Robert Fisk in Cairo
Monday, 7 February 2011
Frank Wisner, President Barack Obama's envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a New York and Washington law firm which works for the dictator's own Egyptian government.
Mr Wisner's astonishing remarks — "President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical: it's his opportunity to write his own legacy" — shocked the democratic opposition in Egypt and called into question Mr Obama's judgement, as well as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a "personal capacity". But there is nothing "personal" about Mr Wisner's connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises "the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government's behalf in Europe and the US". Oddly, NOT A SINGLE JOURNALIST RAISED THIS EXTRAORDINARY CONNECTION WITH US GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS — nor the blatant conflict of interest it appears to represent.
Mr Wisner is a retired State Department 36-year career diplomat — he served as US ambassador to Egypt, Zambia, the Philippines and India under eight American presidents. In other words, he was not a political appointee. But it is inconceivable Hillary Clinton did not know of HIS EMPLOYMENT BY A COMPANY THAT WORKS FOR THE VERY DICTATOR WHICH MR WISNER NOW DEFENDS in the face of a massive democratic opposition in Egypt.
So why on earth was he sent to talk to Mubarak, who is in effect a client of Mr Wisner's current employers?
Patton Boggs states that its attorneys "represent some of the leading Egyptian commercial families and their companies" and "have been involved in oil and gas and telecommunications infrastructure projects on their behalf". One of its partners served as chairman of the US-Egyptian Chamber of Commerce promoting foreign investment in the Egyptian economy. The company has also managed contractor disputes in military-sales agreements arising under the US Foreign Military Sales Act. Washington gives around $1.3bn (£800m) a year to the Egyptian military.
Mr Wisner joined Patton Boggs almost two years ago — more than enough time for both the White House and the State Department to learn of his company's intimate connections with the Mubarak regime. The New York Times ran a glowing profile of Mr Wisner in its pages two weeks ago — BUT MYSTERIOUSLY DID NOT MENTION HIS TIES TO EGYPT. [I skimmed that profile. Incredibly dishonest.]
Nicholas Noe, an American political researcher now based in Beirut, has spent weeks investigating Mr Wisner's links to Patton Boggs. Mr Noe is also a former researcher for Hillary Clinton and questions the implications of his discoveries.
"The key problem with Wisner being sent to Cairo at the behest of Hillary," he says, "is the conflict-of-interest aspect... More than this, the idea that the US is now subcontracting or 'privatising' crisis management is another problem. Do the US lack diplomats?
"Even in past examples where presidents have sent someone 'respected' or 'close' to a foreign leader in order to lubricate an exit," Mr Noe adds, "THE ENVOYS IN QUESTION WERE NOT ACTUALLY PAID BY THE LEADER THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO SQUEEZE OUT!"
My reaction: The key points are:
1) Frank Wisner (Obama's special envoy to Egypt) is confirmed to be a diehard Mubarak supporter. ("President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical.")
2) Frank Wisner is currently employed by Patton Boggs, a company that works for the very dictator which Wisner defends.
3) It is inconceivable Hillary Clinton did not know of Wisner's blatant conflict of interest.
4) Not a single journalist raised this extraordinary connection with us government officials. When The New York Times ran a glowing profile of Mr. Wisner in its pages two weeks ago, it mysteriously did not mention his ties to egypt mysteriously did not mention his ties to egypt.
Conclusion: The US is not interested in democracy in Egypt. Frank Wisner went to Egypt to ok the violence against protestors, not to push Mubarak out.