Now it’s starts, not surprisingly, initated by the Iranian English-language PRESS TV. “Mubarak has been very dedicated to Israeli security more even than to his own people’s security or the national interests.”
Press TV: Is the relationship between Hosni Mubarak and the US a sticking point for Egyptians? And I think this is quite a key point because if what the Egyptians are calling is a regime change because if they want a better life inside the country it is very different to what they would accept in the end – if they are demanding actually a new foreign policy on top of it all.
al-Ashaal: Currently the Egyptians demand a new rule for the country, a new government, a new leader. The American-Egyptian relationships were based on Israeli security and I think Mubarak has been very dedicated to Israeli security more even than to his own people’s security or the national interests. Mubarak has played a role for the US in the area – a very loyal leader in the area; I think they are going to miss him a lot. He is past now – reforms in the government are not going to take place because it’s too late for it; the rule has to change.
As for the American-Egyptians relationships, from an international perspective, the international businesses are not going to be affected in the country; from a legal perspective as currently we are witnessing the investments are not going to be affected; the only victim of these demonstrations is going to be the Egyptian pound as a currency. But, on the other hand, we see the deals with Israel that provoked people and took them to the edge, which was mainly capitalizing on the natural gas contract.
And the other part is the Egyptian-Israeli relationships, in which Egypt could keep peace with Israel but is never going to be a friend of Israel. Currently what they have done is they have imported all the agriculture – the agricultural technology from Israel – and people do know this very well and are aware of it – it was confidential until very recently, but now everyone in the street knows this.
Press TV: Have we sealed his fate far too soon? Hosni Mubarak has been ruling Egypt for a long time; he has great relations with the US and pretty good strategic relationships with Israel. Surely a couple of days of protests are not what it takes to get him to leave?
al-Ashaal: This is only the start of the demonstrations. It is not only a couple of days and it will continue until the ruler steps down. And if he does not step down, people will have other agendas. Today we were 1.5 million people out on the streets; tomorrow if this does not change, we will be six, and then the numbers will increase – he will step down. People are not going to negotiate this anymore, they are going to stay at home and not go to work; they will seize every single action of the government and the government will be alone – no one will serve. No one will be left in the country so he won’t rule on his own. Mubarak has actually pushed this tribe of people by taking a lot of actions on the international level that has degraded the Egyptians elsewhere and made them feel disgraced. Mubarak’s foreign policy decisions were very corrupt and were very personal.
I do not think the American administration would support an unpopular leader because simply he will help the international decisions to be applied or the agenda would be applied in the area, but not amicably with the people. I would think that the US would think more toward having a popular leader that would mitigate its agenda as well in the area; Mubarak is not serving this role anymore.