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Mubarak wanted “a fair dictator” in Iraq, say cables



Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

CAIRO: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak advised the United States in 2008 to “forget” about democracy in Iraq and allow a dictator to take over, according to a diplomatic cable released this week on WikiLeaks.

Mr. Mubarak made the comments during talks with visiting U.S. congressmen to whom he also admitted that he was “terrified” by the possibility of a nuclear Iran, in the cable sent home from the U.S. embassy.

The President told the U.S. delegation he had advised Washington against the 2003 invasion of Iraq that deposed dictator Saddam Hussein.

But now that they had troops in mainly Shia Iraq, American troops should not withdraw because that would only serve to strengthen Shia Iran next door. “You cannot leave” because “you would leave Iran in control,” the diplomatic dispatch, dated May 27, 2008 according to the website, quoted him as saying. “Mubarak explained his recipe for going forward,” said the cable. “Strengthen the [Iraqi] armed forces, relax your hold, and then you will have a coup. Then we will have a dictator, but a fair one. Forget democracy, the Iraqis by their nature are too tough,” said Mr. Mubarak in the cable.

He also said he would never accept a nuclear Iran and acknowledged: “We are all terrified.” Mr. Mubarak said he told the former Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, to advise his hardline successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not to “provoke” Washington into striking Iran.

Egypt would begin its own nuclear programme if Iran's succeeded, he was quoted as saying in the memo, which was marked confidential and addressed to then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. — AFP

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