Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The New Yorker

Trump Embraces Sunni Autocrats
By Robin Wright
On February 11, 2011, shortly after 3 p.m., President Obama stepped before a microphone in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had just resigned after weeks of mass protests, in Tahrir Square and nationwide, and a final nudge from the White House. “There are few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place,” Obama said. “This is one of those times.” He compared the peaceful overthrow of Mubarak—who had been the centerpiece of U.S. policy in the Arab world for three decades—to the fall of the Berlin Wall and Gandhi’s civil disobedience against British colonialism.

“The wheel of history turned at a blinding pace as the Egyptian people demanded their universal rights,” Obama said. Two months later, Mubarak was detained on allegations of corruption, embezzlement, abuse of power, and negligence for failing to stop the killing of hundreds of peaceful protesters. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The wheel of history is now turning, at an equally blinding pace, in reverse. Mubarak was freed last month; he returned to his mansion in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. His two sons and other Mubarak-era officials, also jailed for corruption, are free now, too. On Monday, President Trump hosted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the former field marshal who orchestrated a military coup, in 2013, against Mubarak’s successor.
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