Egypt and the Middle East Past and Present

A parallelism offered by American reporter Norbert Schiller between the Middle East of yesterday and today, with a focus on Egypt. |E' un parallelismo proposto dal reporter americano Norbert Schiller tra il Medio Oriente di ieri e di oggi, con una particolare attenzione all’Egitto, dove l'autore ha vissuto per quasi vent'anni.

EGYPT/Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s Last Pharaoh (part 3)

Tunisian President Ben Ali welcomes Egyptian President Mubarak at Tunis airport, 1989. Ph. Norbert Schiller ©

The year 1987 started out much better than the previous one for Egypt and Hosni Mubarak. After the country’s image was damaged by police riots during which some of Cairo’s most luxurious hotels were burned down, the tourism industry was witnessing a healthy revival as the hotels were being rebuilt and tourists were flocking back to admires the wonders of the Giza Plateau.

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EGYPT/ Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s Last Pharaoh (part 2)

A few weeks into Cairo’s Tahrir Square protests, President Obama, under pressure, decided to send an envoy to Egypt to talk Hosni Mubarak into stepping down gracefully and handing over power to a transitional government. The person he chose for this mission was Frank Wisner, a businessman and former seasoned diplomat, who was ambassador to Egypt from the mid- 1980s until the end of the 1990/91 Gulf War. Wisner, who has served during a critical time for American interests in the Middle East, became quite chummy with Mubarak during his posting and, according to rumor, often played squash with the President.

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EGYPT/Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s Last Pharaoh (part 1)

Up until this past February it would have been unthinkable to imagine that Egypt’s president for nearly 30 years (and clearly one of the strongest Arab leaders) could possibly wind up in the very same prison where so many of his critics have been locked up. Baffling turn of events, to say the least! President Hosni Mubarak was no ordinary leader and up until recently he was able to triumph over every obstacle to his rule by simply using force or skillful negotiations. His unorthodox ways didn’t matter to anyone on the outside, least of all to his two staunchest supporters, the Americans and the Israelis, as long as he maintained the peace treaty signed by his predecessor, Anwar Sadat.

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