Former UK Prime Minister who is well known for supporting an illegal war in Iraq has told the Guardian that he does not think Egypt should rush for Elections. The people of Egypt have been subjected to 30 years of brutal dictatorship under Mubarak where political opposition is banned and freedoms to speak and express yourself have been stiffled. Tony Blair also stated that the Western Governments should not feel “embarrassed” (shame) for supporting Mubarak even when those Governments have known for years that Mubarak operates a brutal Dictatorship under which the Police act directly as the arms, eyes and hears for Mubarak. Tony Blair also had this to say about Mubarak:
Tony Blair has described Hosni Mubarak, the beleaguered Egyptian leader, as “immensely courageous and a force for good” and warned against a rush to elections that could bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power. The former British prime minister, who is now an envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, praised Mubarak over his role in the negotiations and said the west was right to back him despite his authoritarian regime because he had maintained peace with Israel. But that view is likely to anger many Egyptians who believe they have had to endure decades of dictatorship because the US put Israel’s interests ahead of their freedom.
Speaking to Piers Morgan on CNN, Blair defended his backing for Mubarak. “Where you stand on him depends on whether you’ve worked with him from the outside or on the inside. I’ve worked with him on the Middle East peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians so this is somebody I’m constantly in contact with and working with and on that issue, I have to say, he’s been immensely courageous and a force for good,” he said. “Inside Egypt, and I have many Egyptian friends, it’s clear that there’s been a huge desire for change.”
But asked if the west had not been an obstacle to change, Blair defended the policies of his and other governments. “I don’t think the west should be the slightest bit embarrassed about the fact that it’s been working with Mubarak over the peace process but at the same time it’s been urging change in Egypt,” he said.
The Video which started a Revolution
Protesters reject Mubarak speech
Protesters have rejected a speech by President Hosni Mubarak in which he said he would not stand for re-election in September, demanding that he step down immediately. Mr Mubarak has promised to leave at the next polls, and pledged constitutional reform. Hundreds of thousands had gathered across the country in the biggest rally since protests began last week. US President Barack Obama said an orderly transition “must begin now”. In a statement after Mr Mubarak’s address, Mr Obama said the US would be happy to offer assistance to Egypt during that process. But opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei dismissed Mr Mubarak’s move as “a trick” to stay in power, and protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square have vowed to continue their demonstrations until Mr Mubarak quit.
After Mr Mubarak’s announcement, some in central Cairo chanted: “We will not leave! He will leave!” Abdelhalim Kandil, leader of Egypt’s Kifaya (Enough) opposition movement, said Mr Mubarak’s offer not to serve a sixth term was not enough. “I will tell you very simply that there is an unprecedented popular movement that rejects the presence of the president on a scope that has not been seen before, that is calling for the will of the people to be imposed,” he said. If Mr Mubarak does not step down, demonstrators are planning to march on the presidential palace.
“The crowd went quiet as the president’s speech was projected on a huge sheet hung up on the side of an apartment building in Tahrir Square. Quickly, though, exclamations of disbelief rang out. “What, he’s still not going to leave?” said one young demonstrator, with his hand to his brow. As the speech ended, further angry cries of “irhal – go!” erupted. Protesters had made the same simple demand throughout the day. “We feel rage. He totally ignored what we were asking for,” said one man, summing up the mood. “We must be careful,” added another, thinking of how democracy activists have been treated in the past. “If Mubarak stays in power until September, he will punish us. He will torture us”. Only a few people walking away from the square after a long day of protest thought they had won significant concessions. It remains to be seen how households across Egypt will react.”
Yolande Knell BBC News, Cairo