Margalit, regarded as reflecting government positions, said Mubarak led
the Egyptian alliance with the United States for 30 years, Middle East Newsline reported. Today, Margalit
said, Obama has discarded the Mubarak regime at the risk of the emergence of
an Islamic fundamentalist regime in Egypt.
"It is possible that the Americans know that a revolutionary regime
would maintain ties to the West, but they have no guarantees," Margalit
said. "One could also wonder how their relations with Cairo will appear if
Mubarak survives. They have no convincing answer. How will they be seen in
the eyes of the moderate Arab leaders after sticking a knife in the back of
their most veteran partner?"
Government sources said Margalit's analysis reflected the view of
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as many in his Cabinet. Over the last year, the Israeli
prime minister was said to have developed excellent relations with Mubarak.
"We always have had and still have great respect for President Mubarak,"
Netanyahu said on Jan. 31. "I don't say everything that he did was right.
But he did one thing which all of us are thankful to him for: he kept the
peace in the Middle East."
Yoni Ben Menachem, a key Arab analyst close to Netanyahu, said the
Muslim Brotherhood would eventually emerge as the dominant partner in any
post-Mubarak government. Ben Menachem, who headed Israel's state radio, said
the Brotherhood was using former International Atomic Energy Agency
director-general Mohammed El Baradei to negotiate with Vice President Omar
Suleiman to ensure the ouster of Mubarak and free elections in September.
"They [Brotherhood] use people in the intermediate stages of the
revolution and later they will be thrown into the garbage heap of history,"
Ben Menachem said. "Baradei is simply to be used. And
the world stands and watches and says 'Maybe here there will be a leader who
won a Nobel Peace Prize and maybe he will lead Egypt.' "
"This is not their real intention," Ben Menachem said. "At the end this
will lead to the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood."
The sources asserted that Washington was playing a major role in
encouraging the Egyptian opposition to topple Mubarak. But they did not rule
out the prospect that Egypt's military, bolstered with U.S. aid, could
continue to control the Arab state.
"The elements that turned Egypt into a strategic partner of the United
States are still strong," Uzi Rabi, a professor at Tel Aviv University,
said. "The army, the main center of power, is well aware of the critical
importance of continued cooperation with the West. The peace with Israel is
a critical piece of this puzzle, upon which is based Egypt's economic,
diplomatic and security policy."
But the sources said Arab allies of the United States would not forgive
Obama for abandoning Mubarak. They pointed to rising unrest in such states
as Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
"The way that President Obama and Hillary Clinton both abandoned Mubarak
is very very problematic and hints, in my opinion, with regard to other
allies — for example, Israel," former Mossad director Danny Yatom said.