CAIRO Ñ Egypt says it has completed security preparations for a
U.S.-led war against Iraq.
Egyptian officials said the measures include increased security for
government and Western installations, the arrest of hundreds of suspected
Islamic insurgents and restrictions on anti-U.S. demonstrations. They said
thousands of Egyptian police and security officers have been recruited in
Egypt has allowed the United States use of its air space and waters for the
preparations for a war against Baghdad, Middle East Newsline reported.
Egyptian Interior Minister Habib Adly said Egypt's stability will not be harmed by any U.S.-led war
against Iraq. But he expressed concern over the return of millions of
Egyptian laborers from the eastern Levant and the Persian Gulf region.
Adly reviewed the preparations of the
nation's security services. Adly told a meeting of senior police officials
the measures are meant to protect national security and economic stability.
"We have completed a study of the influence of a U.S. attack from the
security point of view and its repercussions on the internal situation,"
Adly said on Sunday. "The expected problems concern the emigration of
foreigners and the arrival of Egyptians from abroad."
An Egyptian parliamentary committee agreed and said the country's
tourist industry would also be damaged by a U.S.-led war on Iraq. The
Economic Committee said Egypt could lose $8 billion as a result of the
destruction of the Saddam regime, which over the last two years has
significantly bolstered trade with Cairo.
Adly opened the meeting to journalists and urged them to use their
positions to bolster Egypt's stability. He also warned against any attempt
to agitate against the government.
Officials said a key concern of the Egyptian regime of President Hosni
Mubarak is the stability of the national currency. Last week, Cairo removed
official restrictions and floated the pound in an attempt to encourage
Adly said the floating of the Egyptian pound means that the economy is
dependent on domestic stability. The minister stressed that security
agencies were monitoring any attempt to manipulate the value of the Egyptian
The minister expressed confidence that Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood
would be unable to spark unrest amid the U.S. military buildup against Iraq.
Egyptian security agencies have reduced the amount of funding for the
Brotherhood, Adly said. The assertion was confirmed by Western diplomatic
"This group [Brotherhood] has been completely controlled and the
security agencies deals with it well," Adly said.