11th June 02:11
"Egypt's Problem is Mubarak Himself" from Al-Arabi
copyright memri.org 2003
Egyptian Opposition Weekly: Egypt's Problem is Mubarak Himself
Opposition papers in Egypt are usually highly critical of Egypt's
government and ruling party, but refrain from directly criticizing
President Hosni Mubarak. However, in his September 7, 2003 column in
the Nasserite opposition weekly Al-Arabi, editor Abd Al-Halim Qandil
The Longest In***bency in Egypt's Modern History
"Perhaps it is incorrect to demand of President Mubarak that he make
changes [in the government], as the story is not the failure of
[Egyptian Prime Minister] 'Atef 'Ubeid's government, of the government
that preceded it, or of the one that will follow it. The necessary
change begins with President Mubarak himself. The necessary change
begins at the top.
"I'm not talking out of personal caprices for which I alone will bear
the responsibility. I am not seeking a great battle beyond what I can
withstand. We are talking, in my opinion, about constitutional axioms.
....[T]he constitution gives the president quasi-divine powers; he is
the president of everything in Egypt. He is responsible for the
minister and for the guard. He is the one who is responsible, first
and foremost, and solely, for the decisions made in political,
economic, and cultural areas. The ministers and the prime minister are
a group of clerks in the president's office. [The president] is
responsible for success, if there is success, and responsible for
"The main flaw does not lie in the kleptocratic government; it is the
bitter fruit of the choices of a regime that has grown old on its
seats, the bitter fruit of the lengthy stagnation that has taken over
"In the meantime, President Mubarak has had the longest in***bency in
Egypt's modern history, except for Muhammad 'Ali. President Mubarak
began his era with beautiful words on morality and 'shrouds that do
not have pockets';  but the story ended with the theft of the
shrouds themselves, and there is no criminal investigation examining
who took [what] and who gave [them] the keys. This is not our job. The
bottom line, unfortunately, looks shocking."
Egypt is Compared to Burkina Faso
"We need to remember only one example. In the early 1990s, the
[various] Mubarak governments estimated the worth of the public sector
designated for sale [i.e. privatization] at 500 billion Egyptian
pounds in the early 1990s. Afterwards, the value of what was sold and
what was not sold dropped to a mere 28 billion. The time difference:
10 years. The price difference: 472 billion Egyptian pounds.
"Don't ask where this huge sum went. It's a long, complex, and
complicated story that can be justly called 'The Labyrinth of a
Country,' and in it, kleptomania can certainly be attributed to people
and elements, as well as – and this is the most important – [an]
actual kleptomaniac policy. Here I stop, and refrain from stating
"These days in Egypt, the sun does not rise in the morning without the
state being plundered as it has never been plundered in its history.
The public robbery is only one aspect of the picture. The general
oppression is far too clear, and obviates any need to point it out.
The constitution has taken a long vacation, and it is emergency law
that is actually [in force]…
"The [international] role played by Egypt has shrunk to the point of
disappearance… and Egypt is compared to Burkina Faso, not South Korea,
which we were ahead of in the 1960s. This is a picture that is
undisguised, un-retouched, and un-faked. This is a picture with no
optical illusions. This is the catastrophic disaster that aroused the
rage of great Egypt and turned it into a small farm, an estate that
looks tempting to bequeath, an open buffet for thieves…"
The Only Solution is Transferring the Rule, In Its Entirety, To the
Hands of the Public
"I assume that the president is dissatisfied with the condition to
which Egypt has fallen. He realizes that the solution does not lie in
replacing the prime minister or disbanding the People's Council. The
only solution is transferring the rule, in its entirety, to the hands
of the public. If the president did this, it would be the greatest of
 Al-Arabi (Egypt), September 7, 2003. Subheadings by MEMRI.
 Meaning corruption-free.