US secretly backing Egypt's rebel leaders?

Egypt flag
Washington, Jan 29: The Obama administration is reported to be secretly backing leading figures behind the uprising in Egypt.

According to The Telegraph, a "regime change" has been in the works for the past three years.

According to the paper, the American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police. On his return to Cairo in Dec 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.

Egyptian security has since arrested the dissident in connection with the demonstrations. The Telegraph has refused to reveal his identity.

The disclosures, contained in previously secret US diplomatic dispatches released by the WikiLeaks website, show American officials pressed the Egyptian government to release other dissidents who had been detained by the police.

President Mubarak, facing the biggest challenge to his authority in his 31 years in power, ordered the army on to the streets of Cairo yesterday as rioting erupted across Egypt. Police fired rubber bullets and used tear gas and water cannon in an attempt to disperse the crowds. At least five people were killed in Cairo alone yesterday and 870 injured, several with bullet wounds.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the pro-reform leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was placed under house arrest after returning to Egypt to join the dissidents.

Riots also took place in Suez, Alexandria and other major cities across the country. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, urged the Egyptian government to heed the "legitimate demands of protesters".

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "deeply concerned about the use of force" to quell the protests. In an interview for the American news channel CNN, to be broadcast on Jan 30, David Cameron said: "I think what we need is reform in Egypt. I mean, we support reform and progress in the greater strengthening of the democracy and civil rights and the rule of law."

Washington has previously been a supporter of the Mubarak's regime, but the leaked documents show the extent to which America was offering support to pro-democracy activists in Egypt while publicly praising Mubarak as an important ally in the Middle East.


Please Wait while comments are loading...