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Obama's Response to Mubarak Crucial

He must side wholeheartedly and unabashedly with the protesters.

6:14 PM, Feb 10, 2011 • By JAMIE M. FLY
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Herzliya, Israel

Obama's Response to Mubarak Crucial

Tonight, Hosni Mubarak revealed how out of touch he is with the situation in Egypt. Minutes later, his newly minted Vice President Omar Suleiman discredited himself as a prospective leader of an authentic democratic transition by telling the protesters to go home and adopting Mubarak-style rhetoric, blaming the continued protests on foreign interference. 

On Wednesday, Wael Ghonim, one emerging face of the opposition, told CNN that the protesters would not stop at anything to achieve their goals and specifically directed his message at Suleiman. Some in the United States have expressed concern about the involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood in the unrest, but Ghonim made clear that the genesis of the protests was secular and passionately declares that he and other protesters are willing to risk all to ensure that Egypt is free: 

Ghonim: "You know, I can’t forget these people for their (unclear) to remember them. This could have been me or my brother and they were killed, they were killed, as if they, you know, you know. If these people died in a war, that’s fair and square. You know, you hold a weapon and, you know, someone is shooting, you know. And you died, but no. None of them. And those people who were killed, were not like, they did not look like they are, they did not really look like they are going to attack anyone. They were just shooting them. They were shooting them a lot of the times the people were, you know, the police men would stand on the bridge and shoot people down. This is a crime. This president need to step down because this is a crime. And I, I’m, I’m telling you, I am ready to die. I have a lot to lose in this life. I, you know, I work, or, you know, now as I’m on a leave of absence, I work for the best company to work for in the world. I had the best wife, and I have the best, I love my kids, but I’m willing to lose all of that for my dream to happen and no one is gonna go against our desire. No one. And I’m telling this to Omar Suleiman. He is gonna watch this. You are not gonna stop us. Kidnap me. Kidnap all my colleagues. Put us in jail. Kill us. Do whatever you want to do. We are getting back our country. You guys have been ruining this country for 30 years. Enough. Enough. Enough."

Watch the whole interview here.

After pursuing what one commentator here at the Herzliya Conference described as a “zigzag” policy toward the unrest in Egypt in recent weeks, the Obama administration now has no choice. It must side wholeheartedly and unabashedly with the protesters. It is time for the United States to suspend all military aid to Egypt and to publicly call on Mubarak to step aside immediately. A continuation of the rhetorical dance deployed to date will only deny Ghonim and his fellow freedom fighters the U.S. support that they will desperately need in the days to come.

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