Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak advised the United States in 2008 to “forget” about democracy in Iraq and allow a dictator to take over, according to a diplomatic cable released this week on WikiLeaks.
Mubarak made the comments during talks with visiting U.S. congressmen to whom he also admitted that he was “terrified” by the possibility of a nuclear Iran, in the cable sent home from the U.S. embassy.
He noted to the U.S. delegation he had advised Washington against the 2003 invasion of Iraq to depose dictator Saddam Hussein. But now that they had troops in mainly Shiite Iraq, American troops should not withdraw because that would only serve to strengthen Shiite Iran next door. “You cannot leave” because “you would leave Iran in control,” the diplomatic dispatch, dated May 27, 2008 according to the website, quoted him as saying. “Mubarak explained his recipe for going forward,” the cable said.
“Strengthen the (Iraqi) armed forces, relax your hold, and then you will have a coup. Then we will have a dictator, but a fair one. Forget democracy, the Iraqis by their nature are too tough,” Mubarak said in the cable. He said he would never accept a nuclear Iran and acknowledged: “We are all terrified.”