Mazel on Obama: No understanding of Mideast politics

The US will never win "first prize for clear politics with regards to Middle East" the former ambassador to Egypt tells 20 Questions.

zvi mazel 248 88  (photo credit: IBA)
zvi mazel 248 88
(photo credit: IBA)
Will the Egyptian army remain loyal to Mubarak? How will Israel be affected by the revolution? What is the next Arab country in the domino effect?
This week’s 20 Questions hosts Zvi Mazel, a fellow for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Israeli ambassador to Egypt between 1996 and 2001. This session of 20 Question focuses solely on the current uprising in Egypt, with Mazel voicing his opinions about what is likely to happen in its wake and what the repercussions will be for Israel.
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Regarding Egypt’s next leader, Mazel asserts that it is unlikely that either Mohammed ElBaredei or the Muslim Brotherhood will take the reins in the case that current Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be deposed. With regards to the former, Mazel maintains that ElBaradei is not a charismatic leader and is certainly not the right man to lead Egypt.
Despite the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in the 2005 election, Mazel opines that it is unlikely that they will be accepted by the Egyptian people to rule the country. The extremism of the Brotherhood’s elected spiritual guide, Mohammed Badie, prevents them from being a viable candidate.
There are many Arab countries in the same position as Egypt and Tunisia that are experiencing similar poverty and corruption, including Morocco, Algeria and Yemen. While it is impossible to predict who will be next in the domino chain, the unexpected swiftness of the Egyptian revolt on Tunisia’s heels means anything is possible.
Mazel maintains that Israel must keep a low profile with regards to Egypt and make all efforts to subdue any feelings of fear; such feelings will invariably be used against the Jewish state in Islamic extremist propaganda to incite the protesters.
The Barack administration should not be committed to the protests, not least of all because the US owes Mubarak for being their main ally. Mazel further posits that the current US government does not understand the politics of the Middle East.
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