Cairo: 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 US
congressmen to whom he also admitted that he was "terrified"
by the possibility of a nuclear Iran, in the cable sent home
from the US embassy.
The president noted to the US delegation he had advised
Washington against the 2003 invasion of Iraq that deposed
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
"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 also said he would never accept a nuclear Iran and
acknowledged: "We are all terrified."
Mubarak said he told former Iranian president Mohammad
Khatami to advise his hardline successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
not to "provoke" Washington into striking Iran.
Egypt would begin its own nuclear programme if Iran`s
succeeded, he was quoted as saying in the memo, which was
marked confidential and addressed to then US secretary of
state Condoleezza Rice.
The congressmen also met Egypt`s intelligence chief Omar
Suleiman, who "advocated making Iran suffer economically to be
`too busy with its people` to make problems in Iraq."
Suleiman said a strike on Iran would not destroy its
nuclear capabilities and would instead rally Iranians against
the United States.
He cited economic pressure on Libya, which abandoned
weapons of mass destruction programmes, as an example of how
to deal with Iran.
In a cable on a meeting last July with Senator John
Kerry, Mubarak said the United States should hold off on a
withdrawal until it has strengthened Iraq`s army and security