Britain in Egypt: Last Out, First In (Again)

From the New York Times:

CAIRO — The military and civilian leadership controlling Egypt in the wake of a popular revolution took several high-profile steps on Monday to reassure Egyptians that it shared their fervor for change and to signal to foreign leaders that the move to full civilian rule would be rapid.

The prime minister of Britain, David Cameron, held talks here with the leaders, becoming the highest-ranking foreign leader to visit Egypt since the long-time president, Hosni Mubarak, was ousted after 18 days of widespread protests.

At the same time, the country’s top prosecutor, Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, said he would request that the Foreign Ministry ask governments to freeze any assets of Mr. Mubarak, his family and a handful of top associates. The A.P., citing unnamed security officials, said that Mr. Mubarak’s local assets had been frozen as soon as his government fell.

The prosecutor’s announcement came after the Swiss government, acting on its own, froze tens of millions of dollars belonging to Mr. Mubarak, his family or top associates last week. The fact that the caretaker Egyptian government had not requested the move prompted opposition members to express fears that it was shielding Mr. Mubarak, a former Air Force chief, and his relatives.

The New York Times left out the fact that Cameron’s visit was unannounced.

British PM David Cameron and Egyptian Leader Muhammad Tantawi

From Bloomberg News:

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron urged Egypt’s military rulers to bring opposition leaders into the government and end a state of emergency to demonstrate their desire to move toward democracy after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.

“We want them to complete this transition,” Cameron told reporters in Cairo after talks with the military and opposition figures. “It’s quite right, as a friend of Egypt, to ask lots of questions about how, when and where. That’s what I did. If Egypt can make this transition, it will have a huge positive and useful impact elsewhere.”

The premier arrived in Cairo this afternoon on an unannounced visit amid escalating tension in the Middle East, with security forces attacking anti-government protesters in Egypt’s neighbor, Libya, and Iran planning to send warships through Egypt’s Suez Canal. Oil rose to a two-year high and gold climbed above $1,400 an ounce.

The British commitment to empire is unwavering.  Whether the rule is direct or by proxy (the United States), the British willingness to inject themselves into ostensibly sovereign situations is unmatched.  An unannounced visit to Egypt at this time says as loudly as 1,000 gunships that the British and the West will be watching closely.


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