London, Feb 11 (IANS) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had advised the former US vice-president Dick Cheney not to dethrone Saddam Hussein, according to leaked US cables.
Mubarak warned that by ignoring his advice and invading Iraq the Americans had increased the threat posed by Iran, The Telegraph reported WikiLeaks as stating, adding that he had stated this during a breakfast meet with US Congressmen at the presidential palace in Cairo in December, 2008.
He told one of the delegates, Sen Byron Dorgan, that the US needed to “listen to its friends” in the region.
“When George Bush Senior was president, ‘he listened to my advice. But his son does not’,” he said, according to a US cable sent on Jan 14, 2009.
“Mubarak said that when President Bush Sr had called and asked what Mubarak thought about invading Iraq to get to rid of Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf war, Mubarak had told him not to because ‘you won’t be able to get out and you will drown in Iraq’.
The Egyptian president said that he tried to convey the same message to the current administration, only to be ignored.
“‘I told (Vice President) Cheney three or four times’ that Iraq needed a strong leader and that it would be unwise to remove Saddam Hussein; doing so would only ‘open the gate to Iran.’ Unfortunately, he said, the vice-president did not listen to his advice.”
The cable continued: “By making these mistakes, the US has empowered Iran, whose goal, according to Mubarak, is ‘to control the entire region’. He [Mubarak] added that Iran is waiting for the US to leave Iraq in order to ‘fill the vacuum’ and emphasised that Iran is the source of funds for many extremist groups in the region, such as Hizbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Mubarak also complained that the Bush administration had pushed Egypt too hard to “open up” politically.
In an earlier cable sent in July, 2008, Mubarak had told another congressional delegation that “a fair dictator” was needed in Iraq.