Egyptian leader jailed for promoting democracy;
August 6, 2002 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Egyptian leader jailed for promoting democracy; Bush admin "disappointed."
posted by engelr (8 comments total)
Tom Friedman is consistently on the money. He is one of the best Op/Ed writers anywhere.
posted by ElvisJesus at 6:59 AM on August 6, 2002

Mr. Ibrahim's "crime" was that his institute at the American University in Cairo was helping to teach Egyptians how to register to vote, how to fill out a ballot and how to monitor elections.

Come to think of it, there may be a job for Ibrahim in Florida
posted by ElvisJesus at 7:09 AM on August 6, 2002

ElvisJesus, he could never get a job in Florida, or even vote if he were a citizen: with a name like Ibrahim, the exclusion lists would have nailed him as a felon.

I see this as a fairly safe opportunity for the administration to do some good with forceful rhetoric. The foreign policy work of this administration is dismal.
posted by TskTsk at 8:02 AM on August 6, 2002

I think Mr. Friedman sums up what most people would feel about the situation...

The State Department, in a real profile in courage, said it was "deeply disappointed" by the conviction of Mr. Ibrahim, who holds a U.S. passport. "Disappointed"? I'm disappointed when the Baltimore Orioles lose.

Time for the administration to start taking a hard line...
posted by mhaw at 8:11 AM on August 6, 2002

I, too, am disappointed when the Orioles lose.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 8:51 AM on August 6, 2002

TskTsk: No matter how sloppy or inaccurate the Florida felon lists were, they did refer to individuals, not to "suspicious" names.

The Bush administration's reaction is "disappointing", but it's not limited to that one comment, as Friedman implies: the WH said they would press their ally on the issue, and continue to watch the case closely. They issued a statement from the Embassy, and summoned their Ambassador; there's not much more we can do regarding even citizens who violate the laws of another country. People have this fantasy that we can "spring" them just by having a consular official show up, but that's from the movies. Egypt probably recognizes, accurately, that this is a time when they have maximum leverage with Washington, and they've chosen to abuse that.

Here's another columnist lambasting the US reaction. Also, the Egyptian government's response to the NYT
posted by dhartung at 10:22 AM on August 6, 2002

Point well made dhartung about foreign sovereignty. We obviously can't expect to "spring" Mr Ibrahim simply because of, or through, our ire. However, Mr Bush has in the past talked in almost evangelical terms about the U.S. role in the world for spreading democracy and freedom. It just seems to me that when a citizen is jailed for doing just that, we should express more than cavalier "disappointment". Diplomatic wheels do turn oddly though. Perhaps there is some behind the scenes negotiation happening. Given Mr Bush track record on foreign policy savvy, I still side with Friedman.
posted by ElvisJesus at 11:12 AM on August 6, 2002

dhartung: You are correct about the lists; I was just making a joke about profiling.
posted by TskTsk at 2:16 PM on August 6, 2002

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