Coble: U.S. Can't Turn 'Blind Eye' on Egyptian Unrest
Congressman Howard Coble says the massive protests in Egypt, which have now turned violent, should be of great concern to Americans.
"This is not just going to involve Cairo and Alexandria," Coble said during an interview Wednesday while he was on a daylong visit to Moore County. "This is going to involve all of us, I'm afraid."
Despite concern about conditions in Egypt, Coble noted that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has long been an ally of the United States on issues involving the Middle East.
"This guy is our guy," Coble said. "He has kept what some folks call a cold peace between the Mideast and Israel, but a peace nonetheless. And I don't think we can haphazardly reject that as insignificant.
"The bad news is, I don't think we can afford to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to the protesters."
Coble, a Greensboro Republican, said the Obama administration may have been rightly criticized for its position on issues in the Mideast. He said this administration has been criticized for a "very docile and tentative response in Iran," and some critics think the administration should have been more openly supportive of the protesters in Iran.
"We don't have 'our guy' to worry about in Iran, as we do in Egypt," Coble said.
Coble doubts that Mubarak's decision to leave office in September will satisfy the thousands protesting what is regarded as an oppressive regime.
"Yes, I think we need to be very much concerned about this," he said.
Mubarak announced his plan to leave office after Obama's special envoy delivered an urgent message and after a personal telephone call from Obama.
The Egyptian president has served about 30 years, and protesters are complaining about economic conditions and political oppression.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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