Cablegate Chronicles: An Aging Egyptian President, Profiled

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In preparation for Hosni Mubarak's visit to Washington, A U.S. ambassador profiles the Egyptian president.

FROM: CAIRO, EGYPT
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: MAY 19, 2009
CLASSIFICATION: SECRET
SEE FULL CABLE

¶2. (S/NF) Mubarak is 81 years old and in reasonably good health; his most notable problem is a hearing deficit in his left ear. He responds well to respect for Egypt and for his position, but is not swayed by personal flattery. Mubarak peppers his observations with anecdotes that demonstrate both his long experience and his sense of humor. The recent death of his grandson Mohammad has affected him deeply and undoubtedly will dampen his spirits for the visit which he very much wants to make. During his 28 year tenure, he survived at least three assassination attempts, maintained peace with Israel, weathered two wars in Iraq and post-2003 regional instability, intermittent economic downturns, and a manageable but chronic internal terrorist threat. He is a tried and true realist, innately cautious and conservative, and has little time for idealistic goals. Mubarak viewed President Bush (43) as naive, controlled by subordinates, and totally unprepared for dealing with post-Saddam Iraq, especially the rise of Iran,s regional influence.

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