A Marooned Mubarak?


by Chris Bodenner

Scott Horton explores why the Egyptian president could hold out longer than dictators of decades past:

[W]hy is Mubarak trying to squeeze a few more months out of his three-decade career in office and avowing his intentions to stay in Egypt rather than packing for the Riviera? It may be because exile isn't what it used to be; over the last 30 years, things have gotten increasingly difficult for dictators in flight. Successor regimes launch criminal probes; major efforts are mounted to identify assets that may have been stripped or looted by the autocrat, or more commonly, members of his immediate family. I witnessed this process myself, twice being asked by newly installed governments in Central Eurasia to advise them on asset recovery measures focusing on the deposed former leader and his family.

More menacingly, human rights lawyers and international prosecutors may take a close look at the tools the deposed dictator used to stay in power: Did he torture? Did he authorize the shooting of adversaries? Did he cause his enemies to "disappear"? Was there a mass crackdown that resulted in dozens or hundreds of deaths? A trip to The Hague or another tribunal might be in his future.

(Photo: Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi listens to his Egypian counterpart Hosni Mubarak during their meeting 15 August 2005 in Sirte on the Mediterranean coast east of the Libyan capital Tripoli. By Osama Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images)