Without Mubarak, U.S. Struggles to Shield Israel from Diplomatic Pressure

Tony Karon in Time:

Obamaabbas A few weeks ago, the U.S. had a reliable ally in Cairo when it came to strong-arming President Mahmoud Abbas to jump through diplomatic hoops against his better judgement. Time and again it had been Mubarak that provided the pressure and then, ostensibly, the political cover — as well as the mandate he was unable to get from his own people — for Abbas to participate in various rounds of photo-opportunity diplomacy with the Israelis in order to help the Obama Administration sustain the impression that it was making progress toward a two-state solution to the Middle East's most enduring crisis. But Hosni Mubarak's era ended decisively a week ago when he was turfed out of office by a citizenry no longer willing to tolerate a leader more attentive to the geopolitical demands of his foreign patrons than to the needs of his own people. And the new demand for sovereignty, accountability and dignity firing up the Arab world bodes ill for Washington's ability to corral Arab backing for its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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