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Friday, September 22, 2006

Egypt's Mubarak wants to develop nuclear energy

No real surprises here I guess.

On Wednesday, I reported that Gamal Mubarak, the son of Egyptian President dictator Hosni Mubarak, wants to spend its 'vast' resources on nuclear energy. Tonight, Papa Mubarak confirms the same thing.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak made a surprising declaration Thursday, saying that his country wants "to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."

"We must take advantage of new and renewable energy sources, including the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and I call for a serious dialogue which takes into account the clean and cheap sources of energy available through nuclear technologies," he said.

"We do not start from a vacuum, and we possess a knowledge of these techniques which enables us to proceed."
Mubarak claims that "nuclear energy would compensate for the shortage Egypt has in oil reserves and natural gas." But I noted a very different story on Wednesday:
Egypt, the third largest recipient of United States foreign aid, which produces 700,000 barrels of oil per day and consumes 566,000, which has proven oil reserves of 2.7 billion barrels, and natural gas production of 27 billion cubic meters, and which has a gross domestic product per capita of $3900, wants to spend its 'vast' resources for 'nuclear weapons energy. Something doesn't fit here.
YNet points out something else that doesn't fit here: the American reaction.
In the US, Mubarak's declarations were not met with surprise. The two countries have grown increasingly close in recent years, and American leaders do not appear to want to stand in Egypt's way. US Ambassador to Egypt said earlier that "the US encourages nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."
Can someone please explain to me why nuclear weapons energy in the hands of yet another dictatorship is something of which the United States will not "stand in the way"? Can someone explain to me why the US appparently has the need to kowtow to the poor Egyptian regime, the same way it kowtows to the oil rich Saudis? (No, I'm not suggesting that it's good that the US over-supports the Saudis - only that at least there's an explanation for it). But wait, it gets worse:
On the Middle East, Mubarak said it was pointless to talk about a "new Middle East" or a "war on terror" - the policy labels used by Washington -- without tackling the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

He did not mention by name the United States, which gives Egypt close to USD 2 billion a year in aid in return for its cooperation on regional policy.

"The failure and stopping of the peace process is the essence of the Middle East problem and the time has come for the international powers to recognize this fact and to deal with it through a serious and sensible endeavor," he said.

"Any talk about the New or Greater Middle East ignores this fact. Any talk about the war on terror must be accompanied with similar talk about its roots and causes, and an urgent move to reach just solutions to pending problems," he added.
In other words, five years after 9/11, it's all Israel's fault that nineteen Arabs (including fifteen Saudis) hijacked four planes and flew two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and one into the ground. And the US buys into this stuff?

Haaretz adds:
Cairo abandoned serious plans to develop nuclear power stations decades ago but it does maintain a small experimental reactor and it has never closed down the nuclear department at the Ministry of Electricity.

Egypt is a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its nuclear activities are subject to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Authority, which raised some questions last year about research at the reactor.

The country depends almost entirely on hydrocarbons for electricity production, especially natural gas from the Western Desert and the Mediterranean.


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