"MER - Mid-East Realities - www.MiddleEast.Org - 8/21/2002: At first blush,
no one can remember a public threat of this kind coming from the Egyptians since
the end of the 1973 war and the Camp David agreement that followed 5 years later.
And the threat was publicly articulated from one of the great political survivors
in Egypt, no matter how much people long ago concluded
that Dr. Osama El-Baz was not a man of principle but rather a man primarily interested in holding onto position and influence come what may -- thus in a sense making the "threat" at this time somewhat more credible.
El-Baz was in fact the deputy to Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy who resigned in 1977 when President Anwar Sadat abruptly announced his "visit to Jerusalem". He stayed on essentially heading the Egyptian Foreign Ministry when Boutros Ghali was appointed Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, more connected with Vice-President Hosni Mubarak than with Sadat in those years.
And he stayed on again when Sadat's friend of some 40-years, Ibrahim Kamal, then the Foreign Minister, resigned at Camp David after warning Sadat of the future consequences of agreement to a deal that Ghali and El-Baz also opposed (but not wanting to lose power swalled and endorsed). After Sadat's assassination El-Baz made himself essential as foreign policy adviser and trouble-shooter for Mubarak, himself a military man of limited knowledge of world affairs.
EGYPT THREATENS TO PREVENT U.S. WARSHIPS
FROM USING SUEZ CANAL !
AMMAN, Aug. 17 - Dr. Osama Al Baz, political advisor to the Egyptian president,
said Egypt will not allow passage through the Suez Canal of US ships headed
to strike Iraq. In statements published here Saturday he added Egypt rejects
operation against Iraq, its territorial unity, independence and safety of Iraqi people, adding any military attack on Iraq represents a vary dangerous step endangering the security of the region.
Dr. Al Baz said the question of UN weapons inspectors is an issue which concerns the UN and the Security Council and not Washington and the US has no right to take any military action against Iraq nor has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of another country and impose a set-up of new leadership on its people." (QNA - Qatar News Agency)