Tags: hosni mubarak | suzanne | egypt | al qaida

Egypt's Mubarak Must Give Back Stolen Assets

By Tawfik Hamid   |   Wednesday, 18 May 2011 09:50 AM

Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak, was granted bail in a corruption probe after agreeing to hand over her assets inside Egypt amounting to 24 million pounds (around $4 million, U.S.) as her husband pledged to do the same, in a bid to secure  amnesty.

She had been held on corruption charges in a luxury hospital at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, along with her husband, who is also being investigated for ordering the shooting of anti-regime protesters.

Meanwhile, Hosni Mubarak, 83, is said to be preparing to hand over his assets in Egypt and apologize to the Egyptian people in return for  amnesty from the military rulers who took power when he was overthrown on Feb. 11.

If the Mubarak family is permitted to dodge their responsibilities, it is very possible the Egyptian people will protest — and worse.

After the Jan 25 revolution many poor Egyptians lived with the hope that some of the public money that was stolen from the country by the Mubarak family — which amounts, according to the Guardian, to some $70 billion (other sources peg it at $700 billion) — will go to relieving  their suffering. Many Egyptians have gone as far calculating how much money they will have after the government brings back Mubarak’s money from overseas.

The Egyptian people trusted the new military rulers and lived with the optimism that the new leadership will care for and stand by them. Furthermore, many Egyptians lived with the dream that the corruption stemming from the Mubarak family was over, and that after the revolution no one would be above the law.

The release of Suzanne Mubarak and the possible release of the former president is likely to have serious consequences in the country.

The loss of hope, that the money that will come back from Mubarak’s family to the people of Egypt will drive many of them to become violent. In addition, the loss of trust in the current leadership will make many unwilling to listen to their pleas for calm. The lack of faith in the law could justify criminal acts in the minds of the people.

The cumulative effect of losing hope in a better future, losing trust in the current leaders, and losing respect for law could cause a significant increase in crime rates, which can further weaken the economy. In addition, this atmosphere creates a very fertile ground for al-Qaida and other terrorist groups to orchestrate a wave of terrorist acts within the country and it could devolve into another Iraq.

The economic collapse that could result could further take a toll on the tourism industry, which could even further aggravate poverty and increase the crime rates.

On the contrary, the current leadership of Egypt can prevent this disastrous scenario if they instead applied more pressure to get back the stolen money. Only then can the current leaders regain the trust of the people and bring them hope for a better future.

Egypt is already suffering from major economic and security problems. The decision to release the former president is likely to be “the straw that will break the camel’s back” and initiate a destructive cascade of increasing crime rates and terror acts and works only for the benefit of Islamic radical groups.

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