Arizona senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain is warning that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s decision not to step down could touch off “a much more dangerous situation,” and he called for the Obama administration to tell Mubarak he must resign immediately.
“The volatility of the situation was already very high,” McCain said
on Fox News, “and I think it’s been ratcheted up dramatically.
“I think the United States had better be more clear in our message to President Mubarak, that we are very clear in our message that he needs to step down,” McCain said.
Asked by host Neil Cavuto if the Obama administration should call for Mubarak to step down immediately, McCain replied, “Yes.”
In his speech to the Egyptian people, however, Mubarak declared he would resist any outside attempt to pressure him to step down.
“We will not accept or listen to any foreign interventions or dictations,” he said.
That remark was widely seen as a shot at the Obama administration, which in recent days has stepped up its diplomatic effort to encourage Mubarak’s departure.
American officials and Middle East experts voiced alarm immediately after Mubarak’s quixotic address that the weary demonstrators’ frustration could lead to violence, possibly provoked by Mubarak provocateurs.
McCain told Fox News that Mubarak has become a symbol of “30 years of failure,” and has to go.
“And the sad aspect of this, and the unfortunate aspect is, that every day that goes by more likely it is that extremist elements will have a greater and greater influence, and even hijack, what was initially in my view young people demonstrating in the streets and making use of technology,” McCain said.
Some Obama administration officials have played down the threat posed by Egypt’s radical Muslim Brotherhood.
But McCain warned: “The people who I think are playing this very intelligently is the Muslim brotherhood, and I am very, very much worried about their increased influence throughout this entire process.”
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