JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Hosni Mubarak had harsh words for the United States and what he described as its misguided quest for democracy in the Middle East in a telephone call with an Israeli lawmaker a day before he quit as Egypt's president.
The legislator, former cabinet minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, said on Israel TV Friday he came away from the 20-minute conversation Thursday with the feeling the 82-year-old leader realized "it was the end of the Mubarak era."
"He had very tough things to say about the United States," said Ben-Eliezer, a member of the center-left Labor Party who has held talks with Mubarak on numerous occasions while serving in various Israeli coalition governments.
"He gave me a lesson in democracy and said: 'We see the democracy the United States spearheaded in Iran and with Hamas, in Gaza, and that's the fate of the Middle East,'" Ben-Eliezer said.
"'They may be talking about democracy but they don't know what they're talking about and the result will be extremism and radical Islam,'" he quoted Mubarak as saying.
If Bush were in office, conservative commentators would be having an orgasmic event. The media would probably be saying beware. I'm just watching and waiting.