Political activists were disappointed by President Bush’s trip to the Middle East, which lacked “the strong calls for democratization made earlier in his administration.” On Wednesday, Bush instead commended Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for taking steps toward “political reforms”:
Hisham Kassem, an Egyptian political activist who last year received a U.S. National Endowment for Democracy award, was left dispirited by Bush’s tour. […]
Anger grew in his voice. “Bush, as far as American foreign policy vis-a-vis democracy, civil rights, is right back to square one,” Kassem added. “This trip marks it.”
The new 2008 Freedom House survey ranked Egypt as “not free” and gave it one of the lowest scores for political rights.