While the noble Kamal Khalil (left) and Youth for Change were out in full force exposing “24 years of poverty and repression” (slogan on sign), U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick met with Hosni Mubarak to persuade him to accept international election observers. I don’t doubt that the regime will come up with some face-saving argument to let observers attend, after it had gotten all chest-pounding and huffy about sovereignty and all that. While Zoellick was lecturing and “persuading”, USAID official Andrew Natsios had announced a shift in US foreign aid policy. No longer will the money be vetted by Arab governments, but will go directly to non-governmental organisations. What a spectacle, Arab regimes desperate for survival heartily giving up chunks of state sovereignty for coveted U.S. blessings and decreased pressure. Must be hard to be an Egyptian regime official, these days. Or is it? Mubarak’s envoy to Washington, D.C. and Gamal Mubarak toady had this to say recently: “We’re 7,000 years old as a people, but we’ve only been a republic for the last 50 years. We’ve been occupied for many years before that. We have a very low literacy rate. We have not had a democratic process for many years. What we are concerned with is, in the absence of, if you want, the level of evolution, the maturity in the society that is required for a serious democratic debate.” Well I do declare, the right honourable ambassador is even more pathetic and incoherent than his friend Ahmed Nazif.