U.S. diplomats were gravely concerned about Egypt’s poor human rights record (including the use of torture by police and the jailing of dissidents) and expressed misgivings about President Hosni Mubarak’s plans to allow his son to succeed him, according to cables released by WikiLeaks.

However, the cables also described Mubarak as a tried and true realist who would prefer let a few individuals suffer than risk chaos for society as a whole, according to the New York Times.

During his 28-year rule, he survived at least three assassination attempts, maintained peace with Israel, weathered two wars in Iraq and post-2003 regional instability, intermittent economic downturns, and a manageable but chronic internal terrorist threat, the cable said.

Referring to Mubarak’s son, Gamal (his purported successor), one cable warned that the possibility that Gamal might succeed his father remains deeply unpopular on the street, adding that unlike his father, (Gamal) cannot take the military's support for granted, having never served as an officer.

Egypt is viewed by the United States as a key ally in the Middle East because of its reputation as a “moderate” Islamic nation, diametrically opposed to the fundamentalist nature of such regimes as the one in Iran.

Egypt has also served as an invaluable agent in brokering talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Indeed, the cables confirm that Mubarak has repeatedly and consistently backed U.S. policy against Iran and also supports Iraq’s new government.

Another WikiLeaks document discussing a purported meeting in February 2010 with U.S. Senator John Kerry and Qatar’s Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani in which the Qatari official claimed that the Egyptian 'people blame America' now for their plight and that the people resent Mubarak for his close ties to the U.S.