Saturday, March 2, 2013

Egypt: US Statements, Action Suggests Support of Muslim Brotherhood, Future Chaos

According to The Associated Press, and as US secretary of state John Kerry flies to Cairo today as America's top diplomat, he no doubt will have to choose his words carefully, as polls in the US suggest that the majority of Americans want foreign assistance to the Muslim Brotherhood to be curtailed or even stopped outright.

While Washington may understandably be frustrated with the opposition, which is proposing a boycott of parliamentary elections scheduled for April, the bottom line is that the Obama Administration seemingly looks the other way when consequences for President Mohamed Morsi's actions are clearly called for.

Another facet seemingly overlooked by some observers is that Charles Hagel, heir-apparent to become President Obama's new secretary of defense, had by far the thinnest level of Congressional support in US history, despite his numerous critical comments of Israel.   

COMMENT: It has often been said that "remember not what people say to you, but what action they actually take."

Indeed, President Obama and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton calmly stood by and exercised no influence when the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 occurred before our eyes. With the significant purse-strings they controlled, they easily could have taken some action to head off the chaos.

Please remember that the Revolution resulted in the deaths of 846 people and injured over 6,000. In retrospect, was it worth it?

This is particularly interesting considering that former President Hosni Mubarak remained loyal to the West for nearly three decades only to be slapped in the face by Washington.

Admittedly, Mubarak was no saint, yet keeping Egypt secular not only saved countless lives, but produced far more economic predictability that we see in Egypt today.  

If anything, the US is now being perceived as a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood as Iran moves closer and closer to nuclear-capability while Washington's relationship with Tel Aviv could not be worse at a critical time in contemporary history. 

At least two opposition figures said they rejected invitations to meet with Secretary Kerry when he holds talks with Egyptian political parties Saturday. 

On its front page, the independent AL-TAHRIR daily ran a large cartoon of Kerry, calling him "the Ikhwani" — or Brotherhood member — and depicting him with an Islamist's beard and the "zibeeba," a mark on the forehead many devout Muslim men have from kneeling in prayer five times a day.

As someone who has worked in Egypt over a period of roughly three decades, it is very sad to see frequent riots in the streets, foreign tourism declining by the day, the poor getting poorer and political divisiveness that renders the chaos in Washington to appear almost "normal," which could not be further from the truth.

I hope I'm wrong as to what the future holds for Egypt,, but I foresee a country that will become, in time, a conservative Islamist state that may become a close allie of Iran. Only time will tell.