Obama Call for Muslim Brotherhood Role Overtaken in Egypt
Violent protests in Cairo and elsewhere over the military’s ouster of President Mohamed Mursi raised doubts about prospects for an eventual accommodation that would allow the Brotherhood that supports him to compete in new elections.
Secretary of State John Kerry said in a separate statement yesterday that “we firmly reject the unfounded and false claims by some in Egypt that the United States supports the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood or any specific Egyptian political party or movement.”
Still, the administration has urged the Egyptian military to stop using heavy-handed tactics against the Brotherhood, according to two U.S. officials who asked not to be identified commenting on private communications. They said the administration is concerned that some in the military may want to provoke the Islamists to violence and provide a rationale for crushing the movement once and for all.
Such a move would fail and probably prompt a shift to al-Qaeda type terrorist tactics by extremists in the Islamist movement in Egypt and elsewhere, the U.S. officials said.
Mursi DetainedWhile Obama’s administration has stopped short of condemning the July 3 military takeover, it has called on Egyptian leaders to pursue “a transparent political process that is inclusive of all parties and groups,” including “avoiding any arbitrary arrests of Mursi and his supporters,” Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said July 4 in a statement. Mursi has been detained since his ouster.
At least 36 people were killed and more than 1,000 were wounded on July 5 as security forces and opponents of Mursi clashed with his Islamist supporters.
‘Cure Worse’Locking out the Muslim Brotherhood from the early elections promised by the military “would be a cure worse than the ill, almost certainly driving Islamist groups underground and giving rise to a generation of radicalized Islamists, in Egypt and beyond, who will have lost faith in peaceful, democratic change,” the International Crisis Group, a New York-based organization that offers recommendations to policy makers, said in a July 3 statement.
Participating in politics means agreeing that differences will be settled through political means, said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington policy group.
“What I think the Brotherhood has concluded is the game is stacked, and the only way to get what they deserve is to change the game, not to play in the game,” Alterman said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capitol with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “That’s a big change from where the Brotherhood was a year ago.”
Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador to the U.S., said July 4 that “not a single arrest will be made in an arbitrary way” and that “we also have to work on national reconciliation.”
“We don’t want to exclude anyone,” he said in an interview with CNN. “We don’t want to repeat the mistakes made by the Mursi government.’
Brotherhood’s RadicalizationA crackdown on the Brotherhood by Egyptian authorities in the early 1950s contributed to its radicalization. After an army coup ousted Egypt’s monarchy in 1952, the Brotherhood was accused of trying to assassinate the president. The party was banned and thousands of its members were tortured, imprisoned and held for years.
Members of the group counseled a young Osama bin Laden in Saudi Arabia, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, was a member of the Brotherhood before joining al-Qaeda. Ayman al Zawahiri, the current al-Qaeda leader, also was a member.
The Brotherhood faced repeated crackdowns under successive Egyptian presidents until the revolt that led the military to topple authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 opened the door for it to compete and win a democratic election.
Feeling DeprivedNow ‘‘the Islamists feel very much that they’ve been deprived of a legitimately won election” said Michele Dunne, who heads the Middle East program at the Atlantic Council, a Washington policy group.
The events in Egypt will become part of a broader Islamist narrative of marginalization and victimhood, Dunne said.
In Algeria, the military stepped in to void an election as Islamists neared victory in 1991. After Hamas won a 2006 election in the Palestinian territories, Western countries including the U.S. cut funds to the Palestinian Authority and Israel withheld tax revenue. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel.
While the Brotherhood hasn’t used violence in a long while, “some of their allies -- Salafi or jihadi groups -- could turn to violence” more readily, Dunne said in an interview.
The Obama administration has avoided describing the military takeover in Egypt as a coup because that could force a cutoff in $1.55 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt. A U.S. law bars “any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup d’etat or decree,” or a coup “in which the military plays a decisive role.”
General Dynamics, LockheedThe administration previously has sought to avert provisions restricting aid to Egypt. In March and May, the State Department let assistance continue despite conditions imposed by Congress that the country demonstrate progress on democracy and human rights. The State Department cited national-security interests, while administration officials also said the potential loss of thousands of U.S. jobs was a consideration.
Among American companies benefiting from the military aid are General Dynamics Corp. (GD), which sells M1A1 tanks that are assembled in Egypt, and Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), which provides F-16 jets.
IMF LoanSuppression of the Brotherhood also would raise new doubts about Egypt’s continuing efforts to negotiate terms of a possible $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
An IMF spokeswoman, who asked not to be further identified, said in an e-mail on July 1 that the fund was following developments closely. The spokeswoman reiterated the IMF’s call for Egypt to develop and implement a homegrown program to resolve economic and financial challenges facing the country.
As Egypt seeks a transition to democracy, it’s hobbled by the lack of a road map to follow, according to Amy Hawthorne, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former State Department official who worked on the country’s transition after Mubarak’s ouster.
First, the military made an arrangement with the Islamists to the exclusion of other groups in Egypt, she said.
“Now we might see the military doing a deal with non-Islamist groups and excluding the Islamists,” Hawthorne said. “The only way Egypt is going to be able” to establish democracy “is if all groups agree on the basic rules of the game.”
To contact the reporters on this story: John Walcott in Washington at email@example.com; Nicole Gaouette in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at email@example.com
Nice attempt to scrounge up a defense for standing on the side of TERRORISTS. The Egyptian people, 93% of them, want the Military take over because the guy "elected" to govern them turned out to be a dictatorial, Sharia law loving, SCUMBAG. The Muslim Brotherhood's entrance into his power grab deflated the "Democracy" into a Dictatorship. A regime led by another Doublespeaking, two side stepping, double crossing HYPOCRITE. THIS is where you simplify and explain away Osama Bin Lyin's crusade to destroy the United States? You just validated the threat of Islam, the existence of Radical Extremists, TERRORISTS, and used it as an excuse for this administration's sneaky back door politics, negotiating with TERRORISTS, supporting them, and APPEASING THEM? Appeasement doesn't work, unless you're a power drunken radical siding with terrorists and against the United States and Western Civilization
(aka an Obamacrat).
(see Winston Churchill)
So which is it dude - can't stay neutral or as you're trying to tell us -- "not picking sides" when you're supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. You're neither here nor there, (on the surface, inside and behind the scenes, you're THERE with THEM) a total flip flopping piece of slime that NO ONE trusts. Not even our allies, who are dwindling off by the day. No one likes an ass kissing hypocrite who lies as easy as he breathes. Backstabbers and hypocrites are the WORST in this society, and you and your Muslim Bros are the Poster Maggots for Backstabbing Hypocrites. To top it off, power drunken, greedy resentful ax grinders such as you and your ilk always get tossed in the vile pile of vermin who tried to pull their hideous agendas off on a not so tolerant nation...NO TOLERANCE FOR TYRANNY... NOT HERE, and as we now know, loud and clear, NOT IN EGYPT EITHER. Your Muslim Brotherhood "friends" are not stupid, they're hovering over our soon to be carcass, and don't think they won't scavenge yours either. That's how they roll, like you, no loyalty to anything or anyone not 100 percent in it, living and breathing it, their way all the way, and they'll move you out of their way before you know what happened. Sadly, THAT'S the only thing we can agree on.. You need to be moved out of the way, and you need to do it on your own volition, now. The military didn't sacrifice so you could come in and spit in their faces, on their graves, and let the very people who we went in to fight, into our White House.
You are an enemy to our military, the people and all Americans, period.