August 21, 2012
Asia Times Online

Egypt Thumbs The Nose At US

by M K Bhadrakumar

The gloom in Washington must be deepening. Egypt is careering away from the alliance with the United States - and the bitter truth cannot be hidden or obfuscated anymore.

This is not how Washington expected the "right side of history" to play out. The Arab Spring has borne a strange fruit in Egypt - a pure breed, unlike the hybrids in Tunisia, Libya or Yemen.

Consider the following. President Barack Obama was one of the first statesmen to greet Mohammed Morsi on his election victory in May. Obama broke protocol and phoned to congratulate him, signifying the anxiety in Washington to have a splendid chemistry with him.

Then, Obama wrote a letter to Morsi and he deputed Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to fly to Cairo and deliver it in person. Burns was followed to Cairo by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, again for an audience with Morsi. That, in turn, was followed by the visit to Cairo by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. All this, within the first month of Morsi's presidency.

Panetta came back to Washington greatly pleased that the Egyptian military leadership, which has been the anchor sheet of the US regional strategy and the custodian of the US' interests in Egypt, and Morsi were not only getting alone fine but they even had a common agenda.

The rest is history. Within days or weeks of Panetta's optimism, Morsi unceremoniously sent the military back to the barracks from the corridors of political power. Washington had no choice but to put a brave face on it, almost spreading a canard that Morsi consulted the Obama administration before cracking down on the Egyptian military.

However, in the weekend, the truth is out. The US may be facing across a huge setback to its robust efforts to influence Morsi's presidency. The letter that Burns carried a month ago apparently contained an invitation from Obama to Morsi to visit Washington.

And Morsi is instead travelling to China and Iran. . . .


"Egypt Election: Israel Peace Treaty At Risk," The Wisdom Fund, May 12, 2012

Abdel-Rahman Hussein, "Egypt defence chief Tantawi ousted in surprise shakeup,", August 12, 2012

[The new commander of the Egyptian military, while a student at the U.S. Army War College seven years ago, wrote a lengthy paper in which he called for the U.S. to withdraw its military forces from the Middle East, encouraged it to revamp the way it provides aid to Egypt in order to foster economic development and criticized the U.S. as pursuing a "one-sided" policy in the region in which concern about Israeli security trumped all other interests.--Nancy A. Youssef, "Research paper offers insight into Egypt's new armed forces chief, Sedky Sobhy," McClatchy Newspapers, August 14, 2012]

[Talk about the ultimate snapshot of the current geopolitical divide. On one side, the 1% crowd yelling for blood - be it from Barack Obama or from assorted Muslims. On the other side, the bulk of the real "international community", practically the whole global South (including observers such as China, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico) refusing to bend over to imperial military/financial diktats.--Pepe Escobar, "Morsi delivers his calling card,", August 31, 2012]

[If Washington is asking Egypt to honor its treaty with Israel, he said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule. He said the United States must respect the Arab world's history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values.--David d. Kirkpatrick and Steven Erlanger, "Egypt's New Leader Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties,", September 22, 2012]

M K Bhadrakumar, "Egypt's Morsi resets ties with US,", September 25, 2012

Hamza Hendawi, "Morsi's Gaza Ceasefire Deal Role Secures Egypt's President As Major Player,", November 21, 2012

"Clashes in Egypt as Morsi defends new powers: Muslim Brotherhood offices burned around the country,", November 23, 2012

"Egypt judges condemn 'unprecedent attack' by Mursi," BBC News, November 24, 2012

"Egypt's Mursi leaves palace as police battle protesters," Reuters, December 4, 2012

[It is often argued that, though the historical record unequivocally shows the Brotherhood as intimately connected to Western intelligence, somehow the organization has changed, that it has become a peaceful force for political progress in the Arab world. As recent events in Egypt have shown, nothing could be further from the truth. With the undemocratic attempted power grab by Egyptian President Morsi, the scaling back of civil liberties, the rights of women, and religious and ethnic minorities, the Muslim Brotherhood has shown itself to be little more than a reactionary political force parading itself as a form of "progress".--Eric Draitser, "Syria, Egypt, and Beyond: Unmasking the Muslim Brotherhood,", December 13, 2012]

Carl Finamore, "Egypt Aflame Over Protests,", January 28, 2013

["The United States is indirectly saying: You had your revolution, your elections; you have your political parties", continues Dr. Shafik. "Now go and consume! And vote every 4 years for the parties that do not represent you at all. . . . The US has been supporting both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Liberals, including El-Baradei. It even helped to push Mubarak out of the way. As long as the opposition has no strong social message, the US is fine with the regime change. And with the Muslim Brotherhood, the 'free market' system is guaranteed."--Andre Vltchek, "Last Sparks From Tahrir Square,", February 12, 2013]

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