The Egyptian people have spoken. Some 30-plus million rose up to save their country from an arrogant, obstinate leader who was driving the nation towards polarization and bankruptcy.
General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi read the writing on the wall and, with great reluctance, he acted according to the people’s will. His decision resembled that of a true patriot. It wasn’t taken easily, as Vice-President Mohammed ElBaradei has revealed, saying almost every day Sisi expresses the wish that Mursi had just heeded his warnings. But Mursi was both blind and tone-deaf, brushing off the millions who took to the streets and the squares as mere thousands. Why? Because he had been assured that the Obama administration had his back. In that respect, he was correct.
Evidence is piling up that prior to the 2012 presidential election the U.S. had tipped Mursi for the top job. There is photographic evidence that Muslim Brotherhood leaders, as well as the organization’s top lawyer, Ahmed Abu Baraka, had been hosted at the White House. There’s an audio-less video on YouTube, shot before the elections, showing a veritable love fest in someone’s home between former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, literally hugging and kissing Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, Khairat al-Shater and others. Carter beams as he hands the ousted president a sheet of paper. The Brotherhood leaders erupt with joy and congratulate one another. What was written on that piece of paper is anyone’s guess.
It’s likely that a deal had been sealed between Obama and the Brotherhood in connection with the current U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative that, as many suspect, may have involved Egypt “donating” an area of northern Sinai to extend Gaza. I still recall Ahmed Shafiq’s insistence that he had been informed of his win but was asked to fade away quietly because the Brotherhood had threatened to burn the country if Mursi weren’t given the top job. If Shafiq is right, then the powers that be had been leant on. It’s notable that Mursi, who had referred to Israelis as “apes and pigs” and urged his following to march on Jerusalem before his presidential bid, was now in Israel’s pocket, going as far as to send a love letter to the Israeli president, Shimon Peres.
America’s interference continued throughout Mursi’s one year in office with the help of Ambassador Anne Patterson, said to have given the Brotherhood gifts, including a diamond-studded Quran. Her enthusiasm for a government that was failing the Egyptian people—remember the depleted foreign reserves, the queues for gas, hours-long queues for petrol and bread—was odd to say the least. Patterson refrained from condemning Mursi’s increasing authoritarianism and, according to Front Page Magazine, U.S. Republican congressional members “from Texas Senator Ted Cruz to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce” saw Patterson “as the key implementer for a policy that at least offers tacit support to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Patterson condemned the 30 June protest as a danger to Egypt’s economy. And, during mid-July, El Fajr reports that she asked Sisi to release detained Brotherhood leaders. When he refused, she reportedly threatened him, saying Egypt will turn into another Syria. “Neither you nor your country can overcome Egypt and its people,” was Sisi’s impassioned retort.
U.S. reactions to 30 June which, for the majority of Egyptians, represents a return to the 25 January revolution—an opportunity to right old mistakes—was one of open hostility. No surprise there. Obama’s plot to oil the new Middle East peace process with Egyptian territory had been thwarted. General Sisi revealed in his recent Washington Post interview that Obama hasn’t called him to date and he rightly blames America for turning its back on the Egyptian people.
Instead, the U.S. administration sent its emissaries, the EU’s Catherine Ashton and the State Department’s William Burns, to Cairo. They’ve been shuttling back and forth parroting “inclusive”—a word I’ve grown to hate simply because one hand can’t clap, and prostrating themselves on the altar of Mursi and Shater. They’ve been pressuring security chiefs not to use force to clear the sit-ins at Rabea al-Adaweya and al-Nahda Square, even though they are disrupting the lives of residents who complain of being frisked, their gardens used as toilets and bullets smashing their windows.
Has Ashton railed against the Brotherhood’s abduction of orphans lured to Rabea with new clothes and the promise of meals, where they are made to carry their own shrouds? Has Burns decried the armed militias that wind out of that square each night to confront police and army installations with concrete blocks, Molotov cocktails, guns and cartouches? Did he show sympathy for the young men who’ve been tortured in Rabea, covered in bruises, some losing their fingers?
Secretary of State John Kerry’s impromptu statement in support of the Egyptian army was the first chink of light emanating from Washington—but he was soon pressed by Obama to toe the line. And on Monday, two Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham came to town; the very same two who have been agitating for Congress to label the transition “a coup.”
Egyptians who back this new dawn filled with promise need to understand that the U.S. is working against them. Obama wants the interim government to fail. The top headline in Tuesday’s Egypt Independent read: “Obama has agreed to meeting with Muslim Brotherhood.” It goes on to say that the meeting will be in the White House in the presence of Turkish diplomats. He seemingly wants to hear their side of the story. Why? Did he ever ask to speak to Mubarak, America’s closest friend in the region for over 30 years? And why Turkish diplomats, when the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last month “Mursi is my president in Egypt.”
I would urge General Sisi and the interim government to recognize that if it looks like a duck it is a duck, in this case a U.S.-led Western conspiracy against the Egyptian people. Obama has shown his true colors. America has a long history of cozying up to the Brotherhood since Nasser’s era when the CIA’s point man in Cairo sought to smash Egypt’s nationalistic spirit; he sought a religious icon on the lines of America’s Billy Graham to hypnotize the masses and split the nation. Instead, he fell upon the Muslim Brotherhood.
Don’t let the U.S. blackmail Egypt over a mere US$1.5 billion in annual aid. Tell the finger-wagging American and European chorus to go home. And, if necessary, shake hands with Moscow. America needs Egypt as a strategic ally because of its peace treaty with Israel, its influence over the Arab world and its guardianship of the Suez Canal. Egypt has powerful friends in the Gulf willing to bankroll this period of transition and is being courted by Russia. Time to forget the evil empire responsible for the death of more innocents than any other on the planet and has no friends, only interests. Close ranks, give Sisi your utmost moral support—and take the road to a new and potentially bright future.
Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.