Copts take to streets in Cairo
Photo: AFP
Helped create a catastrophe. Obama
Photo: MCT
Paying the Obama price
Op-ed: Egypt’s disintegration highlights president’s Mideast ignorance, policy failure

The deadly clashes between Egypt’s Copt minority and security forces further stress what should have been clear for a while now: America’s insistence on President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster helped create a catastrophe, with Israel’s southern neighbor increasingly descending into the throes of chaos.


While tensions between Copts and Muslims have persisted for some time, such bloody clashes mark a new low in interethnic relations within Egypt. The violence followed growing attacks against Egypt’s Christian Copt minority in the wake of Mubarak’s dismissal. Needless to say, this would not be happening had the longtime president remained in power.


The growing pandemonium across Egypt is evident on all fronts. The turning of Sinai into a terror hotbed, the reckless popular raids on Israel’s Cairo embassy, and the ascent of the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement all indicate that Egypt’s situation is spiraling out of control.


However, much of what has transpired could have been easily predicted, given a modicum of familiarity with and understanding of the Middle East. However, President Obama, armed with lofty words and meaningless slogans, refused to address the region’s harsh realities, instead focusing his efforts on creating a make-belief world adorned with ludicrous notions and fancy rhetoric. Ever since his embarrassing speech in Cairo shortly after his elections, the entire region has been plunged into growing turmoil.


Mideast going downhill  

While the removal of dictators is a welcome development, the manner in which it was done turned the Middle East into a worse place, not a better one. Egypt is disintegrating, Syrians are being butchered en masse, Libya faces a civil war and possible Islamic takeover, and Jordan’s moderate monarchy is feeling increasingly uncomfortable and vulnerable.


Obama was quick to issue his unworkable messages on the Israeli-Palestinian front as well, leading to a lengthy impasse in negotiations, a unilateral Palestinian statehood bid, and general despair on both sides of the divide. Not surprisingly, after lavishing residents of the region with his promising – but ultimately dangerous – words, what we mostly hear from the US at this time is silence, while the fires of the region continue to rage.


However, there is one glimmer of hope despite all: Faced with a tough reelection battle, President Obama is likely to shun the Middle East in the coming months while focusing his attention on domestic affairs. Given the damage he already caused with his reckless intervention, staying out of the region’s affairs may be the best Obama move we can hope for.



 new comment
See all talkbacks "Paying the Obama price"
This will delete your current comment