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מצרים בוערת ברק אובמה ו א-סיסי סיסי Photo: AP, AFP
מצרים בוערת ברק אובמה ו א-סיסי סיסי Photo: AP, AFP
 
 

Obama still clueless on Egypt

Op-ed: Rather than suspend aid, US should support army fighting to prevent Egypt from becoming Islamic state

Shoula Romano Horing
Published: 10.13.13, 10:50 / Israel Opinion

The United States is in the process of losing its longtime ally Egypt and the one to blame is still clueless. President Obama’s recent action of cutting hundreds of millions in military aid to Egypt reminded the Egyptians again that he is not a loyal and reliable ally.

 

Amid the renewed violence in Egypt, Obama must rethink his decision to turn against a long term ally. Instead of trying so hard to appease Iran, he must spend time trying to reverse the growing anti-US sentiments in Egypt and rebuild the bridges with the Egyptian army and General al-Sisi before it is too late.

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Otherwise, the Russians will be welcomed back to Egypt after being expelled in 1972 by Sadat. With the help of Obama and Kerry, Putin was able to reinforce his image as a loyal ally by standing by his long term murderous client Assad and creating an agreement to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons to assure his survival. Russia by example could be seen as an attractive alternative to a country that still feels betrayed by Obama.

 

Maybe Obama has forgotten that the US obtained its hegemony over the Middle East only after Egypt switched to the US side in the Cold War after the 1973 war with Israel. Until then the US and Russia were on equal footing in their influence and consequently an intense arms race and many wars broke out between the Russia's clients and Israel. Only when the US got Egypt as an ally did Israel get its peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt.

 

Empowering Russia to be a deal maker in the Middle East is not good for the US, Israel, or the Middle East.

 

Putin is trying to be the patron and sponsor of the anti -Western Shiite axis including Iran, Syria’s Assad regime and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. By saving Assad through diplomatic means from an imminent US military attack for using weapons of mass destruction, Putin is auditioning for a similar role and outcome with Iran, the head of the axis. Putin needs the axis to challenge the pro-American Sunni Arab Middle East which consists of moderate Arab states like the Gulf states, Jordan and Egypt, who are terrified of a nuclear Iran.

 

Bringing Egypt to the axis of evil will be Russia and Iran’s greatest win and Israel and the US’s greatest loss.

 

Since being elected, Obama has made several monumental strategic mistakes concerning Egypt. After abandoning President Mubarak and calling for him to leave, and encouraging a quick election which guaranteed the Islamic parties’ win since they were by far the most organized, Obama has been perceived to favor the Brotherhood. Moreover, Obama was silent when Morsi and the Brotherhood gradually expanded their power by imposing Islamic law on the population, suppressed the media and, allowed incitements against non-Sunni Muslims and Coptic Christians.

 

In the aftermath of President Morsi‘s removal by the army, Obama ignored the Brotherhood’s violence and only condemned the army’s violent crackdown while suspending a planned joint military exercise with the army and the delivery of F-16 fighter jets.

 

Since then, there are escalating anti-US and more specifically anti-Obama public attacks in Egypt, including declarations by senior Egyptian government officials, articles in the newspapers identified with the regime and the army, and political and popular campaigns in social media and the street. The Egyptian pro-army press notably published articles vilifying President Obama himself, insulting his mother, and calling him mentally deficient. His administration was even called "the Adolf Obama Reich."

 

Many articles argued that Egypt was better off without the US aid and contended that Obama supported terror by virtue of his support of the Brotherhood. Furthermore, many articles dealt with the decline of American influence in the Middle East and in Egypt in Russia‘s favor. They called for inviting President Vladimir Putin to Cairo, with a lavish reception to be held in his honor.

 

Now, the US move of cutting aid to Egypt in response to the recent violence crackdown and the July 3 ouster of Morsi will only exacerbate the perception in Egypt that Obama has been siding with the Brotherhood.

 

US State Department officials stated the aid is suspended temporarily with the hope that the Egyptian military will take steps toward restoring democracy.

 

It seems that President Obama still does not realize that his efforts in trying to save the illusion of democracy in Egypt are going nowhere. Egypt will never be a true democracy. The army will never let the Muslim Brotherhood win an election again and will prevent it by any means possible. It is now in the final

steps of the process of decapitating the Islamists’ political power. The army has been fighting for a secular Egypt and to prevent it from being transformed into an Islamic state similar to Iran.

 

A stable, secular, military ruled Egypt should be more important to the US than a false, temporarily democratic Egypt controlled by Islamic extremists, who eventually would transform the country into an Islamic dictatorship.

 

The US must embrace the Egyptian army without setting any preconditions, because keeping Egypt in the pro-Western bloc is in the best national interests of the US and Israel.

 

Shoula Romano Horing is an attorney.

 

Her blog: www.shoularomanohoring.com

 

 

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