Nicole Gaouette and John Walcott at Bloomberg BusinessWeek have revealed that the Obama administration has specifically stated that it wants the Muslim Brotherhood to have a role in any new Egyptian government. Meanwhile, other news outlets, particularly the Associated Press, have avoided disclosing that specific detail.
There are two "little" problems with the administration's disclosed position. The first is that now-deposed Mohammed Morsi's final speech on Tuesday was seen as a promise that there would be civil war if he were ousted. The second is that Morsi supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups have promised to carry out a campaign of terror until Morsi is reinstalled, and are keeping that promise. Those two factors should objectively disqualify the Brotherhood's involvement. Excerpts from the Bloomberg pair's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The Obama administration’s call for an “inclusive” political process in Egypt with a role for the Muslim Brotherhood has been overshadowed by conflict between security forces and supporters of the Islamist group.
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.
President Barack Obama “condemned the ongoing violence across Egypt and expressed concern over the continued political polarization,” according to a statement issued yesterday by the White House. “He reiterated that the United States is not aligned with, and does not support, any particular Egyptian political party or group.”
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.
As noted, the Islamists don't need to be provoked, and the shift to "al-Qaeda type tactics" is well under way. The State Department and the Obama administration in general must know that. So why the pretense?
While 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.
... “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,” (director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Jon) 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.”
A year ago the Brotherhood was pretending not to be terrorists. Now they and their allies are not. They have chosen it. They have delegitimized themselves.
... Now "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 election may -- emphasis may -- have been legitimately won, but Morsi's assumption of near-dictatorial powers in November of last year and his accompanying headlong rush into drafting and getting approval for a sharia law-based, socialist constitution forfeited that legitimacy. "We won, so we can do anything we want" isn't how it works (resisting the urge to draw U.S. parallels).
Anyway, it's nice to see at least one news outlet recognize that when Obama and his administration are calling for inclusiveness, they're virtually insisting on including a group which has rededicated itself to terorrism.
Bring out those "Obama supports terrorism" signs again.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.