The US administration and the Egyptian revolution

Interestingly, the American Congress has repeatedly demanded the cessation of military funds to Egypt, especially after the Egyptian authorities raided and shut down their offices housing American civil society organisations.
Basil Magdy
21 February 2012

Have the American administration's policies towards Egypt changed? In reality we have to admit that the American administration was used to calling one person over the phone to find out about the situation in the whole region, not only in Egypt. It is necessary to also admit that Egypt is the most important ally in the region to implement American policies. As Israel stated at the time, its president is a strategic treasure. In the outburst of the Egyptian revolution the American administration was confused when dealing with the situation. Statements issued by the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, had confirmed that the situation in Egypt was stable, and that president Mubarak was a good man that knew how to run things. Then the position suddenly changed and it was time for the president to step down. 

Let us dwell on this a little, because after all it is hard to give up someone who can provide crucial information about the region, that you can give orders, and drive policies in the Middle East, all after one phone call. Hence, there must be a substitute. Certainly, if you looked at the Iraqi constitution even after getting rid of Saddam, you will find that there is no cap on re-election. The president can be re-elected once, twice, thrice, for a lifetime as long as the cover of democracy allows it. America will not voluntarily undergo the effort of building lasting friendships with new presidents, as long as their place is ensured for as long as possible. As for Egypt it was mentioned in the constitutional announcement that a president can be re-elected only once, after a 4 year period. Here, the American administration will be forced to forge new relationships with a newly elected president. 

After this crisis the American administration should have found themselves a strong organisation to partner with in Egypt, through which it can communicate. Interestingly, the American Congress has repeatedly demanded the cessation of military funds to Egypt, especially after the Egyptian authorities raided and shut down their offices housing American civil society organisations. The Egyptian authorities also put the employees of these non-profit organisations on trial, charging them with the illegal funding of revolutionary bodies. However, the trials did not bring about an end to the military funding which raises the question, who is in charge within the American administration when it comes to this revolution's file? 

The clear answer is the American Ministry of Defence (Pentagon), due to the continuation of military funds to the Egyptian armed forces with the hope that it will continue to implement US policy and cooperate with Israel. We know very well that the Jewish lobby controls the Congress. Had it requested the cessation of military funds, say as a clear sign of concern about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and their intentions in supporting policies harmful to Israel in the Middle East, things might have been different. 

The United States is not interested in holding the losing card when dealing with the various political powers in Egypt. One way or another it applies a policy of containment to the entire political spectrum in Egypt but is leaning towards supporting SCAF's policy as long as it is the dominant force in the country. US officials have also met with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, three times over the course of ten days, in their headquarters in Maqtam. It appears that the American administration fears the direction that the Muslim Brotherhood is taking. Sensing this, Khairat El Shater, has released a statement in the Washington Post requesting western funding -  as if to say that if supported by the US, the Muslim Brotherhood will implement US policy and will not oppose Israel. 

This article was translated by Mazen Zoabi


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