Obama interrupted a hard day of lazing around Martha’s Vineyard to denounce the “arbitrary arrests” of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the “broad crackdown on Mr. Morsi’s associations and supporters” and then insisted “We don’t take sides with any particular party or political figure.”
It was quite a turn to take in a single speech, but he did have a full day of golfing to get in.
“We’ve been blamed by supporters of Morsi; we’ve been blamed by the other side as if we are supporters of Morsi,” Obama said. “That kind of approach will do nothing to help Egyptians achieve the future that they deserve.”
He did not bother to explain how his efforts to free the leaders of an organization that was burning churches across Egypt would help Egyptians achieve the future they deserved. Unless perhaps he thought that the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Egypt, as in Syria, was the future that they deserved.
On Martha’s Vineyard, Obama disavowed all responsibility for the Muslim Brotherhood while insisting, once again, that its leaders should be set free.
Back in Cairo, in the days leading up to the great speech that was supposed to transform America’s relationship with the Muslim world, his administration had insisted that at least ten members of the Muslim Brotherhood attend the speech.
Obama had ordered Mubarak to step down, ratifying a military/protester coup that was not in substance any different than the one that forced Morsi out of office.
While Obama was forcing Mubarak out, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “largely secular” organization that “eschewed violence.” It was a blatant lie that was unnecessary except to reduce opposition to the future Brotherhood victory.
While his officials seem eager to denounce the actions of the Post-Morsi government on a daily basis, they had nothing to say when Morsi was torturing political opponents.
At his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States had to keep providing weapons to Egypt because “The fact that sometimes other countries elect someone you don’t completely agree with doesn’t give us permission to walk away.”
This June, Kerry insisted that we had to keep providing aid to Egypt, despite Morsi’s abuses and lack of democracy, in order to maintain “a channel to Egyptian military leadership, who are key opinion makers in the country.”
But once Morsi was gone, the F-16s that had been the subject of such controversy, and that Obama had insisted on providing to Morsi, were denied to the Egyptian military. Obama was willing to provide advanced weapons to the Muslim Brotherhood, but not to the Egyptian military.
Obama demanded that the Egyptian military go easy on the Brotherhood protesters, but had made no such requests of Morsi. He repeatedly emphasized that foreign aid was on the line in his threats to the new Egyptian government, but had made no move to warn Morsi that foreign aid was linked to his treatment of the political opposition.
During the Morsi era, the administration insisted that human rights could not be linked to Egyptian military or civilian aid. After Morsi, suddenly the same officials were very interested in human rights.
In the days and weeks after Morsi’s overthrow, administration officials and spokesmen made it painfully clear that they wanted the Muslim Brotherhood to participate in any new government.
Early on, Obama had said that everyone’s voices must be heard, including “those who have supported President Morsy.” There were no such calls the first time around to ensure that the voices of those who supported Mubarak would be heard.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the United States could not support the arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and urged the new government, which covered the spectrum from liberals to Islamists, to be more “inclusive.” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki emphasized that arresting Brotherhood leaders would make a “national reconciliation” impossible.
There were urgent calls for a rapid transition back to elected civilian government. That policy of rapid elections had led to the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood the first time around as any foreign policy expert had known it would after the earlier victories by Hamas; the Muslim Brotherhood’s arm in Gaza.
This was part of a pattern that would begin playing out across the region.
In Syria, Obama had made the decision to arm the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Free Syrian Army while disregarding its blatant ties to Al Qaeda.
In Libya, an Islamist militia linked to the Muslim Brotherhood had been paid to protect the Benghazi mission, which had been deprived of more conventional security and assistance.
While the protests against the Brotherhood were mounting in Egypt, in Libya the Muslim Brotherhood was orchestrating a wave of protests against the government. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood insisted on its right to power because it was the democratically elected government, while in Libya it was trying to overthrow a democratically elected government.
Libya, Egypt and Syria formed a triangle of conflicts, with Libyan weapons moving on to Syria and Egyptian Jihadists involving themselves in both conflicts. A former Egyptian intelligence officer has recently alleged that the killer of Ambassador Stevens can be found with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. There are other allegations that the Benghazi attackers shouted, “Dr. Morsi sent us.”
A translated Libyan government memo reportedly stated that the captured Benghazi attackers were Egyptians with backing from the Muslim Brotherhood.
In a region as clouded with claims and counter-claims, with conspiracy theories and real conspiracies, it can be hard to know what the truth is, but there is little doubt that whatever pallid denials Obama may offer before embarking on another round of golf, his administration chose to get deep into bed with an international terrorist organization.
All the accusations, true or untrue, are the product of that first conspiracy.
Obama created a set of favorable conditions that would allow the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists to take over country after country. When they couldn’t do it non-violently, he went to war, as he did in Libya. When he couldn’t go to war for them, he supplied them with weapons and training, as he did in Syria. When they were overthrown, he supported them to the hilt, as he is doing in Egypt.
The wave of terror spreading over the region has empowered Al Qaeda and endangered America, bringing no stability, only an endless conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and everyone else. Threading through the center of the relationship between Obama and the Brothers is the web that links the various conflicts, the alliances between Islamist militias and the Muslim Brotherhood and the wave of attacks on American diplomatic facilities that took place on the anniversary of September 11.
The son of Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat Al-Shater, the man who was originally meant to be the President of Egypt, has come forward to claim that the Muslim Brotherhood is blackmailing Obama with documents that could put him in jail.
Meanwhile the Egyptian authorities have arrested Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of the leader of Al Qaeda, who had been held in deep detention under Mubarak, but was freed under Morsi. Zawahiri became a top leader in Ansar Al-Sharia, a sister organization of the one accused of carrying out the Benghazi attack. Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad, another terrorist freed under Morsi, was reportedly closely involved in that attack.
Egypt has already charged Morsi with collaborating with Hamas. It will be interesting to see what information the same security establishment that helped the Bush administration break captured Al Qaeda terrorists will pry out of Mohammed al Zawahiri.
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