Thursday, July 04, 2013
Changing of the guard in Egypt
The days long demonstrations in Egypt against President Morsi has culminated in a coup to remove him from office. This news has dominated the networks for the last several hours and the news has covered the globe by now.
We who live so close by have ringside seats to what is going on in the neighborhood. One of the outcomes has been the anti-Obama/ anti-American statements that are coming out.
Just recall the history of the Obama administration's contact with Egypt which had been considered a country friendly to the U.S. under the previous President, Hosni Mubarak.
Obama's maiden speech abroad was given in Cairo in June, 2009, as part of his 'Muslim outreach'. Several members of the Muslim Brotherhood were in attendance - at the personal invitation of the American President. Mubarak, who had kept the Brotherhood at bay during his tenure, did not attend that speech.
The demonstrations that began in Egypt a couple of years ago led to Mubarak's downfall - after 30 years of relative calm. The change was encouraged by President Obama who spoke of the desire of the Egyptians for 'liberty'. At the time he assured everyone that the Muslim Brotherhood was just one of the groups that might participate in the new government Indeed, this highly organized organization seemed to be just that but quickly assumed prominence and Mohamed Morsi who was involved with it, was elected 'democratically'. (so was Hitler!)
During his year long Presidency, Morsi began a process of Islamizing the country, including sharia - strict Islamic law. Anti-Semitism was already in place and the Coptic Christians were in even greater danger than before. The friendship that had existed with the U.S. was turned on its head; still Sec'y of State Hillary Clinton -who had earlier declared that 'Morsi was like a member of the family' - insisted that the large sums of financial aid to Egypt would be given - unconditionally - regardless of that country's open antagonism to the U.S.
The growing dissatisfaction within the Egyptian toward the offensive dictatorial rule of Morsi
led to recent large demonstrations; millions took to the streets and demanded that the President step down and today, when the ultimatum issued by the army was ignored, there was an open military takeover - a coup - with Morsi and his leading officials even forbidden to travel. Thus. the democratically elected leader was forcibly removed from his office and some are celebrating with fireworks and cheers.
During the last days of uncertainty, President Obama made statements urging Morsi to 'listen to the people' while many Egyptians felt that the U.S. was supporting him. There have been harsh words directed towards Obama and the U.S. with signs to support their anger.
The celebrations throughout Egypt may be short-lived; the country has many problems; the opposition is still there and the difficult economy is just one of the internal stresses. One may be hopeful of eventual repair of the relationship with the U.S.; the military is considered to be friendlier to the West but there must be new elections that will, hopefully, be better than the previous one. There will not be a quick solution.
A bit puzzling is the fact that President Obama, who professes to be a Christian, continued to support a President who promoted the Muslim Brotherhood that does not tolerate even the presence of Christianity in the country.