As a correspondent because that the new York time in Cairo due to the fact that 2010, David Kirkpatrick spanned the Egyptian Spring and also Winter and the account in his new book that the various episodes, the various twists and also turns, displays substantial talent. If only for this reason, his publication is well worth reading, as well as which it enables the reader to monitor the seesaw policies of the White-House confronted with the shockwave that struck one of its principal allies in the region.

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Translations:EnglishOrient XXIReligion > global Relations> Politics> Alain Gresh> 13 September 2018> 13 September 2018

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Collage Lincoln Agnew
Translated from French by Noël Burch.


Barack Obama’s management was split over the unanticipated upheaval that threatened the regional status quo, starting in the winter of 2011-2012. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton favoured sustaining President Hosni Mubarak come the bitterness end, whereas Obama, almost alone amongst the members the his cabinet, believed otherwise. However, over and also beyond these distinctions of opinion, all agreed that what mattered most was the defence the American interests, the the worry of democracy was no a priority. As a senior State department official explained to the author : “First friend lean into the idea the Mubarak leading a transition. As soon as that no work, you lean into Omar Suleiman1, and also when that idea go down, too, girlfriend think, ‘Okay, let’s occupational with the SCAF’2.” The goal was to maintain good relations through the authorities and especially with the Egyptian army, the guarantor of tranquility with Israel.

What walk the U.S. Federal government think that the Muslim Brotherhood? In the feather of 2011, the State Department had actually no contact with anyone inside what was soon to end up being the most prominent political force in Egypt! as one member of the nationwide Security Council told the author: “We didn’t understand anything! Advisers to Clinton in ~ the State Department and staff ~ above the Egypt workdesk at the national Security the supervisory board drafted a cable official instructing the embassy in Cairo come reach out to the Muslim Brothers.” however it was over a month before the diplomats complied.”

The very first contacts were rather fruitless and many American policy-makers, high-ranking military and also intelligence policemans feared the choice of Mohamed Morsi. The run-off in June 2012 provided rise to violent discussions behind the scenes, all the more so together the an extremely influential Saudi and Emirati lobbies in Washington want his opponent, Ahmed Chafik come win. “Many in the American military and also intelligence agencies dreaded the prospect of one Islamist chairman of Egypt, too,” Kirkpatrick writes. “But provided the generals’ power so far, a rigged Shafik victory seemed to guarantee only continued chaos.” and also he price quotes Ben Rhodes, one of Obama’s the next advisers, who attended the conference of the nationwide Security Council: “You could tell a most the people in the room to be sympathetic come the Shafik play. But even those people just can not sustain discovering that the other man winner a totally free election and also we were acting versus it.”

Washington’s gamble—or at the very least that the the White House—was twofold : very first that the Muslim Botherhood, the most an effective and ideal organised Egyptian political party, could undertake the economic reforms important to stabilise the country again; and also secondly that Morsi’s de facto support of the Israeli-Egyptian commitment would strengthen American affect in the region. The second gamble payment off, the first did not. A full-scale test came in November 2012 after the Israeli offensive versus Gaza and Hamas. Obama contacted Morsi personally and also the last promised to bring Hamas come the negotiating table. Ben Rhodes recalled the episode: “The cease-fire talks had actually been going nowhere before Morsi stepped in. And he delivered. He kept his finish of the bargain. He surprised also the sceptics.” and also Steven Simon that the national Security Council called Kirkpatrick: “It was a litmus test for Morsi, and also he passed v flying colours. He was indispensable.” The reward to be not lengthy in coming, Hillary Clinton went to Cairo in human to announce the cease-fire agreement and to give thanks to Morsi, “for suspect the leadership that has long do this country a cornerstone of local stability and also peace.” and also when Morsi’s international affairs adviser, Essam El-Haddad checked out Washington a couple of weeks later, he to be surprised to acquire an instant meeting with President Obama himself. These occasions had 2 consequences: they sustained a project in Egypt denouncing Obama’s alleged assistance for the Muslim Brotherhood, and convinced Morsi that the assistance of the American administration would protect against the army from taking action against him: following events would show how wrong he was.

For in addition to his personal incompetence, mistakes and also partisan politics, Morsi and his federal government came up versus a well-organised regional campaign, taken up by influential circles within the American administration. “By April 2013, the Emirati-based satellite network sky News Arabia, Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya, and also other Emirati-linked Egyptian media were all railing against a supposed American plot to lug the Brotherhood to power, through Ambassador Patterson together its ringleader. The Gulf-based satellite networks were complete of accusations the she was a Brotherhood ‘lackey,’ ‘an old hag,’ or one ogre. They asserted that she had pressured the Egyptian federal government to rig the election.” every one of which was claimed to it is in a “great conspiracy” in favour of. . . Israel! as Rhodes placed it “Allies that the United says funded a denigration campaign against the United says ambassador in a nation that is one of the largest recipients of U.S. Assistance, come overturn the democratically elected government of that country.”

However, that campaign would have actually been less effective had that not had actually influential support from Washington, sustained by the tasks of the Saudi and also Emirati embassies. Plenty of high-ranking Pentagon officials do no bones about their hate of everything Muslim. General James Mattis, chief of main Command, responsible for all operations in the middle East, main and South-East Asia (he would be appointed Secretary the Defense under Donald Trump) thought that the Muslim Brotherhood and also Al-Qaida belonged come the exact same movement. And Michael Flynn, head of the Defense knowledge Agency, referred to as Islam a “cancer” and also was in near touch with general Abdel Fattah Sisi, that at the time was just Minister that Defense. Flynn to be fired by Obama in respectable 2014 and would be briefly Trump’s national security adviser. As Kirkpatrick points out: “The splits in ~ the American federal government were becoming obvious to diplomats and soldiers around the region. Obama and component of the White residence hoped Morsi would certainly succeed; many in the Pentagon, favor Mattis and Flynn, agreed v their Egyptian and also Emirati counterparts that Morsi was a danger. The American schizophrenia was so open up that Egyptian generals complained about it to their Pentagon contacts.” and also realised the they can take action against the elected government there is no eliciting American reprisals.

In January 2013, Obama appointed chuck Hagel, a Republican senator, his Secretary the Defense. Hagel checked out Egypt v instructions to warn Sisi that a coup would put an finish to American armed forces aid. However, both due to the fact that of his an individual convictions and pressure indigenous Saudi Arabia, Hagel did nothing that the sort, according to Kirkpatrick.

As early on as the feather of 2013, every the U.S. Intelligence agencies told Washington the a coup remained in preparation, “But nobody in the Pentagon, the State Department, or the White house told Sisi to protect against moving. No one told Morsi the Sisi had turned versus him, or the a coup had begun.” (And bizarrely enough, Morsi trusted his Defense Minister to the very end.)

On 3 July 2013, the Egyptian army made its move and Morsi was jailed. The following day, Obama convened the national Security Council. Come his advisers’ surprise, the President refuse to explain the events in Egypt together a “coup” which would have caused ipso facto the suspension that American armed forces aid. John Kerry, the Secretary of State due to the fact that December 2012, agreed through him wholeheartedly. Later on he described that Sisi had heeded the will of the people and acted to save Egypt. The generals claimed to have actually removed Morsi from office to stop an explosion and also establish the preeminence of law. Lock pretended their roadway map would administer for brand-new elections.

Israel play a considerable function in these choices, together Hagel defined to Kirkpatick: “The Israelis were telling me, ̔‘this is our security, and this is the finest relationship us have ever before had with the Egyptians̕, and also they were functioning Capitol Hill, together they do.” Senator rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, had tabled a draft regulation aimed at cutting off military assist to Egypt top top account of the coup. The American Israel windy Affairs Committee, better known together AIPAC, composed to every senator, suggesting that “any cuts might increase instability in Egypt and undermine crucial U.S. Interests and also negatively affect our Israeli ally.” The Senate voted no to suspend military help by 86 to 13.

This assistance from Israel and also the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. Shown the frailty and dependence that Sisi’s regime despite his nationalist blustering and diminished any type of influence Egypt can have had in recognize a systems to the Israel-Palestine conflict. As Kirkpatrick clues out: “On February 21, 2016, Secretary the State Kerry convened a an enig summit in Aqaba, Jordan, through Sisi, King Abdullah, and also Israeli element Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Part of Kerry’s agenda to be a regional agreement for Egypt to guarantee Israel’s security as component of a transaction for a Palestinian state. Netanyahu scoffed. What might Sisi offer Israel? Netanyahu asked, according to 2 Americans associated in the talks. Sisi depended on Israel to regulate his very own territory, for his own survival. Sisi necessary Netanyahu; Netanyahu walk not need Sisi.” Netanyahu knew the the 3 July 2013 coup, much from finishing “terrorism” hadtriggered an insurrection in the Sinai, led by a team that to be to join up with the Islamic State organization (ISO) in 2015; the Egyptian army has proven incapable of stamping the out and Israel has had actually to step in numerous times to assist the Egyptian troops. Forgotten were Cairo’s conference rantings.

It took the massacre of virtually a thousand civilians in ~ Rabaa in August 2013, for the United claims to react. Very first by postponing planned Egyptian-American manoeuvres and then, in October, through suspending 1.3 billion dollars of military aid. However it was too late, every the much more so as an effective voices to be raised against these orientations. The Pentagon began referring to the presidential advisers together the “White house jihadi” or “the Muslim Brotherhood caucus.” Obama quickly revitalized the armed forces aid. Washington had actually put paid to democracy in Egypt.

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The publication ultimately supplies a fairly unflattering portrait that a procrastinating president Obama, i can not qualify of imposing his alternatives on his own administration and who definitely did not himself for democracy as a priority because that US foreign policy. With significant consequences. Together Mohamad Soltan, one Egyptian-American member that the Brotherhood, jailed by the junta before being deported to the USA, defined to the author: “the one thing that everyone in the prison had in usual —the ISIS guys, the Muslim Brotherhood guys, the liberals, the guards, the officers — is the they all dislike America.” One marvels why. . .