The recent atrocity of a chemical weapons attack in Syria has taken the world’s attention from Egypt temporarily. What is troubling with respect to Egypt is the acceptance of the Muslim Brotherhood line that they are the victims of brutal government oppression. To recap, Hosni Mubarak, a reliable but troubled ally of the United States, was forced from office by a popular uprising as part of the so-called Arab Spring. While the United States under the “leadership” of Obama waffled, Mubarak lost the support of his military and was deposed. This left the opening for the Muslim Brotherhood to assert their political muscle in Egypt. In what can best be described as foreign relations debacle, the United States wholeheartedly accepted the results of a tainted “election” where a Muslim Brotherhood leader- Mohammed Morsi- became president after the Brotherhood asserted they would not even field a candidate in the presidential election. There is now evidence that the military may have rigged the election to have Morsi declared the winner fearing that the true winner, a former and more moderate Mubarak aid, would not appease the street demonstrators. There is also a growing body of evidence that many of those protests were instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood. The bottom line is that the United States under Obama accepted Morsi as the new legitimate leader of Egypt.
However, like a family who discovers a rotten can of vegetables upon opening it, the people of Egypt soon realized that they had elected a rotten leader. Gasoline and bread shortages developed as the economy under Morsi floundered. Morsi was more concerned with establishing an Islamic, Sharia law dominated state rather than addressing the economic needs of its people, something they promised during the election. Tourism, a major industry in Egypt, ground to a halt, especially in the Sinai. Yet, the Obama administration continued to characterize Morsi as “the first democratically elected president in the history of Egypt.”
The ouster of Morsi by the military is being called a “military coup.” In reality, it is a people’s coup which the military joined. The real military coup occurred when Morsi was elected in the first place. Leading up to his ouster, the Tamarrod Movement had collected 22 million signatures demanding his ouster. That is close to 30% of the population of Egypt becoming disenchanted with his “leadership” in a single year.
Upon being ousted and placed under house arrest, the military amassed evidence of wrongdoing by the Morsi government and the Muslim Brotherhood, often aided by countries like Qatar and definitely an increase in influence by the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas. Yet, the West cried “military coup.” Even still, after his ouster, the military tried to negotiate with the Brotherhood and Morsi and offered the opportunity to team up with other political parties in the formation of a new party. But what did the Muslim Brotherhood do? They resorted to terrorist tactics and took to the streets and barricaded themselves. Often, those barricades were in mosques, a common and frequent tactic of terrorist groups. Their response is nothing short of terrorism. Still, the Obama administration takes the position of encouraging their ultimate participation in the political process in Egypt.
What is so appalling is the western reaction regarding the actions of the military in Egypt with nary a word about the atrocities occurring daily at the hands of Mosri’s supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood. The flash point for the condemnations is the Egyptian military actions in dislodging the Brotherhood from Rabia and Nadha in which 600 people were killed.
The Rabaa mosque where the Muslim Brotherhood was holed up was nothing short of an armory of sophisticated weapons. In the weeks of “protests” by the Muslim Brotherhood, there were reported attacks, abductions, ransom demands, rapes and forced marriages to Muslims that went unnoticed by the suddenly shocked West. More than 20 Egyptian police stations have been burned, looted and ransacked and officers tortured and brutally murdered at the hands of these “people” exercising their democratic right to protest. There is that infamous YouTube video of the two brothers on the roof of their apartment complex watching the violence below only for the “peaceful” crowd to climb up the building, summarily execute them and throw their bodies off the roof to the jubilant chants of the “peaceful” demonstrators below.
There are reports, largely ignored in the West, of Sufi burial sites desecrated and Shiite families massacred by these demonstrators. On August 14th alone, over 50 Christian churches, schools and institutions were burned to the ground. In one instance, an al-Qaeda black flag supplanted the cross at the entrance. Today in the West, the biggest crime is Islamophobia which explains why the humiliation and sometimes murder of innocent Christian priests and nuns is not denounced by the West.
There was no word of the over 1,500 imprisonment, tortures and executions of opponents to the Mosri regime and the Muslim Brotherhood in his year of reign. Most disturbing, where was the United States and its Western allies when Morsi was allowing Hamas a foothold in the Sinai which resulted in the deaths of at least 16 Egyptian soldiers? I guess Obama was off playing golf and John Kerrey was enjoying a day on his yacht. Where was Obama and his Western allies and his liberal, Hollywood supporters when Morsi was cozying up to the brutal Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, the man most responsible for the genocide in Darfur. Where have you gone George Clooney?
The fact is that the United States in general and Barack Obama in particular made a massive foreign relations miscalculation in Egypt by accepting the naive assumption that the Muslim Brotherhood was just another political party. Even today, there are liberals arguing that they are not a terrorist organization because they do not appear on some State Department listing of terrorist organizations. The more this administration and liberals stick their heads in the sand, the worse the situation will become. Yes, the United States and Barack Obama share a very real responsibility for the current events in Egypt.
The fact is that the Egyptian military is the closest institution to anything approximating the secular in that vital, Muslim country. To criticize them for ousting what is at the end of a day a terrorist illustrates that this administration is so mired in foreign policy naivete and inaction that they are putting this country and other allies at risk. One has to imagine what would have happened had the US eased Mubarak out of power to be replaced by someone more moderate and more secular- that is, not an official in a terrorist organization- granted the man asylum in the United States, and moved on. It would have been a peaceful and tacit “thank you” to a man who had become unpopular in his country, but who was a staunch ally of the United States, who had cooperated with the US in the war on terror (something Obama believes is non-existent), and who had kept the peace with neighboring Israel. What do our other allies in the region now think about American commitment to them? If I were one of them, I would be looking elsewhere for an ally. In short, who needs enemies when you have Barack Obama for a friend?
And while on the subject of the Middle East, the Syrian boat has sailed. Here, the Obama administration again waffled and dithered while that country descended into chaos. If Assad is a bad guy and the United States and the region would be better off without him, then say so and act on it. Today, because of that chaos, the rebel forces are so riddled with terrorists that any aid now would be counterproductive. Instead, the refugee problem alone is a crisis and helping to destabilize neighboring countries like Jordan and Turkey. Meanwhile, Obama counts Turkish leader Erdogan as a “friend.” For his part, Erdogan was the first international leader to (1) embrace and support Morsi in Egypt and (2) embrace and support Ahmadinejad in Iran in 2009 while residing over a deterioration of relations with Israel and supporting the infamous Gaza flotilla. It would appear Obama has made some terrible choices in “friends.”
About the only positive thing to come out of this whole ordeal is the fact that conservatives can sit back and say “We told you so” when it came to Obama’s “policy” of appeasement and apology…and speech giving. But that is hardly a victory when the world is a less safe place than in 2008. As Peter Wehner said in Commentary magazine: Criticizing the foreign policy of your predecessor is a lot easier than actually conducting foreign policy. Of course, it helps to have a foreign policy in the first place. Apparently, Obama forgot rule #1.