Obama’s Egyptian Dilemma

March 4, 2013

Georgy Gounev – First Published by American Thinker February 5, 2013

At  the same time that the Obama administration has decided to provide Egypt with  the most sophisticated varieties of American weaponry, mass protests against the  increasingly dictatorial regime of Mohamed Morsi reached a magnitude that  threatens the very foundations of the Egyptian statehood. This  shocking dichotomy raises questions as to why the most important leader in  the world and the supreme commander of the most powerful armed force is so  confused and so helpless while facing the challenges of radical  Islam.

It’s  very likely that President Obama’s views of Islam-related problems is based on  his childhood experience in Indonesia. Undoubtedly, those impressions have  created an image that the majority of Muslims are good people. This is  absolutely correct. As far as the radical Islamists are concerned, however, Mr.  Obama’s attitude is mistaken. What is even worse is that it impacted in a  negative way his strategic thinking and the practical conduct of his policy.

For  President Obama, the term “radical Islam” is a kind of taboo — for the first  four years of his term, he didn’t master the courage to pronounce it even once.  Instead, he prefers to define the adherents of radical Islam simply as  “terrorists.” The problem here is that terror is a method used by  the enemy but not its name… Given this ignorance or arrogance, it is a small wonder that the president and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, were not  able to develop an effective strategy towards radical Islam in general and  towards Egypt in particular.

Consequently,  the United States’ foreign policy regarding a fanatical and dedicated enemy bent  on the destruction of everything that makes life worth living has been seriously  crippled. Even more, the actions of the current administration are facilitating  the growth of the poisonous seeds of radical Islam.

The  first ray of hope for an ambitious and hard-core Muslim Brotherhood leader by  the name of Mohamed Morsi to assume that his hour had struck emerged when it  became clear that the United States has thrown its loyal ally, Hosni Mubarak,  under the bus.

In July  of 2011 Secretary Hillary Clinton made a statement to the effect that the United  States was recognizing the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate participant in  Egyptian political life. In practice, this meant that the United States was  ready to recognize a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt provided that  Mohamed Morsi won the election.

Secretary  Clinton’s declaration was a fatal mistake. All the Department of State had to do  was to issue a declaration making it abundantly clear that the United States  would respect the right of the people of Egypt to choose a government of its  liking. At the same time however, this statement should have left no doubt that  Washington wouldn’t offer any assistance to a tyrannical government that was  about to violate the human rights and political freedom of women and minorities.  Such an American strategy would have brought a victory to Morsi’s rival, Ahmed  Shafiq — a popular and intelligent general with solid secular  credentials.

Once  in power, Morsi’s very first step was to tighten the knot of the cord that  President Obama had placed around his own wrists by making clear his belief in  the legitimacy of the Muslim Brotherhood. Very soon, however, the Gaza conflict  broke out. In the middle of the bloody duel between Hamas’ missiles and the  Israeli bombings, Morsi sent his prime minister, Hesham Qandi, to Gaza. Qandi  gave inspirational and highly provocative speeches encouraging the continuation of Hamas attacks on  Israel.

At  the same time, the Egyptian President was busy building a completely different  image on behalf of President Obama, who had sent his secretary of state to  Cairo, all the way from distant Burma. Upon reaching the capital of Egypt, the  jet-lagged Secretary of State received Morsi’s assurances that Hamas was ready  to stop shooting missiles into Israel…

This  was an excellent strategic move by Morsi, bestowing as it did the status of  complete master of the situation in Gaza. With his help, the attacks on Israel  would be stopped. But if some kind of pressure on the United States and Israel  is desired, then the missiles will fly.

Perhaps  dizzy from so much brilliance, Morsi committed one very important mistake.  Assuming that the ground for the dreamt-of Islamo-totalitarian eternity he had  prepared for Egypt was ready, the new President of Egypt rushed to proclaim  absolutist power over the country. The new dictator was in such a precious hurry  to Islamize Egypt that he immediately imposed a constitution suspiciously  similar to the Iranian one.

This  decisive step proved to be premature. The young opponents of the authoritarian  regime of President Mubarak once again filled Tahrir Square, demanding this time  the resignation of the impatient totalitarian by the name of Mohamed  Morsi.

An  interesting difference emerged between the current demonstrations and the  turmoil that brought down President Mubarak. When historic Tahrir Square was  filled with angry demonstrators against Mubarak, the Department of State decided  to undercut him by proscribing to the  embattled statesman any violent response and demanding release of political  prisoners. (By the way, one of the released “victims of the repressive regime of  Mubarak” was an individual currently detained for his participation in the  Benghazi murders.)

Events  now enveloping Tahrir Square represent a huge dilemma to the Obama  administration. The problem is that the anti-Morsi demonstrations are of such a  magnitude that at one point the new dictator was chased out of his palace, which  upon his return he transformed into a fortress surrounded with barbed wire and  tanks.

Unlike  Mubarak, however, Morsi is not about to resign. Knowing full well the  vulnerability and the weakness of Obama, he is contemplating all possible means  to preserve his dictatorial powers. The delicate spot Obama has placed himself  in by not supporting the Egyptian enemies of radical Islam is a dangerous one  because it evokes an important question: Is the president about to let down the  anti-Morsi demonstrators the way he let down the young Iranians whose blood was  shed on the streets of Teheran back in 2009?

Georgy  Gounev teaches and lectures on the ideology and strategy of radical Islam in  Southern California. He is author of the book entitled “The Dark Side of the  Crescent Moon” that explores the international impact of the Islamization of  Europe. In addition, other articles by Gounev can be found in the American  Thinker, Gatestone and “foraff.org.”

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