Feature

Egypt: How the U.S. missed all the signs

The U.S. completely misread the Egyptian people.

Ezzat IbrahimAl-Ahram Weekly

The U.S. completely misread the Egyptian people, said Ezzat Ibrahim. The “June 30 Revolution”—when millions of Egyptians thronged the streets to demand the overthrow of President Mohammed Mursi—took the U.S. by surprise. Many American politicians and pundits are still defending Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps that’s not surprising, since the Islamist group has “a vast public relations network” in the U.S. and many friends among Washington journalists. It lobbied the Obama administration to build its approach to Egypt around “empowering the Muslim Brotherhood” and giving it “a chance to play a role in the regional order”—even though the Brotherhood was bent on stirring up tensions between Sunnis and Shiites and called for jihad in Syria. “The only way” for the U.S. to stay relevant in Egypt now is to stop painting the Muslim Brotherhood as a wrongfully deposed democratic government and instead recognize that the Egyptian people have revolted against Islamists to preserve their democracy. “The U.S. will doubtless encounter difficulty talking to liberals and leftists in the aftermath of the revolution,” since many Egyptians feel the U.S. has betrayed them. But it’s in both countries’ interests to mend the relationship.

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