You remember what it was like when Egypt's long serving President Mubarak faced mounting protests? Obama took to the microphones personally on an almost daily basis urging Mubarak to relinquish power and respect the will of the people. When Mubarak did leave, Obama spoke to the American people and hailed Mubarak's exit as an "historic day in Egypt."
Flash forward two years and Egyptians are once again protesting in the streets demanding the removal of the Islamist minority who have basically attempted to created a theocratic dictatorship in the mold of Iran. This time, the protests comprise " the largest crowds in Egypt’s modern history." Some reports describe crowds of up to 17 million people nationwide. Far larger than the original protests in 2011.
This picture shows Tahrir Square on Sunday as Egypt prepares to celebrate it's own Independence Day:
|Egypt prepares for their own Independence Day with mass protests |
demanding end of rule by radical Muslim Brotherhood.
Obama is actually in Africa, but apparently has little to say about this bid to remove radical Islamists from power. You won't find anything recent on the White House web site (1,2,3). The closest Obama comes to the issue is an appeal for "restraint" and concern over possible violence. Well and good but contrast that with his prior messages calling anti Mubarak protesters an "inspiration."
William Bigelow at Breitbart expands on the theme:
Obama, who is vacationing in Tanzania, said he is "concerned" about the protests and violence in Egypt, but added that Morsi's election was “legitimate.” He followed with this piece of chicanery:Some suggest that Obama is merely being consistent in his lukewarm embrace of the anti Mursi crowd. It's the same caution he exercised whenever there was a choice between radical Islamists in power and secular groups seeking democracy. Think back to the example of anti government protests in Iran where Obama stayed silent.
Our position has always been, it's not our job to choose who Egypt's leaders are. When I took a position that it was time for Egypt to transition [away from Hosni Mubarak in 2011], it was based on the fact that Egypt had not had democratic government for decades, if ever. And that's what the people were calling for.
What Obama actually said about ousting Mubarak when he did interfere in 2011 was this:
(it) must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now. Furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties. It should lead to elections that are free and fair. And it should result in a government that's not only grounded in democratic principles but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.
There was no mention of the aspirations of the Egyptian people on Monday.
Morsi has insinuated that he will not budge because he knows the White House will not bring pressure to bear, and he is correct; Obama boasted that U.S. policy toward Egypt would not budge just because of "counting the number of heads in a protest march. We're going to continue to work with all parties inside of Egypt to try to channel this through legal, legitimate processes.”
Egyptians Warn Americans
Here's a sign that appeared at the protests:
"Wake up America Obama Backs Up a F[ascist] Regime in Egypt"
July 3 UPDATE:
From Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg News:
[H]ow did the U.S. fail to formulate a strategy that would advance both American interests and American values in the largest and most crucial Arab state? Within a span of just a few years, Egyptians have somehow convinced themselves that the U.S. has been an ally of both Egypt’s former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, and Mubarak’s main enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood.Charles Krauthammer adds:
Now, Egypt is again on the brink of chaos, and the White House’s call for Mursi to schedule early elections won’t convince many Egyptians that President Barack Obama is on the side of the people. Much of the ire in Tahrir Square, and at many other demonstrations across Egypt, has been directed at U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson. Patterson is one of the State Department’s most skilled and respected diplomats, but a large number of Egyptians now view her as an enemy of progressivism and secularism.
The charges against Patterson and the Obama administration are simple: They have enabled Mursi by refusing to pressure him to bring other parties into his governing coalition, by soft-pedaling his various power grabs, by ignoring the complaints of liberals and by cozying up to his patrons in the Muslim Brotherhood.
The crisis of the past few days, which may end in a military coup (which would then start the next crisis), might have been avoided had the Obama administration used its leverage -- the $1.5 billion in aid the U.S. is giving Egypt this year, for starters -- to force Mursi to include the opposition in his government from the outset. It didn’t. And the Egyptian masses noticed.
This reminds me of the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009 when the same thing happened. Islamists, dictatorial government, the people out in the street, and they were shouting Obama, Obama, are you with us or against us. And he took a position that was essentially supportive of the regime, and the reason was he wanted to negotiate a nuclear deal which he thought he could do and he didn't want instability.Once again, Obama is on the wrong side of history!
That was a shameful episode. But there's also idea of national interest. Mubarak was pro-American, he was an ally of ours, he helped us in all kinds of ways. Obama worked against him. Morsi represents a movement which is essentially deeply anti-American, and deeply anti-democratic, yet he is neutral on this.This is a shocking position for a president to take. (Special Report, July 1, 2013)