U.S. Pushing for Inclusivity in Cairo as New Government Shuts Out Islamists
Egyptian general reportedly had to explain to State Department's Burns why the Muslim Brotherhood was bad and leading the country on the road to ruin.
July 15, 2013 - 5:59 pm
The take from Egyptian media is that the neighborly meetings were more of a debate between the U.S. and the interim government about Egypt’s future.
According to Al-Ahram, Burns and Patterson met with al-Sisi, the general who announced both Morsi’s ultimatum and his ouster, for two hours Monday, where al-Sisi reportedly had to explain to Burns why the Muslim Brotherhood was bad and leading the country on the road to ruin.
“US aid was touched on during the meeting, where the army claimed that the US is more keen than Egypt on keeping the military aid as an assurance of the continuation of military ties between the two countries,” Al-Ahram reported.
Egypt’s new cabinet began to take shape with appointments including World Bank veteran Ahmed Jalal as finance minister and soccer legend Taher Abouzeid as sports minister. The cabinet, which will be formally unveiled this week, is free of Muslim Brotherhood members and Salafists. A handful of women and two Copts are said to be among the appointees, including the appointment of Inas Abdel Dayem as the first female culture minister in a move guaranteed to anger Islamists.
And the presence of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and Al-Azhar Grand Mufti Ahmed al-Tayeb at al-Sisi’s side when the ouster of Morsi was announced is more than a photo op — representatives of the two faith leaders will be at the center of a new reconciliation committee to make progress on the “road map” for a new Egypt.
An adviser to the mufti told Asharq Al-Awsat that the reconciliation committee “will endeavor to reunite the parties and bring together those who have shed blood.”
Egyptian prosecutors ordered the arrests of more Muslim Brotherhood members today for “inciting violence, funding violent acts, and thuggery,” according to Al-Ahram.
The fever of Tamarod rebellion — and first-stage petition-gathering — seen by many as the needed completion of the Arab Spring has spread to Libya as well, where residents in the post-Gadhafi era are frustrated by a weak government that’s proven ineffectual at countering the Islamist brigades trying to gain a foothold in the power vacuum, and to Tunisia, where Islamists rule and Salafists intimidate political opponents.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said Sunday that he’s “encouraged” by the developments in Egypt as pro-Morsi demonstrators continue their protests.
“When the Arab Spring occurred in Egypt and Libya and across northern Africa, and now we’re dealing with this in Syria, to see the Muslim Brotherhood come to the heights of power, suspending all other authorities in the government and then imposing Sharia law on their people, I’ve been greatly troubled by this Arab Spring really becoming an Arab winter,” McCaul said on Fox. “I think the military in Egypt is the most stabilizing factor in Egypt. And I think we should support the military in their efforts in ousting the Muslim Brotherhood, and arresting the Muslim Brotherhood and bringing a more secular, moderate form of government to Egypt.”