Just a few weeks ago Defense Department Secretary Leon Panetta was in Cairo saying that Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, was “his own man” and that Morsi was committed to democratic reforms.
The crushing reality displayed in the weeks since Panetta’s praise of Morsi puts the lie to the Obama administration’s catastrophic foreign policy hinged on the Muslim Brotherhood’s supposed “moderation”.
Just two days after Panetta’s appearance with the Egyptian president, Morsi announced his cabinet that included three Islamists, including one appointed to the sensitive post of education minister. One of his Islamist allies was appointed the sole vice president, breaking Morsi’s promise prior to the election that he would appoint a Christian and a woman to vice president positions.
Leaders of the Christian community immediately denounced the appointments, with only a solitary Christian Copt to receiving one of the 35 ministry appointments to represent that minority community that comprises ten percent of the Egyptian population.
Then on August 12th, Morsi surprised the world (no doubt including Panetta and State Department Secretary Hillary Clinton) by unilaterally firing Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi and the head of the Egyptian armed forces (the only check on Morsi’s power), cancelling addenda to the provisional constitution that had limited the presidents power (and that he was elected under), and establishing new presidential powers, which were roundly denounced by Egyptian constitutional experts from all quarters as powers that rested solely with the parliament.
Then this past Saturday Morsi’s prime minister announced that the drafting of the new constitution would be completed by the end of September – even before a new parliament can be seated to help shape and define the new constitution. Members of the committee drafting the constitution have openly complained that the Muslim Brotherhood majority faction of the 100-member drafting committee were monopolizing the process and working to increase the role of Islamic law over the Egyptian people.
And then yesterday Morsi announced his new team of presidential assistants and advisers, with many of the positions going to Muslim Brotherhood members, the even-more hardline Islamist Al-Nour Party, and “independents” aligned with the Islamists.
So the overwhelming evidence shows that contrary to Panetta, Morsi is not his own man as seen in virtually every decision he has made since the Defense Secretary’s pronouncement in Cairo just a few weeks ago, showing that Panetta is either a liar or a fool. Or possibly both.
Much as it did with Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, no matter how much the political and media establishment wants to paint the Muslim Brotherhood and “moderate” and “democratic”, it will never make them so.