The riot was conducted by jihadi groups seeking the release of their leader, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is now jailed in the United States for urging jihadi attacks in New York. Morsi did not make any public comment about the televised riot — in which crowds burned the U.S. flag — for 24 hours.
Obama’s September call, dubbed by White House officials “the woodshed call,” was followed by news reports saying White House officials have decided to delay or reduce much-needed U.S. aid for the country’s weakening economy.
The Dec. 6 statement, political turmoil and riots come three and half years after Obama used a Cairo speech to launch his “New Beginning” outreach to Muslims and Islamist political parties.
“I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country, you, more than anyone, have the ability to re-imagine the world, to remake this world. … The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth,” he declared.
The Islamist parties were suppressed by Egypt’s secular autocracy, which Obama pressured to quit in 2011. His 2009 speech was widely praised, but apparently was based of an underestimation of the Islamists’ popularity, organizational skills and political drive.
Cairo’s pro-democracy protests are being led by left-wing youths and backed up by Christians, free-market advocates and some of the country’s few liberals.
The so-called “Facebook Generation” that was highlighted by the media in 2010 has no visible role.
The protesters are trying to stop the Islamists’ so-far successful efforts to establish an Islamic theocracy.
The Islamists, led by Morsi and the 80-year-old Muslim Brotherhood movement, are well organized and have much popular support. In fact, in 2011 and 2012, they won roughly 75 percent of the seats in the parliament, while non-Islamists won only 25 percent of the seats.