Texas Republican Sen.Ted Cruz blasted the Obama administration’s policy toward Egypt in a scathing op-ed in Foreign Policy magazine, slamming the president’s stance on the Muslim Brotherhood “one of the most stunning diplomatic failures in recent memory.”
As the Egyptian military ends President Mohamed Morsi’s rule, Cruz points out that the ire of many people in the streets of Cairo is not reserved for the Muslim Brotherhood alone.
“The people protesting in the streets were not only carrying anti-Morsi signs,” Cruz writes. “They were also carrying signs with slogans like ‘Obama Supports Terrorism’ and ‘Obama Supports Morsi,’ as well as pictures of the American ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, with a large red ‘X’ through her face.”
Cruz believes that the 22 million Egyptians committed to ending Morsi’s rule are largely secular, pro-democratic people dismayed at the religious authoritarianism slowly strangling their country.
By throwing America’s weight behind Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Cruz argues that President Obama has alienated potential allies in the region.
“The United States is — in both perception and reality — entrenched as the partner of a repressive, Islamist regime and the enemy of the secular, pro-democracy opposition,” he writes.
Over the past year, the Obama administration sold high-tech military hardware to the Muslim Brotherhood regime and sent $250 million in foreign aid to Egypt, even while Morsy repeatedly clashed with his nation’s judiciary and allowed Egypt’s large Christian minority to suffer at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists.
Cruz argues that this lent Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood much-needed strength and legitimacy.
As the movement to depose Morsi picked up speed in recent weeks, President Obama withheld his support from the opposition, instead sending Ambassador Anne Patterson to try to talk protesters out of their plans.
“Some say that street action will produce better results than elections,” she said at a Cairo seminar. “To be honest, my government and I are deeply skeptical.”
By pursuing a “policy of strategic silence” instead of supporting the secular democratic opposition, Cruz warns that the Obama administration has provoked hostility towards the United States and may have missed a golden opportunity for “meaningful change” in the region.
But questions remain over just how secular and democratic Morsi’s adversaries really are. Human Rights Watch reports that scores of women have been gang-raped at opposition rallies over the last several days.
And Al-Monitor notes that Egypt’s Salafist parties, which interpret Islam even more strictly than the Muslim Brotherhood, hope to use Morsi’s weakness to their own advantage.
Other observers argue that U.S. aid helped the military leaders ousting Morsi more than the Muslim Brotherhood.
Cruz concludes by encouraging Congress to halt all aid to the Muslim Brotherhood and exhorting his fellow lawmakers to “find the courage to speak out forcefully on behalf of those advocating secular democratic reforms in Egypt.”
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