President Barack Obama’s policy toward the Arab and Muslim world was born in Cairo and it died there.
On June 4, 2009, Obama gave his speech, titled «A New Beginning», at Cairo University. The event, intended to herald America’s mending of relations with the Arab and Muslim world after eight years of neo-conservative anti-Muslim bombast from the Bush administration, was co-sponsored by the famed seat of Muslim learning and theology, Al Azhar University. It was perhaps fitting that the head of Al-Azhar, Grand Imam Dr. Ahmed al-Tayyeb, joined former Egyptian presidential candidate and UN diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei and Coptic Pope Tawadros, in backing the Egyptian military’s ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Morsi.
The Obama administration, which was providing strong backing to Morsi through the offices of the U.S. ambassador in Cairo, Anne Patterson, strangely, was not calling the military’s arrest of Morsi and his top ministers a coup d’etat. A law known as the Leahy Amendment, authored by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, requires the United States to cut off military aid to any country after a coup. Leahy has said the law requires a cessation of the $1.3 billion in military aid the United States gives Egypt annually. However, the Republicans in Congress, especially those who unconditionally support Israel, supported the coup, giving Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry the political cover to waive the requirements of the Leahy Amendment. In the end, the Republicans only care about U.S. military contractor profits and Israel, not the issue of democratically-elected governments being thrown out in military putsches.
«Process angst» is the domain of the «Responsibility to Protect» (R2P) crowd of incoming National Security Adviser Susan Rice, her replacement as UN ambassador Samantha Power, deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, and a covey of George Soros acolytes in low and mid-level positions at the State Department and White House. Opposition to the R2P crowd is mainly found among the actual «war fighters», those in the Department of Defense, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.
It is clear that U.S. military aid to Egypt will have to continue in order to placate the Egyptian military that saw Patterson’s support for Morsi increase as the Egyptian president became more intractable on dealing with Egypt’s growing opposition to his rule. Morsi’s public call for Egyptians to support the Syrian Salafist and Wahhabist Jihad against President Bashar al Assad’s government in Syria was the «red line» for the military.
Patterson failed to recognize the strength and importance of Egypt’s secular opposition to Morsi and called for protesters to leave the streets and work within the Islamist Constitution. Patterson has a history of supporting despots and tyrants. While ambassador to Pakistan, she failed to support opposition leader Benazir Bhutto who was ultimately assassinated by Patterson’s friend in Islamabad, President Pervez Musharraf. While posted as ambassador to Colombia, Patterson promoted «Plan Colombia», a U.S. military assistance program that saw Colombia’s paramilitary forces massacre hundreds of innocent civilians. The Washington Post, the always-reliable house organ for the Pentagon and CIA, called Patterson a «steady hand» at the State Department.
Morsi’s severance of relations with Damascus and his open support for the Jihadist rebels proved too much for the Egyptian military. Patterson and the Obama administration’s other major supporter of Salafist movements in the Middle East, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director John O. Brennan, who reportedly made the Hadj pilgrimage to Mecca while he was CIA station chief in Riyadh courtesy of the Saudi King, were clearly licking their wounds at Morsi’s ouster. Morsi represented another linchpin in the Saudi- and Qatari-influenced Obama policy that saw secular, albeit despotic, Arab leaders ousted by force in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen.
The Middle East’s Shi’as, represented by Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah; the minority Alawites, represented by Assad’s government and the opposition secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) of Turkey and its Alawite (Alevi) leader Kemal Kililcdaroglu; and region’s legacy Christians, represented by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and pro-Assad Christians in the Lebanese Cabinet, Armenia, Russia, Greece, and the Vatican saw the attempt by radical Salafists, including Al Qaeda members, to take over Syria as a «line in the sand». After Obama authorized the transfer of U.S. weapons to the Syrian rebels, which mainly consist of foreign Mujaheddin guerrillas fresh from combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, those who refused to see the Middle East fall under the domination of a Wahhabist Sunni bloc dominated by Qatar and Saudi Arabia and enjoying the tacit support of Israel and the United States, took action. The Egyptian military was the first to act.
Of course, the «Obama Doctrine», which called for U.S. political and financial support for the ouster of secular regimes with legacies of pan-Arab socialism, followed by military support through third parties like NATO and the Arab Wahhabist monarchist Gulf Cooperation Council, died in Tahrir Square amid Egypt’s «Arab Summer» revolution. Many Egyptians who celebrated the ouster of Morsi said they hope Washington will now yank its ambassador from Cairo. Patterson has been called «Morsi’s girlfriend» by a number of Morsi’s opponents.
Although Kililcdaroglu condemned the military coup in Egypt, his words were nuanced and there was a clear warning directed at not only Morsi and his ousted Muslim Brotherhood government but also Turkey’s Islamist-oriented government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish opposition leader, who has criticized Erdogan’s support for the Syrian rebels against Assad and Erdogan’s strong-arm tactics at home, said, «It is not acceptable in today's world to remain insensitive to demands, to ignore them and to say 'I have the majority of votes and can do what I want.’»
Although few in Turkey suspect that Erdogan might go the way of Morsi in a military coup, Turkey has a long tradition of such coups and interventions in the political prospect, so the prospect cannot be ruled out entirely. However, the loss of Morsi has dealt a blow to efforts by Erdogan, the Americans, and the Sunni radicals to force Assad from power in Syria. Kililcdaroglu has faced Erdogan’s incessant attacks for the CHP’s tilt toward Assad.
Speaking in Damascus, Assad was clearly emboldened by Morsi’s fall. The Syrian president told Syrian state media, «What is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is known as political Islam." The rise of «political Islam» was a direct result of Obama’s Cairo speech and his green light to America’s «democracy industry» of activists, social networking technicians, democracy advisers, «journalists», and other professional trouble makers to descend upon the Middle East.
Assad added, «Anywhere in the world, whoever uses religion for political aims, or to benefit some and not others, will fall... You can't fool all the people all the time, let alone the Egyptian people who have a civilization that is thousands of years old, and who espouse clear, Arab nationalist thought.» Assad’s comments were not only directed at the Muslim Brotherhood ranks in his own country but the Muslim Brotherhood influenced potentates of the Arab Gulf, particularly Qatar’s new Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who has financed Salafist rebels in Syria and elsewhere. Although Sheikh Tamim sent a congratulatory cable to Egypt’s new interim leader, Adli Mansour, one of the first television stations to be shut down by Egypt’s new government was the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera, which carries the water for radical Sunni rebels around the world. Also closed down were Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist television stations.
Egypt’s new interim government, a newly-emboldened Assad, Lebanese Hezbollah, and Turkey’s secular opposition won the day against those who would take the Arab Middle East back to the thirteenth century. The Obama Doctrine was punched, kicked, and beaten in Tahrir Square. As America celebrated Independence Day, Egyptians celebrated their own independence from a regime that was the product of secret think tanks and planning sessions involving the most cursed names in the Middle East today: Brennan, Rice, Power, Rhodes, Hillary Clinton, and Patterson...