Obama supports role for Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian government

The Los Angeles Times reports, January 31:

The Obama administration said for the first time that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government.

The organization must reject violence and recognize democratic goals if the U.S. is to be comfortable with it taking part in the government, the White House said. But by even setting conditions for the involvement of such nonsecular groups, the administration took a surprise step in the midst of the crisis that has enveloped Egypt for the last week.

The statement was an acknowledgment that any popularly accepted new government will probably include groups that are not considered friendly to U.S. interests, and was a signal that the White House is prepared for that probability after 30 years of reliable relations with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Monday’s statement was a “pretty clear sign that the U.S. isn’t going to advocate a narrow form of pluralism, but a broad one,” said Robert Malley, a Mideast peace negotiator in the Clinton administration. U.S. officials have previously pressed for broader participation in Egypt’s government.

The George W. Bush administration pushed Mubarak for democratic reforms, but a statement in 2005 by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did not specifically address a role for Islamists.

“This is different,” said Malley, now with the International Crisis Group. “It has a real political edge and political meaning.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that a reformed government “has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner.”

Gibbs said the U.S. government has had no contact with the Muslim Brotherhood because of questions over its commitment to the rule of law, democracy and nonviolence. But the group is not listed on U.S. terrorism lists, as the militant Hamas and Hezbollah organizations are. [cont.]

The reader who sent the story writes:

I am certain you can fill in the blanks as to how the MB will spread its influence—through stealth and deal making, which is now going on within the highest levels of Egypt. The MB have been involved in some way in most every presidential push for power in Egypt since the group’s inception, that is, except for Mubarak. Also, the man in the WH has met with the Egyptian MB (at the WH) not only during his time as president but also in Cairo, placing MB members rather strategically in special seating during his speech there. Read Ken Timmerman—an ace of a journalist and one of the few who has an inside scoop, like none other, on Middle East politics and about “O” and the MB. Do not become caught up in the hoopla surrounding the pro-democracy movement in Egypt—it is a ruse. The MB is bad news … and a dangerous group. Nothing is as it seems. We’re in for some difficult times.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 02, 2011 10:48 AM | Send

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