Obama frowns on Egyptian army’s alignment with Gulf regimes, coming crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood

Egyptian army on alert in El Arish, Sinai

Egyptian army on alert in El Arish, Sinai

After US Secretary of State John Kerry was filmed vacationing on his yacht at the peak of the Egyptian crisis, President Barack Obama released this statement early Sunday, July 7: “The US is not aligned with and is not supporting any particular Egyptian political party or group and condemns “ongoing violence across Egypt.”  Obama made these points in a telephone conference with the National Security Council from Camp David.

To further rebut US media criticism, the administration reported that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had spoken three times with Egypt’s Defense Minister Abdel Fattah El-Sisi about the military coup which deposed Mohamed Morsi on July 3, to demand the expeditious reinstatement of civilian rule.

Nothing was said about the general’s response. The military has along denied staging a coup, insisting it only stepped in to avert civil bloodshed and a provisional government would prepare the country for early elections.
Both parties to this exchange were putting on an act. For President Obama, the Muslim Brothers’ ouster was and remains unacceptable. By denying support for any particular party or group, he was also saying he wants no truck with the generals who made it happen.

It was also evident that Gen. El-Sisi rejected Hagel’s demand. Indeed, the army chief is determined not to let Washington interfere with his next moves, realizing that the Muslim Brotherhood’s president dismissal was but the first step in a process which must be followed up if it is not to implode in chaos.

At least another six months are needed for the rewriting of the constitution, installing a working interim administration and setting up elections for the presidency and parliament. In that time, Egypt will be on a knife’s edge.DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report the army chief plans two steps for cutting through the tension, in the knowledge that the first, at least, will be strongly censured by Washington:

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