Israeli official: Obama can't repeat 'naive' policy with Egypt

Diplomatic source told Israel Radio that J'lem expects Obama to back Egypt's army in its efforts to stabilize country.

July 9, 2013 07:14
2 minute read.
Netanyahu and Obama.

Netanyahuo Obama chilly awkward 390. (photo credit: Jim Young/ Reuters)


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The Israeli government expects US President Barack Obama to avoid pursuing the same "naïve" policies in its dealings with the post-Mohamed Morsi Egypt as he did in his handling of the crisis that brought down Hosni Mubarak, a senior official told Israel Radio.

Jerusalem, which made no secret of its displeasure with Obama for what government officials believe was his abandonment of a key ally, is hopeful that the US will back the military's efforts to stabilize the country after millions took to the streets demanding the ouster of Morsi, Mubarak's Islamist successor.

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According to the government source, Obama's "naivete" led him to engage in dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood and paved the way for the downfall of Mubarak.

An Israeli diplomatic source told Israel Radio on Tuesday that officials in Jerusalem anticipate a protracted crisis in Egypt because the Muslim Brotherhood has no intention of giving up power without a fight.

The source added that General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the commander in chief of the armed forces, realized what was at stake and took it upon himself to "rescue Egypt" from Islamist rule.

The official told Israel Radio that al-Sisi was hopeful the Obama administration wouldn't "nitpick" over whether a military coup was carried out. US law mandates that foreign aid be cut off to a country in which the military removes a democratically elected government.

The White House refused to label the military ouster of Egypt's president a coup on Monday and said there would be no immediate cut-off in US aid to Egypt in a move that distances Washington from the country's toppled Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

White House spokesman Jay Carney, peppered with questions about Egypt at a daily briefing, struggled to explain how Washington could avoid calling the ouster of Morsi a coup.

Under a law dating back to the 1980s, a "coup" label would force the United States to cut off the flow of $1.55 billion in aid it sends to Egypt each year and take away what little leverage Washington has with Cairo, leaving it with few options to help shape events in Egypt, an important regional ally.

Obama and his top aides have denounced the ouster of the democratically elected Morsi but have been careful to avoid calling for him to be reinstated, prompting speculation that the United States tacitly supported his ouster.

Instead, they have voiced support in general for a return to democratic rule, a reflection at least in part of US weariness with the Morsi government, which officials felt was largely ineffective.

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