Morsi Reaffirms Israel Peace Treaty to Clinton

The establishment press in Egypt, al-Ahram (“The Pyramids”), reported cautiously on the meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi (from the Muslim Brotherhood party).

1. It noted that Clinton affirmed the US desire that the Egyptian military go to its barracks and leave elected civilians in charge.

2. It said that she likened Egypt’s transition from authoritarian governance to democracy to earlier such transitions in East Asia and Latin America.

3. Clinton reaffirmed the US intention to forgive $1 billion of Egyptian debt.

4. She also spoke of $250 million in aid.

5. She promised to send American businessmen to explore new investments in the Egyptian economy.

6. She said that the current constitutional crisis over the Supreme Administrative Court’s and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’s dismissals of the elected parliament, and Morsi’s attempt to reinstate it, was a matter of internal Egyptian politics in which the US would not interfere.

The interim Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Muhammad Kamil Amr, said that President Morsi had affirmed to him a commitment to the peace treaty with Israel, as well as to an on-going peace process that should end with a two-state solution with 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as the capital, and statehood for the Palestinians. This statement from Amr is the first explicit delineation of Morsi’s exact position on the Camp David accords with Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood, from which he springs, has been scathingly critical of Camp David for decades, seeing it as a means of neutralizing Egypt and allowing the Israelis to expropriate the Palestinians at will.

Unfortunately, this position would have been reasonable in the 1990s. Now, rapid Israeli colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem has probably made a two-state solution impossible, and Israel’s far rightwing leadership will see Morsi’s position as “radical” and unacceptable. The Likud government is firmly committed to expanding the number of Israeli squatters on Palestinian land, which Morsi opposes.

Meanwhile, there were two demonstrations against Clinton’s visit. Some Coptic Christians demonstrated at the Presidential Palace, complaining of US intervention in Egypt and of Western attempts to use Coptic Chrisitans as a pretext to interfere in Egyptian affairs. I presume that these are Christian leftists.

There was also a demonstration in front of the US embassy, which demanded the release of prisoners held at Guantanamo. I presume these demonstrators included member of the Gama’a al-Islamiya or Islamic Grouping, and perhaps Salafis.

Clinton said that in a democracy we are used to people exercising their right to demonstration.

On Sunday, Sec. Clinton meets with Gen. Hussein Tantawi, the chairman of SCAF and the ultimate power in Egypt. The US says it is pressuring Tantawi to leave the political domain to the politicians.

Ironically, some Egyptians, and perhaps including the officer corps, have a strange conspiracy theory that the US wanted to install the Muslim Brotherhood in power in Egypt. I can’t tell you how wrong this theory is. The US had no leverage in Egypt, and largely let things take their course, though they may have strong-armed the Egyptian army into not shooting civilians down in the streets. The US would have prefered that Mubarak’s gang remain in power, but can work with a moderate fundamentalist.

The US just wants a few things from Egypt: Keeping trade flowing through the Red Sea and Suez Canal; the security of Israel; the security of Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf States… (Did I say, ‘the security of Israel?)

The problem for the US will not be that Morsi wants to abrogate Camp David. It will be that he wants to implement it, along with the framework President Jimmy Carter thought essential to it, of peace with the Palestinians. The far rightwing Israeli government has abandoned Camp David and Oslo in favor of exuberant expansionism and the permanent denial of statehood to the Palestinians. The US secretly supports Israel’s most outrageous stances, which will make trouble for relations with Cairo if the Brotherhood manages to get real power.

13 Responses

  1. Hey Juan, what is the source for this claim: “they may have strong-armed the Egyptian army into not shooting civilians down in the streets”?

    Thanks

  2. Ironically, some Egyptians, and perhaps including the officer corps, have a strange conspiracy theory that the US wanted to install the Muslim Brotherhood in power in Egypt.

    The tendency in the region to believe that anything one does not want in the political realm is a conspiracy by the United States is bizarre to an American observer.

    The US secretly supports Israel’s most outrageous stances

    Well, most American observers.

    • Well, shucks, Joe, it’s like there’s no evidence and history that supports, even proves, that Skuldugs wearing a “Made In USA” label in their shorts have, like, y’know, “meddled in the affairs of the region.

      Glad your first squib ends with that limiting phrase, “is bizarre to AN American observer.” It would have strained the truth rather far to claim that there are no “American observers” who, with good reason and plenty of examples, note that there are lots of little “interventions” by nominal “US” critters in that part of the world.

  3. “Ironically, some Egyptians, and perhaps including the officer corps, have a strange conspiracy theory that the US wanted to install the Muslim Brotherhood in power in Egypt.”

    Nothing ironic about it, within the Egyptian context. Anything that occurs that runs against the planned script must be a “conspiracy.” Nothing ever just happens as a matter of course. Take the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, and, in fact, much of the Arab World, could not believe the attack was carried out by Arab terrorists. Newspaper editorials and commentators stated that no “Jews” showed up for work on 9/11, suggesting the attacks were the work of Jews. Others suggested that the U.S. planned the attacks in order to have a raison d’etre to wage war against Muslims. Unfortunately, the Arab World in general, and Egypt in particular, thrive on conspiracy theories.

    • Conspiracy theories are expected, but the particular theory that the U.S. wanted the Muslim Brotherhood in power is indeed ironic because it is the opposite of reality. Of the 5 or so major presidential candidates, I expect Morsi would be the U.S. State Department’s last preference.

  4. The Muslim Brotherhood’s offshoot in Gaza – Hamas – has suggested that a two-state solution may be possible – however the ruling Likud Party has refused to undertake direct negotiations with Hamas. Labor Party leader MK Amir Peretz, a former defense minister in Isreal, has supported direct peace talks with Hamas.

    Israel had assasssinated Sheikh Yassin shortly after he announced the possibility of a two-state solution.

    The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are keys to any prospective peace pact between Israel and the Palestinians.

  5. “Clinton said that in a democracy we are used to people exercising their right to demonstration.”

    That’s ironic. From what I’ve seen, most Americans are very unfamiliar with that right, especially when it’s used to oppose the overwhelming power of wealth.

  6. “The problem for the US will not be that Morsi wants to abrogate Camp David. It will be that he wants to implement it.” Bravo. Well said.

  7. “The US secretly supports Israel’s most outrageous stances….”

    What is the evidence to support your statement that “The U.S. secretly supports Israel’s most outrageous stances…”?

    • The US State Department cables released by Wikileaks shows US officials actively plotting how better to half-starve the Palestinians in Gaza.

    • Hey, Bill, if you’re gonna do a drive-by “impeachment” shooting, via that “what is the evidence” trick, the kind you tend to ignore when someone returns the favor, in the Great Game of politipolemics, in hopes that your own misprisions will just scroll down and disappear into the Netnoise, all part of your tag-team, aggressive justification (sic) of your notion of what ought to be the status quo going forward (even if it kills the rest of us humans), y’all oughta make sure the target is disabled (or precluded by closing of comments, in the “last word” version of the game) from shooting back.

      But of course in the endgame shitstorm that’s currently afoot, the one about who gets to use up the last drop of oil and the last kilo of copper and bushel of barley and all that, every cowpie that gets flung up on the screen obscures a piece of the true picture, and with all the flying droppings it’s dang near impossible for the janitors to even scratch the surface to let folks see the dug-down reality. “Conservative” Victory Through BS Power!

      In the words of Patrick O’Brian, WW II British sneaky-pete turned really great historical-novel author, spoken by his cynically romantic protagonist Steven Maturin:

      “Patriotism is a word; and one that generally comes to mean either my country, right or wrong, which is infamous, or my country is always right, which is imbecile.”

  8. What’s to protest? The meta-message:
    “I want to be clear that the United States is not in the business, in Egypt that is, of choosing winners and losers, which we can and have done, but which, of course, in this case, we will not.” Clinton said at the ceremony to reopen the consulate, which was closed in 1993 because of (say what?)

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