Obama's pro-Brotherhood policy made U.S. 'big loser' in Egypt
JERUSALEM — The United States, deemed the biggest loser in the military coup in Egypt, has been forced to review its policy in the Middle East, a report said.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs determined that the administration of President Barack Obama failed in its alliance with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. In a report, Israeli strategic analyst Jacques Neriah asserted that the administration lost influence both with Egypt's military as well as numerous regimes throughout the region.
Opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi burn pictures of U.S. President Barack Obama during a rally outside the presidential palace in Cairo on July 7. Hassan Ammar/AP
"Now the U.S. has to go back to the drawing board in order to redesign its policy in the Middle East," the report, titled "Egypt after Morsi: The Defeat of Political Islam?" said. "The events have proven that old axioms are not time-resistant and one should adapt to new realities."
Dated July 12, the report said Obama's pro-Brotherhood policy angered both Egypt's military and pro-democracy forces. Neriah, a former adviser to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, said the U.S. administration determined that Washington must become aligned with Islamist forces as pro-Western regimes in the Middle East fell.
"No doubt the U.S. is a big loser in Egypt, together with its newly acquired friends in the Muslim Brotherhood," the report said. "The U.S., which was championing democracy in the Middle East — and elsewhere — accepted a policy led by Morsi that was diametrically opposed to its own creed."
The report cited Arab opposition to U.S. policy, particularly by the Gulf Cooperation Council. In Egypt, U.S. diplomats, particularly ambassador Anne Patterson, faced rising animosity from the pro-democracy opposition to the Brotherhood.
"In fact, besides Israel, over the past two years the U.S. has become the most hated foreign entity in Egypt," the report said.
Neriah, a former deputy assessment head of Military Intelligence, said the Brotherhood, ousted on July 3, lost power because it underestimated the opposition and the military. He said Morsi's fall signaled that Islamist regimes could be overthrown by what the report termed "moderate and liberal forces."
"Again, the role of the army in politics is primary: It has always been the main factor that will maintain regimes in the Middle East, and it will remain so in the near future," the report said.
The report called on Washington to redraft U.S. policy in the Middle East. Neriah outlined four scenarios for Egypt, the most likely a massive military crackdown on the Brotherhood "followed by a bloody civil war."
"The new reality is that the Middle East is not homogenous and the interests of all the various groups must be considered," the report said.