For the second time in less than a year, an American envoy bearing gifts was met with violent protests.

There must have been some soul-searching in Washington last week, following Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Cairo. Gone are the days of Hosni Mubarak, America’s staunch ally, leader of the Arab world, and keeper of the region’s stability and of the peace treaty with Israel.

For the second time in less than a year, an American envoy bearing gifts was met with violent protests.

Last July, then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton, coming to Cairo for a first contact with the newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi — the Muslim Brotherhood candidate — found herself confronted by mobs of non-Islamist opponents of the regime as well as Copts angry at America’s support for the Brothers that it was claimed had been instrumental in their victory.

This time, however, it seemed as if most of the country was up in arms. There were demonstrations near the American Embassy and the Foreign Ministry; the National Salvation Front, encompassing almost all non-Islamist movements, refused to meet the visitor and nongovernmental media attacked him relentlessly.

They were outraged by America’s call for all political parties to take part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections at a time when the opposition is calling for a boycott.

Mohamed ElBaradei, one of its leaders, said that it was an unwarranted interference into Egyptian internal affairs.

The opposition rejects elections held according to the new constitution, because they do not accept its legitimacy.

They want a neutral government to oversee the electoral process, to ensure that it is free and transparent with none of the massive fraud involved in the referendum.

ElBaradei and his ally Hamdeen Sabahi — leader of the popular Nasserist movement — announced that they would not meet with Kerry, while Amr Moussa, third leader of the Front and a seasoned diplomat, did agree to see him, but only for what was called “a private meeting,” not as a member of the Front, but in his capacity as president of the Congress Party. Kerry did phone ElBaradei on his arrival to Cairo on March 2, but was unable to make him change his mind.

The American ambassador had invited 11 members of the opposition to meet with the high ranking visitor, but only six came. It transpired that Kerry reiterated his country’s official policy, which is the need to hold elections to ensure the stability of Egypt.

Three opposition members stood their ground, while the other three said they might be induced to vote, should the electoral process be transparent and devoid of fraud or coercion.

The secretary of state who had thrown the might of his country behind his efforts at effecting a reconciliation between Morsi and the opposition, or at least getting them to agree on a dialogue, had failed in his mission. Yet his visit had another purpose, not only urging Morsi to respect democratic values, but also to stress the paramount importance of Egypt in the region, and the …read more
Source: Israpundit


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