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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/2/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bloomberg columnist lays blame squarely at U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson

Many Arab nations dislike the United States, but the antipathy felt by those in Egypt is somewhat contradictory. While the U.S. did side with former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's efforts at democracy were applauded here. Now, the Egyptian people blame the U.S. for the ascension of the Muslim Brotherhood, unpopular Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's party. This is incongruous, as the motto for the Brotherhood is "Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

Columnist Jeffrey Goldberg lays the blame squarely on U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson. 'Patterson is one of the State Department's most skilled and respected diplomats, but a large number of Egyptians now view her as an enemy of progressivism and secularism.

Columnist Jeffrey Goldberg lays the blame squarely on U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson. "Patterson is one of the State Department's most skilled and respected diplomats, but a large number of Egyptians now view her as an enemy of progressivism and secularism.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/2/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Egypt, U.S., Mohamed Morsi, U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, Egyptian secularists and liberals see the U.S. as the handmaiden of a cultish fundamentalist political party.

"Within a span of just a few years, Egyptians have somehow convinced themselves that the U.S. has been an ally of both Egypt's former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, and Mubarak's main enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood . the White House's call for Morsi to schedule early elections won't convince many Egyptians that President Barack Obama is on the side of the people," Goldberg writes.

Goldberg lays the blame squarely on U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson. "Patterson is one of the State Department's most skilled and respected diplomats, but a large number of Egyptians now view her as an enemy of progressivism and secularism.

"The charges against Patterson and the Obama administration are simple: They have enabled Morsi by refusing to pressure him to bring other parties into his governing coalition, by soft-pedaling his various power grabs, by ignoring the complaints of liberals and by cozying up to his patrons in the Muslim Brotherhood," Goldberg says.

One of the keys to Patterson's ill reception there is a meeting she had "last month with Khairat el-Shater, the deputy supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. 'She didn't meet him in the embassy, she didn't meet him in a restaurant, she went to his office,'" an anonymous blogger told Goldberg." This infuriated many people."

Patterson along with her superiors in the Obama administration argue that Morsi is Egypt's elected president and that respect must be paid to the will of the voters.

"This is the government that you and your fellow citizens elected. Even if you voted for others, I don't think the elected nature of this government is seriously in doubt," Patterson said in a recent speech to Egyptians at the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. "Throughout Egypt's post-revolution series of elections, the United States took the position that we would work with whoever won elections that met international standards, and this is what we have done."

Most irritating is the fact that Patterson "has issued only the mildest condemnations of Morsi's various attempts to seize absolute power, and she has been criticized for talking to opposition forces only intermittently."

Patterson underestimated the size and ferocity of the anti-Morsi forces, and said in her speech that she was "deeply skeptical" that the protests would achieve their goal.

Goldberg says he fears a possible military coup in Egypt, "which might have been avoided had the Obama administration used its leverage -- the $1.5 billion in aid the U.S. is giving Egypt this year, for starters -- to force Morsi to include the opposition in his government from the outset. It didn't. And the Egyptian masses noticed."

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