Kerry in Egypt 'with a poor hand of cards' as IMF money mean cuts and tax increases
Kerry’s arrival in Cairo on March 2 has been greeted with street
riots in several of the country’s cities, which saw one person
killed and dozens injured. The country’s opposition leader, Hamdeen
Sabahi, and his ally, Mohamed ElBaradei, have turned down
invitations to meet with the new US Secretary of the State, due to
America’s backing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The aim of Kerry’s visit is to persuade Egypt to pass a set of unpopular reforms in order to qualify for a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan package, with the US also promising to provide $450 million of financial help of their own to Mohamed Morsi’s government because of its promises of economic and political reforms.
Geopolitical analyst and author of "Myths, lies and oil wars", F. William Engdahl, believes the US is wrong to cooperate with the current Egyptian authorities as the Muslim Brotherhood has a “dictatorial authoritarian” agenda, with no intention to make democratic changes in Egypt.
RT:Why have Kerry's calls for a political consensus in Egypt been greeted with protest? Is it not in everyone's interest to end the turmoil and unrest?
F. William Engdahl: Kerry is going to Egypt with an empty bag. He’s demanding Egypt’s Morsi government sign on to the IMF conditions, which means huge subsidy cuts and also big tax increases that are going to worsen the economic situation – not improve it. Furthermore, the entire Muslim Brotherhood project, which the Obama administration has backed since the kick-off of the Arab Spring that toppled [former Egypt’s president Hosni] Mubarak is spinning out of control. It has no popular base within Egyptian society other than the 12 per cent or so of hardcore members of the Brotherhood. And most Egyptians want some kind of a democratic society and this is why the opposition has boycotted meeting with Kerry on this trip. Washington has a very poor hand of cards to play in Egypt right now and that what’s being reflected in this reception, I think.
RT:Why is America appearing to side with what the opposition are calling a hardline authoritarian Muslim Government, after its vocal support for democratic change in the region?
FWE: Well, It’s very good question. I think there’s a double-faced policy in Washington. The backing of the Muslim brotherhood goes back to the CIA’s role in Egypt back in the 1950s when they saw the Muslim Brotherhood as a potentially useful tool to put in their bag of organizations that they manipulate around the world. Then they brought the Brotherhood into Saudi Arabia in the 50s when it was banned in Egypt. And from there the Brotherhood has expanded out. Now they’re playing a key role in all the countries with the Arab Spring. I think some people around president Obama have the delusion that they could control what’s basically a political Islamo-fascist movement. It’s not a movement for democracy by any stretch of the imagination. And that’s what this Brotherhood is – it’s a secret society. They have a public agenda that sounds lovely, and they have a private agenda that we’re seeing unfold in Egypt now, with the dictatorial authoritarian measures that Morsi and Co are advocating. So, I think at this point Morsi is in a life and death struggle because the popular support is not there for this coup. And Washington is beginning to get a little bit wobbly on its support for Morsi for that reason. They are beginning to rethink and that’s one of the reasons for the change between [former Secretary of the State] Hillary Clinton and John Kerry – to bring in a new cast of people and see what kind of options there are in Egypt at this point.
RT: Kind of going down the rabbit hole a little bit here. How does the alleged US support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt match up with years of alliance with Israel?
FWE: Well, this is a rabbit hole. I think, some people in Israel, probably, think that they can control elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, although I think increasingly Israel is becoming very leery of this whole Brotherhood option and feel more comfortable with a military dictatorship, such as we had under Mubarak, maybe with a civilian face. I think that this is what is gradually going to evolve in the region for better or worse. But the victims of this, of course, are going to be the Egyptian people and the people in the entire region.