John Bolton: Forcing Mubarak Out of Power Was a 'Big Mistake'

Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 05:51 PM

By Christiana Lilly

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Forcing former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out of power was a "big mistake" on the part of the United States, John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told Fox News' America's Newsroom.

Mubarak was president of the country for three decades before he stepped down in February 2011, after 18 days of unrest by Egypt's youth, ending Arab rule and giving way to promises of a democratic state.

"We made big mistake – I said it at the time – in forcing Mubarak out. He's no Jeffersonian Democrat, but he was an ally of the United States and he supported the Camp David accord with Israel," he said.

The current president, Muhamed Morsi, who is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, narrowly won a democratic election last year. However, the Brotherhood and "even more extreme Islamists" took the majority of the Egyptian government.

In his year in office, the Egyptian economy has worsened and led to citizens taking to Tahrir Square and other major locations across the country to protest. The Egyptian military gave President Mohamed Morsi, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, an ultimatum to solve the unrest in the country by Wednesday, according to CBS News.

"When Morsi took over about a year ago the Egyptian economy was in the tank and he is has not only not made it better, he has made it worse and that obviously has people understandably upset," Bolton said.

"The Muslim Brotherhood is not going to take it well if Morsi is forced out of government . . . whatever happens in the short term, this conflict is not going away," Bolton said.

"[Egyptians] see the Muslim Brotherhood pursuing its Islamisist, Sharia law agenda as if the economy were only a side issue and that really burns people and that explains the size and to some extent the emotion behind some of these protests."

Not only is the military unhappy with the demonstrations stretching throughout Egypt because of the disorder and unrest, but also it fears that it will only worsen the economy, Bolton said.

"It's another signal that the economy is going to remain in the basement. How many tourists are going to go to Egypt when these are the signs you're seeing?"

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