GOP Congressmen Criticize Obama's Soft Stance on Egypt

Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 02:20 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Republicans are taking the Obama Administration to task for its stance on the crisis in Egypt as protesters have taken to the streets in Cairo in the hope of reclaiming the government from Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

They point out that President Barack Obama has been reluctant to take a firm stance on the current crisis in contrast to the way he called for the end of Hosni Mubarak's rule two and a half years ago.

And that has led several top Republicans in the House to see his position as tacit support for the Morsi regime, Foreign Policy reports.

"The Egyptian turmoil stems from the Morsi government's predictable power grab, which the Obama Administration has been far too accepting of," Rep. Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said.

"U.S. aid has failed to compel the Morsi government to undertake the political and economic reforms needed to avert this crisis."

Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of House Homeland Security Committee, has similar fears.

"Unfortunately, the Obama administration thinks it can woo Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood just as it thinks it can negotiate with Iran's Ayatollah," McCaul told Foreign Policy. "The United States must stand firm on its values and make clear our objectives in the region."

Obama's Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson also drew hostility for condemning the street protests and voicing support for Morsi.

"Some say the street action will produce better results than elections. To be honest, my government and I are deeply skeptical," Patterson said at a seminar in Cairo. "Egypt needs stability to get its economic house in order, and more violence on the streets will do little more than add new names to the lists of martyrs."

McCaul said "The Ambassador's remarks [were] a reflection of President Obama's complete disregard for political reality and his administration's failure to leverage our contacts within Egypt's military and support efforts to steer Egypt away from Islamist radicalism,"

Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania also said that Patterson's comments implied "support for a regime with a rather checkered record of support for democratic processes and institutions."

Some anti-interventionist Republicans such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky think that the administration should cut U.S. aid to Egypt.

"How can we have influence in troubled parts of the world when we cuddle up to regimes responsible for much of the trouble?" Paul said in a statement Monday. "The Obama administration announced in March that we no longer had enough money to continue giving White House tours due to the sequester.

"That same month, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Morsi and pledged $250 million in additional aid to Egypt," Paul added.

Obama called Morsi on Tuesday telling him that the United States "is committed to the democratic process in Egypt and does not support any single party of group," according to a White House statement.

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