Sen. Lindsey Graham says the United States and its ally Israel face serious consequences if Egyptians can't hammer out a solution and re-form democracy.
The Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty would likely be done away with, and Americans could expect skyrocketing oil prices if Egypt becomes a failed state, the South Carolina Republican told Fox News Channel on Wednesday.
"The Suez Canal is a vital economic artery for that part of the world," Graham said. "Our military uses it. Al-Qaida will fill in any vacuum created by a failed state."
Egypt imposed a state of emergency Wednesday
after 278 people were killed in a crackdown of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
Graham visited Egypt recently with fellow Republican Sen. John McCain at the behest of President Barack Obama. Still, Graham said Obama's policies in the region are failing and the United States has "lost a lot of standing."
Graham said he and McCain met with both sides of the current conflict and warned them, "You can't kill your way out of this box." He said he urged anti-Morsi forces to defeat the hardline Muslim Brotherhood at the ballot box rather than imprisoning its members, lest they become martyrs.
Egyptians clearly don't like military rule, as seen by the overthrow of decades-long dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Graham said. But, he added, they don't like Islamic fundamentalists either, hence their ouster of Morsi after only a year in office.
The country desperately needs a new start on democracy, he said.
"If it becomes a failed state," Graham said, "God help us all."
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