The Status Quo:
Egypt’s State run Al-Ahram newspaper reports official government sources say they are ready to declare foreign mediation a failure in resolving the nation’s crisis.
The sources claim the government will declare Muslim Brotherhood protests against the army’s overthrow of Islamist President Mursi as non-peaceful, setting the stage to end sit-ins by force.
The report comes hours after 2 visiting US Senators declared the military’s actions a “coup.”
US Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain also called for the release of political prisoners and a national dialogue to return the nation to democracy.
The Quo Vadimus:
US senators Graham and McCain have taken a trip to Cairo and destroyed weeks of work by EU and US envoys, embarrassing the United States, the Egyptian leadership and themselves.
Who sent them?
A Reuters report describes the two senators as being “on a mission for US President Barack Obama.”
The State Department seems to have a different view, as they immediately distanced the government from statements by the Senators calling the situation in Egypt a military coup.
“Senators McCain and Graham are certainly entitled to their opinions … The US government has stated what our opinion is,” said State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki.
The confusion of the role or power these two titans of the US Senate possess on this trip may be a moot point. The statements were damaging enough that the US government may not be able to distance themselves from them.
The Senators said what??
The Egyptian leadership heard US officials say their actions were a coup, call for Muslim Brotherhood leaders to be released from jail, and contradicted the military’s roadmap for the nation.
This unholy trinity of statements is either completely diplomatically tone deaf, or designed to actually create conflict in Egypt.
Is it a coup?
The US government has so far hilariously refused to term what has happened in Egypt as a coup. This is ridiculous in reality, but in the world of diplomacy an absolute necessity.
If the US government officially declares what happened in Egypt a coup then two things must happen, 1- the US must break off relations with the new government and 2- The US must cut off funding to the military.
Neither of these options can the US government afford to do.
Why does the US government give money to Egypt’s military?
The US government gives $1.3 Billion US dollars in aid to the military. This has been bandied about by commentators throughout the Egypt crisis, but almost everyone seems to forget why this money is given.
The US gives money to the Egyptian military as part of the Camp David Accords. That’s right; it’s to ensure that Egypt’s military plays nice with Israel. So it’s pretty crucial to keep giving the money, particularly when the nation’s leadership was heavily Islamist and potentially anti-Israel.
Is McCain in favor of stopping the money?
This is the most confusing aspect of McCain’s trip: he wants to call it a coup but also believes the US should keep handing money to Egypt’s military. (Re-read above for why that’s insane)
This statement seems to indicate that all McCain (and Graham) wanted out of this trip was the ability to say they spoke truth to power and to advocate for democracy.”
Is McCain playing domestic politics?
The only benefit McCain and Graham could possibly have planned out of this trip was embarrassing President Obama.
By going to Egypt and calling the situation a coup, he makes Obama look indecisive and cowardly. This can only help Republicans, because it certainly isn’t helping anyone in Egypt.
Egypt Impacts-Does this destroy the deal?
After optimism yesterday that a deal was emerging, it would appear the Egyptian military is so offended by this trip that they are ditching the entire concept.
Humble envoy’s acting as a conduit between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood could be tolerated as a necessary interference.
Standing by while two foreign politicians politically spit in your face steps from your office-is a completely different proposition.
The military was never thrilled with the reported conditions of the deal that included unfreezing Muslim Brotherhood assets and releasing leaders from jail. This “foreign interference” gives them the cover to reject all of that.
With so much bile directed at the Muslim Brotherhood by American politicians, it’s amazing to see these two grand dames of the Senate head to Egypt and threaten an important alliance by speaking out on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Behind the scenes diplomatic fence mending must be going on at lightning speed.
The military was already shaky on dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamist party was making a deal difficult, and now American Senators comments should at very least delay a deal by a week, if not destroy its chances.
The most damaging aspect of the McCain/Graham trip from the US point of view is, once again, the Egyptian protestors will feel betrayed.
Thank you John McCain for your excellent diplomacy.
This article has been put together with reporting (The Status Quo) and the views of (The Quo Vadimus) of Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer, BrandonBD@QuoVadimusNews.Com, @Brandon_BD (On Twitter and Weibo).