July 8, 2013 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 993

In Egyptian Crisis, Both Sides Accuse U.S.

July 8, 2013 | By L. Lavi*
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 993


At present in Egypt, following the ouster of President Muhammad Mursi by the Egyptian military and by his opponents, the U.S. is being harshly attacked in the country for its stances in the recent events. Anti-U.S. accusations were leveled by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt and also by the movement in other Arab countries, as well as by the MB's opponents in Egypt.

Senior officials in the Egyptian MB accuse the U.S. and its Ambassador to Cairo, Anne Patterson, of conspiring to remove Mursi and to restore the deposed Mubarak regime; they say that this is because the latter regime was compliant with U.S. wishes. The MB movement in Jordan also attributed Mursi's removal to the U.S.

On the other hand, supporters of Mursi's removal also voiced strong complaints against the U.S. and accused it of supporting the MB and of working to restore Mursi to power. They are complaining that the U.S. is referring to Mursi's ouster as a military coup rather than as a revolution expressing the popular will of the Egyptian people.

Protestors at Tahrir Square in the past few days have waved banners and shouted slogans against U.S. intervention in Egyptian affairs, and stated that the U.S. is "supporting MB terror." Some of them are circulating petitions against U.S. aid to Egypt. On Facebook, a campaign was launched urging readers to communicate via email with the White House to express their opposition to what they called the U.S.'s intervention on behalf of the MB. This Facebook page included an image of President Obama as Osama bin Laden, as a supporter of terrorism, and as an enemy of democracy.

In the Egyptian press, articles presented the U.S. as an ally of the MB and of Mursi, and as a supporter of terrorism (i.e. the MB), not of the legitimate regime. One writer depicted Mursi's removal by the military as liberating the Egyptian popular will from the U.S. occupation to which it had been subject for years.

It should be noted that also on the evening of June 30, Ambassador Patterson was harshly criticized by the opposition and by the Egyptian media, both of which accused her of siding with the Mursi regime and the MB and of expressing opposition to the popular protests against them.[1]

The deteriorating situation in Egypt and the attacks on the U.S. by the various elements in Egypt could endanger U.S. interests in the country.

This report will review the accusations against the U.S. by both camps in Egypt, following the removal of Mursi and his regime:

The MB And Its Supporters: A U.S. Coup Against The Legitimate MB Regime

Senior MB In Egypt Official: Ambassador Patterson Hatched The Plot Against Mursi

As mentioned, following Mursi's removal from office by the Egyptian military, there have been harsh claims among the MB both in Egypt and in other Arab countries that the U.S. is behind the move. Senior MB in Egypt official Muhammad Al-Baltagi said in an address at a rally in support of Mursi at Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo that one of Mursi's advisors had told him that "in the final moments [prior to Mursi's removal], the one who hatched this plot – U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson – arrived at Mursi's residence together with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign minister of one of the Arab countries, and told him that they had all agreed that Mursi would remain in office during the interim period as long as all authority was held by a prime minister, whom they would provide..." Al-Baltagi also claimed in his address that Patterson "is the one who is handling [Egyptian] affairs of state at this time."[2]

Other senior MB in Egypt officials saw interim president Adly Mansour's reported intention to appoint as prime minister Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, a leader of the National Salvation Front and presidential candidate in the election won by Mursi a year ago, as proof positive that the events constituted "an American coup sponsored by Washington." Following reports that ElBaradei had been appointed prime minister, former MB MP Mohsen Rady said: "The American coup is now revealed. This decision [to appoint ElBaradei] shows that these events were sponsored by the U.S., and that the U.S., which exported ElBaradei to us, is coming out against legitimacy [i.e. Mursi's election as president] so that Egypt will revert to the control of the U.S. and of Israel, for better or for worse."[3]

MB in Jordan: The "Military Coup" In Egypt – A Conspiracy Led By The U.S. Government

In a July 3, 2013 announcement, released by the Shura Council of the MB in Jordan after an emergency meeting that was convened following Mursi's removal, the organization accused the U.S. of being behind what it termed "the military coup in Egypt." The announcement depicted the events in Egypt as the result of "a conspiracy led by the American government against the will of the Egyptian people and against its unique democratic experience," adding, "Those who do America's bidding [in Egypt] are reviving the old regime, with its corruption, its oppression, and its dependence on the Zionist enemy and on the American Embassy..."[4]

MB Opponents: U.S. Supports MB Terrorism

Opposition to the U.S.'s position on the situation in Egypt was also heard from the anti-MB camp. Protestors in Tahrir Square, Tamarrud activists, Facebook users, and columnists claimed that the U.S. supports Mursi and the MB and is pressuring the Egyptian military to undo what it did in removing Mursi.

Tamarrud Leader: "A Muslim Brotherhood-U.S. Plot" To Restore MB Regime

Hossam Al-Hindi, a leader of the Tamarrud movement which led the campaign to oust Mursi, claimed that the MB is forming agreements with the U.S. to return to power. He said that the MB, together with the U.S., is trying to contest the legitimacy of the June 30 revolution and to portray it to the West as a military coup, and that it is also striving to create anarchy and to dismantle the Egyptian military. Claiming that there is "a Brotherhood-U.S. plot" to bring back the MB regime, Al-Hindi said that he has evidence that the MB had asked the U.S. to pressure the military to restore the MB to power.

He also claimed that Mursi's foreign affairs aide Essam Haddad had asked the West to intervene militarily in Egypt. Al-Hindi said: "The MB is capable of maintaining ties with the U.S. and of agreeing with it. The movement thought that its remaining in power was dependent on U.S. support for it, so it is spinning these events to the world as a military coup – even though anyone who covers himself with America remains naked."[5]

Protestors In Tahrir Square: Petition Against U.S. Aid

In recent days, banners condemning the U.S. were evident at Al-Tahrir Square. Protestors called on the U.S. not to interfere in Egypt's internal affairs, and claimed that the events were a revolution, not a military coup.[6] Some youth activists collected signatures for a petition against U.S. aid.[7]

Following are images from protests in Tahrir Square in recent days:[8]

"Shifty Old Woman [Ambassador Patterson], Go Home"[9]

Facebook Campaign: President Obama Supports Terrorism

Several Mursi opponents launched a campaign on Facebook titled "Electronic Protest Against American Interference In Internal Egyptian Affairs." One post read: "To the brethren American people, do you want to oust Obama[?] We have a people with experience in ousting presidents and recruiting millions [of protestors]. We have more Tamarrud petitions and more fireworks than your aid [provides]. We have whistles and noisemakers that will deafen the occupants of the White House and of everyone residing in the U.S., from New York to San Francisco..."[10]

Rami Moustafa, a campaign leader, called on Facebook users to use the White House website to let Obama know that they oppose U.S. interference in Egypt, and posted a list of websites and email addresses. He urged users not to be insulting in their messages, but to be civilized.[11]

Following are examples of posts on the campaign's Facebook page:[12]

Call To Boycott American Goods

On July 7, 2013, the Egyptian television channel Tahrir, which is hostile to the MB, screened a slide calling for a boycott of American goods.

In an interview on the "People's Will" show on the channel, Mahmoud Al-'Askalani, an activist with the Citizens Against the High Cost of Living movement, said that a full list of all companies to be boycotted would be released soon. He said that with such a boycott, Egypt could pressure the U.S. and force it to recognize the legitimacy of the June 30 revolution against Mursi, which it has so far refused to do.

Al-'Askalani attacked President Obama, calling him "the top leader of the MB," and the program's host joined Al-'Askalani's call for a boycott and asked him to release the list of its companies to be boycotted via all media.

Slide: "The 'People's Will' [Show] Calls On The Egyptian People to Boycott American Goods"

Egyptian Media Harshly Attacks U.S.

Al-Ahram: Ending U.S. Interference In Egypt Is The Best Aid

An editorial in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, which since Mursi's ouster seems to lean towards the military and the protestors in Al-Tahrir Square, read: "The U.S. now understands that it made a terrible mistake by limiting its Egypt policy following the January 25 revolution to the MB only, and forgetting about the existence of other forces on the political street that can shift the entire balance of power within minutes. It realized this later, after the June 30 actions began. Egypt must enact a new foreign policy that is in line with changes and developments and that serves our interests, not those of the U.S., Israel, or other [elements]. The world must prepare for a new model for Egypt – [a model] that will bring [Egypt] the status it deserves."[13]

Another editorial in Al-Ahram stated: "The West, and especially the U.S. and E.U., did not understand that interfering in the internal affairs of Arab countries is unacceptable, and that it might even have caused many problems. The West, both its right-wing and left-wing streams, must stop interfering [in Egypt]; this would be the greatest aid [it could give] to the Arab peoples.

"Western leaders should make sure that their countries help in opening markets, investing, and providing technical assistance to develop Arab manpower, and that they stop wasting aid [funds] in [attempting to] spread democracy. [This is because] Arab and African countries, and developing countries in general, require aid to provide work, to transfer technology, and to raise the level of education and health care, and not to deepen political, sectarian, and ethnic division with Western money, which for the most part causes conflagration and strife in these countries before they split into warring mini-states..."[14]

Al-Tahrir Editor: Mursi's Removal – A Legitimate Rebellion Against "Mama America" And A Declaration Of Egypt's Independence From American Occupation

Ibrahim Eissa, editor of the Egyptian daily Al-Tahrir, wrote: "This is the greatest moment of national independence in the history of Egypt. Ousting the MB means rebelling against [Egypt's] subordination to the West; a decisive rejection of U.S. control of the Egyptian will; an attack on decisions made by Uncle Sam; and a legitimate rebellion against 'Mama America.' This is the power of the people who ended the American plan in Egypt and the Arab region.

"[The move] undertaken by the Egyptian people, backed by [Egypt's] mighty armed forces, is a declaration of the national independence of the Egyptian decision-making, [which has been] under occupation by U.S. policy since 1977. Now, after the people have brought down the MB regime... [which was] loyal to the U.S. and which served its policy, implemented its orders, and [was used] as a tool [to carry out] its plans – Egypt has [finally] become independent!

"Now that the U.S. is persecuting the great revolutionary popular Egyptian decision with baseless claims that what we did was a coup... it exposes its obsession with, and its great fear of, the end of the Mursi regime. [The U.S.] also reveals the huge and terrifying concessions it made to the MB, as well as the scope of the MB's betrayal of Egypt, [by exposing] what Mursi and his movement gave to the U.S. so that the latter treated this man [i.e. Mursi] as a strategic asset – and even more [of an asset] than Mubarak and his regime. It shed not a tear over Mubarak, [but it] weeps and wails now for its man Mursi.

"The fall of [the MB, which served as] an American agent and ruled us while agreeing with the U.S. intelligence apparatus and the despicable ambassador Anne Patterson, heralds a new era in the history of this homeland, which freed itself from the grip of the Americans and [ended] the Egyptian [presidential] palace's subordination to the White House.

"The U.S, which weeps over the dictator Mursi who was brought down by the greatest popular revolution in history, is the one that throughout its entire history has been hostile to Egypt's independence, and fought against its freedom to make its own decisions. Washington... cannot stand [the fact that] that the Egyptian people now makes its own decisions, and therefore is working to destroy [this] independence... [Washington] knows that it cannot restore its MB to power, and that despite all its attempts at intimidation and violence, at creating anarchy, at assassination, and at applying external pressure, it will never restore its movement [i.e. the MB], its agent, to power..."[15]

Al-Wafd Party Deputy Leader: "America, Follow The Path Of Evil, And Continue To Win The Hatred Of The Free Peoples, Until You Awaken"

In an article titled "The U.S. Is Our Chief Enemy," the deputy head of the Al-Wafd Party, Ahmed Ezz Al-Arab, wrote: "Gone are the false masks and artificial cosmetics that the foul American imperialism has used to try to deceive all the peoples of the world, especially in our region, but failed many times [to do so]. The insolent American appeared naked before us...

"The American plan to divide the region has been exposed. Since 2000, we have written many times that the religious stream will be the next option that the Americans [will bet on], because it is a religious stream that controls its loyal supporters and can protect American interests as an alternative to the ruling military dictatorship.

"Here today we see the U.S. supporting its collaborator, who has been brought down by a popular revolution. Despite this, the courage, if not the audacity, of the American imperialism and of several of its lackey countries led them to depict this revolution as a military coup against a legitimately elected president – as opposed to a rebellion against a collaborator who failed, in a way unprecedented in all of Egypt's history, to run the country.

"America, follow the path of evil, and continue to win the hatred of the free peoples, until you awaken, as you did on that day in 1975, when the remnants of your forces escaped via the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon on the day of its liberation.

"Those who sow evil will reap bitter fruit."[16]

Egyptian Columnist: Egypt Will Starve Before It Lives Off The Teat Of U.S. Aid

'Abbas Al-Tarabili, columnist for the daily Al-Wafd, wrote: "Egypt-U.S. relations have seen many ups and downs... Now, the U.S. does not accept the Egyptian people's revolution and the removal of the MB regime – which it saw as a new ally in the region and with which it established relations...

"This situation is dire, and is a misperception of matters by the U.S.; therefore, I expect Cairo-Washington relations to deteriorate quickly...

"The Egyptian people is always triumphant. Just as the Egypt of 'Abd Al-Nasser was victorious, so will it be victorious now. A free woman [i.e. Egypt] will starve before she lives off the teat [of U.S. aid]."[17]

*L. Lavi is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.


[3], July 6, 2013.
[4], July 4, 2013.
[5], July 6, 2013.
[6] Al-Ahram (Egypt), July 8, 2013.
[7] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), July 8, 2013.
[8] Al-Ahram (Egypt), July 8, 2013.
[9] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), July 8, 2013.
[10] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt) July 8, 2013.
[11] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), July 8, 2013.
[13] Al-Ahram (Egypt), July 5, 2013.
[14] Al-Ahram (Egypt), July 7, 2013.
[15] Al-Tahrir (Egypt), July 6, 2013.
[16] Al-Wafd (Egypt), July 7, 2013.
[17] Al-Wafd (Egypt), July 5, 2013.

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