CAIRO: “The U.S. leadership remains a bit nervous that the Egyptian approach is too quick to treat all Islamists as a security threat. So I think some tension will continue. The U.S. is perhaps more likely to favor inclusive approaches,” said American scholar of Middle Eastern law and politics at George Washington University Nathan Brown.
He told Youm7, however, that the increase of political violence in the region raises the degree to which governments view problems through the lens of security, and that may lead to greater cooperation in some areas between the U.S. and the Egyptian government.
After the Egyptian armed forces raided a number of targets in Libya against the Islamic State group in retaliation for savagely beheading 21 Egyptian Christians, the Obama administration’s reaction was seen in Egypt as less than supportive, to what Egyptians saw as a clear-cut instance of self-defense.
“We view them as a strategic partner…but it’s a complicated relationship,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters on Feb. 19, adding “The political developments there in Egypt make it so. And we’re working with the State Department. We’re kind of working our way through that.”Brown added that with regard to the Congress, there are “mixed views. There are some who wish to criticize Obama for being inattentive to security. There are some who see him as too reluctant to mention Islam; when he indicated that there were violent incidents in Christian history, such as the Crusades, some criticized him.”
Brown also clarified that some of those critics in Congress see President Sisi as an ally and want Obama to be even more supportive of Egypt militarily than it already is. But he confirmed that in general, Egypt is not a big issue for the Congress which is more focused on domestic politics, saying “it is sometimes confusing for Egyptians to understand Congress, since there are 535 members, each with his or her own voice.”