President Barack Obama spoke to Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly on Sunday evening and remained confident that the likely changes in Egypt’s leadership would not evolve into a repressive government:(bolding is mine)
“The Muslim Brotherhood is one faction in Egypt. They don’t have majority support in Egypt, but they are well organized and there are strains of their ideology that are against the U.S., there’s no doubt about it,” Obama said. “But here’s the thing that we have to understand, there are a whole bunch of secular folks in Egypt, there are a whole bunch of educators and civil society in Egypt that wants to come to the fore as well. So it’s important for us not to say that our own only two options are either the Muslim Brotherhood or a suppressed people.”
To avoid such scenarios, Obama said that the U.S. must make sure “that we get all the groups together in Egypt for an orderly transition and the one that is a meaningful transition.”
However, as Senator Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican pointed out to me last week, the real power will lie among the most organized group of people whose numbers may not be overwhelming among protesters. In this case, it could very well be the Muslim Brotherhood.
“My worry is that [the Muslim Brotherhood] are a very large organization and they could be exercising a more influence than what you see in front of the CNN cameras. It’s an organization that’s spawned three other terrorist organizations—Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda, and Hamas,” Senator Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, told me on Wednesday night. “We don’t know the names of the leaders as well as we should, which is why I gave the speech on the floor—to go through who the top leader of guidance is and then what he said about the West and Sharia law.”
Mr. Obama’s confidence in the Muslim Brotherhood’s cooperation is far from a Reaganeque “trust but verify” philosophy, and one must wonder what exactly the details of President Obama’s own 2009 meeting with the Brotherhood were about considering the the lengthy time the organization has been banned in Egypt:
U.S. President Barack Obama met with members of Egypt’s Islamist opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, earlier this year, according to a report in Thursday editions of the Egyptian daily newspaper Almasry Alyoum.
The newspaper reported that Obama met the group’s members, who reside in the U.S. and Europe, in Washington two months ago.
According to the report, the members requested that news of the meeting not be publicized. They expressed to Obama their support for democracy and the war on terror.
The newspaper also reported that the members communicated to Obama their position that the Muslim Brotherhood would abide by all agreements Egypt has signed with foreign countries.
Obama landed in Cairo on Thursday to deliver a conciliatory speech as part of his outreach to the Arab and Muslim world.
The Muslim Brotherhood is considered a Sunni-dominated fundamentalist Islamic organization that has spawned numerous factions across the Arab world that have engaged in terrorist activity, including the Palestinian rejectionist group Hamas.