Islamist’s win in Egypt leaves U.S. uncertain

Obama congratulates Morsi, confers with rival

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Under Mr. Mubarak, Egypt received about $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid, most of it intended for the military.

Brotherhood leaders also have spoken in favor of dissolving Egypt’s 33-year-old peace treaty with Israel.

Noting that there will plenty of pressure on the Egypt-Israel relationship, Mr. Cook doesn’t expect Mr. Morsi to break the peace treaty outright, saying “he can do a lot to empty whatever there is of the relationship of any content and meaning.”

Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said there are serious questions about the future direction of Egypt’s foreign policy. But he warned that it would be a mistake for the U.S. to pull back from its engagement with a free and democratic Egypt.

“This is a time to test intentions, not to prejudge them,” said the Massachusetts Democrat.

On recent visits to Cairo, Mr. Kerry said he had two “candid discussions” with Mr. Morsi in which the new president-elect had said he “understood the importance of Egypt’s post-revolutionary relationships with America and Israel.”

The election polarized Egyptians, who worried about Mr. Morsi’s Islamist credentials and saw Mr. Shafiq as an extension of the Mubarak regime.

Major changes

On its official Twitter feed, the Brotherhood announced that Mr. Morsi had begun talks to form his presidential team and a new Cabinet “that will truly represent Egypt after revolution.”

“It’s time now for unity and hard work to face challenges ahead,” the Brotherhood said.

Mr. Morsi kept a pre-election promise by resigning Sunday from his posts in the Muslim Brotherhood, including that of chairman of its Freedom and Justice Party. He also has pledged that his leadership will be inclusive.

Mr. Morsi “will have to have to act as a catalyst for Egyptians so they can move ahead with drafting a ‘civic’ constitution,” said Khairi Abaza, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former member of the Egyptian Wafd Party.

“Failing to do so can only lead to more chaos and instability,” Mr. Abaza added.

The Muslim Brotherhood had been banned in Egypt since 1954, but its candidates participated in elections as independents.

Both Mr. Morsi and Mr. Shafiq earlier claimed victory in the election. The election commission then delayed a final announcement to investigate fraud claims made by both candidates.

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About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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