Latest News:  


White House plays waiting game amid unclear situation in Egypt: expert

By Matthew Rusling (Xinhua)

08:19, July 12, 2013

WASHINGTON, July 11 (Xinhua) -- With the situation unclear in Egypt after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, the White House is taking a wait-and-see stance and avoiding taking sides, a U.S. expert on Middle East said Thursday.

Morsi was ousted by the Egyptian military last week after mass protests in Cairo both for and against his rule. The appointment Hazem al-Beblawy as interim prime minister by caretaker President Adli Mansour on Tuesday after days of political stalemate has stirred controversy among the public.

"With the situation in Cairo still extremely fluid, Washington is playing a waiting game, hoping the situation might settle down into a process back to electoral politics that would be easier to support more visibly," Wayne White, former deputy director of the State Department's Middle East Intelligence Office, told Xinhua.

The White House said Wednesday after President Barack Obama's meetings with Qatari leaders that the "United States and Qatar will remain actively engaged with all sides in Egypt to promote a quick and responsible return to a sustainable, democratically elected civilian government."

The statement came on the heels of Saturday's White House comments that the administration is not aligned with any particular group in the embattled North African country.

Indeed, Washington is wary of how the wider Arab world may react to its support of one side or another, which is a factor that makes plotting a course of action difficult for the White House.

"Whatever policy the U.S. adopts is likely to be criticized roundly. Even those supporting the (Egyptian) army and arrayed against the Muslim Brotherhood still criticize the U.S. for having backed Morsi and remain suspicious of U.S. intentions," said White, now a scholar at the Middle East Institute.

Washington dropped its support for longtime ally -- former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak -- amid the country's revolution and later supported Morsi after the country's first-ever elections last year.

The Americans are also reluctant to part company with allies such as the wealthy Arab Gulf states and Jordan who, despite the mess, are relieved at Morsi's fall, White said.

Washington has avoided using the term "coup," and any U.S. decision to condemn Morsi's removal, distance itself from Egypt's army or cut aid would anger many of the region's established U.S. aligned governments, he said.

However, if the military becomes too heavy handed in dealing with protesters, that could tilt U.S. policy against the army, White argued.

The new military-led government continued to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday, seeking to arrest nine top officials of the party. The officials are charged with allegedly inciting violence against the military amid clashes that left dozens of Muslim Brotherhood protesters dead on Monday.

The Obama administration also wants to avoid even more instability.

"The White House's caution is derived from fear of triggering far more violence that might destabilize Egypt more than it is even now," White said.

But despite the turmoil, U.S. officials said they would go ahead with plans to deliver to Egypt four new F-16 fighter jets as part of Washington's regularly scheduled military aid.

Some in Congress, including Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, have called for a suspension of its annual 1.5 billion-U.S. dollar assistance to Egypt after Morsi's ouster. But on Monday White House spokesman Jay Carney said it would not be "in the best interest of the United States" to suddenly pull aid from the country.

We Recommend:

U.S. presidents and their pets

Highlights of 50th Int'l Paris Air Show

Best photos of week (June 17 - June 23)

Venezuelan Army School boat visits Cuba

Afghan refugees at UNHCR registration center

Beauty contest held in Budapest, Hungary

Angelina Jolie visits refugee camp

'Super moon' hangs in the sky over Rotterdam

LA' Chinatown sets up statue of Bruce Lee

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:YaoChun、Liang Jun)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. "Joint Sea-2013" drill concludes

  2. Chinese, Russian naval forces in drill

  3. Sunshine, books and WiFi, all free at beach

  4. Working people under the sweltering sun

  5. Lonely summer for migrant kids

  6. Rainstorms flood more than 10,000 cars

  7. Shining WTCC grid girls

  8. Snapshots of Kazan Universiade

  9. China Pan-Asia Stone Expo kicks off

  10. China's 50 best CEOs named

Most Popular


  1. Building on past successes
  2. Inflow of 'hot money' tackled, expert says
  3. Caution urged in seeking experts from abroad
  4. China didn't cause German solar firms' bankruptcy
  5. China, U.S. discuss cyber security
  6. Why are we obsessed with selfies?
  7. Israel keen on luring Chinese tourists
  8. 'Bernanke shock' necessary
  9. Safety first for baby formula
  10. Defense paper shows Tokyo's hysteria

What’s happening in China

Rainstorms flood more than 10,000 cars in underground garages in Wuhan

  1. Tourists cool off on beach in Shanghai
  2. Rainstorms leave 28 dead, 66 missing in China
  3. One-tenth of condoms failed tests in Guangdong
  4. Free bus rides in rush hours to end for seniors
  5. 2 dead, 7 injured in central China blast