Egypt's New Leaders Must Accept Reality

(Washington Post) Dennis Ross - A new, alternative reality is shaping up in Egypt. President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood appear firmly in control. Morsi seized on the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai to remove the most senior military leaders from office. He also unilaterally amended the March 2011 constitution declaration and gave his office executive and legislative powers. Morsi has appointed a new minister of information, Salah Abdul Maqsud; he, too, comes from the Muslim Brotherhood and actively supports the move to replace 50 leading editors and journalists. The Brotherhood is wedded to its ideology, but the U.S. and others should not accommodate the Brotherhood's alternative reality. Egypt's president and people should know we are prepared to mobilize the international community to help Egypt - but only if Egypt's government is prepared to play by a set of rules grounded in reality and key principles. They must respect the rights of minorities and women; accept political pluralism and open political competition; and respect their international obligations, including Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. News reports suggest that more than 100,000 Coptic Christians have left Egypt; there have been new efforts to intimidate the media, and Morsi has moved armored forces into the Sinai without first notifying the Israelis - a requirement of the peace treaty. If this behavior continues, U.S. support will not be forthcoming. The writer, a special assistant to President Obama for the Middle East and South Asia from 2009 to 2011, is a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2012-08-20 00:00:00

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