August 18, 2013 | 7:55 am
The new Egyptian rulers don't really care if the US does or doesn't continue to financially assist the military. Of course, they'd prefer to keep the money, but if they were presented with a choice- receive support and stop killing Muslim Brotherhood protesters, or get no support and continue killing– they would have no doubt: killing it is.
In fact, the Americans have more to lose than the Egyptians if the relations between the two countries further deteriorate: if Washington halts all support for Egypt, Cairo can do two things: It can get funds and support elsewhere (Saudi Arabia, but also Russia), and it can retaliate by suspending the peace accord with Israel – the accord for which it gets the funds. That's a scary scenario that Israel surely wants to avoid. So clearly for Israel it is almost impossible not to be on the side of the new strongman who can A. tame the Islamists, and B. keep the accord intact. Looking at the determination of the military in Cairo, Israel can also hope for a second act in Sinai. If Sisi is ready to take on the radical elements in Sinai with the same cold brutality, he'd have one happy client in Jerusalem.
Here's what an Israeli official told me when I asked him about Sisi and Obama: "The butchery is of course heart breaking, but maybe there's something to admire about a leader who knows what he wants and is willing to put his money – in this case his guns – where his mouth is". Guess which of the two leaders he was talking about.
The Washington Post reports this morning:
For now, the Obama administration is playing a balancing game, trying to send tactically sharp messages while preserving influence in an increasingly polarized society, protecting other national security interests in the region and positioning the United States for a long-term strategic relationship.
This sounds more like a report by The Onion than a serious news report. Using words like "tactical", "influence", "interests", and "strategic" is supposed to make it resemble a report on American foreign policy - when in fact, there's no policy and nothing much to report. And piling on Obama's confused Egypt policy is not even entertaining anymore.
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