The Obama administration on Thursday sharpened its criticism of the Egyptian military and interim government’s arrests of supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, saying the continuing detentions are inconsistent with pledges of inclusivity made by authorities and may affect future US assistance.
While the administration has determined it is not in US national security interests to make any immediate changes to its aid program, officials said the continuing arrests of members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and political party are troubling. The criticism is some of the most severe of Egypt’s new leadership since Morsi was toppled last week and came a day after arrest warrants were issued for the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader and nine other Islamists accused of inciting violence.
The White House and State Department both warned against targeting any particular group in the aftermath of Morsi’s overthrow, calling it self-defeating and counter to the idea of restoring a democratically election civilian government.
“The only way this is going to work successfully for the Egyptian people is if all parties are encouraged and allowed to participate and that’s why we’ve made clear that arbitrary arrests are not anything that we can support,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “We could not support those, because if you’re arresting individuals from one group or one party, you’re working against yourself if your effort is to be inclusive as you make this transition back to a civilian, democratically elected government.”
At the State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki echoed those comments and went further, saying that the arrests contradicted assurances given to US officials by the Egyptian military and members of the interim government.
“The arrests we’ve seen, of course, over the past several days targeting specific groups are not in line with the national reconciliation that the interim government and military say they are pursuing,” she said. “If politicized arrests and detentions continue, it is hard to see how Egypt will move beyond this crisis.”
Talk about chutzpah! Barack Hussein Obama has the nerve to tell the Egyptian people to STOP arresting Muslim Brotherhood members
U.S. Navy ships in Red Sea move close to Egypt as precaution
Two U.S. Navy ships patrolling in the Middle East moved closer to Egypt’s Red Sea coast in recent days, the top Marine Corps general said on Thursday, in what appeared to be a precautionary move after the military overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi.
The United States often sends Navy vessels close to countries in turmoil in case it needs to protect or evacuate U.S. citizens or take part in humanitarian assistance. Their presence does not necessarily mean the United States is preparing to carry out military action.
“Egypt is (in) a crisis right now,” Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos told the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “When that happens, what we owe the senior leadership of our nation are some options,” Amos said. He did not say what the options were.