Big surprise. He has behaved consistently all along, from his refusal to back the protesters in Iran, who were demonstrating against an Islamic Republic, to his backing of these protesters in Egypt, to whom he has just given a green light to establish an Islamic Republic.
In The Post-American Presidency, Pamela Geller and I profile Robert Malley, Samantha Power, and other fierce foes of Israel in the Obama Administration. In light of the information we reveal there, this comes as no surprise.
“U.S. open to a role for Islamists in new Egypt government,” by Paul Richter and Peter Nicholas in the Los Angeles Times, January 31 (thanks to Benedict):
The Obama administration said for the first time that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government.
The organization must reject violence and recognize democratic goals if the U.S. is to be comfortable with it taking part in the government, the White House said. But by even setting conditions for the involvement of such nonsecular groups, the administration took a surprise step in the midst of the crisis that has enveloped Egypt for the last week.
The statement was an acknowledgment that any popularly accepted new government will probably include groups that are not considered friendly to U.S. interests, and was a signal that the White House is prepared for that probability after 30 years of reliable relations with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Monday’s statement was a “pretty clear sign that the U.S. isn’t going to advocate a narrow form of pluralism, but a broad one,” said Robert Malley, a Mideast peace negotiator in the Clinton administration. U.S. officials have previously pressed for broader participation in Egypt’s government.
The George W. Bush administration pushed Mubarak for democratic reforms, but a statement in 2005 by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did not specifically address a role for Islamists.
“This is different,” said Malley, now with the International Crisis Group. “It has a real political edge and political meaning.”
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that a reformed government “has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner.” […]
The National Security Council officials — Ben Rhodes, Samantha Power and Daniel Shapiro — were reluctant to discuss Mubarak’s fate. The White House has settled on the message that it is up to Egyptians to choose their government and that the U.S. should not be seen as picking the country’s leaders….