Is the Obama administration actually lobbying for a Muslim Brotherhood presence in the new Egyptian government? The answer to that question appears to be yes. The question as to why continues to remain unanswered. There was apparently an attempt by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and representatives from two other countries to meet with one of Egypt’s jailed Muslim Brotherhood leaders to talk about installing Brotherhood members in the new Egyptian government.
However, Khairat El-Shater apparently wasn’t interested in meeting with them.
UAE foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed, his Qatari counterpart Khalid Al-Attiyah, and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns were scheduled to visit the Muslim Brotherhood’s second-man Khairat El-Shatar in Tora Prison on Sunday night, government sources told Ahram Online.
The trilateral delegation had aimed to present the Islamist leader with an initiative to at break the political deadlock and circle of violence that engulfed the country since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.
However, El-Shater, who has been detained on charges of inciting to kill protesters since 6 July, has refused to meet with the US, UAE, and Qatari officials to discuss the deal, Al Jazeera TV reported.
“Mohamed Morsi is the legitimate president of Egypt. They should go talk to Morsi,” declared El-Shater according to the Qatari based network.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s interior ministry said late on Sunday that no delegation from the United States or the European Union visited El-Shater in prison.
As has been recently reported, El-Shater is set to be tried on charges relating to incitement of murder later this month. Yet, it seems he told leaders of nation states – including the U.S. – to go pound sand. It’s worth noting that El-Shater was the Muslim Brotherhood’s frontrunner for president last year until he was disqualified… for spending too much time in prison, which cleared the way for Mursi.
If reports are correct, the U.S. State Department is jockeying for a Muslim Brotherhood presence in any future Egyptian government:
Ahram Online has learned that the trio’s deal calls for the replacement of Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, who Morsi supporters harshly criticise and accuse of bias, with a premier that is viewed as more independent and objective. However, no specific figure was offered as El-Beblawi’s potential successor.
The deal also proposes the formation of a new cabinet, which would include three ministers from the Muslim Brotherhood in addition to two Salafist ministers. The incumbent government does not include any Islamist figures, as the Brotherhood and other Islamist forces have refused participation in protest of Morsi’s ouster.
Why would a Muslim Brotherhood leader who is in jail, awaiting trial on charges relating to murder reject a visit by high-level diplomats who are essentially in the business of working toward getting the Brotherhood more power? If you read the Ahram report, these diplomats are asking for the moon when it comes to Brotherhood inclusion.
It’s almost as if al-Shater thinks he has leverage.