Egypt: Obama concerned on fate of Arab Spring he supported

White House urges Morsi to dialogue, postpone referendum

07 December, 20:39

Obama talks on the phone with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in the Oval Office. Top avdisors in the foreground Obama talks on the phone with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in the Oval Office. Top avdisors in the foreground

(ANSAmed) - NEW YORK - A puzzle and a dilemma: this is what Egypt has now become to the White House.

One of the prime supporters of the Arab Spring, US President Barack Obama reneged on the so-called Bush doctrine of forcibly exporting democracy in favor of a radical shift in US foreign policy. In a historic Cairo speech as a newly-elected president, Obama challenged the Arab world to embrace a democracy that cannot be imposed, but must stem from the will of the people. But Egypt, which was among the first countries to rebel and topple a decades-long regime, is now becoming a thorn in Obama's side. The US president is worried that the historic shift he contributed to may be a failure, and turn against him. This is why Washington has been closely monitoring the Cairo situation for the past several hours.

In a bid to keep the Egyptian Spring from being definitively shipwrecked and possibly boomeranging into nearby countries, Obama himself telephoned Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, urging him to start a dialogue with the opposition. On the one hand, Obama fears that having trusted the new Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Egypt was a mistake. On the other hand, the opposition is also sketchy, with many of its elements dreaming of a return to the ancien Mubarak regime, as the New York Times wrote Friday.

In these hours of chaos in Cairo, the policy in Washington remains one of continuing to support Morsi, who has reiterated his aim of respecting some of the Arab Spring's fundamental demands: among them, an end to presidents with absolute powers, a stronger parliament, banning torture and detentions without due process. What baffles the Obama administration, writes the New York Times, is that Morsi's draft constitution leaves military powers unamended with respect to the Mubarak regime. This is why Obama is asking Morsi to postpone the referendum on the new constitution, and to rescind his controversial decree.

The general feeling is that neither Morsi nor his opposition can afford to let the current, dangerous deadlock go on much longer. It would be a defeat for everyone. (ANSAmed).

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