|AP photos of Clinton with Tantawi today (above) and Morsy yesterday|
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was at this writing meeting with Egypt's Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, a day after holding talks with newly-elected President Mohamed Morsy and urging a “smooth transition” to full democracy.
She landed in Egypt on Saturday in the middle of a tug of war between the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) headed by Tantawi and Morsy, a longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsy triggered the standoff by ordering parliament to reconvene in defiance of SCAF’s earlier decision to disband the people’s assembly.
After her Saturday meeting with Morsy, Clinton told a news conference her talks with Tantawi would focus on “working to support the military’s return to a purely national security role.”
She said, “As compared to what we are seeing in Syria, which is the military murdering their own people, the SCAF here protected the Egyptian nation,” and had oversaw free elections. “But there is more work ahead, and I think the issues around the parliament, the constitution have to be resolved between and among Egyptians.”
Egypt’s media star and talk show host Imad Adeeb speaks of “A Dangerous Visit to Cairo.”
Clinton’s arrival in the Egyptian capital, he writes in his daily column for the leading Saudi daily Asharq Alawsat, “comes at a historic crossroads” for U.S. policy.
“The visit comes at a time when the U.S. administration is changing Egyptian horses in midstream – from betting on the military since the 1952 coup to betting on the Muslim Brotherhood movement’s rule.
“The shift affects the old SCAF ally, whose sun is dusking, as well as Brotherhood forces, whose moon is shining…
“Clinton comes to Egypt amidst a constitutional, legal, popular and information struggle that risks turning bloody.
“She comes after half the Egyptian electorate voted against her administration-backed Brotherhood candidate.
“Clinton comes when SCAF are almost certain she will be blessing the Muslim Brotherhood’s push for a new presidential decree retiring the SCAF generals and appointing Muslim Brothers to head the General Intelligence Directorate (GIS), the State Security Investigations Service (SSI) and the ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Interior and Defense.”
Adeeb’s conclusion is that such “knockout policy blow” would lead either “to extended and stable Muslim Brotherhood rule, or a military coup in a matter of days, or a state of permanent chaos.”