McCain and Graham Meet With the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

Katie Pavlich

8/7/2013 1:00:00 PM - Katie Pavlich
Arizona Senator John McCain is in Egypt with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham just weeks after the new government, run by the Muslim Brotherhood, was overthrown by the military. Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was heavily protested by millions of people as he tried to turn the fragile State into a dictatorship under Sharia law. More from The Daily Beast:

During their whirlwind tour of Cairo Tuesday, two top GOP senators held the most extensive meeting to date between U.S. officials and senior officials in the embattled Muslim Brotherhood, whose supporters are fighting in the streets to overturn last month’s military takeover of Egypt.

“We met some Muslim Brotherhood representatives. They were senior-level people,” McCain told The Daily Beast Tuesday in an exclusive interview from Cairo, adding that the officials requested to remain anonymous. “They believe things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. They demand that [deposed President Mohamed] Morsi get released. They believe it was a military coup and they are very far apart from the military and the new government.”

McCain and Graham also believe the removal and imprisonment of Morsi and several other Muslim Brotherhood leaders was a military coup, one that could mandate a cutoff of $1.3 billion of U.S. military aid to Egypt. The Obama administration has avoided saying whether or not they believe there was a coup in Egypt.


Up to this point, the State Department and the White House have refused to call the overthrow a coup. The first reason they refuse to do so is because a coup would reflect poorly on the administration due to Obama's support to overthrow former dictator Hosni Mubarak, which opened the door for the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi to walk through. Second, if the State Department classifies what happened in Egypt as a coup, by law the United States must cut off foreign aid. Secretary of State John Kerry recently argued the military didn't take over the government to actually run the government, but to simply meet the needs of protestors.

"The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of a descent into chaos,” Kerry said. That’s how many Egypt analysts see the events of early July, when millions of protesters clearly desired military intervention. But Kerry added, more controversially, “The military did not take over, to the best of our judgment … to run the country. There’s a civilian government.” By all appearances, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, the defense minister who formally announced the military’s removal of Morsi, is the now country’s de facto head of state.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Independent reported Tuesday President Obama has agreed to meet with Muslim Brotherhood to discuss how to proceed.

U.S. President Barack Obama has agreed to meet with Muslim Brotherhood representatives at the White House, sources told Egypt Independent.

Obama would reportedly meet with Brotherhood officials to "hear their opinion" on developments in Egypt, in the presence of Turkish diplomats.

Turkish diplomats are expected to push for Mohamed Morsy's reinstatement as Egyptian president, sources said, if not that the Muslim Brotherhood would be assured of political survival following a month-long violent stand-off with the armed forces in the wake of Morsy's overthrow.
One thing is clear, Egypt won't be seeing any long-term solutions anytime soon.