CAIRO (Reuters) – The U.S. approach to political change in Egypt has shifted in favor of those who advocate caution to keep Islamists out of power until they clarify or modify their policies, diplomats and analysts say.
Another school of thought, pressing for rapid change regardless of consequences, appeared to be in the ascendant earlier this year but has since lost ground, they add.
In their public statements, U.S. officials have advised the Egyptian government to take specific steps such as ensuring free presidential elections in September, allowing international monitors, giving the opposition access to the state media and preventing violence against peaceful street protests.
But the officials have thrown little light in public on how fast they think change should happen and whether they are really willing to see the departure of President Hosni Mubarak, who has worked closely with U.S. presidents for a quarter of a century.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in March rejected the argument that political change could lead to instability, saying the region was not stable anyway….
This Egypt thing, alongside the Hamas news yesterday, suggests someone(s) got a real talking to somewhere in the administration–a refresher course in the Bush Doctrine 101. This president says: “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.” We have got to mean it. (And so the likes of this, for example, doesn’t cut it.)