February 22, 2012

KNOWING YOUR ALLIES:

U.S., Egypt Look to Settle Nerves Over Aid, Trial (MATT BRADLEY, 2/22/12, WSJ)

Mr. McCain (R., Ariz.) and his delegation of four other senators, three of them Republicans, also hinted at warming relations between conservative American lawmakers and the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian Islamist group whose triumphant performance in parliamentary elections rattled U.S. nervesamong U.S. policy makers. [...]

Despite months of warnings of a potential aid cut, the visiting senators projected a dramatically different posture toward Egypt's government on Monday, portraying the dispute as little more than an inevitable collision between a new generation of Egyptian reformers and the repressive legal system they inherited.

Mr. McCain, who is chairman of the board of the International Republican Institute, one of the accused American NGOs, told reporters in Egypt's capital that Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Egypt's de facto president, assured the senators that the leading council of generals is "working very diligently" to "resolve" the NGO issue.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt's newly elected Parliament also told the lawmakers that they would redraft a restrictive NGO law that the deposed regime of President Hosni Mubarak used to repress civil-society organizations.

"After talking with the Muslim Brotherhood, I was struck with their commitment to change the law because they believe it's unfair," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who was traveling with Mr. McCain. Mr. Graham and other lawmakers praised the Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party won a plurality of nearly 50% of the seats in Parliament, as a strong potential partner for the future of U.S. relations with Egypt.
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Posted by at February 22, 2012 6:04 PM
  

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