The Obama Administration and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (2010-2016): Ally or Predicament?


Mourad Aty


The Muslim Brotherhood has always been very controversial. Since its creation in the late 1920s, it has been at the heart of Egypt’s most important upheavals and struggles. As a Pan-Islamist religious and social movement, its self-stated aim is “Islam is the solution”. During the early days of the so-called “Arab Spring,” the movement was the readiest political power to go through the electoral process and achieve victory far more than any other party. This was due to its long history in charity and social services and the well-organized preachers who are deeply rooted in Egyptian society. The sharp victory in the 2011 Legislative Elections was not enough for the movement. Backed by his Islamist allies and most of the youth who participated in the “Revolution,” Mohamed Morsi ran for president and won in 2012. One year later, he was ousted after a “second uprising” in the streets of Cairo and many other Egyptian cities. Another crackdown was inevitable and the movement went back to clandestinity. Amidst all these events, the United States under President Obama could not distance itself from what was going on. In the beginning, the US administration was divided over the popular uprisings in the whole region and in Egypt in particular. In Egypt, the Obama administration backed Morsi during his presidency although his movement was known to be traditionally against Western interests in the region. Many Egyptian politicians were into the idea that the cabinet was compromised and officials with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood were influencing the decision-making process. When it was time, the US government has leaned into the army which is the only institution that guarantees the peace treaty with Israel. The aim of this paper is to provide an understanding to the blur in the US stance before and during the period when the army took over. It explains the major interests which did not make the issue of democracy a priority and led to the disposal from the Muslim Brotherhood.


Arab Spring, Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Obama Administration




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