McCain, Graham praise Muslim Brotherhood while in Egypt
I have no idea if they were simply being nice to their hosts in a diplomatic sort of way, or if they really believe this guff about the Brotherhood.
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.
The warm comments mark a climbdown from previous threats by congressmen from both parties that the prosecution of American NGO staff will endanger the $1.3 billion in aid that Washington has given Egypt's military each year since 1987.
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.
"I was very apprehensive when I heard the election results," Mr. Graham said on Monday. "But after visiting and talking with the Muslim Brotherhood I am hopeful that...we can have a relationship with Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood is a strong political voice."
No doubt they're dancing a jig at MB headquarters. Are McCain and Graham actually being snowed by the Brotherhood, or are they just making nice so that the 19 Americans set to be tried in a kangaroo court next week are released without having to go to jail?
I hope it's the latter. To believe that the MB has changed their spots is to believe in fairy tales. This is true especially since they have not backed down one iota from their goal of destroying Israel.
The Muslim Brotherhood may be talking in soothing tones today about not altering Egyptian society immediately. But let's revisit this question in 2 or three years and see where Egypt is. It is likely that Graham and McCain will look even more idiotic than they appear now.