US "Partnership" With the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Its Effect on Civil Society and Human Rights

Society. 2014;51(1):68-86. doi: 10.1007/s12115-013-9740-3.


Looking at Egypt before, during and after the Arab Spring, this paper examines the intersection of Christian Copts, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian army, moderate Muslims and secular groups. In turn, it examines the Obama administration's policies toward Egypt. It discloses the surprising finding that the only consistent aspect of the administration's policy toward Egypt has been outreach to and engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood. At no time before or after the Brotherhood's ascent to prominence in Egyptian politics and society did the administration make support of the Brotherhood conditional. At no time did it use US leverage - given the massive amount of financial and military aid Egypt was depending on, and given the new Egyptian government's desire for prestige in the world community-to pressure the Morsi government to respect human rights, religious liberty and the impartial rule of law. Arguing that American foreign policy at its best is rooted in democratic ideals, this paper asks whether the United States, while respecting that Egyptians must choose their leaders and their political system, could have done more to encourage a positive strategic, moral and political outcome.

Keywords: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi; American foreign policy; Arab Spring; Barack Obama; Christian Copts; Civil society; Egypt; Hillary Clinton; Human rights; Mohamed Morsi; Muslim Brotherhood; Rule of law.