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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Perilous dalliance with Egyptian extremists -- By Ken Allard, The Washington Times

 (Illustration by Nancy Ohanian)

Illustration by Nancy Ohanian"No way!" sniffed the money-honey at Washington Dulles International Airport as she refused to exchange my stack of Egyptian pound notes. "That currency is so unstable, we can't even establish an exchange rate in real money. It's worthless paper." Badly jet-lagged, I testily replied that some humility might be in order since the American government, backer of the aforementioned "real money," was at that very moment, technically insolvent. While I won the debate on points, those Egyptian pounds are still with me as rueful souvenirs of last week's whirlwind fact-finding trip to Egypt.

Organized by the Westminster Institute, a McLean-based think tank, our small delegation of media and military analysts was given extraordinary access to Egypt's top decision-makers, the first such private visit since last summer's overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood. Our principal interlocutors included the minister of defense, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi; Theodoros II, pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church; and Amr Moussa, drafter-in-chief of the new Egyptian Constitution. We also interviewed business leaders, journalists and student revolutionaries, street-wise veterans of the back-to-back uprisings that toppled the authoritarian regimes of Hosni Mubarak and Mohammed Morsi.

Bottom-line impression: While Egypt struggles valiantly, this key regional ally remains in serious trouble. With tourism down by 85 percent and the average Egyptian existing on $2 a day, foreign investment is a desperate, immediate need. Egyptian elites also worry that the strategic stakes (the largest Arab population and most powerful military) are being obscured by a Washington media muddle obsessed with Syria. From graduate students — many of them unemployed — to their executive-suite elders, the recurring nightmare is that the deposed Muslim Brotherhood will fight to regain control of Egypt, the capstone of the longed-for Islamist caliphate. Given the Brotherhood's 80-year track record, such fears are not unreasonable.

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