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Brotherhood deserves level playing field

The extraordinary statement by the White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday over the dramatic events in Egypt must be commended. The Barack Obama administration has come under severe pressure from a variety of quarters — ranging from pro-Israeli to pro-Saudi lobbies — to disengage from its discourse with President Mohamed Morsi and dump the Muslim Brotherhood. 

But Obama is not caving in. Of course, it will be a ghastly mistake if the United States does not show the intellectual capacity or political shrewdness to distinguish between the shades of Islamism. The Brothers are by no reckoning to be confused with the al-Qaeda. 
Besides, Egypt’s Brothers have a legitimate mandate. The ideal thing would have been to test the waters of Egyptian opinion all over again in the parliamentary elections which were scheduled for next month but then, one main objective of various forces who are fomenting trouble is to scuttle those very polls, which they fear (rightly) might once again end up revealing the vast reach of grass root support that Muslim Brotherhood enjoys. 
Meanwhile, the mystery of the ‘Black Bloc’ remains. Actually, it is no ‘mystery’. One can make out from a mile away that the Mubarak-era thugs are on the march, spreading anarchy and discrediting the Brotherhood. Conceivably, external powers, including regional powers, have begun interfering as well. 
The US’s long term interests are best served by persisting with the ‘Obama line’ that the democratic process in Egypt ought to run its course — no matter the outcome in favor of the Brotherhood. The worst case scenario will be to repeat the kind of mistake that the US made in Iran in 1952 by instigating the coup against Mohammad Mosaddeq. 
The reports coming out of Egypt are extremely confusing and often contradictory. But I would pin hopes on the Al-Ahram report that just appeared to the effect that Obama has been in direct consultation with Morsi and the White House statement issued last night is probably intended to indicate that Washington continues to be supportive of the Brotherhood’s government. 
In the ultimate analysis, the Middle East as a region can stabilize only if the forces of moderate Islam are allowed to function and are offered a level playing field to work for a democratic mandate as any other legitimate political force.

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