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Kerry's Egypt Visit Spotlights
Split with White House

Nov.18, 2013 (EIRNS)—This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee.

In an article posted on The Daily Beast today, senior correspondent Josh Rogin highlighted a growing split within the Obama Administration between the State Department and the Pentagon on the one side and Susan Rice at the National Security Council on the other. According to Rogin, just prior to Kerry's recent visit to Cairo (Nov. 3) as part of a larger Middle East tour, Rice instructed him to deliver strong public and private statements criticizing the Egyptian government for putting deposed President Mohammed Morsi on trial. Not only did Kerry ignore the Rice orders. He never mentioned Morsi or the trial during his private and public appearances.

After the visit, Rice made a strong public statement attacking the Egyptian government, as Kerry praised al-Sissi and the Egyptians for moving clearly on the "path to democracy." On Nov. 13 the Egyptian courts lifted the state of emergency. Egypt is in the final phases of drafting a new constitution, which will be subjected to a public referendum. After the referendum, there will parliamentary and then presidential elections.

According to Rogin, "The now public rift has been simmering behind the scenes for months and illustrates the strikingly divergent Egypt policies the White House and the State Department are pursuing." A number of unnamed administration officials interviewed by Rogin confirmed that the State Department and the Pentagon are in a fight with the White House over a range of policies. If Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had their way, there would have been no cutback in military aid to Egypt at all. Rice was pushing for a much more significant cutoff. She delivered a harsh assessment of the Egyptian military in a Nov. 13 speech at the Aspen Ideas Forum in Washington.

The Rogin report about Rice's hardline stance is consistent with a Nov. 16 TV interview by Egyptian presidential spokesman Ahmed El-Muslimani, who said that the Guidance Office of the Muslim Brotherhood was negotiating with the interim government to participate in the cabinet following Morsi's ouster, but that under pressure from Washington, they had dropped the negotiations in favor of the continued public protests that were eventually shut down by the Army.

Rogin also noted that the split between Rice and Kerry/Hagel over Egypt remains a source of chaos because President Obama has failed to weigh in on the dispute, or clearly state his own policy. Sources in Cairo told Rogin that the interim government has not even been told what steps would need to be taken to restore the full military aid.