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A new reality for the U.S. in post-revolution Egypt

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 03:14

Jan. 25 - After a relationship that expanded decades, the U.S. faces a new reality in Egypt, says Frank Wisner, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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Images from Egypt's' revolution. Riot police on the streets. Clashes with protesters. Violence on the streets of Cairo. One year on while many returned to Tahrir square, the epicenter of protests..... Egypt's most powerful Islamist force, the Muslim Brotherhood, has largely kept its followers off the streets to focus on winning elections. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties now dominate parliament, creating a challenging new reality for the United States. Frank Wisner is a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt -- deployed by the Obama Administration last year to deliver its message to the government. SOUNDBITE)(English) FORMER AMBASSADOR TO EGYPT. FRANK WISNER, SAYING: "First of all we don't have much choice, we have to live with the reality. And the reality is going to have to be predominantly defined by the Muslim brothers, but also by the Salifi's who took about 25 percent of the vote. Now should we fear that? That depends what they do in office. They should be judged on what they do, not on what we think or fear." After decades of stagnation, few imagined big political change possible on the eve of the protests a year ago when Egyptians lived in Mubarak's tightly controlled police state. For the United States, which held long ties with Egypt, the challenges is adopting to a new role (SOUNDBITE)(English) FORMER AMBASSADOR TO EGYPT. FRANK WISNER, SAYING: "This is Egypt's show. As much as we care about democracy in the world, this is Egypt's time to define her own democracy. We can be a friend to that democracy, not telling Egyptians how to suck eggs but to be there to help them when they have to think through tough economic choices, and when they have to sit down across the table from the World Bank, and the Fund, the Europeans, the japanese and Asians, ourselves and come up with some resources that make a success of this change." Wisner says the U.S. could also play a key role when it comes to Israel. (SOUNDBITE)(English) FORMER AMBASSADOR TO EGYPT. FRANK WISNER, SAYING: "We have to as well keep an eye on the fact that Egyptians, broadly speaking, and Arabs in General feel absolute sense of anxiety about the Israel Palestine problem. They feel injustice has occurred and continues to occur. They look to the United States as a friend of Israel's to help address that injustice." While Egyptians are out celebrating the launch of their revolution, for many the changes are still not enough. Pro-democracy activists fear the army which provided the nation's leader for six decades wants to cling to power from behind the scenes even after a president is elected. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.

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A new reality for the U.S. in post-revolution Egypt

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 03:14