Saturday, July 14, 2012

U.S. Has No Choice But To Deal With Islamic Groups

The victories of Islamic parties in Egypt and elsewhere have forced the United States to embark on an untested strategy to engage.

"From a U.S. perspective, we have no choice but to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood," said Shadi Hamid, a Middle East analyst at the Brookings Doha Center, a think tank in Qatar. "I don't see what the alternative is."

Although the United States has had good relations with regimes where political Islam is prevalent, such as Saudi Arabia, its policy toward Islamist groups that are ousting long-standing regimes or pressuring them to change is evolving.

"There's been a sea change in U.S. policy toward the Brotherhood," said James Phillips, a Middle East analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a think tank.

The Obama administration believes it can work with the Brotherhood as a political force.

"It certainly has become more accepting of the Brotherhood," said Daniel Serwer, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington and a scholar at the Middle East Institute, a think tank.

The administration may feel it has little choice but to deal with elected Brotherhood leaders in Egypt, a country that had been a Middle East ally for years under dictator Hosni Mubarak, Egypt analysts said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney has said the Obama administration has "broadened our engagement" with emerging parties in Egypt. Administration officials have met with Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and Carney said the White House will judge such leaders on how they act, not on their religious affiliation.

Via: "USA Today"

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