Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told Newsmax Wednesday the Obama administration’s botched handling of the situation in Egypt has now jeopardized the ability of the Egyptian military to keep order in the strife-torn nation.
As a result, the most populous country in the Middle East is now at risk of a civil war that could plunge the entire region into turmoil.
He said the way the situation in the country has been handled by the Obama administration and, earlier, by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “it seems to me was not terribly skillful.”
On Thursday, security forces struggled to clamp a lid on Egypt after hundreds of people were killed when authorities forcibly broke up camps of supporters protesting the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
About 400 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured in fighting in Cairo, Alexandria, and numerous towns and cities around the mostly Muslim nation of 84 million.
“The Muslim Brotherhood … is not secular as someone in the Obama administration has suggested, the director of national intelligence; it’s not secular,” they’re the best organized and the toughest and the most ruthless, they won the election and control of the parliament and the effect has been that they’ve tried to impose a rule over the Egyptian people which is not what the people who have demonstrated in Tahrir Square wanted.”
“The military has a tough relationship now to manage this situation because the country’s in turmoil,” Rumsfeld said. “The people that we’ve sent there to deal with the problem have not done a particularly skillful job in my view. It’s unfortunate.”
“We can’t determine the outcome there but we can play at the margins, so to speak, and we can be helpful and try to encourage a freer political system and a freer economic system and greater opportunity for the people there. Rumsfeld said one only has to look at Syria to see what could ultimately happen in Egypt.
“There have been something between 80,000 and 100,000 people dead in Syria in opposition to the Assad regime,” he said. “It’s conceivable that could happen in Egypt,” warning that the United States should not expect Egypt to mirror our own aspirations — and to not tie those aspirations to aid, saying it would be “an unrealistic, juvenile attitude.”
Rumsfeld also blasted the Obama administration’s head-in-the-sand anti-terrorism strategy, calling relations with terrorists “much more like the Cold War.”
“The administration has been uniformly desirous of de-emphasizing the threat from Islamists and suggesting that it is something that they can prevail … with bullets and drone strikes, which is not the case,” it’s going to take perseverance and persistence on the part of the United States and we have to be realistic. And the administration is not realistic about it. They’re unwilling to even identify what the enemy is. They won’t even use the word Islamist.
“They don’t even acknowledge the fact that there are people being trained in a number of countries to go out and kill innocent men, women, and children who are American
SOURCES-RUMFELD, NEWSMAX, CATHY BURKE, KATHLEEN WALTER