WASHINGTON, DC — The Obama administration should support Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, suggested retired Gen. Michael Hayden and Newt Gingrich while testifying before a House panel.
“Despite discomfort with some of the things he’s done, he’s going to be one of the more acceptable partners in this conflict and I see every advantage in our repairing our relationship with him,” testified Gen. Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
“I was made uncomfortable about what the general did in the year or so after he took power from Mohamed Morsi. There are too many people in jail. There are too many journalists in jail,” added Hayden who also served as director of the National Security Agency (NSA).
Former House Speaker Gingrich testified alongside Hayden during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing today entitled, “A Global Battleground: The Fight Against Islamist Extremism at Home and Abroad.”
“I think this administration is almost 180 degrees off, in reality, about what’s going on in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood is our enemy, not our friend,” testified Gingrich who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. “Yet, the State Department meets with the Muslim Brotherhood. El-Sisi who may not represent everything you like in good government does represent a very long Egyptian tradition that has been very hostile to radical Islamists.”
“It’s unfortunate right now that… the administration is not doing more to reinforce el-Sisi, who is the president of Egypt and who has taken exactly the right position on the need to reform Islamic views to make them more moderate,” he also said, later adding, “We’re going to have allies that make us uncomfortable. We’re going to have allies that don’t fit the test of exact purity.”
According to Gingrich, the U.S. should be doing everything in its power to strengthen el-Sisi.
The Obama administration has reportedly suspended more than $700 million of the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid to Egypt since Sisi took over the presidency from Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.
Obama’s Pentagon refused to back the Egyptian bombing of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Libya after the jihadist group beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians.
The relationship between the U.S. and Egypt has deteriorated since Morsi was ousted and Sisi took over Egypt.
Follow Edwin Mora on Twitter: @EdwinMora83