TEL AVIV – President Abdel Fatah Sisi’s visit to the United States later this month will be an opportunity to undermine the Muslim Brotherhood’s standing in Washington, a former Egyptian ambassador to the US said.
Abdel Raouf al-Ridi told Egyptian paper Alshorouk that “Egyptian-American relations are entering a new phase, and the degree of their success relies on Egyptian efforts.”
“Presidents Trump and Sisi can break the ice created during the Obama administration,” he said. “Without doing injustice to Obama, he adopted the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
He added that during Obama’s presidency, “the Muslim Brotherhood shifted their international center of gravity from London to Washington. In recent years the Muslim Brotherhood penetrated American institutions and think tanks, and disseminated their ideology as an alternative to extremism.”
The Muslim Brotherhood forged ideas and promoted people “that were recruited even by the National Security Council, and from there they disseminated the marketable view that their Islamic model is a moderate one that serves as a counterweight to terror and extremism, and this view found resonance in the United States.”
Conversely, the former ambassador said, “Egypt should distance itself from the concept of an Islamic international, i.e. advocate a democratic nation-state, modern and knowledge-based that steers clear of extremism, and separates church and state.”
Sisi’s visit will be an “important opportunity to lay out Egypt’s vision for the region, especially after years of cool relations [with the US],” Al-Ridi said. “I think Trump is a president with original ideas, and what characterizes him is his ability to champion them bravely and resolutely.”