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Why Obama is standing with Egypt's President Morsi

The Obama administration – as the US did for years with Hozni Mubarak — wants to separate President Mohammed Morsi's domestic political maneuvers from his role as a Middle East mediator. The US needs Morsi as a peace broker between Hamas and Israel. 

Egyptian protesters rally in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. More than 100,000 people flocked to Cairo's central Tahrir square chanting against Egypt's Islamist president recent moves which have granted himself near autocratic powers.

(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

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The United States has been here before, praising an Egyptian leader for championing Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts while expressing concern over his commitment to democracy at home. But with options limited, the Obama administration is keeping its faith in President Mohammed Morsi.

In a hectic week of Mideast unrest, Morsi emerged as America's key partner in working toward peace between the Jewish state and the Hamas leaders of the Gaza Strip, assuming a leadership role left vacant since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's ouster nearly two years ago.

After winning U.S. and worldwide praise, Morsi immediately cashed in on his new political capital by seizing more power at home.

His actions are the latest reminder that Washington can't be sure where its relationship will stand with the Arab world's most populous country as it transitions from decades of secular autocracy. It's moving to a more democratic government, but one that is less pro-American than its predecessors.

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For now, the U.S. — as it did for years with Mubarak — wants to separate Morsi's domestic political maneuvers from his role as a Middle East mediator.


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