President Mohamed Morsi, who still faces enormous skepticism as Egypt's first Islamist president, squandered an opportunity to reassure the international community that Egypt is stable.
After an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi killed the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, Libyan officials, including the interim president, rapidly and unequivocally condemned the attack, calling it “cowardly” and apologizing to the US. And after the US embassy in Yemen was attacked today, the Yemeni president promptly apologized.
But in Egypt, where an angry crowd breached the US embassy walls the same night and brought down the American flag, tearing it up and replacing it with an Islamist banner, the silence from Egyptian officials was deafening in comparison.
And when President Mohamed Morsi finally spoke out against the attack, it may have been too little, too late.
The embassy breach was an opportunity for Mr. Morsi, who still faces much skepticism abroad as Egypt’s first Islamist president, to reassure the US that he values America's friendship. His delayed, ambivalent response will likely rattle US officials and businessmen looking for signs of stability and undermine whatever trust he's managed to establish with them.
“I think it’s shocking,” says Michael Wahid Hanna, a fellow at the New York-based Century Foundation, of Morsi’s lack of response to the embassy breach. “I don't think they quite understand the damage they are doing at the moment.”
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