Yesterday, I mentioned the number of times that Obama referred to Egypt in his 2012 and 2013 State of the Union addresses, noting that since the 2013 speech there has been a coup in Egypt, a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, and a referendum on a draft constitution, which the Muslim Brotherhood called for its members to boycott.
I was expecting that given the current situation in Egypt (the most populous Arab country and home of the Suez Canal) and America’s history of aid to the Egyptian military that it might warrant at least a brief mention.
However, Egypt was not specifically mentioned once in last night’s speech, although Obama did say, “From Tunisia to Burma, we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy.”
Obama might not want to have mentioned Egypt because his administration’s policy towards Egypt has been far from ideal.
In the wake of the military overthrowing Egypt’s first democratically-elected president the Obama administration did not withdraw foreign aid as it is supposed to in response to a coup.
U.S. military aid to Egypt was also not suspended after security forces carried out a brutal crackdown on supporters of ousted President Morsi.
It was months after the the overthrow of Morsi and the bloody crackdown on Morsi’s supporters that some aid was suspended.
Obama spoke out in support of “those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy” last night, but failed to mention that Egypt’s draft constitution was passed by just over 98 percent of those who voted in a referendum which the Muslim Brotherhood urged its members to boycott. Since the referendum on the new constitution, which bans political parties like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian military has backed Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to run for president. Gen. al-Sisi was the head of the Egyptian military at the time of Morsi’s overthrow last July.