US President Barack Obama begins his second term straining to maintain a good relationship with Egypt, an important US ally whose president is a conservative Islamist walking a fine line between acting as a moderate peace broker and keeping his Muslim Brotherhood party happy with anti-American rhetoric.
The White House has little interest in picking a fight with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has grown in size and stature across the region since the Arab Spring revolts. The Brotherhood and similar Islamist movements are regarded warily by monarchies in Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Morocco.
The Morsi-led government is “a new administration and they’re obviously having growing pains,” said a senior Obama administration official.
Since the Tahrir Square revolution two years ago, Washington has tried to help Egypt build a democratic state without appearing to tread on its sovereignty.