Washington's exhaustive attempts to be viewed as a neutral player in Egypt's coup are unraveling as pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood forces latch onto any evidence that America is against them.
That latest conspiracy theory: The United States bankrolled the military coup against Mohamed Morsy. On Wednesday, Al Jazeera unveiled documents detailing State Department programs that funneled money to groups associated with senior Egyptian opposition figures who protested against Morsy. Despite the fact that the U.S. funding appears to have stopped in 2011 and U.S. support of civil society and opposition groups was well known, critics of the United States heralded the article as evidence of America's animus toward the Muslim Brotherhood and the country's false freedom agenda. "Defenders of Democracy huh?" tweeted one user.
Ironically, the accusations come after weeks of protestations from Morsy opponents that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, and by extension the United States, tacitly supported the Muslim Brotherhood as the country refused to vocally criticize the Brotherhood's power grabs while discouraging street protests. The view was immortalized in a June speech Patterson gave in which she said she was "deeply skeptical" that street protests would produce better results than elections. "Rather than understand and remedy the perception that the U.S. is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Ambassador Patterson is continuing the age-old U.S. practice in Egypt of being the last man standing to support an authoritarian regime," wrote activist lawyer Dina Guirguis at the time.
So which is it? America the coup instigator or America the Islamist apologist? The administration repeatedly insists "we don't take sides," but accounts from pro- and anti-Morsy demonstrations find common ground in the scapegoating of the United States. ...