August 15, 2013
When the clashes between Egyptian security forces and pro-Morsi protesters were at their peak in Cairo Wednesday, Aug. 14 – 525 dead and 3,700 wounded to date – President Barack Obama put in a call to Egypt’s strongman, Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report.
The US president wanted to give the general a dressing-down much on the lines of the call he made to former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 at the high point of the Arab Spring Tahrir Sq demonstrations against his rule, namely: Stop repressing the protesters and firing live ammunition. Step down!
When Mubarak asked for a three or four days’ grace to break up the massed rally, Obama shot back that he has to quit NOW!
And indeed, on Feb. 11, the army announced the president’s resignation.
Realizing what was coming, Gen. El-Sissi decided not to accept President Obama’s call, our sources report. The Egyptian officials who received it informed the US president politely that the right person for him to address was Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour and they would be glad to transfer the call to him. The White House callers declined.
This anecdote shows that the military strongman is not only determined to avoid the pitfalls which brought Mubarak down but is equally determined to keep the US administration from interfering in his plans for driving the Muslim Brotherhood out of Egyptian politics.