Cairo University echoed with cheers in June 2009 when President Barack Obama addressed his audience with the Muslim greeting, assalamu aleikum, peace be upon you.
The goodwill didn’t last. Four years later, Egyptians increasingly assail the U.S. for backing Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, the nation’s first democratically elected leader, as they did when Hosni Mubarak ran Egypt with American support.
In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, blood-red letters on a white banner read: “Obama Supports The Dictator Mursi.” A sign on the speakers’ platform adds: “Down with Mursi, America’s agent.”
Obama’s talk of a “new beginning” between Muslims and the U.S. has been swamped in Egypt by economic dysfunction and political polarization between Islamist and secular leaders. As investors flee and Egyptians suffer, what the president called a “cycle of suspicion and discord” has delayed financial aid and left Egypt drifting toward bankruptcy.
“People are frustrated here, full of anger, especially youngsters,” said Anwar Sadat, the nephew of the Egyptian president assassinated in 1981 and the leader of a minor opposition party. “The truth is we are in trouble.”U.S. Doubt
In the U.S., lawmakers who doubt Mursi’s commitment to democracy are concerned that new arms shipments could be turned against Israel. In Egypt, the president welcomed in 2009 with a cry of “Barack Obama, we love you,” is now seen by many as just another leader who puts American interests above Egypt’s needs (...)