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PrayFor US Diplomats: Egyptians turn fury on diplomat rumored to be next U.S. ambassador

( – WASHINGTON –  Egyptians have turned their  fury recently on Robert S. Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria now being  considered as the next ambassador to Egypt, in light of unfounded rumors on a  Canadian website about his past actions in Iraq.

Not only do his chances of taking over from current Ambassador Anne Patterson  seem in jeopardy, Washington is now in a position of having to struggle even  harder to repair its reputation in the region.

“It is a very difficult task,” Mohamed Elmenshawy, director at the Middle  East Institute in Washington, told “Given the level of  anti-American sentiment from all Egyptian political players, Ford has serious  challenges ahead of him. It will take serious initiatives by the U.S. to recover  its reputation in Egypt in order to make the mission of the new ambassador  easier.


Earlier this week, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a roomful of  reporters that “we have determined that we do not have to make a determination,”  on whether the U.S. government considered the recent Egyptian military uprising  a coup – which could affect U.S. aid there.

Her semantic somersaults – and those of the Obama administration – are just  the latest examples of political indecision fueling frustrations over what the  country’s policy is and where U.S. loyalties lie.

The anti-American sentiment has been growing on both sides of the political  divide in Egypt, with resentment toward Patterson reaching an all-time high. She  has managed to simultaneously infuriate reformist protesters while also ruffling  the feathers of regime loyalists.

In 2011, the same year she was appointed to the position, Patterson was  branded “the ambassador from hell” by Egyptians and accused of everything from  promising pyramids to Israel to cozying up to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Protestors in Cairo carried signs with her face crossed out while others  chanted for her to go home. A common picture plastered around the Egyptian  capital city was one of her face with the word “Hayzaboon” across it – meaning  “ugly old woman.”

“Part of the problem Anne Patterson faced was a vacuum in policy,” Vali Nasr,  the dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins  University told The New York Times. “If she went and met with the Muslim  Brotherhood, it was construed that she was pro-Brotherhood. If she met with the  military, the Brotherhood thought she was giving a green light to a coup.”

Most recently, she has been tapped to become assistant secretary of state for  Near Eastern affairs and the Obama administration began searching for her  replacement.

(Fox News) In Washington, whispers grew louder by the day that the president would tap  Ford to fill the vacancy in Egypt.

But soon after news organizations reported that Ford was the likely  successor, a Canadian website known mostly for concocting conspiracy theories,  including some about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., claimed Ford  ran “death squads” in Iraq when he was political counselor at the embassy there  from 2004-2006.

Forty-eight hours later, the website gossip had spread to Twitter. Then,  Egyptian newspapers started picking up the story. What followed was anger and  accusations directed at both Ford and America itself.

Trying to navigate the choppy political waters in Egypt hasn’t been easy. The  vitriol and violence continues to grow daily despite recent diplomatic visits  from representatives of the United States, the European Union and Arab Gulf  states in an attempt to defuse the crisis and come to a non-violent  compromise.

But as of now, the chances of that happening don’t appear likely.

In the past month, more than 250 people have been killed in Egypt in fighting  between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim  Brotherhood, and security forces.

On Tuesday, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham,R-SC, traveled to  Egypt. The men urged the government to release Islamist leaders as a gesture of  good will to the Brotherhood.

Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour rejected the idea and basically told  McCain and Graham to stay out of their country’s politics. The senators say they  went to Egypt at the request of Obama, but their message conflicted with the one  the White House has been pushing – and that, some say, is a big part of the  problem.

“McCain sends double messages,” Elmenshawy said, adding, “(McCain) showed  that the U.S. does not have a clear and united voice when it comes to dealing  with Egypt. Hence that Egyptians do not understand the dynamics of American  politics. For them McCain was speaking on behalf of America, not on behalf of  the Senate or even on behalf of himself.”

Calls to McCain for comment were not returned.


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