Thursday, February 3, 2011

U.S. 'held secret meeting with Muslim Brotherhood

Discussed fall of Egypt with group dedicated to Islam's global spread

The Egyptian government has information a diplomat at the U.S. embassy in Cairo secretly met yesterday with a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the nation's major Islamist opposition group.
The topic of the meeting was the future of Egypt following the "fall" of President Hosni Mubarak, an Egyptian intelligence official said.

The claim comes amid charges from Cairo that the Obama administration has been encouraging the protests rocking Egypt and targeting the rule of Mubarak, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Issam el-Erian
 The Egyptian intelligence official said his government has information of a meeting that took place was between Issam El-Erian, a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Frank Wisner, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt.

Frank Wisner
 The Obama administration dispatched Wisner to Egypt this past weekend to report to the State Department and White House a general sense of the situation in the embattled country.

The Egyptian intelligence official said the meeting took place inside the American embassy in Cairo The U.S. State Department would neither confirm nor deny the report.

The Muslim Brotherhood seeks to spread Islam around the world, in large part using nonviolent means. Hamas and al-Qaida are violent Brotherhood offshoots.

The latest information is not the first charge by the Egyptian government that the Obama administration has been working with or encouraging the opposition to Mubarak.

Last week, a senior Egyptian diplomat stated the Egyptian government suspects elements of the current uprising there, particularly political aspects, are being coordinated with the U.S. State Department and Obama administration.
Mohamed el-Baradei

The senior Egyptian diplomat said the Mubarak regime suspects the U.S. has been aiding protest planning by Mohamed ElBaradei, who is seen as one of the main opposition leaders in Cairo.

ElBaradei, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief, has reinvented himself as a campaigner for "reform" in Egypt. He is a candidate for this year's scheduled presidential elections.

El-Baradei arrived in Cairo just after last week's protests began and is reportedly being confined to his home by Egyptian security forces.

Mohamed el-Baradei is seen as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This past weekend, the London Telegraph reported the U.S. embassy in Cairo in 2008 helped a young dissident attend a U.S.-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.

The Telegraph would not identify the dissident, but said he was involved in helping to stir the current protests. The report claimed the dissident told the U.S. embassy in Cairo that an alliance of opposition groups had a plan to topple Mubarak'sgovernment.

The disclosures, contained in U.S. diplomatic dispatches released by the WikiLeaks website, show American officials pressed the Egyptian government to release other dissidents who had been detained by the police.

The White House has been almost openly championing the unrest in Egypt.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an "orderly transition" to democracy in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood is the main opposition group.

Obama reportedly voiced support for an "orderly transition" in Egypt that is responsive to the aspirations of Egyptians in phone calls with foreign leaders, the White House said.

Denis McDonough
Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, speaking in a White House webcast, also urged the government and protesters in Egypt to refrain from violence.

Egyptian officials warned the Muslim Brotherhood has the most to gain from any political reform.

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