When it comes to spectacularly bad foreign policy outcomes, the US is on an incredible run lately even by its own lofty standards.
Take Yemen for example. Just last year it was trotted out by The White House as the shining example of how, with the help of puppet governments, Washington can effectively combat terror in the Arabian Peninsula. Fast forward to today, and the US-friendly President Hadi is holed up in Riyadh after Iran-backed rebels armed with $500 million worth of weapons the US “lost” swept across the country, sparking a war with Saudi Arabia and plunging Yemen into utter chaos. As for AQAP (the raison d’être for the US’ interest in the country in the first place), they’ve taken advantage of the turmoil by looting central bank branches and staging prison breaks.
Then there’s Syria, where Washington’s celebrated “brave freedom fighters” abruptly metamorphosed into the most brutal band of marauding Muslim militants ever witnessed in the modern world.
And don’t forget Egypt, where the US was effectively forced to abandon its long-standing support for the dictatorial regime of Hosni Mubarak when the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi was “democratically” elected following mass protests. Washington initially praised the country’s “democratic transition” only to see Morsi pass a decree granting himself dictatorial emergency powers. That would mark the beginning of the end for Egypt’s experiment with “democracy” because six months later, Morsi was overthrown in a military coup. Late last month, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Had that been the end of it, Egypt would still certainly qualify as an example of how poorly things can turn out when the US meddles in the affairs of sovereign countries, but this ridiculously bad outcome got infinitly worse on Saturday when Morsi was sentenced to death. Here’s Bloomberg:
Former Islamist Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi was sentenced to death following charges that he escaped from prison and collaborated with foreign groups to destabilize the nation during the 2011 revolt against his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.
A judge announced the verdicts in a televised session on Saturday as Mursi, 63, watched from a soundproof cage in the courtroom. The sentence must be approved by the nation’s top Muslim theologian, or Mufti, a customary procedure when passing capital punishment in Egypt. The court also sentenced more than 100 other defendants to death, many of whom were tried in absentia.
The verdict will raise tensions in a country that has been racked by violence since Mursi was overthrown by the military in 2013, a year after he became Egypt’s first freely elected civilian president. He was sentenced last month to 20 years in prison in connection with violence near the presidential palace in Cairo during a protest against his rule. He remains on trial for other charges including insulting the judiciary and spying for Qatar.
“It’s a very inflammatory move that could perpetuate violence in Egypt,” Anthony Skinner, an analyst at U.K.-based consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, said by phone. “We have already witnessed negative dynamics including the rise in Jihadi groups in Sinai and increasing attacks by militant Islamic groups in urban centers, targeting the police force and state institutions.”
As for the US, the State Department is “deeply concerned.”
“We are deeply concerned by yet another mass death sentence handed down by an Egyptian court to more than 100 defendants, including former President Mursi,” the State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We have consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences, which are conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with Egypt’s international obligations and the rule of law,” he said. The official, noted, however, that Saturday’s death sentence ruling was “preliminary.”
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Speaking of the State Department and Morsi: