In the wake of the death of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, a look into Mohamed Morsi’s final days as president revealed the U.S. turned a blind eye when he was deposed by the military.
Morsi, who died Monday while in a courtroom facing charges many believed to be politically-motivated, became the president of Egypt in June 2012, after former leader Hosni Mubarak stepped down following mass demonstrations.
After serving in the office for a year, he was deposed at the hands of a military uprising led by Egypt’s current leader Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.
Since his ouster, Egypt’s post-coup authorities have waged a relentless crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds of the former president’s supporters and throwing thousands in jail on “violence” charges.
Shortly after the coup, Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood was officially designated a “terrorist organization” in Egypt.
While the U.S. reacted warmly to Mubarak stepping down and elections in Egypt, it remained neutral in the run-up to the coup against Morsi.
In the aftermath of the military overthrow, then-U.S. President Barack Obama refrained from using “coup” to describe Sisi’s actions, and supported a transition of power in Egypt’s government.
Under U.S. law, the government has to cut military funding to any country whose leader was ousted in a coup. The U.S. provides Egypt with $1.5 billion annually in both military and economic assistance.
Avoiding the term coup had allowed U.S. dollars to continue to flow to Egypt and further legitimized the new regime headed by Sisi.
Prior to Morsi being deposed, the State Department chided the leader for not doing enough to quell protesters.
Then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the military had been “restoring democracy” in Egypt by deposing Morsi.
Those comments represented the strongest endorsement by the U.S. of the military intervention, according to the Times.
-U.S. relationship with Morsi
The U.S. had a vastly complex relationship between Washington and its critical ally in the Middle East during Morsi’s tenure as president.
The Muslim Brotherhood came back to the forefront of Egypt’s political scene in 2011 after Mubarak stepped down from his reign following massive protests.
Morsi won elections that came in 2012 and became president, vowing to serve all Egyptians regardless of class, religion or sex.
What ensued until he was deposed during a military coup in July 2013, ushered in a new era in the U.S.’s approach to its relationship with Egypt.
The former president said Egypt would not live by rules or terms set solely by others and the U.S. should “fundamentally change” how it approached the Arab world in general.
In an interview with the New York Times shortly after being elected, Morsi said it was up to Washington to repair its ties with Cairo and the rest of the Arab world.
And he called for Washington to live up to its commitment of Palestinian self-rule.