Obama to meet with Muslim Brothers?

Apparent, members of the Muslim Brotherhood have received permission to attend President Obama’s speech in Cairo on Thursday.  The Project on Middle East Democracy blogs:

Al-Arabiya has just reported that, under pressure from the United States, the Secretariat-General of the lower house of the Egyptian Parliament invited ten members of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc to attend Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo on Thursday.

The delegation will include Dr. Saad Al Katatni, leader of the bloc, who said that the invitation “came as a compromise solution between the American administration and the Egyptian government, considering that there is increasing pressure on the administration from the American press on the necessity of meeting with all members of opposition and other influential forces.”

Though Katatni explicitly denied it, Al-Arabiya’s reporter Mustafa Sulaiman speculated that Brotherhood members may also be invited to a special meeting that Obama will hold with writers, politicians and members of Egyptian civil society.

Is this the Obama Administration trying to send a message that they appreciate the opposition in Egypt?  Or should we interpret this as a public recognition of the fact that the United States must engage with political Islamists in the Middle East in order to have productive diplomacy? Maybe both, maybe neither.  But it seems like it could be a good sign, even if the Brotherhood was saying less than a month ago that Obama’s speech is just a ploy to protect the Zionist entity.


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Filed under Democracy, Diplomacy

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