Former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak called on “the free world” to throw its support behind the Egyptian military and interim government after the ouster of Mohammed Morsi from power in early July.
Speaking on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” this past weekend, Barak said that Israel was “not a major player” in the current revolution in Egypt. “It’s a dramatic development for the Egyptian people, for the whole Middle East, for the Arab people. Israel is not a… focal point of this,” Barak said.
Israeli officials have mostly avoided commenting on the turmoil in Egypt, skittish about upsetting a delicate balance with Cairo.
Barak acknowledged that if Israel were to openly support army chief General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who engineered the coup, “it will probably embarrass him, it probably won’t help him.”
Nevertheless el-Sissi “and the liberals … and others deserve the support of the free world. To who else can they turn?”
Morsi “was elected relatively fairly,” according to Barak, but he quickly began to turn Egypt into a “totalitarian, Shariah-like extreme Islamist” regime, which is why his own people turned against him.
Barak blasted the “contradictory” American policy, which “for decades… supported moderate Sunni autocrats” only to abandon them when when their people revolted.
He emphasized that those who were standing against Morsi were “the Egyptian people… not Israel, not some insurgent group from abroad,” and it was the Egyptian people that must ultimately decide who was to lead them.
Barak added that the one condition the world should demand from Egypt in exchange for its support was a “fully democratic, open election” within one year. Still, he said, Israel should not push itself “to the front of this internal Arab” situation.