Why do millions of Egyptians, including politicians and activists, consider Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s “stooge”—as she is so commonly referred to by many in Egypt, from the media down to the street?
In America, some are aware of matters, such as that “Patterson in particular resisted opportunities to criticize the Morsi government as it implemented increasingly authoritarian policies. In a memorable May interview with the Egyptian English-language news sit[e] Ahram Online, she repeatedly dodged pointed questions about Morsi’s leadership. ‘The fact is they ran in a legitimate election and won,’ she said…. Republicans from Texas Senator Ted Cruz to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce have pounced on statements like these, increasingly seeing Patterson as the key implementer for a policy that at least offers tacit support to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Following the Egyptian media, however, one discovers that the reasons Egyptians dislike Patterson are many and unambiguous.
Last week, for example, El Fagr reported that, during their most recent phone conversation, Patterson demanded that Egypt’s recently appointed Supreme Commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces, General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, release all Muslim Brotherhood members currently being held for questioning: “And when Sisi rejected this order, the American ambassador began threatening him that Egypt will turn into another Syria and live through a civil war, to which Sisi responded violently: ‘Neither you nor your country can overcome Egypt and its people.’”
Earlier, Patterson was reported as “trying to communicate with General Sisi, demanding dialogue with the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and concessions to them,” to which Sisi reportedly retorted: “Stop meddling in our affairs… the Egyptian people are capable of looking after their own welfare.”
These are just the latest samplings from Egypt concerning the ambassador’s attempts to reinstate the Brotherhood to power. The day before the fundamentalist Salafi “Nour” party withdrew from negotiations with Egypt’s interim government, Al Nahar reported that Patterson had “incited them [the Salafi Nour Party] to tamper with the political scene and the road map and to threaten to withdraw from political participation if Dr. Muhammad Baradei becomes elected as Prime Minister…”
There is also widespread belief that Patterson’s “meddling” in Egypt’s affairs is not limited to General Sisi and the Egyptian media. Several of Egypt’s revolutionary forces, including Tamarod, which played a pivotal role in the June 2013 revolution, are preparing to stage a protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo “calling for the ejection of ambassador Anne Patterson.”
Even Muhammad Heikal—“the Arab world’s most respected political commentator” and for over 50 years an Egyptian political insider—said during a live interview that Patterson had assured the Muslim Brotherhood’s Hisham Qandil, who under Morsi was Egypt’s Prime Minister, that “there are many forms of pressure, and America holds the keys to the Gulf.”
Such blatantly pro-Muslim Brotherhood actions are what have led most Egyptians, including politicians and activists, to see Patterson as the Brotherhood’s lackey. In fact, one Egyptian politician, Mustafa Bakari, concluded that “in my opinion, she [Patterson] is a member of the sleeper cells of the Brotherhood, likely recruited by Essam al-Erian or Muhammad al-Baltagi.”
Then of course, it is widely known that in the days leading to the June 30 Revolution, Patterson called on Egyptians not to protest—including by meeting with the Coptic Pope and asking him specifically to urge the nation’s Christian minority not to oppose the Brotherhood, even though Christians were naturally the most to suffer under Morsi, especially in the context of accusations of “blasphemy,” and are the most to suffer now, in retaliation to the Brotherhood’s toppling.
These reasons and more demonstrate why Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, is a disliked figure in Egypt. More importantly, they also demonstrate the unambiguous pro-Muslim Brotherhood policies of the current U.S. administration.