Michael O’Hanlon, a leading foreign policy analyst told Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland it’s not “smart” for the U.S. to give unconditional support to Egypt in the wake of the former General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi being elected as the country’s new president.
O’Hanlon serves as the director of research and a foreign policy senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
O’Hanlon says the election of Al-Sisi could start a new chapter in Egypt after a long period of uncertainty and political instability. But he expressed concern over controversial actions taken by Al-Sisi in the past year, including the deaths of several protesters killed last year by the army.
“I’ve not been convinced Sisi has handled himself perfectly,” O’Hanlon said.
“It feels like we are going back to the years of Mubarak ..."
- Michael O’Hanlon
Egypt’s recent election comes after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, who is still being held by the regime. Al-Sisi won decisively over his sole opponent, but a lack of voter turnout -- only 46 percent -- calls into question the meaningfulness of the election, according to O’Hanlon. He fears Egypt is moving backwards instead of developing into a democratic state.
“It feels like we are going back to the years of Mubarak and opting for convenience over long-term stability,” O’Hanlon said. “We should probably work with Sisi, but try to pressure him using our aid budget and other influence.”
O’Hanlon urged Cairo to allow for a gradual role for a moderate version of an Islamist movement in the country.
If this is not accomplished then O’Hanlon “doesn’t see how Egypt can be moving in the direction of democracy.”
Watch the full interview with Michael O'Hanlon above.