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What Happened in Cairo

3:00 PM, Sep 12, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
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Morsi may be wishing right now he still had former Field Marshal Tantawi around to hang this one on. If it was Tantawi or any of the holdovers from the Mubarak regime who gave the order to fire on the Salafis, Morsi would escape blame from the Egyptians and win praise from the White House for his resolve. But Morsi is all alone now. If he doesn't do something to assert control, the Salafis will have won the initiative and shown Morsi they can hurt him at any time.

Obviously the worst outcome here is a hostage crisis, with American lives put in danger. The next worst is a resolution brokered by the Salafis and “peace envoy” Mohamed Zawahiri showing that they have a vote when it comes to major security issues, like how to deal with Washington. If that happens, the Brotherhood and the Salafis will be squared off against each other for some time and, as they’ve established here, use American citizens, allies and interests for leverage against each other.

If Obama doesn’t act decisively to change the equation, letting Morsi know that he has more to fear from the United States than from the men in long beards and waving black flags, this is likely to get much worse, and very quickly.

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