Politics: White house, State Department issue confusing statements about Egypt 'ally' status

Published by: Robert Laurie on Thursday September 13th, 2012

Robert Laurie

By ROBERT LAURIE – OFFICIAL: Egypt definitely is, or maybe isn’t, a close ally of the United States

As the situation in the Middle East continues to unfold, it’s clear we have at least one as yet undocumented casualty: Egypt’s status as an ally.  The country has maintained its status as a “Major Non-NATO ally” since it was first bestowed in 1989.

Last night, the situation seemed to change when President Obama said of the country “I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy.”

This might have been Obama’s most shameless attempt to “have it both ways” ever.  It also didn’t last long, since it created a firestorm of controversy among people who wondered, if Egypt is neither legally considered and enemy or an ally, just what are they?

Today, according to ABC news, Obama is doing his best to back away from his earlier comment.  When asked, White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said “‘Ally’ is a legal term of art. We don’t have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt like we do with our NATO allies. But as the President has said, Egypt is long-standing and close partner of the United States, and we have built on that foundation by supporting Egypt’s transition to democracy and working with the new government.”

 Thank goodness that’s all cleared up.

 The spokesman also made it clear that Obama was in constant communication with the Egyptian President, and had called him the night before “to review the strategic partnership between the Unites States and Egypt, while making clear our mutual obligations – including the protection of diplomats and diplomatic facilities.”

 However, the state department itself seems less than sure of what the President thinks, as you can see in the following video of State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

So there you have it: definitive proof that the U.S. State Department considers Egypt an ally, even though it doesn’t seem sure that the U.S. president shares its opinion.

Just a suggestion but, rather than jetting off to Vegas for a campaign swing, perhaps this is the kind of mixed message the leader of the free world should be sorting out.