This is the kind of international landmine that I’ve been fearing could influence November’s elections.
In his first public speech addressing tens of thousands of mostly Islamist supporters, [Egyptian President-elect Mohammed] Morsi promised Saturday to work to free Omar Abdel-Rahman, the spiritual leader of men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Congress is off to march in their local Fourth of July parades next week, but I would assume a call to withhold Egypt’s aid will be at the top of the agenda when they come back. The threat of losing US funding will provide yet another incentive for the Egyptian military to crack down (though Morsi also promised to free protestors held under the military system).
And I expect Romney advisors like John Bolton to use this as an opportunity to accuse Obama of having lost the Arab Spring.
Which could make things … interesting.
And all that’s before you consider the effect any backlash from us will have on the Egyptian people.