Over the course of the next 25 minutes, he and President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt hashed through ways to end the latest eruption of violence, a conversation that would lead Mr. Obama to send Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the region. As he and Mr. Morsi talked, Mr. Obama felt they were making a connection.
Three hours later, at 2:30 in the morning, they talked again. The cease-fire brokered between Israel and Hamas on Wednesday was the official unveiling of this unlikely new geopolitical partnership, one with bracing potential if not a fair measure of risk for both men.
After a rocky start to their relationship, Mr. Obama has decided to invest heavily in the leader whose election caused concern because of his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, seeing in him an intermediary who might help make progress in the Middle East beyond the current crisis in Gaza. The White House phone log tells part of the tale.
Mr. Obama talked with Mr. Morsi three times within 24 hours and six times over the course of several days, an unusual amount of one-on-one time for a president. Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology. Most important, Mr. Obama told aides that he considered Mr. Morsi a straight shooter who delivered on what he promised and did not promise what he could not deliver.
‘The thing that appealed to the president was how practical the conversations were — here’s the state of play, here are the issues we’re concerned about,’ said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. ‘This was somebody focused on solving problems.’ The Egyptian side was also positive about the collaboration.
Essam el-Haddad, the foreign policy adviser to the Egyptian president, described a singular partnership developing between Mr. Morsi, who is the most important international ally for Hamas, and Mr. Obama, who plays essentially the same role for Israel. =‘Yes, they were carrying the point of view of the Israeli side but they were understanding also the other side, the Palestinian side,’ Mr. Haddad said in Cairo as the cease-fire was being finalized on Wednesday. ‘We felt there was a high level of sincerity in trying to find a solution. The sincerity and understanding was very helpful.’
The article cites President Obama’s aides who said “they were willing to live with some of Mr. Morsi’s more populist talk as long as he proves constructive on the substance.” According to a recent Secure America Now report, Dr. Morsi’s “populist talk” has included:
- Signing a bayyan (Islamic declaration) that speaks about the “ Zio-American pact and its allies” and calls for “military resistance” in Iraq and Palestine, which it labels as “Jihad.”
- Stating “the Quran has established that the Jews are the ones in the highest degree of enmity towards Muslims” and that “there is no peace with the descendants of the apes and pigs”.
- Calling Israelis “killers and vampires” who are “more dangerous to global security than any other kind of terrorism.”
- Stating on the sixth anniversary of 911 that “The US administration has never presented any evidences on the identity of those who committed that incident” and that it was “impossible” for a plane to have brought down the Twin Towers
In October, a post reported that Dr. Morsi participated in a prayer service during which an Islamic cleric called upon the Jews to be destroyed.”