Sen. Graham frets early Egypt elections

Feb. 13, 2011 at 12:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A senior U.S. senator says portrayals of the Muslim Brotherhood as a benign secular organization make him nervous about rushing into new elections in Egypt.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on CNN's State of the Union Sunday that he has questions about just how good U.S. intelligence about the Muslim Brotherhood actually is, especially since they would likely do well in any election held in the near term.

"I worry about our own intelligence services understanding what the heck is going on," Graham said. "When the DNI (director of national intelligence) of the United States said the Muslim Brotherhood is mostly a secular organization, it sent chills up my spine."

Graham said Egypt had a long road to go towards fair and transparent elections given its lack of a truly democratic system. He advised Egypt to take its time in developing political parties and other institutions.

Graham said Washington also had to worry about relations with other Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Edward Walker told CNN that the relatively peaceful ouster of President Hosni Mubarak was actually a setback for violent Islamic extremists, particularly al-Qaida.

"Al-Qaida lost on this, because al-Qaida has basically said all along that this is a situation that can't be fixed by the people; it has to be fixed by violent revolution," said Walker. "That's been their pitch to the Arab people."

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