House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R – VA) declined to directly criticize President Obama for his handling of the growing protest movement in Egypt today, insisting he is “having a tough enough time as it is,” but his comments did suggest he had a different focus.
Rather than giving lip-service to democratic reforms in Egpyt and focusing on the demands of the massive opposition movement being balanced with “stability” as President Obama has, Cantor insisted the US policy in Egypt should be entirely to “stop the spread of radical Islam.”
Cantor’s comments are likely linked at the Western concern about the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned opposition faction that the US has declined to have any official contact with. The group is far from the only opposition faction in Egypt, but is a significant one.
The reason for this is largely the same reason religious factions were so powerful in the Iranian Revolution, that the banning of rival political factions leaves the mosques as one of the few places that people can openly voice dissent. Still, the Muslim Brotherhood has insisted they aren’t trying to seize power for themselves, and has ruled out fielding a candidate for president in the event Egypt has free elections.