Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to Egypt has claimed that the United States pressured the Egyptian military to lie about the results of the elections in 2012, after Mohamed Morsi allegedly lost to his opponent Ahmed Shafiq.
Former Ambassador Ahmed Kattan made the surprising claims in a television interview with the Saudi channel Rotana Khalijia earlier this week, stating that the true election result was neglected and flipped by the Egyptian military council after it came under pressure from the then-American Ambassador in Cairo Anne Patterson.
Kattan claimed that that was the real reason why the council subsequently announced Morsi's victory, briefly giving the long-outcast Muslim Brotherhood power until Morsi was overthrown and imprisoned by the military a year later in 2013.
معالي أ. #أحمد_قطان يفجر قنبلة تاريخية:#أحمد_شفيق هو الفائز الحقيقي في أول انتخابات مصرية بعد الثورة، وضغوط السفيرة الأمريكية أدت إلى تغيير النتيجة وإعلان #محمد_مرسي رئيسا!#أحمد_قطان_في_الصورةpic.twitter.com/ZslMBegbnK
— في الصورة (@almodifershow) March 1, 2021
Kattan told the channel that, as he was present as ambassador in Cairo at the time of the elections, he sent a report to the former Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal informing him of the situation. In that report, Kattan allegedly told Al-Faisal: "Praise be to God that Mohammed Morsi was the one who won the elections because Egypt was going to burn, because the Muslim Brotherhood took control of the Egyptian street."
He also praised the announced results at the time because he reportedly predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood's "actions will be revealed during this year" and that it "will not rule Egypt."
The former ambassador added that he spoke in more detail about the events in a meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh that year, when he met with a number of notable figures including Al-Faisal, the kingdom's Ambassador to the US Adel Al-Jubeir, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Nizar Madani, and then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In that meeting, Kattan claimed, Al-Faisal introduced him to Clinton and told him to tell her of his predictions for the future of Egypt's political situation. "The Egyptian armed forces will not allow the Muslim Brotherhood to rule Egypt," he reportedly repeated to Clinton.
Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and allegedly also Israel, supported and played a role in the military coup of 2013 that deposed Morsi and brought current President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi to power.
Although Kattan's claim that the US pressured the Egyptian military to select Morsi has not yet been backed up by any evidence, if proven true then it would bring up a multitude of questions in the region. Social media users on Twitter have asked, for example, why Kattan is revealing it now after more than seven years.
Others have expressed their concern that Kattan is essentially challenging the Egyptian military and accusing it of treason. Mahmoud Gamal, a researcher at the Egyptian Institute for Political and Strategic Studies (EIPSS), asked on Twitter that "if we assume the correctness of his statement…then what will be the army's response to the accusations that Kattan directed against them"?
السفير #أحمد_قطان أراد أن يناكف إدارة #بايدن فطعن في المجلس العسكري، فإن فرضنا صحة كلامه بأن الأمريكان ضغطوا على المجلس لعدم إعلان شفيق بالفوز بالرئاسة ورضوخ المجلس لذلك فهي تهم بالعمالة والتبعية لقيادات المجلس العسكري، فماذا سيكون رد الجيش على تلك التهم التي وجهها لهم القطان.
— mahmoud gamal (@mahmoud14gamal) March 3, 2021