Graham: Egypt risks becoming ‘failed state’

They called on the military to release members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were jailed after former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power, and to quickly hold negotiations and new reelections so an elected government could take power again.

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Graham reiterated those calls Thursday, saying the country had to follow the rule of law, not the rule of "the gun.”

“The backlash against the Muslim Brotherhood was real and deserved,” Graham said. “However, we must remain committed to certain guideposts as a nation including the rule of law and not the gun, choosing leaders through free and fair elections, and inclusive government which protects the rights of religious minorities.”

Graham said that escalating violence could impact U.S. interests at home, noting the oil that travels through the Suez Canal and warning that a failed state in Egypt was “al Qaeda’s dream come true.”

Both Graham and McCain have said that the military’s ouster of Morsi was a coup, a designation the Obama administration has refused to make. While the Republican senators have also said they don’t support cutting off aid to Egypt while the situation remains in flux, McCain said Sunday that Congress should consider cutting aid if the military used violence against the pro-Morsi protesters.

“If they go ahead and crack down in a violent way, I’m afraid the Congress of the United States would have to consider carefully the elimination of aid,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The White House and Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the violence Wednesday but did not suggest they were reconsidering suspending aid to Egypt.