Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned on Sunday that if the U.S. doesn’t press Egypt to return to democracy, the country would turn into a “failed state” and a safe haven for al Qaeda.
“We’re headed for Algeria. The [Muslim] Brotherhood will go underground, al Qaeda will come to their aid, and you’re going to have an armed insurgency, not protesters, on your hands in the next 60 days or 90 days,” said Graham on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“We’re going to have to suspend our aid because we can’t support the reaction of the military, even though the Brotherhood overplaying their hand started this. We can’t support what the military’s doing in response.”
Fresh off a trip to Egypt, where more than 500 people have been killed in clashes between the military, and supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, Graham pressed President Obama and Congress to halt all U.S. tourism and business investment in the country.
If the U.S. does not act, the consequences for America and its allies could be dire, he warned.
“Al Qaeda’s going to come uninvited into Egypt. And you’re going to have a failed state, and that means gas prices go up for us, the Suez Canal gets compromised, and Egypt becomes a staging area for terrorist acts against Israel,” he said. “This is an absolute disaster in the making.”
Graham said that Egypt needs to write a new constitution that includes every party’s voice and hold democratic elections. He predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood “would get creamed” and never get the votes needed to take power again.
But first, Graham said, the U.S. needs to cut off aid and impose sanctions.
“What would happen if we cut off the aid is that Western tourism ends in Egypt for the foreseeable future for as far as the eye can see,” he said. “Western investment comes to a standstill. Egypt becomes a beggar client state of the Arab gulf states. Egypt’s future is really damned.
“We’re the strongest nation on earth. Everybody that sides with us tends to do better than people we oppose,” he added.