On Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly called his counterpart in Egypt, Mohamed Kamel Amr. He had a question: was Amr still foreign minister? Kerry didn’t know the answer. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Amr “had tendered his resignation hours earlier but agreed to stay on.” Kerry wanted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to call new presidential elections, replace the prime minister, and bring others into his government. When Morsi said no, the coup was on.
The Journal notes, “The moment served to underscore the Obama administration’s limited ability to steer events in a Middle East still being swept by political upheaval. A reconstruction of how the U.S. handled Egypt in recent months suggests that U.S. officials saw the standoff building but were unable to persuade Mr. Morsi to pull back.”