Obama tells Morsi: US does not favor any Egypt group

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US President Obama told Egypt's President Morsi in a phone call Monday that the United States does not support any particular group, and that only Egyptians can determine their future.

The comments are widely seen in Egypt as a step back from Washington's past, at least-perceived support for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government, Egyptian journalist and Al-Monitor contributor Mohannad Sabry said.

The White House read-out of the July 1 call below:

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Gen. Petraeus’ “rider”

Retired Gen. David Petraeus has lowered his profile since hanging up his camouflage to helm the CIA last fall, and his foreign trips now go mostly unpublicized. But some Agency hands apparently find the new director’s list of requirements–cabled to foreign stations ahead of his travel to their outposts—a bit much.

One Agency veteran relayed what he described as Petraeus’ request list to the Back Channel. Among the items:

  • Fresh pineapple each night before he goes to bed (not canned)
  • Sliced bananas for his cereal in the morning
  • Someone to accompany him on his morning runs, and a route devised that preferably avoids crossing any streets.
  • Also, he noted, the former General doesn’t open doors. “All doors have to be open when he arrives,” the former senior CIA officer said.

In addition, the intelligence chief requests that six empty wine glasses be placed in his room, in case he needs to host foreign dignitaries or members of the travel party after a long day of meetings.

A CIA spokesman, asked for comment on the list, said that as a rule, the Agency does not discuss the details of the Director’s travel. But he noted the items on the alleged list would seem to reflect a Director who takes care of his health—(Petraeus, 59, had surgery for prostate cancer a couple years ago)–and is an avid runner.

“The fact of the matter is that Director Petraeus pays a great deal of attention to his health,” CIA spokesman Preston Golson said by email.  “He has a lifelong commitment to physical fitness, and that naturally includes a careful diet.”

“As for running—not jogging—it’s hard to do a six-minute mile if you’re waiting at an intersection,” Golson added. Continue reading