"It seems now that [Egypt's] main relevance in regional and global affairs is as a potential source of trouble. Its combination of instability, corruption and ineptitude makes Egypt fertile soil for radicalism and Islamist militancy. And Washington should treat it as such. It should stop pretending Egypt is an important player in Arab affairs, and pay more attention to countries that are."
In Sana'a last summer, a senior Yemeni general told me of his recent meeting with visiting American officials. The general had hoped to make the case for greater U.S. aid, military and civilian, for Yemen. But the Americans kept asking him about events in Egypt.
"They kept saying, 'What do you think of the Muslim Brotherhood? What are the Egyptian military officers telling you about [Mohamed] Morsi?'" the general recalled, shaking his head in frustration. "I told them, 'We had our own Arab Spring, now we have a democratic government, we have acute poverty, civil wars and al-Qaeda. Can you please stop talking about Egypt and start talking about Yemen?'"