Washington casts wary eye at Muslim Brotherhood

By By LARA JAKES

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama begins his second term straining to maintain a good relationship with Egypt, an important U.S. ally.

That country's president is a conservative Islamist walking a fine line between acting as a moderate peace broker and keeping his Muslim Brotherhood party happy with anti-American rhetoric.

The White House last summer had hoped to smooth over some of the traditional tensions between Washington and the Brotherhood, when Egypt overthrew dictator Hosni Mubarak (HOHS'-nee moo-BAH'-rahk) and picked Mohammed Morsi as its first democratically elected leader.

But a spate of recent steps — from Brotherhood-led attacks on protesters to revelations of old comments by Morsi referring to Jews as "bloodsuckers" and "pigs" — have raised alarm among senior U.S. officials and threatens $1 billion in American aid to Egypt.

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