News / Middle East

    Analysts Weigh In on Egypt Defense Chief’s Call for Friday Protests

    In this image taken from Egypt State TV, Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech in Cairo, July 24, 2013.
    In this image taken from Egypt State TV, Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech in Cairo, July 24, 2013.
    Cecily Hilleary
    Egypt's interim leadership is urging peaceful protests on Friday following a speech Wednesday by Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who called on Egyptians to take to the streets and support the military’s mandate to fight "violence and terrorism.”

    "We urge citizens to commit to peacefulness, and the state is solely responsible for security," Ahmed al-Meslemany, media adviser to Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour, said Thursday.

    The Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi say they will go ahead with their own rallies on Friday, despite General Sissi's statement.  They have planned at least 30 protests across the country. 

    Senior Brotherhood spokesman Mohamed el-Beltagy says General Sissi is calling for what amounts to a civil war as a means of protecting “this military coup" and that he is calling for mass rallies in order to cement his status as de facto leader. 

    "He is proving that he is the actual ruler of the country, and that the president, his vice president and the government do not hold any power,” Beltagy said.
     
    Meanwhile, the Tamarod movement that organized protests last month that led to Morsi’s ouster has welcomed Sissi’s remarks.  Tamarod leader Mahmoud Bahr called on Egyptians Wednesday to support the military in Friday protests, saying the movement is happy that the armed forces will confront the “violence and terrorism” practiced by the Brotherhood.

    Inciting conflict?

    A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi walks in front of graffiti depicting Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, army commander and defense minister, around Cairo University and Nahdet Misr Square in Giza July 23, 201A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi walks in front of graffiti depicting Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, army commander and defense minister, around Cairo University and Nahdet Misr Square in Giza July 23, 201
    x
    A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi walks in front of graffiti depicting Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, army commander and defense minister, around Cairo University and Nahdet Misr Square in Giza July 23, 201
    A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi walks in front of graffiti depicting Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, army commander and defense minister, around Cairo University and Nahdet Misr Square in Giza July 23, 201
    But some observers worry that Sissi’s remarks could be interpreted by some, in addition to the Muslim Brotherhood, as a call to civil war. Wadah Khanfar, journalist and president of the pro-democracy think tank Sharq Forum, worries that Egypt may be learning that violence is the only method of political engagement. 

    “Sissi, by his speech, put aside the civilian government facade he appointed and wanted to use as fig leaf, has exposed himself as the new pharaoh of Egypt,” he writes in the Huffington Post.

    Addressing those concerns, Egypt’s prime minister today reminded the country that the interim government “is responsible for all of its sons,” and that peaceful protests are allowed, but the government will punish anyone who violates the law.

    Sissi’s motives

    In an editorial on the Arabist blogsite, reporter/analyst Steve Negus suggests Sissi has taken a potentially risky move by injecting himself and the military so strongly into mass politics.  He offers several possible motives: 
     
    First, Sissi’s move may reflect the military’s growing fears that the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai could be spreading into the rest of the country.
     
    Negus suggests that Sissi may be feeling pressure to deliver peace and security to the general population that last month turned to the military to help oust Morsi.  Negus also says that the defense chief may simply be fed up with the Islamists “thumbing their noses” at the military through ongoing rallies and acts of violence: 
     
    “As the Brothers themselves learn, whoever is charge ultimately loses credibility when disorder is prolonged, even if the state swears up and down that it's the fault of opposition protesters or do-nothing police,” Negus writes.  
     
    Finally, he states that the ongoing popularity of the military in Egypt may have prompted Sissi to run for president. 

    U.S. Reaction

    The U.S. State Department has expressed concern that Friday’s demonstrations could turn violent. 

    “We are concerned that clashes would make it very difficult to reconcile and get ahead of cycles of unrest and instability,” spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at Wednesday’s daily briefing.  

    “We remain focused on encouraging the interim government to move towards an inclusive process which includes elections – civilian elections, and we’re monitoring closely steps they’re taking to do just that,” she said.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: lina from: SAYEGH
    July 25, 2013 4:14 PM
    Egypt is a very strong country they knew how to distroy these Muslim brotherhood before they distroy the country like what happened in Syria, these brotherhood are a disease a colera hope that USA and Canada will wake up soon and watch out for these terrorists, don't listen to the media the muslim brotherhood a murderes and God bless General el Sissi he's a strong patriotic who helps Egypt to be strong again. God save Canada frm this invasion.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.