News / Middle East

Analysts: Egyptian Troubles at Home Hinder Diplomacy Abroad

Elizabeth Arrott
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's first months in office have descended into a profound sense of internal division, overshadowing what began as an attempt to forge new international alliances.

Egypt's domestic troubles have eclipsed what some saw as a promising start for President Mohamed Morsi on the world stage.

Just a day before he kicked off a crisis by granting himself extraordinary powers, Egypt basked in its resurgent role as a diplomatic player, brokering a truce between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza.

Foreign affairs efforts

The November cease-fire brought to new heights Morsi's foreign affairs offensive, highlighted by trips to Beijing and Iran just two months into his term.

"At the beginning he was clever to choose China and Iran to visit in order to say, 'I am independent of Western interests and American interests,' " said Mustafa el Labbad, director of Al Sharq Center for Regional and Strategic Studies.

In Beijing, Morsi deepened political and economic ties, which were small but symbolic counterweights to Egypt's decades of tight cooperation with the United States.

The Iran visit marked the first by an Egyptian head of state since Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979. But Morsi, who leads a mainly Sunni nation, held his own by lashing out at Tehran's support of the Syrian government, run by Shi'ite offshoot Alawites.

Charges of compliance

To some, however, Morsi appeared to be playing into U.S. hands even more than the old government regarding Iran.

"Obama wants a Sunni alliance in the Middle East, in Arab Spring countries, to besiege Iran," said political sociologist Said Sadek. So in this sense, the Muslim Brotherhood will not have a foreign policy that would not be different from the [Sunni] Gulf States."

Even credit for the Gaza truce, argued political analyst Hisham Kassem, is less a triumph for Morsi than it is for the U.S. and its allies in Egypt's traditional sources of power, which show no appetite for conflict with Israel.

"This is a situation where Morsi has no other option because the real players here are the Egyptian intelligence and the military," said Kassem.

The perception of Morsi being used by the U.S. has spilled over into protests at home.

Sadek said it all combines to make any foreign initiatives by the president more difficult. "Egypt needs to build the inside before they do outside."

The analysts say the domestic front likely will keep Morsi very busy in the coming months.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More