News / Middle East

    Egypt's Political Process Stalls, Islamists Call for More Protests

    Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi carry mock coffins during a symbolic funeral for the four men killed during clashes with police outside the Republican Guard headquarters a day earlier, in Cairo, July 6, 2013.
    Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi carry mock coffins during a symbolic funeral for the four men killed during clashes with police outside the Republican Guard headquarters a day earlier, in Cairo, July 6, 2013.
    Reuters
    Egypt's political transition after President Mohamed Morsi's ouster by the military has stumbled at the first hurdle, as the choice of liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister was thrown into doubt by Islamist objections.
        
    Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement called for further protests on Sunday after dozens of people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded on Friday in clashes between his supporters, opponents and the military.
        
    The violence across the Arab world's most populous state saw rival factions fighting street battles in central Cairo and many others cities and towns, and underlined the pressing need for a swift and inclusive political solution.
        
    The state Al-Akhbar newspaper, critical of the Brotherhood, ran the headline "The Brotherhood Killed Children in Alexandria" above images purportedly showing a youth being pushed from a concrete tower onto a rooftop by Morsi supporters.
        
    The Mediterranean city, where 14 people have died, was scene of some of the worst clashes in the dramatic upheaval since Morsi's removal from office, which comes just over two years after autocratic former president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a popular uprising.
        
    Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Nobel laureate, Cairo, Jan. 2012 file photo.Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Nobel laureate, Cairo, Jan. 2012 file photo.
    x
    Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Nobel laureate, Cairo, Jan. 2012 file photo.
    Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Nobel laureate, Cairo, Jan. 2012 file photo.
    ElBaradei's nomination had been confirmed by several sources and state media on Saturday, but just before midnight a presidential spokesman told reporters that the prime minister had not in fact been chosen.
        
    Abrupt u-turn
        
    The abrupt U-turn came amid opposition to the appointment by the hardline Islamist Nour Party, Egypt's second Islamist force after the Brotherhood, highlighting the challenge the military faces in finding consensus among liberals and conservatives on who should run the country.
        
    "We extend our hand to everyone. Everyone is a part of this nation," the spokesman told reporters. "The Muslim Brotherhood has plenty of opportunities to run for all elections including the coming presidential elections or the ones to follow."
        
    Minutes after he spoke, state media reported that the public prosecutor ordered four top Brotherhood leaders who were held this week to be detained for a further 15 days on accusations that they incited violence against protesters.
        
    The Brotherhood has said it wants nothing to do with the military's plans for a new interim government. It wants Morsi reinstated and has pledged to keep protesting until he is.
        
    The Nour Party, however, had agreed to the army-backed transition plan leading to new elections. Its withdrawal from the process would strip that plan of vital Islamist support.
        
    Following the Nour rejection, the interim administration headed by Adli Mansour delayed naming the new prime minister.

    U.S. Condemns violence

    Huge protests were staged on June 30 to pressure Morsi into resigning amid growing anger at economic stagnation and the perception among many that the Brotherhood wanted to take control of every part of the state, a charge it denies.
        
    Millions took to the streets to cheer his ouster on Wednesday, but for many Islamists it was a bitter reversal that raised fears of a return to the suppression they endured for decades under autocratic rulers like Mubarak.
        
    The military said it had not carried out a coup, but merely enforced the will of the people.
        
    The events of the last week have raised alarm among Egypt's allies in the West, including main aid donors the United States and the European Union, and in Israel, with which Egypt has had a U.S.-backed peace treaty since 1979.
        
    On Saturday, President Barack Obama condemned the violence and said the United States was not working with any particular party or group in Egypt.
        
    Washington has not condemned the military takeover or called it a coup, prompting suspicion within the Brotherhood that it tacitly supports the overthrow of the country's first freely elected president.
        
    Obama has ordered a review to determine whether annual U.S. assistance of $1.5 billion, most which goes to the Egyptian military, should be cut off as required by law if a country's military ousts a democratically elected leader.
        
    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel held three conversations with the head of Egypt's armed forces on Friday and Saturday, emphasizing the need for "a peaceful civilian transition in Egypt", the Pentagon said on Saturday.
        
    A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the conversations between Hagel and military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi lasted more than two hours.
        
    Egypt can ill afford to lose foreign aid. The country appears headed for a looming funding crunch unless it can quickly access money from overseas. The local currency has lost 11 percent of its value since late last year.
        
    ElBaradei has been quoted by newspapers as saying he expected Gulf Arab monarchies that were hostile to the Brotherhood's rule to offer financial support to the new authorities.
        
    Only gas-rich Qatar provided substantial funds to Morsi's government, totaling $7 billion in loans and grants. Turkey and Libya also provided smaller loans and deposits.
        
    Despite the turmoil, Egypt's stock market opened 1.5 percent higher on Sunday, as investors cheered Morsi's ouster.
        
    But an Egyptian pipeline supplying gas to Jordan was hit by an explosion on Saturday in an apparent attack. The blast in the largely lawless Sinai peninsula followed a spate of attacks there that have claimed six lives this week.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora