News / Middle East

    Egypt's Future Unclear Following Islamist Ouster

    A supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi throws stones at riot police during clashes in the Ramsis square area in central Cairo, July 15, 2013.
    A supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi throws stones at riot police during clashes in the Ramsis square area in central Cairo, July 15, 2013.
    Nearly two weeks after the Egyptian army's ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood is still giving no sign it is ready to join the country's political transition process.
     
    Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour has called for the Islamist group to join the military-led transition and take part in upcoming votes to decide on a new constitution, parliament, and president.
     
    But the Brotherhood has refused, insisting that doing so would essentially be giving approval to what it views as a military coup against the government of Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected leader.
     
    "The entire political process is nothing more than a sham. And participating in it gives it legitimacy," said Gehad El-Haddad, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, in an interview with VOA.
     
    'We've already gone through a presidential election,' said Islamists
     
    It makes little sense, Haddad said, for the Brotherhood to try to win elections as it did for the past two years, if it is does not believe that Egypt's military will allow it to take power again.
     
    "There is no guarantee the military will not do this again," he said. "We've already gone through a presidential election, we've gone through parliamentary elections, we've gone through a constitutional referendum."
     
    It is understandable for the Brotherhood to doubt the assurances of the military, say some analysts, who point out that the Islamist group was banned for decades under successive military-dominated governments.
     
    New framework should 'guarantee democracy,' prevent authoritarianism
     
    Egyptian political commentator Nervana Mahmoud said the key is for Egypt to first come up with a framework to limit the power of those who win elections. Under such a system, she said, Islamists would have nothing to fear.
     
    "If the Islamists win [elections] again, they should be allowed to rule," said Mahmoud. "But the rest of Egypt will not accept it unless there is a serious platform of the right constitution, the right laws, that guarantee democracy."
     
    Critics accuse Morsi of using his year as president to attempt to monopolize power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also said his government failed to protect minorities and did not address the country's struggling economy.

    Many of Morsi's opponents deny that the military ouster represents a coup, saying the move was supported by days of mass protests calling for him to step down. But Mahmoud said such a debate is irrelevant.
     
    "The coup happened. Whether we like it or not, whether we debate it is a coup or not, it happened, and we have to move on. And I feel there's no desire to move on, particularly on the Islamist side," she said.
     
    Involving Brotherhood difficult, but necessary
     
    But some say reconciliation may be difficult, since the government has issued arrest warrants for many senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Further complicating the matter is the military's role in last week's killing of more than 50 Morsi supporters at an Islamist protest in Cairo.
     
    But Adel Abdel Ghafar, a visiting scholar with the American University in Cairo, said the only long-term option is to include the Brotherhood in the political process. He said failure to do so raises the possibility of long-term political instability.
     
    "Of course, [the Islamists] would be very cynical about participating. But the other option is quite dark. It's basically civil war, and I don't think anyone in Egypt wants to go down that path," he told VOA.
     
    The Brotherhood realizes that Morsi is not likely to be reinstated, said Ghafar. He said the group will probably try to negotiate a deal that would allow its senior members to get around criminal charges and keep some of their power.
     
    But for now, there are few signs that any such negotiations are taking place. And, at least publicly, Brotherhood officials say they plan to keep up the daily protests calling for Morsi's reinstatement, even if the effort looks futile.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora