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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    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 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.