News / Middle East

What Comes Next in Egypt

Supporters hold posters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi during a rally near Cairo University Square in Giza, Egypt, Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Egypt was on edge Tuesday following a "last-chance" ultimatum the military issued to Mohammed Morsi, gi
Supporters hold posters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi during a rally near Cairo University Square in Giza, Egypt, Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Egypt was on edge Tuesday following a "last-chance" ultimatum the military issued to Mohammed Morsi, gi
Mohamed Elshinnawi
Middle East experts are pessimistic about the outcome of a showdown between Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a growing opposition movement clamoring for his resignation and the powerful military that has demanded a solution to the crisis by today.

And according to the experts, a solution to the crisis may be difficult because none of the players in the Egypt drama have indicated what they expect to come next if Morsi is, in the end, forced to step down.

“Unfortunately, I don’t see any positive scenarios unfolding that quickly return Egypt to a political equilibrium and stability,” said Amy Hawthorne, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

“The military and the opposition forces have already given up on Morsi and would like him to step down,” Hawthorne added. “Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups are digging in very deeply, refusing to be pushed out from power.”

Hawthorne predicted Egypt’s Islamist groups would react harshly if Morsi, who was elected in the nation’s first democratic elections a year ago, is forced from office.

Egypt’s opposition groups have been demonstrating for months again Morsi and his Islamic Brotherhood, claiming they are ignoring other political parties and trying to impose strict Islamic practices on the nation. The showdown reached a boiling point on Sunday when millions demonstrated against Morsi in cities throughout Egypt.
 
Monday’s ultimatum
 
Then on Monday, the powerful Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued an ultimatum: Morsi would have to cut a deal with the opposition within 48 hours or the Army would step in with its own solution.

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stand on top of an electric tram column and wave Egyptian flags during a protest in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, July 1, 2013.Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stand on top of an electric tram column and wave Egyptian flags during a protest in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, July 1, 2013.
x
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stand on top of an electric tram column and wave Egyptian flags during a protest in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, July 1, 2013.
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stand on top of an electric tram column and wave Egyptian flags during a protest in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, July 1, 2013.
On Tuesday evening, Morsi went on national television and again rejected the military’s ultimatum, saying his government was elected democratically and would not give up power.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood followers said the Army ultimatum amounted to a military coup and that they would resist it in the streets. At least seven people were reported killed in in street clashes in Cairo by Tuesday evening.

“Whatever the outcome, be it a full intervention or a military-mediated settlement, it will be unlikely to bring any semblance of stability to the country,” said Mohamed El-Shewy, a researcher at the Cairo-based Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

Mohamed El-Menshawy, a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, says another problem is that neither the opposition nor the Army have adequately spelled out what kind of solution they are seeking to the crisis.
 
“None of the major political players in Egypt appear to have a practical answer to the burning question: What is next?” El-Menshawy said. “For instance, no one has produced a politically sound ‘exit strategy’ beyond the loud demand to remove Morsi, and to hold a new presidential elections.”
 
Amy Hawthorne fears that increasing violence between opposing factions in the streets could at some point make a military solution the only option.
 
“It seems that the military is the actor that has the decisive power and the force behind them,” Hawthorne said. “That leaves the U.S. in a huge dilemma because it wants to maintain good relations with the military, which it had for decades, and wants to support the legitimacy of an elected leader, no matter who that leader is.”
 
Hawthorne says the two U.S. goals may be becoming contradictory.
 
Different interpretations of US position
 
In a phone call with Morsi late on Monday night, President Barack Obama reportedly confirmed that the United States would continue to deal with Egypt's elected president and to support the country's ongoing transition to democracy. Obama also reportedly encouraged Morsi to demonstrate that he is responsive to public concerns.

Morsi reportedly interpreted Obama’s statement as U.S. backing of his legitimacy. But Wahid Abdel Magid of the opposition National Salvation Front pointed out that President Obama stressed that democracy is about more than elections; it is also about ensuring that the voices of all Egyptians are heard and represented by their government.

Hawthorne argues that the U.S. position as expressed by President Obama is very clear: “The current situation in Egypt must be resolved through a political process and that President Morsi needs to take serious steps to respond to the demands and concerns of the opposition.”

But Hawthorne also says she says the situation in Egypt is dynamic and changing rapidly. She says the military’s actions could result in a variety of scenarios over the coming days.

“We have seen in other countries around the world, military stepping in to influence or force a certain political outcome without taking control, without directly assuming power.” Hawthorne said. “It is often difficult to interpret that as a military coup, but the U.S. does not want the military to impose a solution or to return to a military rule of Egypt.”

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, U.S. demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid