News / Middle East

    Egypt Upheaval Poses Dilemma for Washington

    Egypt Upheaval Poses Dilemma for Washingtoni
    X
    August 09, 2013 5:49 PM
    [America's relations with Egypt have been largely defined by the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and the financial rewards to Egypt for maintaining it. But current upheavals in the region may have changed that dynamic. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
    Egypt Upheaval Poses Dilemma for Washington
    Elizabeth Arrott
    America's relations with Egypt have been defined in large part by the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and the financial rewards to Egypt for maintaining it. But current upheavals in the region may have changed that dynamic.

    Foreign policy is not often the stuff of music videos. But an Egyptian belly-dancer's take on international relations offers a glimpse into current thinking.

    Selma elMasry's sings that U.S. President Barack Obama is a “stupid, bad man” for wanting ousted President Mohamed Morsi released from detention.

    The pro-military belly-dancer's song is proving a minor sensation, not least for reviving a perennial Arab complaint about U.S. support for Israeli-Palestinian talks.

    Israel has been the cornerstone of U.S - Egyptian relations for decades.  In exchange for recognizing the Jewish state in 1979, Egypt has received more than a billion dollars a year in aid - mainly to the military.

    But the U.S. faces a dilemma.

    Normally Washington calls a military ouster of a freely elected president a coup. By U.S. law, aid must be cut off. But aid to Egypt has been great leverage for the U.S. and has helped keep Cairo a trusted ally.
     
    This has made for awkward moments. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki spars with a reporter over the U.S. stance.
     
    REPORTER: “You have a position on what happened in Egypt was a coup?
    PSAKI: “We have determined that we do not need to make a determination.”

    Despite efforts not to offend, ties are strained. Armed Forces chief Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, like many other top generals, studied at the U.S. War College, but lately has been dismissive of Washington.

    And the recent influx of $12 billion from Gulf countries has made U.S. aid less important than it once was.
     
    Morsi's supporters think the U.S. made a mistake by accepting the ouster. They point to the ex-president's key role in resolving Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Mohamed Soudan is foreign secretary of the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing.
     
    "When Israel attacked Gaza, he finished this problem in 24, 48 hours," Soudan said. "And then we have very good relations with people in Gaza. And we can do also the reconciliation with Fatah.”

    But some argue the U.S. needn't worry too much about who's in charge in Egypt.

    Despite the rhetoric, neither the military nor Morsi's government showed interest in fundamentally altering the peace treaty with Israel.
     
    And the upheavals throughout the Arab world may have overshadowed Arab-Israeli antagonisms. Political sociologist Said Sadek of the American University in Cairo says the current troubles put the Israeli question into perspective and argues it's time for peace.

    "We cannot have the Arab-Israeli conflict from time immemorial until doomsday," he said. "We have to finish. We need to see an end.”
     
    Which would be welcome news for Israel's ally, the United States.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: hytvb from: DC
    August 09, 2013 2:40 PM
    Clearly, the leaders of the military takeover have something to conceal from the eyes of the world. That explains why I was recently refused entry into Egypt. I now feel I have a responsibility to warn the world that a despotic regime is seeking to reinforce its foundations in the country. The 25th January revolution guaranteed freedom of expression, of assembly and organisation. All these have been crushed.

    It is unrealistic and unfair to believe Morsy was responsible for the failure to achieve economic prosperity within a year. The man inherited a huge legacy of failure and institutional collapse from the previous regime. Furthermore, it has now become obvious that most of the state institutions, including the judiciary, the army, the security apparatus and most of the government departments, stood against him.

    But the success of heads of state is measured more by their respect for civil and political rights than by economic prosperity. Morsy passed this test by guaranteeing these rights when, in fact, his opponents enjoyed more freedom than his own supporters. Compare this to what has been happening to his supporters since the coup: hundreds have been detained, killed or wounded as they peacefully protested.
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 10, 2013 6:55 AM
    hytvb from: DC, you rightly noted that the military, the judiciary, the security apparatus, the civil society and most of the government departments in Egypt have risen against Morsi. How else do you measure success or failure? You talk about freedoms, why then did the people, including the judiciary rise against Morsi if not for the denial of same to the people? Do you still not understand that Morsi set aside the constitution and ruled by decrees? Talk about making peace with Israel, whether between Egypt and Israel, Israel and Palestine, or Israel and the rest of the islamic world especially of the Arab League leaning, are you not aware that during his one year in office Morsi placed relations with Israel in cooler and never made even a single contact? Are you not aware that since the Morsi presidency lawlessness and violence have increased in the Sinai Peninsula which is capable of undermining peace and security in Israel? Haba hytvb from: DC, can you be realistic just to put the records and history in the right perspective for posterity!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 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 Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    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.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.