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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid