News / Africa

Egyptian Army Chief Warns of State Collapse

Egyptian protesters celebrate the capture of a state security armored vehicle that demonstrators commandeered during clashes with security forces and brought to Tahrir Square in Cairo, January 29, 2013.
Egyptian protesters celebrate the capture of a state security armored vehicle that demonstrators commandeered during clashes with security forces and brought to Tahrir Square in Cairo, January 29, 2013.
VOA News
The head of Egypt's military has warned that the country's political crisis could lead to the "collapse of the state."

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who also serves as defense minister, made the comments Tuesday in a speech to military academy cadets.

Sissi's warning followed a night of protests with hundreds of anti-government demonstrators packing the streets in Egyptian cities, ignoring state-of-emergency rules and a nighttime curfew meant to suppress riots.

Political analyst Rania el-Malki told VOA that the Egyptian military is trying to pacify the protesters.

"I think it's just a way of telling the people that we need to have some kind of calm, we need to maintain some kind of calm," she said. "To perhaps convince understandably angry young people that there has to be a peaceful way of expressing their anger or their frustration with the current administration, that the use of violence is going to lead us nowhere, and that we are all in the same boat."

Video footage of Egyptian protests


Egyptians defying the curfew gathered in Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez City after the measure took effect late Monday. VOA Cairo correspondent Elizabeth Arrott said the three flashpoint cities have strategic importance for the Egyptian government.

"These cities along the Suez canal are obviously a huge money earner for Egypt," Arrott said. "So they do not want to risk any chance of something happening there that would interrupt that flow of revenue or scare away investors even further or continue the unrest [that has been] keeping tourists away."

President Mohamed Morsi decreed the emergency regulations on Sunday after chairing a meeting of the National Defense Council, which includes civilian Cabinet ministers and senior military officers.

Morsi's Cabinet also approved a draft law allowing him to deploy the army to assist police in providing security, including arresting civilians.

In a gesture to his opponents, the president called for a national dialogue and invited opposition groups and politicians to join him for talks on Monday.

That effort failed, however, as the main opposition National Salvation Front and other opposition groups refused to take part in any talks under the current conditions.

Opposition balks

Former presidential candidate and Arab League head Amr Moussa told journalists that the opposition still seeks dialogue, even though it stayed away from Monday's meeting.

He said the opposition remains ready for dialogue and that dialogue need not lead to a predetermined result, and it is not true that the opposition is afraid of the possible results.

In contrast, Muslim Brotherhood political figure Pakinam El-Sharqawi told a press conference at the presidential palace Tuesday that the government is trying to facilitate an entente but is being frustrated by certain opposition leaders.

She said the ball is in the court of the opposition and that those leaders who attended the dialogue session do in fact represent many sectors of Egyptian society. She accused several key opposition leaders of changing their demands to avoid dialogue.

Latest Developments in Egypt

January 25: Violence erupts as protesters mark second anniversary of uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak
January 26: Armed forces deploy in Suez, riots erupt in Port Said after verdict issued in football case
January 27: President Mohamed Morsi declares 30-day state of emergency in three provinces
January 28: Protesters pack streets, defying emergency rules and curfews
January 29: Head of military warns the political crisis could lead to the "collapse of the state"
Arrott said the opposition coalition is facing growing criticism for its decisions.

"People are increasingly calling them out of touch," she said. "They said from the [beginning] they would not negotiate with the government without preconditions. One analyst I spoke to said [Egyptians] want someone to negotiate.  By their refusing, it only seems to polarize the situation and create this stalemate where nothing is going forward. So, there is frustration all around."

Military role

Analyst Malki said the relationship between the Islamist president and relatively secular army officers has become more cohesive.

"I think Morsi in his own way somehow managed to - I don't want to say co-opt - but I think he has managed to kind of bridge that gap that we all thought would continue to be there," she said. "It seems to be they are doing really well communicating."

Veteran Egyptian editor and publisher Hisham Qassem told VOA that he does not believe the current unrest will lead to a civil war, but that he thinks the Egyptian army will start taking a more prominent role in the crisis to rein in the situation.

“When it comes to deploying the military, I have no doubt the military will deploy if necessary," Qassem said. "But it cannot be read as a coup. I have no doubts that if there is turbulence, and it looks very likely that that will happen, that they will deploy, stabilize the country and do a repetition of the scenario we had two years ago.”

Almost 50 people have died since Thursday, when violence broke out during rallies marking the second anniversary of the uprising against former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

Port Said has been the worst-hit area, with at least 37 people killed. Violence in the city escalated Saturday after a court sentenced 21 people to death for their involvement in a deadly football riot there last year.

Edward Yeranian contributed to this report from Cairo.

  • Pro and anti-government protesters throw stones during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, January 30, 2013.
  • Egyptian riot police arrest a man during clashes with protesters near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, January 30, 2013.
  • Protesters celebrate the capture of a state security armored vehicle that demonstrators commandeered during clashes with security forces and brought to nearby Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, January 28, 2013.
  • Protesters use camera phones to capture a burning state security armored vehicle that demonstrators commandeered, brought to Tahrir Square and set alight, Cairo, Egypt, January 28, 2013.
  • Egyptian riot police clash with protesters, not seen, near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, January 27, 2013.
  • Egyptians carry the coffin of a man killed protests a day earlier in Port Said, Egypt, January 27, 2013.
  • Smoke rises after Egyptian protesters clash with police, unseen, in Port Said, Egypt, January 27, 2013.
  • A riot police officer gestures during clashes with protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi throwing stones at him near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, January 25, 2013.
  • A protester opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi throws a tear gas canister, earlier thrown by riot police near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, January 25, 2013.
  • Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi throw stones towards riot police during clashes near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, January 25, 2013.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bassam Eissa from: Egypt
January 29, 2013 11:13 PM
President Mohamed Mursi is to leave Egypt's political crisis behind him on Wednesday with a short trip to Germany to beg for urgently needed money and foreign investment and convince Europe of his Muslim Brotherhood "European Liberal democratic" credentials and convince UK, France and Belgium of Egyptian solid stability and increased prosperity in the lucrative Egyptian space technology, satellite communications, remote imaging and advanced cancer research... with Humus

by: Suliman from: Saudi Arabia
January 29, 2013 12:57 PM
I can tell you Mr Plack, that Arabs do appreciate Israel very much. we can't say it publically... but privately we know that she will not allow Iran to dominate or abuse us. she will not allow France to collude with Turkey to invade Syria... and she will protect Egypt against foreign invaders... and let me tell you, there are all sorts of ways we show our appreciation which are not apparent to people that are not born to the desert customs
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
January 29, 2013 2:50 PM
I understand how Arab haltered to Israel but any war could have negative impact especially Egypt . Egypt have no resources and Saudi Arabia view is not in the Egyptian consideration . Egyptian want to live. Egyptian does not want a war even these radical imam are calling for war

by: Hanz Planck from: Germany
January 29, 2013 12:05 PM
i doubt if American fighter jets or cutting edge Tanks could do much harm in the hands of the Egyptian... Israel will make sure to take out that contingency out of circulation before it becomes a weapon in the suppression of the Egyptian People. sometimes i wonder if Arabs appreciate that tiny neighbor of theirs...

by: ali baba from: new york
January 29, 2013 11:40 AM
if the possibility of state collapse .what happen for the American fighter just shipped last week. this give proof positive that American policy maker had made bad decision .. American fighter would be to the wrong hand

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
January 29, 2013 11:19 AM
Egypt is going through crisis in full circle. Mubarack was a dictator with the full support of the military. Once he was removed from power Morsi came to power under the banner of Moslem Brotherhood.

The actions of Morsi were much worse than that of Mubarack. Morsi is a dictator representing the international terrorist organization of Muslim Brotherhood. He usurped more dictatorial powers than Mubarack. More civilians were killed by the Morsi administration than the civilian lives lost for the removal of Mubarack. Mubarack is under prosecution for the death of civilians during the last days of his administration. It is time for Morsi to be removed from power and indicted for the same crimes done by Mubarack.

The obsevations of the Defense Minister and head of the military is significant. The crisis in Egypt could lead to the collapse of the state. Is it a warning for military intervention in Egypt if there is collapse of the state? The survival of Egypt is dependent on the military and a new constitution.

by: Mark from: USA
January 29, 2013 9:46 AM
you shouldn't be stunned...Devatogolo... both the Muslim brotherhood and the Baath party patterned themselves on the worst examples of depraved cult fascism - Nazism and Stalinism.

by: Devatuoglou from: Turkey
January 29, 2013 8:53 AM
The Obama support of the Muslim Brotherhood has stunned the Middle East. It is like America suddenly embraced the murderous Baath Party and praised its achievements. the difference between the Baath and the Muslim Brotherhood is that the Baath was a political organization who employed revolting terrorism to impose its will, whereas the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization with political aspirations.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs