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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    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.

    By the Numbers

    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.