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

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains 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.
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