News / Middle East

Morsi's Assumption of Sweeping Powers in Egypt Concerns US

Mohammed Morsi sitting in Ittihadiya Palace, the official residence of the president, in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo (photo from 10/07/12).
Mohammed Morsi sitting in Ittihadiya Palace, the official residence of the president, in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo (photo from 10/07/12).
The United States is concerned about Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi taking on broader powers, saying it does not want to see too much authority resting in too few hands. The president's decree has sparked protests by opposition activists, who continued to camp out in Cairo's Tahrir Square for a fourth day Monday to demand that Morsi reverse his decision.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr Monday to discuss President Morsi's assumption of broader powers.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Secretary Clinton underscored the importance Washington places on settling these disputes democratically.

"We want to see the constitutional process move forward in a way that does not overly concentrate power in one set of hands, that ensures that rule of law, checks and balances, protections of the rights of all groups in Egypt are upheld," she said.

Egyptian judges hope to persuade the president to limit the sweeping powers he granted himself last week.  Morsi says placing his decisions above judicial review is temporary.

He met Monday with Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council to explain the move. Nuland says that is encouraging.

"The fact that the right people are talking to each other is a good step, but obviously we want to see this issue resolved in a way that meets the standards and principles that we have been supporting all the way through since the Egyptian revolution began," she said.

A protester throws stones as others run for cover during clashes with riot police at Tahrir Square in Cairo, November 26, 2012.A protester throws stones as others run for cover during clashes with riot police at Tahrir Square in Cairo, November 26, 2012.
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A protester throws stones as others run for cover during clashes with riot police at Tahrir Square in Cairo, November 26, 2012.
A protester throws stones as others run for cover during clashes with riot police at Tahrir Square in Cairo, November 26, 2012.
Rallies against the president's greater powers have reinvigorated a fractured opposition in Cairo, with some of his opponents accusing the new president of attempting to become "a new pharaoh."

Without a functioning legislature, Nuland says Egypt's post-revolutionary democracy is operating in a "very unclear political environment."

"It is a very murky, uncertain period in terms of the legal and constitutional underpinnings, which makes it all the more important that the process proceed on the basis of democratic dialogue and consultation," she said.

The State Department spokeswoman would not say whether President Morsi's decision might affect U.S. backing for International Monetary Fund assistance to Egypt's new government.

During her conversation with Foreign Minister Amr, Secretary Clinton also discussed the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas authorities in Gaza.​

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by: Elle from: US
November 26, 2012 8:29 PM
During the "Arab Spring", the Obama administration told us that we risk being on the wrong side if we remained aligned with secular Egypt’s government. Maybe so, however, recent events have made it clear there is a wrong side for freedom in the Middle East and, thanks to the administration backing up of the Muslim Brotherhood, we’re on it. I presume, a new Iranian freedom..

by: Jeffery from: Los Angeles
November 26, 2012 8:09 PM
The US wants this exactly. What a joke statement by Washington. Payoff Morsi (like his predecessor was paid off) and control Egypt and its borders - especially the "Gaza" border.

by: Chris from: TN
November 26, 2012 7:43 PM
Why would the U.S. be worried about Egypt's leaders power grabs when the executive branch here in the states has been doing the exact same thing through the patriot act, the military commissions act, NDAA, a number of cyber bills, and a host of other bills which remove freedom from the people?

by: George Washington from: Mount Vernon
November 26, 2012 7:16 PM
"U.S....saying it does not want to see too much authority resting in too few hands"
Irony defined, my fellow citizens. It's incredibly sick how such an obvious media focus shift is able to even take place in an increasingly oppresive government state. The United State's bid for true freedom has strayed so far from the path of realistic probability that under the constant distractions of modern society we as the people are oblivious to the futility of a popular vote or independent belief. The Middle East has been at war and under oppression since the beginning of recorded history, and by creating a media system where this sort of foreign vulgarity and violence is always headline news, society has metaphorically dug its own grave by allowing fear to dictate our lives and what we as the citizens of a potentially great, free country are able to do about it. LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD

by: Kablooy from: US
November 26, 2012 6:47 PM
A muslim attaining complete control of a government.....run away while you still can!

by: Ol' Bob from: USA
November 26, 2012 6:46 PM
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

by: Tom from: USA
November 26, 2012 6:40 PM
This is what Islamic Republics have alwasy become, ruthless dictatorships....that is why electing a known terrorist group to power in Palestine is such a slap in the face to Democracy...Democracy was created to stop dictatorships not allow them because they were voted in by completely corrupt uneducated people who don't even begin to understand what freedom means. In fact the farce that was the elections in Palestine can only be compared to other ruthless dictators who did the same thing throughout history held elections and declared themselves the winners....complete disgrace to Democracy, Freedom and a total disregard for world history.

by: Bernard Lenz from: U.S.A.
November 26, 2012 6:30 PM
Wow! A promoter of the Islamic Brotherhood running over the rights of other human beings who are not Islamic is not news. It is simply Islamic Dogma. Anyone who thinks that the Koran does not teach total domination of the world and absolute conversion/captivity of non-Islamic followers can not read, think or observe. This is just Islam in action. Tapdance, distract and take over. Soon followed by modified slavery for Women, girls and everyone else in varying degrees. In the event the complete surrender of society at the door of Islam is not taking place fast enough...then murder, torture and lie until it does.

by: Stefan Schreier from: Boise Idaho
November 26, 2012 6:26 PM
"....concerns U.S."? Why? What business is it of ours?

by: James Foster from: Hermosillo, Sonora, MX
November 26, 2012 6:21 PM
I wasn't aware that Egypt was answerable to the United States.

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