News / Middle East

Egyptians Skeptical About US Mediation Efforts

Egyptians Skeptical About US Mediation Effortsi
X
August 05, 2013 7:44 PM
U.S. officials, including two prominent U.S. senators, are in Egypt trying to help avert further violence in the showdown between the military and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. As VOA's Elizabeth Arrott reports, however, the U.S. role as honest broker has come under fire from both sides.
Elizabeth ArrottEdward Yeranian
U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are in Egypt, joining efforts by top U.S. diplomat William Burns to broker an end to the standoff between Egypt’s military-backed government and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

The U.S. role as honest broker, however, has come under fire from both sides.

In deeply divided Egypt, Islamists reject the military and the military demonizes the Islamists. The two are united, though, in their anger toward the United States.

Armed Forces Chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi told The Washington Post that America turned its back on Egyptians, and "they won't forget that."

The general played on a common perception that the U.S. was slow to support the ouster of Islamist president Morsi because it backs the Muslim Brotherhood.

US diplomatic view

That isn't how the Brotherhood sees it, however, especially after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry weighed in on the military's intervention.

"To run the country, there's a civilian government," he said last week. "In effect, they were restoring democracy."

The comments elicited contempt from Islamists across Egypt.  
 
"John Kerry and America are the ones who made the coup, they planned it and carried it out," said prominent cleric Safwat Hegazy. "So what else can you expect from him?"
 
Even before the recent upheaval, anti-American sentiment was growing.  Hesitation to clearly back one side or the other during the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak alienated both protesters and the old guard.

Every ruling group since has warned of "foreign hands" playing a sinister role in Egyptian politics, and by early this year, polls suggested a majority of Egyptians viewed the U.S. unfavorably.

Islamist activists, gathered at a trade union center Monday to discuss the fate of Morsi, blamed the U.S. for what they claim is support for rival secular parties.

One activist said the U.S. administration has been supporting what he calls a “counter-revolution” for the past two and a half years, in addition to backing the overthrow of Morsi. He predicted that Morsi supporters will prevail during Ramadan.

Some Egyptians say there is a lack of understanding and transparency about how the nation conducts its international affairs.
 
"Under Mubarak that was taboo," said political analyst Hisham Kassem. "You were not allowed to be part of that. That was supposed to be a dialogue that took place behind closed doors. So right now it's natural that the conspiracy theories prevail."

America loses luster
 
And even as America loses its luster as a champion of Egyptian popular interests, it's role as generous ally also is fading.

For decades, Washington sent more than $1 billion a year to its strategic partner in the Middle East. Then, in early July, Gulf nations pledged $12 billion to post-Morsi leaders, dwarfing U.S. financial leverage.    

Still, political analyst Kassem believes the rough patch in U.S.-Egyptian relations will pass. "I can see this is something that will be repaired, but over a few years, not at present," he said.

In the short run, the U.S. administration seems intent on mediating the crisis.

A British newspaper, The Independent, reports that the negotiations are focusing on a deal that would have Morsi present his resignation on state TV. It was not clear what might be offered in exchange.

Al Arabiya TV reported that Brotherhood negotiators were demanding that the group's deputy leader, Khairat el-Shater, be released from prison as part of any deal.

On Sunday, Egypt's judiciary announced that Shater and the group's spiritual voice, Mohammed Badie, would be put on trial for violence surrounding the storming of Brotherhood headquarters last June.

U.S. diplomat Burns met with Shater early Monday in a Cairo prison after talks with Egypt's interim government leaders over the weekend.

  • People perform Ramadan night prayers in Cairo, celebrating Lailat al-Qadr (the Night of Power), August 4, 2013.
  • A supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi prays outside Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo, August 4, 2013.
  • The area around the Rabaa Adiweya mosque has been packed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters sleeping in tents for over a month. Families bring children to protect them from the police forcibly dismantling the sit-in. (H. Elrasam for VOA)
  • A supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi prays outside Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo, August 4, 2013.
  • Children have been participating in protests in Egypt since the became widespread and near-constant in 2011. (H. Elrasam for VOA)
  • A supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi gets relief from the afternoon heat with the help of water sprayers in front of a poster of Morsi, Cairo University,Giza, Egypt.
  • A supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi cries while saluting the Egyptian flag at Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.
  • An Egyptian woman feeds her ducks in front of a barrier recently set up by supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi in their camp in Giza, southwest of Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 1, 2013. 
  • An Egyptian child attends prayers with his father at a protest near Cairo University in Giza, Egypt, August 1, 2013. 
  • Egyptian children wear head bands with Arabic writing: "No god but Allah and Mohammed is the prophet." They attend a protest outside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, Cairo, Egypt.
  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi pray at Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where Morsi supporters have installed a camp and hold daily rallies at Nasr City, Cairo, July 31, 2013.
  • "Third Square" actvists, who promote a middle way in the rift between the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of the army's overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, gather at Sphinx Square in Cairo, July 30, 2013.
  • "Third Square" actvists gather at Sphinx Square in Cairo, July 30, 2013.
  • Supporters of Mohamed Morsi during a march from Al-Fath Mosque to the defense ministry in Cairo, July 30, 2013.
  • Flares illuminate the gathering of several hundred activists the "Third Square" in Cairo. (Hamada Elrasam for VOA)
  • A young girl at the Third Square rally in Cairo. (Hamada Elrasam for VOA)
  • A young girl at the Third Square rally in Cairo. (Hamada Elrasam for VOA)
  • A young girl at the Third Square rally in Cairo. (Hamada Elrasam for VOA)

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
August 06, 2013 5:08 AM
Obama administration has no longer the quality of being trusted or believed. America's effort to mediate the opposing groups in Egypt is full of political mischiefs. This mediation effort will further the suffering of Egyptian people. Egyptians ought to resolve their differences peaceful and should not rely on any foreign interventions.

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
August 05, 2013 5:36 PM
How could the Egyptians trust the US in the mediation effort in the Egyptian unrest, if the US politically support the reinstatement of Former Egyptian President Morsi and provide 70% of the expenses of the Egyptian military. The best thing for the US is to stop all military assistance to the Egyptian military and get out of the internal affairs of Egypt.

by: ali baba from: new york
August 05, 2013 3:13 PM
the more American try to mediate the conflict, the more Muslim brotherhood will get stubborn and they think that people are begging them for mercy. the Egyptian army continue to arrest and put pressure in them until they understand that they have to accept the reality and go home otherwise they will have to face the music

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs