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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs