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

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    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.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora