News / Middle East

Egyptian Support for Syrian Rebels Still Words Over Action

Egypt's Support for Syrian Opposition Is Verbiage Over Actioni
June 17, 2013 6:18 PM
Egypt has further aligned itself with those trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But as VOA's Elizabeth Arrott reports from Cairo, it remains unclear how far Egypt will back its words with action.
Egypt's Support for Syrian Opposition Is Verbiage Over Action
Elizabeth Arrott
Egypt has further aligned itself with those trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It remains unclear, though, how far Egypt will back its words with action.
Syria's civil war has increasingly drawn in outsiders, from individual fighters to regional and international powers lining up on opposing sides. Egypt recently has stepped up its role, but the message appears mixed.

President Mohamed Morsi has severed Egypt's already tenuous ties with Syria's government, a move denounced by Syrian officials as influenced by the United States and Israel.

Morsi also lashed out at intervention by Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking at a rally Saturday, he said Hezbollah must leave, adding “there is no space or place for Hezbollah in Syria.”
The open presence of the Shi'ite militant group in Syria has highlighted the conflict's increasingly sectarian nature.
Leading Sunni clerics meeting in Cairo last week denounced the presence of those they call “rejectionists.” And influential Egyptian Sheikh Youssef al Qaradawi urged Sunnis to wage jihad in Syria.
An aide to Morsi said Egyptians are free to fight in Syria. Not all Islamist politicians in this predominantly Sunni country, however, agree that jihad is the answer.
Mohamed Soudan, foreign secretary of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party [FJP], said, “They want to save the souls of the Muslims. But they should know that the other side is Muslim. So Muslims are killing each other,” said Soudan.
Yet Morsi gave a stark warning. He said “the Syrian people are facing a campaign of extermination and planned ethnic cleansing,” which he argued was “fed by regional and international states who do not care for the Syrian citizen."

It was a reference widely perceived to include Shi'ite Iran and the Syrian government's backers in Moscow, which raised questions about Morsi's call for a United Nations-backed no-fly zone. Veto-wielding Russia has made clear it would block such a move.

Morsi, facing growing opposition at home, including planned demonstrations at the end of the month, has shifted his government's focus to international events in recent weeks, now with Syria, earlier with Ethiopia and its controversial dam project on the Nile.

In his speech at the rally, though, the Egyptian leader gave no indication his government would send arms, let alone military personnel, to Syria, calling instead for talks.
“The solution is to sit down, to force Iran to let Bashar [al-Assad] sit down to see a safe exit with his people and to save the Syrian people, not to escalate the war. We will lose more and more souls from both sides,” said the FJP's Mohamed Soudan.
Calls for negotiations are almost as old as the war itself, now in its third year. Meanwhile, the rhetoric and acts of sectarianism grow, while solutions remain in short supply.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs