News / Middle East

Obama Faces Tough Choices on Egypt

Obama Faces Tough Choices on Egypti
X
July 06, 2013 1:53 AM
President Barack Obama is facing difficult choices in shaping U.S. policy toward Egypt after the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday. The White House is assessing how best to encourage both democracy and stability in Egypt.
Obama Faces Tough Choices on Egypt
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama is facing difficult choices in shaping U.S. policy toward Egypt after the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday. The White House is assessing how best to encourage both democracy and stability in Egypt.
 
Two days after his ouster, supporters of Egypt's ex-president clash with demonstrators who want him out - reflecting that nation's division and the quandary left for U.S. policymakers.

A military officer announced the removal of Morsi after barely a year in power. Large crowds of Egyptians had pushed for his removal.

President Barack Obama has spoken in public only once since the overthrow, and he did not mention what many are calling a military "coup" in Cairo. Over two days, the president has discussed the situation with his national security advisers.

Obama issued a written statement Wednesday, expressing “deep concern” about the military’s move. He urged the military to quickly and responsibly “return full authority… to a democratically-elected civilian government as soon as possible.”

Obama’s statement was seen by some people as criticizing Morsi's ouster.  

Administration officials, in meetings and phone calls, however, seemed to signal to Egypt and other U.S. allies that the White House accepts the military’s act.

And some Washington analysts have advised the administration to align itself with the Egyptian military. They call it “the only safe harbor in the relationship,” and “the one actor the United States can still influence.”

Others, such as Jon Alterman, director of Middle East Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, say the U.S. should engage with Egypt’s whole political spectrum.

“I think we should have a relationship with the military, but we should also have deeper relationships with the business community, and deeper relationships with the academic community, and deeper relationships in the provinces and so on, because Egyptian politics are going to be shifting for many years to come,” said Alterman.

In his statement, Obama avoided using the word “coup” when referring to the events in Cairo.

At stake is more than $1.5 billion a year in U.S. aid to Egypt, most of it to the military. U.S. law requires cutting off aid to any country in which an elected government is deposed in a military coup.

Alterman said the law does not take into account a situation like the one in Egypt, and he believes U.S. lawmakers will work around it.

“The response to the law, the common sense approach to U.S. interests, to the U.S. relationship with Egypt, to the U.S. relationship with the Egyptian military, is going to be [that] people will find some way not to make a judgment on that, so that it does not disrupt the bilateral relationship,” he said.

Later, the Republican chairman and top Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee issued a joint statement implying that it was time for Morsi to go. Ed Royce and Eliot Engel also encouraged the military to exercise extreme caution and support sound democratic institutions.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
July 06, 2013 1:12 PM
I am glad US finally learnt that there is nothing in the world is absolutely right or wrong like the colour white or black.
democracy and dictatorship are the same, they could be both wrong under some circumstance.
US should learn to stop judging other countries inner-fares.

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
July 06, 2013 11:03 AM
A tough sit for the WH? not really, this type of conflict is not unusual; it can potentially lead to a civil war. What to do? not take sides; offer services to mediate the conflicting political views; this is not a conflict between the Egyptian army and the conservatives, or the Egyptian army and the liberals. Recognize it is a conflict between conservative and liberal political forces in Egypt; and recognize that the root cause is the absolute failure of the conservative forces, lead by Morsi, to achieve any economic progress. Morsi has shown to be incapable of improving any aspects of Egypt's economy; in addition, he failed to compromise on the path to achieve a balance between minority, secular, and conservative Islamist policies in the ramrodded constitution. His biggest failure was to stop the harassment of women, on the streets, his policies appeared to encourage extremists, that are against the emancipation of women; Morsi did absolutely nothing to ensure equality, on the contrary all his policies appeared to be geared to pit the Islamists against all others. Dialogue, compromise, and a fair constitution will be necessary to make Egypt inclusive. Unless Egypt's economy, especially the plight of the unemployed young people, is addressed the potential for a deadly civil war will continue to exists, no matter if the left, right or center takes over the gvmt of Egypt. Most of it applies to many other countries, and not just in the ME. Globalization, which concentrates production/jobs in a few countries, is one of the major causes of all these economic collapses/wars/civil unrest that we see around the world; It is incumbent on the global producers to distribute production, so that employment opportunities improve around the world. The other major cause is still tribalism, and lastly the failure to emancipate women.

by: Dr. Malek Towghi from: USA
July 06, 2013 1:38 AM
Let us not forget that class dynamics are also a part of the equation in the present upheaval in Egypt. From the very beginning Muhammad and the Quran portrayed themselves as upholders of the rights of the "mus-taz-'afin", the economically and socially weakest of the weak, the downtrodden, against the then existing Establishment of the economically dominant "arrogants" (mus-tak-birin) and "tyrannical" (jabbarin) elements of the society. It is this class of the "pious" (salihun) downtrodden and deprived, the sans culotte, that the Quran promised -- and continues to promise -- to "inherit the land", i.e. capture power. It should not be surprising that the majority of the leadership of -- and the bulk of support for -- the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic configurations, gama-at, come from the lower and lower-middle classes -- from the urban slums, semi slums and deprived rural regions -- which together form the overwhelming majority of the population.

It should also be noted that there is no real and meaningful understanding and appreciation for secularism -- constitutional separation of religion from common educational, civic, state and international affairs -- among the so-called moderate and 'liberal' Muslim leaders. It is the identification with the upper class Establishment and its luxurious life-style -- and with a vulgar superficial 'modernity' -- rather than a commitment to Western Enlightenment-based cum Jeffersonian ideals that distinguishes them from the Islamists. The fact is that none of the Egyptian opposition leaders and parties including Mr. Muhammad ElBaradei and his National Salvation Front had/has the courage to openly demand and promise a religion-neutral constitution for Egypt. If this second coup -- the first being that of 1954 -- succeeds, most probably the Islamic clauses of the Egyptian constitution will remain intact, more or less, providing a base for the further Islamization of the laws and constitution -- something that happened in Pakistan.

by: ali baba from: new york
July 06, 2013 12:45 AM
the crisis in Egypt is expected. the American approach is stupid. they supported Muslim brotherhood which they created a chaos in the country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
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 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 Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs