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

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: 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.
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