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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More