News / Middle East

US Calls for Egyptian Voting Free From Intimidation Following el-Sissi Bid

US Calls for Egyptian Voting Free From Intimidation Following el-Sissi Bidi
X
Scott Stearns
March 27, 2014 8:44 PM
Egyptian General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's decision to run for president comes as the United States is pushing Cairo to improve its treatment of journalists and political opponents. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the decision means for an Obama administration trying to balance support for Egyptian democracy with security concerns in Saudi Arabia.
Egyptian General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's decision to run for president comes as the United States is pushing Cairo to improve its treatment of journalists and political opponents. The Obama administration is trying to balance support for Egyptian democracy with security concerns in Saudi Arabia in an awkward position.
 
The former general's candidacy has been expected for months. So U.S. officials say they are focusing now on the freedom of Egypt's electoral process. Deputy State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf.
 
"It is up to the people of Egypt to determine their future. And we have also repeatedly said that, as the people of Egypt go to the polls to do that, it must be in a climate that's free from intimidation where people feel they can vote for and support whatever party and whatever candidate they want to. And we have raised concerns with the interim Egyptian government about the ability for citizens to freely express their opinions," said Harf.
Abdel Fattah al-Sissi
 
  • Born in Cairo November 19, 1954
  • Graduated from Cairo's Military Academy in 1977
  • Trained at the U.S. War College in Pennsylvania 2006
  • Promoted to commander of Egypt's Western Front
  • Headed the military intelligence under Mubarak
  • Appointed army chief and defense minister by Morsi in 2012
  • He ousted Morsi on July 3, 2013
  • Promoted to field marshal in January 2014
  • Married, has 4 children

 
Especially as most of the recent U.S. human rights concerns followed el-Sissi's toppling of Egypt's first democratically-elected government - leaving Washington in what former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli calls an awkward position.
 
"The good side: they're running things. The bad side: they're repressing a lot of dissent.  And not necessarily disloyal dissent but any dissent.  That bothers President Obama and his administration.  It really does," said Ereli.
 
Concerns not shared by Washington's Arabian allies, who opposed the Muslim Brotherhood ousted in el-Sissi's coup.
 
"Saudi Arabia and the UAE are backing Sissi and the current government in Egypt to the hilt because they see the alternative as chaos," said Ereli.
 
But it is Egyptian security forces that are most likely to spread chaos in an uncertain political environment, says American University professor Hillary Mann Leverett.
 
"It is the torturing, the imprisoning, the complete suppression.  We may even see the public execution of Muslim Brotherhood leaders. That is something that will just radicalize the Muslim Brotherhood in a way that happened in previous presidencies in Egypt under Nasser and Sadat where you also had the precursors of al-Qaida," said  Leverett.
 
Threats that she says cannot be resolved by joining Saudi backing for General Sissi.

"The idea that we can work with Saudi Arabia in Egypt to suppress popular views, popular dissent, is a recipe for disaster," she said.
 
Deepening Washington's divide with Riyadh is the war in Syria, where Saudi Arabia wants the United States to take a more active role backing rebels fighting the government in Damascus.
 
U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann says that's affecting how Saudi Arabia approaches elections in Egypt.
 
"I think it increases the risks of Saudi Arabia taking a somewhat different position on what's happening in Egypt than the U.S. would like to see. So there are a variety of spillover effects that follow," said Heydemann.
 
Following his meetings here in Italy, President Obama travels to Saudi Arabia where he and Secretary of State John Kerry are meeting with King Abdullah.  Items of concern include democracy in Egypt, war in Syria, efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program, and Israeli/Palestinian peace talks.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ingy Sammakia from: Toronto Canada
March 29, 2014 3:31 PM
The Egyptian people want Al Sisi as president, so the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION cannot dictate to the Egyptian people who they should or shouldn't have as president.


by: ali baba from: new york
March 27, 2014 3:53 PM
United state has only one option. united state has to support sisi . if he has not have the resources to control the country and Muslim brotherhood use any means necessary to topple him. the country will fall into chaos and stability of all region will face a serious threat from radical Islam. the fact that sisi does not violate the individual human right .journalist are getting paid to spread negative news to destabilize the country for the money they get form Muslim brotherhood. Muslim brotherhood is playing with fire to burnt the country for its goal.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid