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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid