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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.