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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.