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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora