News / Middle East

US Urges Egyptian Military to Use Restraint

The United States on Monday condemned violence in Egypt, and urged the military to use maximum restraint.  The U.S. is urging Egyptians to come together to overcome political divisions, and to remain engaged in the political process. 
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States remains deeply concerned by increasing violence across Egypt and a "dangerous level of political polarization."
His remarks came amid reports Monday of the worst incident of violence since President Mohamed Morsi's ouster last week by Egypt's military. 
Soldiers and police clashed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters outside a Republican Guard building in Cairo. At least 51 people were killed, many more were injured.
Carney expressed condolences for those killed and wounded.  He urged Egypt's military to exercise restraint, and specifically condemned calls to violence by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Saying Egypt's "stability and democratic political order are at stake," Carney said Egypt "will not emerge from this crisis unless its people come together to find a non-violent and inclusive path forward."
"The United States is not aligned with nor is it supporting any particular political party or group.  We remain actively engaged with all sides, and we are committed to supporting the Egyptian people as they seek to salvage their nascent democracy," he said. 
At the State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that U.S. contacts with all parties in Egypt include the Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party, but she would provide no further details of conversations.
Psaki was on the defensive as she responded to reporters asking why the Muslim Brotherhood should heed U.S. calls to engage in the political process after President Morsi's ouster.
"A democratic process is not just about casting your ballot. There are other factors in terms of - in addition to that, including how somebody behaves and how they govern. And this is a case where millions of people have spoken in the country. We are not judging that, but again, that's a real factor here," she said. 
Much of Monday's White House news briefing was devoted to questions about a critical decision facing President Obama and the U.S. Congress - whether to suspend $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt.
U.S. law requires suspension of aid if it is determined a democratically elected government has been overthrown.
Carney said the Obama administration does not believe any precipitous suspension of aid would be in the interests of the United States, but he said high-level consultations are continuing.
"We think, not just I, it would not be in the best interests of the United States to do that. We are reviewing our obligations under the law and we will be consulting with Congress about the way forward with regards specifically to the aid package that we provide," he said. 
Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy says President Obama and U.S. policy face some tough challenges in the current situation in Egypt.
"The challenge for doing policy in this environment is that the Muslim Brotherhood is not going to be willing to accept any scenario in which Morsi is not re-instated as president because they view his ouster as something that was stolen from them.  At the same time, the military by removing Morsi I think understands very well that is has no choice but to launch a full-out assault on the Brotherhood.  In that kind of situation where both sides are really digging their heals in and have absolutes that are mutually exclusive, it is very hard for the United States to exert leverage with either party," he said. 
White House spokesman Carney said Monday a transitional period in Egypt must be "defined by reconciliation rather than reprisals or rejection of the political process."
The U.S. called on Egypt's military to avoid arrests targeting specific groups or movements, and avoid restrictions on the media, and urged political parties and movements to remain engaged in dialogue.

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs