News / Middle East

Would New Leader Change Egypt's Foreign Policy?

Would New Leader Change Egypt's Foreign Policy?i
|| 0:00:00
X
Elizabeth Arrott and Japhet Weeks
June 13, 2012 3:15 PM
This weekend's presidential election in Egypt has raised fears of a radical shift in foreign policy should Islamist candidate Mohamed Morsi win. But as Elizabeth Arrott and Japhet Weeks report from Cairo, some see few changes on the immediate horizon.

Would New Leader Change Egypt's Foreign Policy?

Elizabeth Arrott
CAIRO - The upcoming runoff presidential election in Egypt has raised fears of a radical shift in foreign policy, should Islamist candidate Mohamed Morsi win.  But, some see few changes on the immediate horizon.

A possible win by the Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi has some wondering if Egypt could soon see a realignment of its foreign policy.

A spokesman for the Islamist candidate, Walid el Haddad, says a Morsi administration would strive to move beyond the U.S.-centered agenda of the past, but keep those decades-long ties strong.

"As we have a very good relation with America as one of the leaders of the world, so we have to have a good relation also with the Asian countries.  We will have a good relation with African countries, as the European countries," he said.

The key, el Haddad says, is balance.  Fifteen turbulent months after the old government fell, radical change is something the Morsi campaign is trying to play down.  Even on controversial issues such as Israel, the candidate vows to keep the peace.

"We are respecting any treaties," he said. "This is one of our Islamic references: to respect any treaties.  But also we are requesting the other side to respect [it]."

Morsi's opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of the old government, also stresses staying the course in foreign relations.  

Political observers note that, throughout the campaign, no one called for the treaty to be broken, even those who verbally attacked Israel.  

"It can be done for domestic issues, for, you know, raising the popularity of a weak presidential candidate.  But it is rhetoric that means nothing," said Said Sadek of the American University in Cairo.

Sadek says Egypt's need to keep friends was seen when Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador following a violent protest at its Cairo embassy.

"Immediately, what did they do?  The Islamist-controlled parliament sent a big delegation, [saying] 'please come back.  We don't want trouble.'  They actually, I believe them, they don’t want.  Nobody wants any major trouble in foreign policy," he said.

Another factor at play is Egypt's influential military, which was dragged into three wars during the last century.  Political analyst Hisham Kassem says, since then, it has pledged not to be the victim of political ambitions.

"So the war decision will remain theirs," said Kassem. "Add to that anything in foreign policy that will lead to war, which means basically Israel, the Nile basin and Iran.  You cannot make foreign policy isolated from the military in the next coming 10 years on issues like that."

There is also what appears to be an overriding need for the candidate who wins to keep his eye on problems at home. 

"We have a lot of issues internally actually," said Morsi spokesman el Haddad.  "We have the economic problem, the security disturbance."

Morsi, he says, will focuss on domestic issues, first. Changing foreign policy, he adds, is just not a top priority.  At least for now.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid