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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid