Obama urges return to civilian rule in Egypt
Indo-Asian News Service
July 04, 2013
Plainclothes policemen walk with protesters opposed to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi at the site of clashes with opposing protesters in the Kit Kat neighborhood of Giza, Egypt, Tuesday, July 2, 2013. With a military deadline for intervention ticking down, hundreds of thousands of protesters seeking the ouster of Egypt`s Islamist president sought Tuesday to push the embattled leader further toward the edge with another massive show of resolve and unity. Witnesses said that armed and masked men marching with Muslim Brotherhood protesters fired pellets at protesters holding a sit in in the Kit Kat area, leaving a number of people injured. Police men in plain clothes held their automatic rifles and sided by protesters to disperse the Muslim Brotherhood protesters. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper)
Washington, July 4 (IANS) US President Barack Obama Wednesday expressed “deep concern” over the Egyptian military`s decision to remove President Mohamed Morsi from power and suspend the constitution, calling on the army to move “quickly and responsibly” to return “full authority” to an elected civilian government.
Reiterating Washington`s position that the future of Egypt can “only be determined” by the Egyptian people, Obama said the United States is “deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsi and suspend the Egyptian constitution”, reported Xinhua.
“I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters,” he said in a written statement.
© Copyright 2013. Indo-Asian News Service
Saudi king congratulates Egypt`s interim president
BBC Monitoring Newsfile
July 04, 2013
Unattributed report: “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques congratulates Chancellor Adli Mansur, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt on assuming office at this critical point of Egypt`s history”
Jedda, 3 July - The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdallah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Sa`ud has sent a cable of congratulation to Chancellor Adli Mansur, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Following is the text of the cable:
His Excellency, Chancellor Adli Mansur, the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Alsalamu Alaykum Warahmatu Allahi Wa Barakatu
In my own name and on behalf of the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I congratulate you on assuming the leadership of Egypt at this critical point of its history. By doing so, I appeal to Allah Almighty to help you to shoulder the responsibility laid on your shoulder to achieve the hopes of our sisterly people of the Arab Republic of Egypt. At the same time, we strongly shake hands with the men of all the armed forces, represented by Gen Abd-al-Fattah Al-Sisi, who managed to save Egypt at this critical moment from a dark tunnel God only could apprehend its dimensions and repercussions, but the wisdom and moderation came out of those men to preserve the rights of all parties in the political process.
Please accept our greetings to you and deep respect to our brothers in Egypt and its people, wishing Egypt steady stability and security.
Wa Alsalamu Alaykum Warahmatu Allahi Wa Barakatu.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Abdallah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Sa`ud
King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Source: SPA news agency website, Riyadh, in English 2140 gmt 3 Jul 13
© 2013 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Army built from both sides of Egypt`s divide must now keep them apart
July 04, 2013
The army`s in charge. Call it a coup, if you like. But the Egyptian military - or the infamous “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces” as we must again call it - is now running Egypt. By threat at first - then with armour on the streets of Cairo. Roads blocked. Barbed wire. Troops round the radio station.
“President” Mohamed Morsi - we`d better watch that title now - may call it a “coup” and claim the old moral high ground (“legitimacy”, “democracy”, etc) but long before we saw the soldiers in the city, Morsi was pleading with the generals to return to barracks. Ridiculous - the generals didn`t have to leave their barracks to put the fear of God (metaphorical or real) into Morsi`s collapsing administration. Morsi talked of shedding his blood. So did the army. This was grim stuff. Miserable was it to behold a free people applaud a military intervention, though Morsi`s opponents would claim their freedoms have been betrayed. But they are now encouraging soldiers to take the place of politicians.
Both sides may wave the Egyptian flag, which is red, white and black. The colour of khaki is no substitute.
Nor will the Brotherhood disappear, whatever Morsi`s fate. Risible he may have been in power, but the best-organised political party in Egypt knows how to survive in adversity. The Brotherhood is the most misunderstood - perhaps the most deliberately misunderstood - institution in modern Egyptian history. Far from being an Islamist party, its roots were always right-wing not religious, its early membership under Hassan al-Banna prepared to tolerate King Farouk and his Egyptian landlords provided they lived behind an Islamic façade.
Even when the 2011 revolution was at its height and millions of anti-Mubarak demonstrators had pushed into Tahrir Square, the Brotherhood was busy trying to negotiate with Mubarak in the hope they could find some scraps on the table for themselves. The Brotherhood`s leadership never stood alongside the people during Egypt`s uprising. This role was fulfilled by Egypt`s strongest secular base - the trade union movement.
If the Muslim Brotherhood is banned again - as it was under Nasser and under Sadat and under Mubarak - it will not lose its support within the armed forces. The army, as they say, belongs to the people. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate and now opposition leader, told me during the 2011 rising that “ultimately, the Egyptian army will be with the people...And after anyone takes off his uniform, he is part of the people with the same problems. So I don`t think they are going to shoot their people.”
But that was then, and this is now. Morsi, left, may have adopted the pseudo-trappings of a dictator but he was legally elected, and legitimacy is what the army likes to claim it is defending. In 2011, the “people” were against Mubarak. Now, the “people” are against each other. Can the Egyptian army stand between the two when they themselves now come from the “people” on both sides?
© 2013 Independent Print Ltd. All rights reserved
When is a coup not a coup? Obama faces tricky call in Egypt
By Patricia Zengerle and Warren Strobel
July 04, 2013
WASHINGTON, July 4 (Reuters) - The Egyptian military`s overthrow of elected President Mohamed Mursi left President Barack Obama grappling with a difficult question of diplomacy and language in dealing with the Arab world`s most populous nation: was it a coup?
At stake as Obama and his aides wrestle with that question in the coming days is the $1.5 billion in aid the United States sends to Cairo each year - almost all of it for the military - as well as the president`s views on how best to promote Arab democracy.
If the United States formally declares Mursi`s ouster a coup, U.S. law mandates that most aid for its longtime ally must stop. And that could weaken the Egyptian military, one of the country`s most stable institutions with long-standing ties to U.S. authorities.
Further complicating Obama`s calculus is the fact that millions of Egyptians rallied in favor of Mursi`s departure, and that the military announced a roadmap for return to civilian rule that was blessed by Egypt`s Muslim and Christian religious leaders.
But Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood retain backing from a broad swath of Egyptian society, even as he alienated many of his countrymen.
Obama, after meeting top advisors at the White House, said in a statement that he was “deeply concerned” by the army`s actions and had directed the relevant U.S. agencies to review the implications for U.S. assistance to Egypt.
But he did not use the word “coup” and stopped well short of advocating for Mursi`s reinstatement, suggesting Washington might be willing to accept the military`s move as a way to end a political crisis in a nation of 83 million people struggling with severe economic difficulties.
Recent history suggests Obama might take his time on deciding the future of U.S. aid to Egypt, and by extension, Washington`s relations with the country.
U.S. law bars “any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d`etat or decree.”
When Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in June 2009, Washington temporarily suspended aid, but did not cut about $30 million in assistance until more than two months later.
Even then, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not determine as a matter of law that a coup had taken place.
Eric Trager, an expert on Egyptian politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Obama should not label Mursi`s ouster a coup, nor cut off U.S. aid.
“The Obama administration should recognize that as undemocratic as a coup is, it was the result of the basic fact that President Mursi had completely lost control of the Egyptian state,” Trager said by telephone from Egypt.
“Democracy was not the primary thing at stake in Egypt these last few months,” but rather Mursi`s mismanagement and fears of collapse of the Egyptian state, he said.
In announcing Mursi had been deposed and the Egyptian constitution suspended, Egypt`s army commander promised a quick political transition. The military laid out plans for elections and a constitutional review.
CALLS FOR QUICK TRANSITION
The U.S. chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, warned Egyptian military leaders of consequences if Mursi`s overthrow were viewed as a coup.
“At the end of the day it`s their country and they will find their way, but there will be consequences if it is badly handled,” Dempsey told CNN.
Obama also warned against further violence, indicating that Washington`s ultimate decision on aid to Egypt will depend on how Egypt`s armed forces handle the transition in coming weeks.
Mursi, in power for a year, was widely blamed for presiding over a steady decline in Egypt`s economy and for failing to form a broad-based government that included other groups that had joined in the 2011 revolution that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak.
U.S. lawmakers also welcomed Mursi`s departure but called for a quick transition back to democratic rule - with a close look at the aid budget.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who heads the Senate subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, on Wednesday promised a review of the $1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid sent to Cairo each year.
Washington has cut off aid following military coups several times before. In April 2012, the United States suspended at least $13 million of its $140 million in annual aid to Mali following a coup in the West African nation.
Programs that did not go directly through government ministries were not affected.
Any Obama support for Egypt`s new government is unlikely to face opposition from Republicans in Congress, who had been skeptical of Mursi`s Islamist government.
“Mursi was an obstacle to the constitutional democracy most Egyptians wanted,” said Republican Representative Ed Royce, the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
Republicans also voiced strong support for Egypt`s military, whose close ties to Washington stretch back to the 1979 Israeli-Egypt peace accords.
“The Egyptian military has long been a key partner of the United States and a stabilizing force in the region, and is perhaps the only trusted national institution in Egypt today,” said U.S. Representative Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House.
“Democracy is about more than elections,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton. Editing by Stacey Joyce)
© 2013 Reuters Limited
Russian Expert Expects Egypt To Have `Dictator` This Year
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Article by Konstantin Volkov: “Military Junta Coming to Power in Egypt. Army Supports Dissenters Against President, Seeking To Strengthen Its Own Position”
Egypt is moving quickly toward the establishment of a military junta regime. On 1 July the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces stated that it is giving Muhammad Mursi`s government 48 hours to meet the “demands of the protesting people” and embark on measures to bring the country out of the crisis. At present in relation stands at 9.5% and unemployment, according to official figures, at 11.5%, but in reality it is probably twice that.
The protests that began last week showed how divided the country is after the events of the Arab Spring in 2011. Salafis from the radical Islamist Al-Nur party have unexpectedly aligned themselves with the opposition, which demands the resignation of the government and the president, declaring that they too are dissatisfied with the Mursi regime and will come out in support of the opposition`s demands.
At the same time demonstrations took place in favor of Mursi, organized by another Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood. Several tens of thousands of people took to the streets in various cities, protesting against a military coup. It should be recalled that in the afternoon of 1 July an opposition mob stormed the offices of that party, from whose ranks the current head of state came.
In view of the fact that the opposition and the supporters of Mursi are roughly equally divided, without intervention by a third force Egypt is threatened with chaos. And only the Army can be that force. The military have already begun to act. It was largely under pressure from them that more than 10 ministers, among them Foreign Minister Muhammad Amr, resigned. Several Cabinet members are under de facto house arrest, guarded by soldiers.
“Egypt will get a dictator again this year,” Aleksey Malashenko, member of the Academic Council of the Carnegie Moscow Center, says. “If the Army has issued an ultimatum, that means it expects to succeed.”
Meanwhile the military themselves are still denying any intention of coming to power. But if the country finds itself facing a choice -- anarchy or a firm hand -- they will hardly remain aloof.
“The Army is ready to take power,” Maha Azzam, an analyst at the British Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, says. “And its aim is to preserve the essence of the Mubarak regime, under which it was able de facto to run the country.”
For almost 60 years Egypt has been under the power of the military. During that time they managed to take control of all the main sectors. After the revolution, economic efficiency declined sharply, and the military are unhappy about that. For the same reason they are in no hurry to allow the Islamists into power -- their advent will damage, in particular, the tourist industry, which is largely controlled by the generals.
If the president will not make concessions the Army has promised to bring some kind of “roadmap” into play. According to Azzam this will most likely consist of two scenarios, both of which imply the president`s departure. First -- he goes quickly, and power formally passes to the opposition, but in reality remains in the hands of the military. Then preparations begin for extraordinary elections of the head of state. The second scenario -- pressure begins to be put on Mursi in the form of acts of civil disobedience and strikes, in order, once again, to force him to quit his post. And after that -- again, elections. In both cases a candidate who suits the military will come to power.
Meanwhile the Islamists themselves, in particular the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, do not believe the military should interfere in politics.
“Their job is to protect the state against an external enemy, not to issue ultimatums to the legitimately elected president,” Freedom and Justice Party spokesman Muhammad Sudan told Izvestiya. “The same can be said for the `roadmap` -- formulating political solutions is the job of the parties, not the military.”
However, experts believe that the Mursi government is losing on all fronts. The unsuccessful amendments to the Constitution, implying the imposition of the sharia, chiefly annoy the intelligentsia, who take European systems as their model. And failures in the economy have led to a situation where the army of the poor faces the threat of famine. That is why the “Arab Street” has joined the protests on such a scale.
(Description of Source: Moscow Izvestiya Online in Russian -- Website of large-circulation daily that is majority-owned by Yuriy Kovalchuk`s National Media Group and usually supports the Kremlin; URL: http://www.izvestia.ru/)
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