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Entries in Mohammed Morsi (32)

Friday
Jul052013

Egypt's Future Uncertain, Fear of Civil War Growing

STR/AFP/GettyImages(CAIRO) -- The supreme justice of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court was sworn in as interim president early Thursday after President Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power by the military.

Egypt's chief justice, Adly Mansour, assumed power in a ceremony broadcast live on state television less than 24 hours after the military placed Morsi under house arrest. Morsi denounced the military's decision and called the action a "full coup."

Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood party, said Morsi was under house arrest at a presidential guard facility where he had been residing, and 12 presidential aides were also under house arrest.

Mansour was appointed to the court by President Hosni Mubarak but elevated to the chief justice post by Morsi. Mansour will serve until new elections are held. No date has been given on the elections.

Mansour takes over as Cairo has turned into a tale of two deeply divided cities, which could set the stage for a violent civil war between Morsi's supporters and anti-Morsi protesters.

The anti-Morsi protesters celebrated into the early morning hours with fireworks in Tahrir Square after the announcement came that Morsi was ousted Wednesday night. Fearing a violent reaction by Morsi's Islamist supporters, troops and armored vehicles deployed in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere, surrounding Islamist rallies.

A major question now is whether the Muslim Brotherhood, which strongly supports Morsi, and other Islamists will push back against the new, military-installed regime. The ouster of Morsi throws Egypt on an uncertain course, with a danger of further confrontation.

The Muslim Brotherhood had worked in the shadows for more than 80 years before gaining power. Now Morsi and his backers have been ousted after only one year in office by the same kind of Arab Spring uprising that brought the Islamist leader to power.

"There's been a lot of very angry rhetoric, talk about the Brotherhood martyring themselves for the sake of democratic legitimacy. And so I think there is a real fear about violent opposition to this military takeover," said Tamara Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Some of Morsi's Islamist backers, tens of thousands of whom took to the streets in recent days, have vowed to fight to the end.

"The Muslim Brotherhood did not want this outcome at all. They feel they won fair and square through the ballot box and they should have been allowed to rule," said Wittes. "It's quite possible that they're going to rely on that sense of democratic legitimacy and try to oppose this military decree in the streets."

Deadly clashes in Cairo have left 40 people dead since Monday when the military gave Morsi an ultimatum to find a solution to meet the demands of anti-government demonstrators in 48 hours.

Stabilization in Egypt - the largest Arab country - is of vital concern to the U.S. and the rest of the Middle East.

One in every four Arabs lives in Egypt. It sits on top of the Suez Canal, which is how U.S. naval forces get in and out of the Persian Gulf and the world's oil gets to global markets.

The region has been in constant turmoil with Syria's deadly civil war, the nuclear threat from Iran and a still unstable Libya and Iraq. What happens next in Egypt is of grave concern to the U.S. and the rest of the region.

The U.S. is watching the events in Cairo closely and forcing the government to do a careful diplomatic dance around calling Morsi's ouster a coup. The U.S. gives Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid annually. United States foreign aid law states that, in general, the U.S. cannot give direct military funding to any country that is being run by a military government, particularly after a coup has overthrown a democratically elected leader.

President Obama said in a statement the U.S. is "monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people."

Obama also said that the U.S. supports non-violence and protecting human rights, but was careful not to take sides. The president called on the Egyptian military to quickly hold elections and restore a democratically elected Egyptian government.

After the ultimatum deadline expired Wednesday at 5 p.m. local time, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the country's top military commander, went on state TV and said Mansour would step in as interim president until new elections were held.

The office of the presidency tweeted defiance in his name.

"Measures announced by Armed Forces leadership represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation," read one of a series of tweets in Morsi's name.

"Morsi urges civilians and military members to uphold the law and the constitution not to accept that coup which turns Egypt backwards," the tweets stated.

"President Morsi urges everyone to adhere to peacefulness and avoid shedding blood of fellow countrymen," he concluded.

El-Sissi warned the Egyptian people to protest peacefully and said the authorities would not tolerate any violence.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun302013

Major Political Protests in Egypt on Anniversary of Morsi’s Election

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- Tens of Thousands of protesters in Egypt are already packed into Tahrir Square, in Cairo, calling for the removal of President Mohamed Morsi from office on the anniversary of his election.

Protesters spent the night in the square, the same place that was the epicenter of the protests that brought down former President Hosni Mubarak. Morsi's opponents say he's failed to tackle the country’s economic and security problems.

According to the BBC’s Ali Maqbool, demonstrators have been preparing for the June 30 anniversary of Morsi’s election for a while. Every major city in Egypt is seeing some form of a protest.

“We are looking to have a better life, more democracy,” said one woman. “We don't want any more of the Muslim Brotherhood. We are not convinced with Mohammed Morsi and we gonna stay on the streets until he leaves.”

The rebellion campaign against the president is talking about 22 million signatures to its petition, though Maqbool notes that that number is thought to be “quite a big exaggeration.”

Supporters of the president are planning their own rallies.

Several people have been killed over the weekend in protests across the country, including one American. Andrew Pochter, a rising junior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. During a news conference Sunday morning in Tel Aviv, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his condolences to Pochter’s family.

Kerry also said he was “confident about the status” of the U.S. embassy, and their ability to protect U.S. foreign service workers in the country.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb062013

Iranian President Visits Egypt Ending 30-Year Boycott

The Iranian President's Office via Getty Images(CAIRO) -- In a sign of a major policy shift, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with top Egyptian officials in Cairo Tuesday.

Until recently, the two nations had no diplomatic ties since the Islamic Revolution in Iran three decades ago and the ascension of Hosni Mubarak as Egyptian president soon thereafter.

However, Mubarak's overthrow in 2011 has resulted in closer relations between Egypt's civilian Muslim government and Iran.  Last summer, President Mohammed Morsi attended a summit in Tehran designed to reduce the isolation by the international community over Iran's rogue nuclear program.

Morsi personally greeted Ahmadinejad upon his arrival in Cairo Tuesday for talks that included improving ties between their countries as well as discussing the ongoing Syrian conflict that threatens to destabilize the entire region.

Although Morsi may be trying to get closer to Iran, he's also cognizant that reestablishing full diplomatic ties would likely jeopardize much needed economic assistance from Washington and the West.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan312013

Egypt's President Won't Accept Unity Government

AFP/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- There will be no unity government in Egypt if President Mohammed Morsi has his way.

With civil unrest growing over the direction of his Islamist regime, Morsi will not allow a new government to take over before the parliamentary elections are held on Feb. 25.

Meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Wednesday, Morsi says there is currently "a stable government working day and night in the interest of all Egyptians."

Some in Egypt might question that assessment as demonstrations since late November have often turned violent, with many opposed to Morsi's determination to rule with a constitution that they fear will turn the country away from the secularist doctrines of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Meanwhile, Morsi was pressed by reporters about comments he made two years ago as head of the Muslim Brotherhood in which he called  Zionists "bloodsuckers" and "the descendants of apes and pigs."

The Egyptian leader again maintained that his responses in two interviews were taken out of context, explaining, "I am not against Jews practicing their religion.  I was talking about anybody practicing any religion who spills blood or attacks innocent people -- civilians.  I criticize such behavior."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan172013

Egyptian President Claims He Was Taken Out of Context

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- A spokesman for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi says the angry slurs the leader made against Jews and Zionists during interviews in 2010 were taken out of context.

His office was responding to videos in which Morsi, who as the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, urged Egyptians to "nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred" for Jews and Zionists.

Morsi also described Zionists as “bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs."

But according to a Morsi spokesman, the comments actually described what he termed were the racist policies of Israelis toward Palestinians and weren't meant to denigrate Jews.

The Egyptian leader had to come up with an explanation for his 2010 comments because he was being visited by a delegation of U.S. lawmakers, led by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.

Morsi tried to assure the U.S. delegation that he respects all monotheistic religions as well as religious freedom.

Earlier in the week, Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at his daily press briefing that Morsi "should make clear he respects people of all faiths," adding, "We strongly condemn these comments...This type of rhetoric is unacceptable in a democratic Egypt."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan162013

White House Denounces Morsi's Comments on Jews, Zionists

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House on Tuesday sharply rebuked comments made by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi before he rose to power in 2010 in which he exhorted followers to hate Jews and Zionists.

Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at his daily press briefing that Morsi "should make clear he respects people of all faiths...We strongly condemn these comments...This type of rhetoric is unacceptable in a democratic Egypt."

What now concerns the U.S. is Morsi's sincerity since he has pledged to uphold a longstanding treaty Egypt has with Israel while seeking peace in the volatile region.

That could prove difficult with a videotape surfacing of Morsi, who as the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, urged Egyptians to "nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred" for Jews and Zionists.

Morsi also described Zionists as “bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec272012

Morsi Asks Egypt to Pull Together After Constitution Approval

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi told his countrymen on Wednesday that everything was on the level when voters approved an Islamist-based constitution during two rounds of ballot-casting.

During a televised address, Morsi asked that those who opposed the draft proposal to now work together with the Muslim Brotherhood, which controls the government, so that Egypt can move toward a brighter future.

Morsi also expressed gratitude to Egyptians taking part in a free and fair election, declaring the country was transitioning from a "First Republic" to a new "Second Republic."

Critics contend voter fraud took place in areas where people opposed the constitution, which threatens to set back women’s rights in Egypt and boost persecution against minorities including Christians.

Meanwhile, Egypt is in the midst of a major economic crisis and rather than fight the government on the constitution, Morsi's opponents might wait for economic turmoil to set in before mounting new protests.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec262012

Egypt Officially Passes Islamist-Based Constitution

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egypt’s electoral commission announced on Tuesday that an Islamist-backed constitution passed by about a two-thirds majority during two rounds of voting for the referendum that could profoundly alter the nation’s way of life going forward.

Only 17 million Egyptians, or about 30 percent of eligible voters, cast ballots to decide whether to accept the document.

However, President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party believe that the outcome is a mandate to move Egypt in a different direction from the more secular reign of former President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled with an iron fist for 30 years.

Critics, however, contend that the new constitution will curtail the rights women have achieved in Egypt, which are comparatively advanced for an Arab state.  Christians and other minorities also fear this will leave them open to more persecution.

In Washington, the State Department said “democracy requires much more than simple majority rule.  It requires protecting the rights and building the institutions that make democracy meaningful and durable.”

Therefore, the White House is calling on opponents of the constitution to demonstrate their unhappiness through legitimate political discourse while urging the Morsi government to accept dissenting views.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec172012

Egyptian Constitution Appears Headed for Approval

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Preliminary results in Egypt indicate that a majority of voters on Saturday approved the country’s new constitution, a charter backed by President Mohammed Morsi and his supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Observers say that this almost certainly means the constitution will pass, because the second day of voting -- next Saturday -- takes place in areas that are even more likely to approve the new charter.

The Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, announced on Sunday that an unofficial tally showed 56.5 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the draft constitution.  Initial results also indicate that about one-third of 26 million eligible voters went to the polls.

The Morsi government believes approval will finally bring stability to Egypt, but others feel the closeness of the vote will simply extend Egypt's deepening political instability.

Over the past several weeks, there have been violent clashes between Islamists and secularists.

Opposition groups say the first round of voting should be declared invalid by Egypt’s High Elections Commission because of rampant polling irregularities.  There are no indications that will happen.

If the new charter is approved, elections for the lower level of parliament would have to take place within two months.  Islamists are expected to win a majority of those seats.

Observers say a constitutional victory would significantly strengthen Morsi and his political allies and allow them to focus on Egypt’s crumbling economy.

They are also likely to make Egypt a more conservative, more religious country.

The opposition, however, feels Morsi is an autocrat, and cite voting irregularities and low turnout as a sign that the proposed constitution is illegitimate.  They have vowed to continue their fight.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec142012

Dueling Protests on Eve of Egypt’s Referendum Vote

Ed Giles/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Both sides in Egypt’s political battle are hitting the streets on Friday ahead of a vote that will help decide the future of the largest country in the Arab world.

Supporters of President Mohammed Morsi are rallying outside a mosque, urging Egyptians to vote for a constitution that they say will bring stability to a country in political and economic crisis.

But opponents of the constitution are converging on the presidential palace from four different locations, arguing the charter opens the door to conservative Islam and threatens to restrict freedom of speech.

Both sides believe the future of the country is at stake, and both sides are politicking in their own way.  The opposition has TV and newspaper ads and pickup trucks with loudspeakers touring the countryside, arguing the constitution will divide Egypt.  The Muslim Brotherhood has posters across the country delivering a simpler message: voting yes is voting to protect Sharia laws.

The vote has divided the country -- what one U.S. official calls Red State/Blue State Egypt, with Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and their religious allies on one side, and liberal, secular and Christian Egyptians on the other.

The majority of the vote takes place on Saturday, with most of the results expected to be in by later that night.  Other parts of the country will vote on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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