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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

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During the Arab Spring Egyptians covered the streets in protest of President Mubarak and demanded a leader change and access to a democracy to give power to the people. After a long wait, the military rule gave power to the elected President Morsi. An operating democracy is a major step for Egypt and the people got what they wanted. Or did they?

On November 22nd, President Morsi decided to give himself sweeping powers that destroyed checks and balances and any real accountability. This led to more protests by the people who demanded the democracy that they thought they had already won. Once again, Egyptian protests were seemingly successful despite 7 people dead and hundreds wounded in a clash between protesters and Morsi’s support, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Mursi renounced his unstoppable powers and ceded to the wishes of the people. However, in doing so he issued a decree that gave the military permission to arrest protesters and hold them and refer them to prosecutors. On top of this, a constitution was written that clearly supports the agenda of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, liberals see it as a stab in the back from Morsi but so far a peaceful vote has been the result. The vote looks to be in favor of the constitution which may cause for more instability.

Morsi is accredited with much of the work that brokered the ceasefire between Israel and Palestine over the Gaza Strip. This could be an indicator that Morsi plans to step up as a major peace maker in the region but at this point he seems a little difficult to get a beat on. His domestic policy and foreign policy approaches appear to be polar opposites. 

Egypt can play a major role in the region and having influence on conflict between Israel and Palestine is not easy to come by. How should the United States judge this? Is Morsi a leader that we can trust and include in future regional peace talks? Many leaders have had differing grand strategies when gears shift from domestic to foreign policy, is that an excuse to accept Morsi for the leader he showed himself to be when dealing with Gaza?

 

Articles:

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-12-10/news/35726305_1_arrest-civilians-mursi-presidential-spokesman-yasser-ali 

http://bostonglobe.com/news/world/2012/12/17/morsi-backers-predict-victory-new-charter/2utc0G2wIABbGUdrkgAb3N/story.html

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http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/19/new_poll_egyptians_turning_toward_iran_want_nuclear_weapons

This article talks about a poll taken in Egypt which had some disconcerting results. Foremost of which was that there was an overwhelming desire to obtain a nuclear bomb from Iran. Israel was seen as a racist and evil place and the U.S. and Obama and administration was more for Israel than arabs in general. Mitt Romney‘s statements about Obama letting our relations with Israel deteriorate were seen as false. That was of course after many asked who Mitt Romney was. Hillary Clinton actually had fairly positive reviews for some reason. However, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad had garnered a large amount for support. It’s unclear to me as to what specifically caused Egyptians to develop these ideas but it is alarming that they feel this way.

Nuclear proliferation is something to be concerned about. While more than a few countries have the technology today, for the most part, they’re stable. In the future some political scientist will probably come up with some fancy title for Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and then maybe Egypt developing nuclear weapons. For now its unnamed but this trend is seeming very disconcerting. Egypt isn’t fully stable yet and it’s political actors are’t all in favor of peace with the west, much less peace with Israel. This would only seem to add concern over the Iranian nuclear program. They’ve already said they would help other states achieve nuclear weapons as a deterrent against Israel.

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President Barack Obama speaks at Cairo Univers...

President Barack Obama speaks at Cairo University in Cairo, Thursday, June 4, 2009. In his speech, President Obama called for a ‘new beginning between the United States and Muslims’, declaring that ‘this cycle of suspicion and discord must end’. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we have discovered and probably knew already, for a leader, a president for example, to stay in power he or she needs to to keep the support of the coalition. This support can be lost in many ways, one major one being the economy, but for Obama, the economy does not look like it will be the key factor in support. The article I read discussed the support for Obama in regards to his foreign policy. According to the polls at the moment, Obama has decent support for his foreign policy, about 53 percent. This can obviously change within seconds, as well as fluctuate quite often. Right after the attacks on U.S. missions in Egypt, Libya, and other Middle Eastern countries, Obama’s approval dropped down to 49 percent. This shows that the approval and the opinion of the people about Obama’s foreign policy changes quite often with everything that is going on in the world right now. This type of fluctuation can be very unpredictable for a president. From what we have learned in class, a president who does not satisfy the coalition or the people, does not get reelected. We will have to see what the coming months bring us, in both the domestic but especially the international realm that could either help or hurt Obama’s chance at reelection.

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/09/19/why_obamas_sagging_support_on_foreign_policy_isnt_as_bad_as_it_seems

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In recent months, Iran has become increasingly desperate to cultivate allies in the Middle East, as increasingly harsh economic sanctions and the Arab Spring have begun taking their toll. Iran is finding it increasingly hard to cope with the sanctions and many of their former allies have either been disposed of or caught up in bloody uprisings. The conference for the Non-Aligned Movement, a Cold War-era organization that Iran recently became the leader of, was supposed to be an opportunity for Iran to cultivate and strengthen ties with new and old allies. One of the major focuses was on Egypt, and their new president Mohamed Morsi. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with members of Iran’s media had been making a concerted effort to court favor with the Egyptian government over recent months (going so far as to ban any negative coverage of the NAM conference), despite clear indications that they differed on foreign policy. One of the major issues was the current conflict in Syria. Iran has been a strong backer of the Syrian government while Egypt has fully supported the uprising, saying that “…Syrian blood is not cheap.” and that “[Egypt is] here to announce our full and just support for a free, independent Syria that supports a transition into a democratic system and that respects the will of the Syrian people for freedom and equality at the same time, preventing Syria from going into civil war or going into sectarian divisions.”

This article is interesting because it further shows how isolated Iran has become over the past year. It has lost many of its allies in the Middle East, either through diplomatic pressure by other states, economic and international sanctions, or the wave of revolutions spreading across the Middle East. Despite this, Iran firmly denies that it has been compromised in any way, and has used the NAM conference as a (somewhat unsuccessful) platform to prove otherwise. Unfortunately for Iran, the NAM is filled with delegates and countries are more likely to oppose Iran on key issues, particularly the Syrian conflict and Iran’s nuclear enrichment and weapons program. Iran has continued their enrichment program (and has drastically increased their enriched materials stockpile, according to IAEA reports) and has provided military training and continued support of the Syrian regime, actions that remain controversial and are often opposed by many of the NAM members. However, their scramble for allies shows that the sanctions and international pressure have begun to affect the country, though whether or not it will act as a catalyst, either to change the foreign policy of Iran or shut down its nuclear program, remains to be seen.

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