McCain Urges Obama to Pressure Morsi amid Protests
Amid continued protests in Egypt over President Morsi’s recent degree granting himself sweeping powers, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called on President Obama to condemn the actions and suggested that the U.S. use its financial leverage to encourage a reversal. ”Our leverage is obviously, not only the substantial billions in aid we provide, plus, debt forgiveness and an IMF deal [but also] marshaling world public opinion is against this kind of move by Mr. Morsi,” McCain stated.
Morsi’s camp has issued a statement reiterating that the measures are temporary, but tensions remain high in the country. “This declaration is deemed necessary in order to hold accountable those responsible for the corruption as well as other crimes during the previous regime and the transitional period,” the Morsi administration said. A number of courts and judges, which were highly impacted by Morsi’s decree, have announced work stoppages and protests as well. Egyptian Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky met with judicial authorities in an effort to mediate the conflict, and Morsi will reportedly meet with judges on Monday.
Egypt’s stock market has plunged 10 percent since the announcement, and the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday after its president, Abdel Ghaffar Shukr, declared his resignation to protest the presidential decree’s ‘violations of human rights declarations’ and the principles of judicial independence.
H.A. Hellyer writes that “Rather than try to leverage his political power to bring unity during such a difficult time, Mr Morsi appears to have chosen to further consolidate his position instead,” and says that “he ball is now in the the opposition’s hands.” Thomas Friedman calls Morsi’s recent move “very troubling,” and Issandr El Imrani at The Arabist asks “Is the opposition willing to make demands that are not absolute, like canceling the whole decree or having Morsi step down?”