Protests in Egypt Continue, Morsi’s Action Analyzed
Two of Egypt’s top courts ceased normal operations in protest of a recent decree issued by President Mohamed Morsi, that many argue granted him unchecked powers. Police fired tear gas at protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, while protests continued throughout the country. In response to the outrage, the Muslim Brotherhood postponed a rally planned for Tuesday, saying it wanted to avoid “public tension.” Morsi’s government dismissed the opposition gatherings as “remnants” of the former Mubarak government, and refused to overturn the decree, arguing the limited scope of the measure only effects “sovereign matters.” State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said the Obama administration is “seeking further information,” on the situation.
“Egypt’s muddled transition from dictatorship to democracy has entered a dangerous phase with the president and his Islamist supporters arrayed against the rest – each side claiming to be the true defender of democracy and the revolution,” warned Magdi Abdelhadi in The Guardian. If the opposition hopes to oppose the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi it must overcome divisions, urged Nour Samaha in Al Jazeera. Although Morsi’s camp argued the decree is a stop-gap measure to create a smoother transition and ensure the constitution gets written, “history has few examples of leaders grabbing power in the course of a revolution only to hand it over to someone else later,’” cautioned Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations.
“The second-worst mistake the United States could make today would be to abandon the moderates; the worst mistake would be to cozy up to the Islamists and treat them as friends,” argued Elliot Abrams in the National Review Online. However, “building a relationship with Egypt based on a clear strategic bargain is in the best interest of both our countries,” Vin Weber and Gregory B. Craig suggested in the L.A. Times and a report released by The Washington Institute. This includes working with the current Morsi government, while also engaging “with the broadest possible spectrum of political actors in Egypt.”