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  • Morning Bell: Egypt's President Moves Toward Dictatorship

    Egypt remains in turmoil after its president decreed last Thursday that he was no longer subject to the laws of his country—giving himself power over the judiciary and other branches of government.

    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi made his lunge for power shortly after helping to broker a fragile ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, the extremist offshoot of his own Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda includes imposing Sharia (Islamic law), curbing the rights of women and religious minorities, abandoning Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, and advancing Islamist causes around the world.

    Reuters reports that about 370 people have been injured in clashes between protesters and police since Morsi issued his decree last Thursday. The president is meeting with judges today, supposedly on an agreement to amend his decree, but protesters say they want to see it reversed completely.

    Morsi has set Egypt on a troubling new foreign policy course since coming to power in June. His government has distanced itself from Washington while cozying up to China, improving relations with Iran, and violating its peace treaty with Israel.

    He has escalated Egypt’s cooperation with Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood that controls Gaza and remains adamantly committed to Israel’s destruction. Morsi’s Islamist-dominated government has cracked down on Egypt’s media and has announced that Egyptian journalists will be put on trial for “insults” to the president. Morsi’s government is systematically clamping down on Egyptians’ political, social, and cultural freedoms. Yet the Obama Administration naively continues to court it as a partner.

    Morsi may calculate that his help in administering Band-Aids to the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict will make the United States and others who give aid to Egypt think twice before trying to reverse his power grab.

    The Obama Administration was working on an aid package to Egypt that includes forgiving approximately $1 billion of Egypt’s debt to the United States. This is in addition to about $1.5 billion in annual U.S. foreign aid.

    When protesters tore down the American flag at the U.S. embassy in Cairo on September 11, Morsi’s public reaction was nonchalant. Instead of immediately denouncing the attack and taking action to upgrade security around the embassy—as Libyan and Yemeni leaders have done after similar events—Morsi waited a day before casually issuing a mild rebuke to the rioters via Facebook.

    The Obama Administration should leverage U.S. aid to pressure the Egyptian leader to respect the rule of law, abide by the decisions of Egypt’s courts, and abandon his drive for absolute power. Morsi has exploited external crises in the past to advance his own ambitions. In August, he used a Sinai terrorist attack that killed Egyptian soldiers as a pretext to purge the Egyptian army of its top Mubarak-era holdovers. Now he has done the same with the judiciary.

    Egypt’s judiciary also has pushed back against Morsi’s power grab. The Supreme Council of the Judiciary denounced Morsi’s unilateral assertion of power over the judiciary as “an unprecedented attack on judicial independence.” The Judges Club, an association of judges made up of many appointees by the Mubarak regime, called for a strike by courts across Egypt.

    But the judges alone will not be enough to reverse Morsi’s power grab. The key vote will be wielded by the armed forces. Morsi appears confident that he can count on support from key military leaders, whom he hand-picked after purging the top ranks of Mubarak loyalists in August.

    While the army’s ultimate verdict on Morsi’s power grab is not yet apparent, Egypt’s investors voted with their wallets and withdrew their money from Egypt’s stock market, which plunged almost 10 percent on Sunday.

    The big losers here are the Egyptian people. Their aspirations for freedom and democracy will likely get lost in the shuffle as Egypt’s “Arab Spring” descends into an Islamist winter. But the United States and its allies—particularly Israel—will also find their national interests undermined by the anti-Western drive of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

    Quick Hits:

    • Nearly 200 countries start more talks on global warming today in Qatar.
    • This week, the Supreme Court will decide whether to rule on same-sex marriage.
    • The U.S. government spends “an average of $1.5 billion in tax dollars per year devoted to getting out the message for various departments and policies,” reports the Washington Guardian.
    • Led by Breaking Dawn Part 2, Skyfall, and Lincoln, the box office had its best Thanksgiving ever, reports Deadline Hollywood.
    • Did you shop on Black Friday? What about today’s Cyber Monday deals? Unfortunately, a lot of these items are still overpriced thanks to tariffs.
    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    31 Responses to Morning Bell: Egypt's President Moves Toward Dictatorship

    1. Mike says:

      How can obama give aid to a country and forgive their debt when our own country is in the red and he wants to raise taxes?

    2. MDB749 says:

      I'm more concerned with THIS country moving towards a dictatorship than Egypt.

    3. Who would have guessed that – LOL

      Their hope is to spread "Arab Spring" all over the world.

    4. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Why the surprise? Most of us who pay attention to Obama and his agenda knew and understood what was going to happen in Egypt when Obama declared a "Arab Spring" that would bring about democracy throughout the entire Middle East. Has America become that naive to trust that Obama did not realize what would take place? Hillary was not sent by Obama to broker a ceasefire. She was sent to assure Morsi he would continue to receive our tax dollars to continue his dictatorship, the same policy Obama aspires too.

    5. Florida Jim says:

      The entire Mid-east will be under sharia in two years…great job Obama Hillary and democrats!

    6. Pat says:

      Obama sure backed a "winner" with Morsi…..and we thought Mubarak was bad.

    7. Libba says:

      Not much different that what has been promised by Pres. Obama. If he doesn't like what Congress has legislated or in most case, refused to legislate, he will impose his ideology by Executive order/priviledge. Just a matter of time until he goes above and around the Supreme Court. I was taught the other two branches of govt. are to "balance and check" but I have not seen much balance or check.

    8. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      How is this any different Barry Obama’s subterfuge?

    9. S.L. Willson says:

      Hamas an "extremist offshoot" of the Muslim Brotherhood? Please; it is no more an extremist offshoot of the M.B. than our army is an extremist offshoot of the U.S. govt. It is one of the M.B.'s several armed services.

    10. Bob Marshall says:

      George Soros funded the drafting of the new Constitution of Egypt. Obama, George Soros and Cass Sunstein have all called for a new more "progressive living" constitution and why not? Obama has ignored our present Constitution in more than 16 instances so far this year. our government can't even run this country efficiently and they are telling another country how to run their government has long forgotten they are there to work for the good of this country and its citizens.

    11. Anyone who still believes that Islam is just a religion is living in another world.

    12. T. B. Hudson says:

      Cut off all aid to Egypt. Call for them to pay off their debts to the US. T B Hudson

    13. SeattleSam says:

      Gee, you couldn't see this coming. Rifle through your history books. Name a populist uprising (other than the American revolution) that has NOT produced a strong-man government. This is the NORM. This is what happens when there is no cultural and legal commitment to the rule of law. It is utterly predictable. What is also utterly predictable are the gullible gushings from liberals who tell us that this time it will be different.

    14. Jerry Porter says:

      How do we deal with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi? Simple! It's the money, stupid! Cut the stream of aid we DON'T HAVE to give away in the first place, and see what happens. Who's the obstacle to the mid-east quagmire? Morsi, Iran, or is at the home plate of the Obama team? As J. Madison alluded to in Federalist 51, beware of threats from the outside and WITHIN!

    15. Krehbiel says:

      "Egypt remains in turmoil after its president decreed last Thursday that he was no longer subject to the laws of his country—giving himself power over the judiciary and other branches of government."

      Could this be a preview of coming attractions in America?

    16. Frank says:

      It seems difficult to discern Morsi from Obama.

    17. pete says:

      The Obama admin is nuts to give Egypt any more money and foregive any loans to an emerging islamist egypt. What are we going to do next, help Iran develop nuclear weapons technology for peacefully purposes? That would hurry up the race to the next world war between the christians and the muslims for the next holy war. The US government has gone nuts..

      Pete

    18. Donald DaCosta says:

      " the Obama Administration naively continues to court it as a partner." Naively or purposefully? Remember "The One's" off hand remark about the "57 states"? How many "states" are there in the OIC? And referring to his religious affiliation as "Muslim," hastily corrected by one of his dedicated servants in the media? If it talks like a duck is it a duck? Speculation of course but much about "The One" remains a mystery which invites speculation and is he and his hand picked administration that naive. I find it very hard to believe and impossible to ignore.

    19. @Oilvewood says:

      The Egyptian people are the losers? Well, they certainly are not alone….America became the big loser when Barack Obama was given a second term.

    20. Ron W. Smith says:

      Phillips and Payne are right to worry. What looked hopeful in Egypt now looks worrisome at the very least, grim at worst. Morsi, an engineer ("technocrat") who graduated from a fine American University, ought to know better than to leap before careful inspection of possible consequences. Maybe he does know better, though, and did what he's done only after thoughtful consultation with his advisors, friends and others. Maybe we should, as a result, be careful, too, of leaping before knowing all the details, all of what Morsi has in mind, all of what he intends to do.

      Discussions are the answer for now–soft diplomacy designed to show our concern and willingness to be of whatever help we can be if there's reason not to fear. Having gone that route as far as it satisfactorily takes us, hardball might be called for. After all, we have been giving Egypt enormous fiscal and supportive aid– money, lately borrowed, with strings attached.

      What we must be careful not to do is make a messy situation the way we too frequently have in other places at other times. Trying to control the world out of fear and hasty judgments has succeeded only in driving us deeply into debt and into war after war, intervantion after intervention. The costs of being SuperPower on Call are great, an extravagance affordable in flush times, disastrous in these leaner ones.

      Soft diplomacy first–until exhausted–then harder.

      • sdfultz says:

        Ron,
        We were giving Egypt money for 5 decades, we let the dictator mash his people into the ground, that was our soft diplomacy, 50 years of money. Now all these people blaming the President because Freedom and democracy has sprouted up, did they think it would be like a magic wand, Bam your free, go forth and prosper, really?

    21. dcnj says:

      omg what a suuuuuuuurprise.

    22. PaulE says:

      The "Arab Spring" was always destined to produce the kind of Islamic state we now see rising in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. The majority of the people have NO CONCEPT or appreciation for what a representative democracy or a constitutional republic is all about. They've only known either centuries of strict Islamic fundamentalism or decades of military dictatorship. That's their frame of reference. That they selected members of the Muslim Brotherhood in over-whelming numbers shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

      That so many people in Washington continue to confuse merely having elections as somehow creating democracy" simply demonstrates how little they understand the people and cultures of other countries around the world. Until these dreamers (or fools) in Washington wake up to the fact that not all people in the world have the exact same values and beliefs as we do, we're likely to see many more "unintended consequences" like what's going on in Egypt popping up elsewhere.

    23. Juan Martinez says:

      This is the kind of hysteria that got our nation into war in Vietnam. Morsi's a normal politician. Right now, he's trying to figure out a way to feed his people and stabilize the economy. He's smart enough to know that little else matters. At the same time, he is trying to govern a country with lots of competing interests, including 10% Coptic christians, secularists, radical jihadists, moderate muslims, women, unemployed, educated but marginally employed youth, and on and on. Give it time before you start going all wacko on Egypt. And just remember: the biggest beneficiaries to US aid to Egypt are General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and all those guys, because the aid we give them is military aid that requires they buy US-made stuff. Been like that since 1979.

    24. askeptic says:

      Democracy in Africa:
      One Man, One Vote, One Time – President for Life!

    25. Len says:

      You are quick to point out the power grab iniatiated by Morsi, but you continue to act like there is still a democratic form of government here, completly choosing to ignore the obvious; the behind the scenes changes being made daily by the czars that can not be reversed ,and sidesteps congress, the presidential orders again bypassing the legislature, and the constant actions that fly in the face of the constitution, plus foreign manipulations that are easily noted. What more do you need to declare that the founding fathers design for our counry has been severely attacked and damaged from within, and with the populace blindly worhiping the change. Heaven help us when supposed pundits continue to fruitlessly pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness ideals when they no longer exist. Open you eyes and say something that can really be done about this calamity, instead of being the emperor who wore no clothes.

    26. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      I cannot help but wonder if Obama's centralization of power here inspired Morsi to do likewise. If not, I am sure the left in this country is waiting for Obama to follow suit as if he has not by-passed the other branches enough already. Four more years to seal the deal.

    27. mary says:

      Arab Spring was never a spring. It was the foretold chronicle of how islamists manipulate crowds to turn against the ones, like Mubarak, who managed to keep a balance in social peace. Mubarak was an enlightened despot. He was not against the people but knew the ignorant masses were the main danger for stability. Masses indeed listened to the Masters of Deceit and now they got what they asked for : the archetype of the Brutal Dictator. HIs face is like Saddam Hussein, like the Hamas's faces, like the Iran's faces. What Global Hell will look like if we still allow those people to infiltrate our nations and kill our Christian Heritage after they took advantage of its "nauseating tolerance" (Hitler's words)

      It is Winter not Spring. Dante wrote about Infernal hierarchies. Long term strategies have been orchestrated by islamists for decades. Time to apply Thunder methods to stop them. Time is Off. It is about Survival now. Compromise with the devil never worked.

    28. Dave Erhardt says:

      I pray for the Coptic Christians. They have had many clashes with the new government. Will they be the new martyrs for the Faith? Let's hope not.

    29. Roy O says:

      If you look through history of the middle east, all the countries that did well, did it under a dictator or king. If you are not a dictator, you are weak and then you get overthrown. There is no way to bring democracy to people that crave dictatorships.

    30. Bill says:

      Obama most likely told Morsi "why dont you take complete control like I have, screw a constitution."

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