It’s been almost 13 months since the coup that ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi. Since then, there’s been a great deal of violence that accompanied the transition leading to the inauguration of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on June 8.
Last month at a press conference in Cairo, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated that Egypt is still transitioning toward democracy. But University of Oklahoma Middle East scholar and Muslim Brotherhood expert Samer Shehata says the crackdown on political dissidents and press freedom, as well as moves against the instigators of the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak show Egypt isn’t heading in a democratic direction.
“The United States always, in the case of Egypt, puts its supposed national security interests over things like democracy, human rights, and rule of law,” Shehata says. “For example, the maintenance of the Camp David peace accord between Egypt and Israel, the access that American military have over Egyptian skies, overflight rights, or passage through the Suez Canal for American military.”
Egypt is set to host indirect talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo as the two sides attempt to work toward a more durable truce. Egypt has proposed a cease-fire plan that is backed by the U.S. and Israel, but it's been rejected by Hamas. Shehata says a coalition of Arab states has emerged against Hamas, led by Egypt that also includes Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
“These are the states that are hostile to political Islam, to Islamist forces, and they see in Hamas the Muslim Brotherhood,” Shehata says. “So they’re very, very hostile to Hamas, and in that sense it is tacit support to what Israel is doing.”
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