A Crisis in Competence
By Richard Fernandez. The overthrow of Morsi in Egypt is bad news for the Muslim Brotherhood. But is it good news for anyone?
…Lee Smith of Tablet magazine examines the chances that the new Egyptian leaders will try to divert popular discontent by making war on Israel. But he rightly notes that the Egyptian army knows it will get its ass kicked. Its chances at returning to economic power after such a defeat are diminished, and therefore a diversionary war with Israel, while possible, is probably irrational. The only thing keeping such a lunatic option on the table is the situation itself is irrational.
The big international losers in recent events are probably Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Obama administration. The big winners are the Egyptian army, Saudi Arabia, and, possibly, al-Qaeda. In a much re-Tweeted post, Kirsten Powers wrote, “Obama on the wrong side of history twice in Egypt.” Kori Schake at Foreign Policy writes, “U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has achieved the hat trick of alienating all factions in Egypt.”
Perhaps the most scathing critique comes from Josh Rogin and Eli Lake at the Daily Beast. “Obama Offers a Revisionist History of His Administration’s Approach to Egypt.” In other words, having lost in history’s accounting, Obama is now resorting to the pathetic exercise of trying to rewrite it.
But the most cruel cut of all comes from the New York Times, which notes that while Shi’a fought against Sunni, Syria exploded into flames, Egypt was riven by discord, and Lebanon was wracked by near civil war, the administration focused its efforts on things like stopping apartment construction in Israel…Read more from this story HERE.
Egypt prepares for backlash as Morsi allies reject new regime
By Martin Chulov and Patrick Kingsley. Egypt is braced for further dramatic events on Friday as the vanquished Muslim Brotherhood called for a “day of rejection” following a widespread crackdown on its leadership by the country’s new interim president, Adly Mansour.
Supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi, still reeling from the military coup that removed their leader from power, are expected to take to the streets after Friday prayers following a series of raids and arrests that decimated the Muslim Brotherhood’s senior ranks and consolidated the miltary’s hold on the country.
In a stark sign of Egypt’s new political reality, the group’s supreme leader, Mohamed al-Badie, who was untouchable under Morsi’s rule, was one of those arrested.
Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, said: “We are being headhunted all over the country. We are holding a mass rally after Friday prayers to take all peaceful steps necessary to bring down this coup.” He called for demonstrations to be peaceful, despite fears that anger may spill over into violence.
State prosecutors announced on Thursday that Morsi, who is in military custody, would face an investigation starting next week into claims that he had “insulted the presidency” – a move that would appear to put an end to any hopes of a political resurrection. Read more from this story HERE.
Egypt hasn’t spoiled gas-price dip — yet
By Talia Buford. Motorists hitting the highways over the Independence Day holiday are paying the lowest prices at the pump they’ve seen all year — but turmoil in Egypt and other trouble for the oil markets mean the good times may not last.
The average price of regular gasoline sank 5 cents in the past week to $3.48 a gallon on Thursday, AAA said, bringing the decline in the national average to 14 cents in the past month.
Some of the steepest drops have been in the Midwest, where retail gasoline prices tumbled by $1 per gallon since the beginning of June as refineries that had been shut for maintenance came back on line.
But rising tensions in Egypt are worrying oil traders and helped push U.S. crude prices above $101 a barrel to the highest level in 14 months Wednesday. On Thursday they leveled off slightly but held at around $101.
Egypt may not produce much oil, but it controls the Suez Canal, a key choke point for oil tanker traffic in the Middle East — and any hint of shipping delays will ripple down to gasoline prices quickly. Even though U.S. oil production is climbing at a record pace, oil prices are still set by the global market. Read more from this story HERE.
Rival gangs gearing up for battle after Egypt’s military coup: Pro-Morsi supporters set to protest over coup following Friday prayers
By DAVID WILLIAMS, JAMES RUSH and SIMON TOMLINSON. Egypt’s interim leader, Adli Mansour, used his inauguration to hold out an olive branch to the Brotherhood and promised elections – without indicating when they would be.
‘The Muslim Brotherhood are part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation as nobody will be excluded, and if they respond to the invitation, they will be welcomed,’ said the senior judge. Promising to safeguard ‘the spirit of the revolution’ that removed Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011, he said he would ‘put an end to the idea of worshipping the leader’.
Elections would be held based on ‘the genuine people’s will, not a fraudulent one,’ he added. ‘This is the only way for a brighter future, a freer future, a more democratic one.’
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon appealed for calm and restraint, as well as the preservation of rights such as freedom of expression and assembly.
‘Many Egyptians in their protests have voiced deep frustrations and legitimate concerns,’ he said in a statement that did not condemn the move against Mr Morsi. ‘At the same time, military interference in the affairs of any state is of concern,’ he said. ‘Therefore, it will be crucial to quickly reinforce civilian rule in accordance with principles of democracy.’ Mr Morsi’s dramatic removal by the military after a year in office marked another twist in the turmoil that has gripped the Arab world’s most populous country in the two years since the fall of Mubarak. Read more from this story HERE.