This morning Dr. Ghassan El-Eid, who visited the World Affairs Council of CT last week for a Hot Issue Happy Hour, spoke about the political turmoil in Egypt on a segment of WNPR’s Where We Live. The program’s host, John Dankosky, asked Dr. El-Eid some key questions about the unfolding events in Egypt in a concise and pointed discussion.
Dr. El-Eid explained that almost a year ago President Morsi became the first democratically elected president in the history of modern Egypt. With this election came a sense of hope that Egypt could initiate democratic reform. However over the past year this hope and optimism has faded as President Morsi has ruled in an authoritarian way, neglecting minority rights and fueling the spread of civil unrest throughout the country. Furthermore, the economy has taken a great hit, especially the tourism sector. Now Egypt is facing several challenges that have resulted in violent protests, mostly located in the major cities of Cairo and Alexandria, over the past four days.
Dr. El-Eid stated that the military has ordered the president to listen to the demands of the protestors and agree to some form of power sharing and reformation. If President Morsi ignores the anti-government voices, the military has called for a plan that would implement a new Constitution, force the resignation of President Morsi, and call for new parliamentary and presidential elections. However, President Morsi does not seem ready to give up his power. In a recent speech, he has stressed the fact that he was democratically and legally elected and he will do whatever it takes to defend his nation and the current Constitution.
Mel McCombie, a visiting associate professor at Trinity College, also weighed in on the subject. She explained that the military directly owns many businesses in the country and therefore has a major stake in the health of the economy. The military relies on various sectors, such as tourism, which explains its dissatisfaction with the current national economy and the Morsi regime.
As the program aired, news broke that the military had recently taken over state-sponsored television stations, usually the first step in a coup d’état. Dr. El-Eid stated that the military will likely next establish a presence on the streets to maintain peace. However, Dr. El-Eid asserted that the military needs to be cautious. Their involvement in this conflict could have serious consequences, including triggering the collapse of law and order and the formation of a civil war!
As this blog was being written, it was reported that the military was in the process of removing President Morsi from power.
In light of this news, what do you think will happen in Egypt over the next 48 hours?
Do you think the military will restore democracy in Egypt?
How should the United States respond to the political turmoil in Egypt?
Join the conversation and post your comments below!
For additional information on the political turmoil click here!