Doubts over ElBaradei PM nomination as Islamists object
Muslim Brotherhood calls for further protests after dozens dead in Friday clashes
Millions took to the streets to cheer his ouster on Wednesday, but for many Islamists it was a bitter reversal that raised fears of a return to the suppression they endured for decades under autocratic rulers like Mubarak. The military said it had not carried out a coup, but merely enforced the will of the people. The events of the last week have raised alarm among Egypt’s allies in the West, including main aid donors the United States and the European Union, and in Israel, with which Egypt has had a US-backed peace treaty since 1979.
Yesterday US president Barack Obama condemned the violence and said the United States was not working with any particular party or group in Egypt.
Washington has not condemned the military takeover or called it a coup, prompting suspicion within the Brotherhood that it tacitly supports the overthrow of the country’s first freely elected president.
Mr Obama has ordered a review to determine whether annual U.S. assistance of $1.5 billion, most which goes to the Egyptian military, should be cut off as required by law if a country’s military ousts a democratically elected leader. U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel held three conversations with the head of Egypt’s armed forces on Friday and Saturday, emphasising the need for “a peaceful civilian transition in Egypt”, the Pentagon said on Saturday.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the conversations between Hagel and military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi lasted more than two hours.
Egypt can ill afford to lose foreign aid. The country appears headed for a looming funding crunch unless it can quickly access money from overseas. The local currency has lost 11 percent of its value since late last year.
Mr ElBaradei has been quoted by newspapers as saying he expected Gulf Arab monarchies that were hostile to the Brotherhood’s rule to offer financial support to the new authorities. Only gas-rich Qatar provided substantial funds to Morsi’s government, totalling $7 billion in loans and grants.
Turkey and Libya also provided smaller loans and deposits. Despite the turmoil, Egypt’s stock market opened 1.5 percent higher on Sunday, as investors cheered Morsi’s ouster. But an Egyptian pipeline supplying gas to Jordan was hit by an explosion on Saturday in an apparent attack. The blast in the largely lawless Sinai peninsula followed a spate of attacks there that have claimed six lives this week.
On Friday fierce clashes in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria left 12 dead and 200 injured, while in Cairo, five people were killed as pro- and anti-Morsi protesters ran amok in central areas and armoured personnel carriers rumbled among them to restore calm.