US Secretary of State John Kerry’s decision to reward the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egyptian government with $250 million in aid for positive political and economic reforms is being met with fury and disbelief by the Egyptian opposition, the Arab press reports.
Although Kerry acknowledged that “more hard work and adjustments are needed to restore unity and political stability and revive the Egyptian economy,” the London-based daily Al-Hayat reports, he said his discussions with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi were held “in a frank and constructive manner… Washington is providing assistance in light of Morsi’s assurances that he intends to comply with the IMF’s demands.”
Egypt is desperately trying to persuade the International Monetary Fund to grant it a $4.5 billion loan to prevent its government from running out of money.
According to an article in the Saudi-owned A-Sharq Al-Awsat titled “US Secretary of State gets assurances over (Egyptian) democracy and neutrality of the army,” Kerry became “assured of the (Egyptian) president’s commitment to walk the path of democracy.” Kerry also praised Egypt’s armed forces for protecting the country’s stability and security during the current political crisis.
Kerry’s visit coincides with protests throughout Egypt against the Muslim-Brotherhood rule, which left hundreds wounded in clashes with security forces.
Anti-government activists didn’t waste time showing Kerry what they thought about his promise of financial support to the Morsi regime.
The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports that Al-Ahly Ultras, fans of the Cairo-based Al-Ahly soccer club that was embroiled in a massive riot in Port Said a year ago, used burning tires to block the road leading to the airport, paralyzing traffic in both directions and delaying Kerry’s flight by two hours.
In addition, supporters of over 28 political parties launched protests in front of the US consulate in Alexandria.
America’s top diplomat was also on the receiving end of a great deal of criticism from the leaders of the National Salvation Front, the leading opposition group.
Mohammed ElBaradei, the former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the current leader of the Constitution Party, refused to meet with him, due to the American administration’s ostensible bias toward the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Gamila Ismail, a leading member of the Constitution Party’s steering committee, accused the US government of conspiring with Morsi to build an Egyptian version of the Iranian state.
Directly her words toward Secretary Kerry, she said, “You described Mubarak and his regime as democratic, legitimate and elected. That’s how you continue to describe the current regime as well, even though it kills peaceful protesters, and kidnaps and tortures youth activists… Our destiny and our children’s future are at stake here. We don’t want to live in a country governed by a fascist religious group or military.”
‘Our destiny and our children’s future are at stake here. We don’t want to live in a country governed by a fascist religious group or military’
In an op-ed published in the Cairo-based Al-Masry Al-Youm, Mohammed Salmawi, the president of the Egyptian Writers’ Union, writes that the US government always bets on the losing horse in a desperate attempt to maintain stability.
“They clung to Mubarak and his defense during the revolution,” he writes. “Only when his regime truly began to falter did President Obama timidly say there must be a transition of power… Here America is back to its old ways. The Muslim Brotherhood practices brutality against its own people and John Kerry comes to formally announce his country’s support of the regime of Mohammed Morsi… The failure of US foreign policy is ongoing and they are still betting on a losing horse by supporting repressive regimes that protect their interests.”
Protesters hurl stones at Renaissance Party leader
Rashed Ghannoushi, the leader of the Ennahda (Islamic Renaissance) political party, visited the town of Thala in northwest Tunisia to give a speech when dozens of residents began pelting him and car with stones, the Dubai-based media channel Al-Arabiya reports.
Ghannoushi was forced to cancel his speech and flee the scene. His office manager, Zubair Alshahuda, was injured in the attack and sought medical treatment. In the past year, other Tunisian politicians such as President Moncef Marzouki and Mustapha Ben Jaafar have also been targets of stoning attacks.
An editorial in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi says such attacks are unacceptable by any standards and are very worrying when considering Tunisia’s democratic future.
“The political crisis experienced by the country is serious, but that does not mean the opposition must resort to violence,” the editorial reads. “We are afraid of such practices affecting Tunisian democracy, which can pave the way for a civil war that requires military intervention. Hatred has now dominated the Tunisian scene for two years… and the consequences may be devastating for Tunisia’s security and stability.”