Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Amid continuing unrest, Egyptian army chief warns of state collapse

  Foreign Policy

Top news: Egyptians defied curfews in three major cities on Tuesday as clashes with police continued as the head of the Egyptian army warned that unrest could topple the state, the most pointed sign yet of exasperation from the country's most powerful institution.
In his most critical comments to date, Gen. Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, the defense minister, said that "political, economic, social, and security challenges" require united action since disagreements between the Islamist government and their opponents "on running the affairs of the country may lead to the collapse of the state and threatens the future of the coming generations." While there was no immediate indication that the military would move to seize power, el-Sisi's comments puts the military in a difficult bind as it is caught between the government's instructions to put down the unrest and Egyptian's unwillingness to restore calm to the streets.

Responding to a call by President Mohammed Morsy to join a national dialogue, prominent Egyptian politicians in the opposition bickered over who was responsible for the violence, and Mohammed el-Baradei, the former diplomat and failed presidential candidate, called for a unity government that would include members of the opposition.
Despite appealing for calm and granting the police extra powers, Morsy appeared powerless to stop the unrest, fueled by discontent over his regime's sluggishness to implement reforms and death sentences against a group of soccer fans that sent their families and hooligans into the street.
U.S. politics: The U.S. Senate confirmed John Kerry, the democratic senator from Massachusetts and former presidential candidate, as the next secretary of state in a an overwhelming vote, 94-3. Three Republicans -- John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas and James Inhofe of Oklahoma -- voted against the nomination. Kerry voted present.

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